If you’re serious about attending the USNA or any other military academy, buy a few books (or check them out of the library) on the process. It’s worth the investment because if you pursue this dream, you will be investing much more of your time and money before you achieve your goal. Better to make sure this is the direction you want to go.
Here are two books to get you started:
From the perspective of a woman who was accepted and how she accomplished it. Down-to earth, personal, definitely not dry, and should give confidence to any teen, male or female, considering a military academy as their college of choice.
A general and useful overview of the USNA application and the academy in general
Seniors–Check for Letter of Assurance
These start coming out in the Fall. Few get them. Most candidates get a letter of Acceptance without a LOA. Don’t think too much about it, but if you get one, cheer.
Seniors–Prepare for Congressional Nomination
Depending upon the Congressperson, it may be too late to apply for this interview. These are due in Fall with interviews in November/December. Get one from your Congressperson and both Senators. Fill them out. Double check to see that everything is accurate. Hand carry it to your Congressperson’s office. When you drop it off, try to meet the aide responsible for this activity. Say hi, chat for a moment. S/he may remember you from the Academy Night, and will definitely remember you when you come in for the interview in November/December.
To prepare for the Congressional Interview, read:
Seniors–Prepare for Blue-and-Gold Interview
The B&G (Blue and Gold) Interview allows the Naval Academy one more opportunity to insure that they appoint candidates who will make it through the next nine years. It has to occur before you are accepted and shows up as complete or pending on the CIS. Prepare for it. Don’t take it for granted because you think your B&G Officer ‘likes’ you. It’s his job to be an applicant screen for USNA, not your buddy.
Seniors–Apply for a Candidate Weekend Visit
Even if you’ve already received your offer, attend this exciting weekend. You’ll get to see the Yard, visit with current Mids, ask more questions, see how the academics work. It’ll help you decide if you’re not sure, or clinch your decision to attend.
Get DodMETS done. Immediately. If you’re not healthy, wait until you are and then do it. If you required a waiver, follow up. Make sure it comes through. A good rule is to do everything you can until the ball is in someone else’s court so to speak. Don’t expect a waiver to happen without lots of personal attention.
Click here for background on DodMETS
Seniors–get the CFA done
If you didn’t pass CFA during Summer Seminar, or didn’t attend that event, arrange for your high school gym coach or someone else you trust to administer the full exam and get that out of the way. If you pass it, you’re done. If you don’t, you have until you submit your application to pass it. Check out what’s required (crunches, shuttle run, mile run, etc.) and make sure you’re prepared. It’ll feel good to have that out of the way.
Seniors–Follow up on all steps of the application
Check the binder you set up over the summer to be sure everything is submitted. Check CIS–Candidate Information System–the online application site for candidates only. Be sure USNA has everything you’ve sent. If they don’t, resend and/or talk to your B&G Officer. In fact, stay in close touch with your B&G Officer at this stage in your application process. He’ll be interviewing you and passing his recommendation on to the Admittance board.
Make copies of every piece of paper you submit. Then, if (when) they disappear across the country in Annapolis, it won’t be a show stopper.
Seniors–follow up on the Letters of Recommendation from teachers
Teachers are very busy writing these for many seniors. You may have to stay on top of them to be sure they get out. Don’t worry. Your teachers won’t mind. They’re used to it.
Seniors–take calculus if it’s offered. Take all AP and Honors classes you can.
You’ll have to take Calculus at USNA, so show the Academy you’re capable. The qualities that will enable you to succeed in AP and Honors classes are the same qualities the Naval Academy wants to see, so take the classes. Show them you thrive on challenges.
Juniors–Take PSAT/NMSQT test
Registration is done through your high school counselor. The test is in October and is the gateway to many college scholarships and opportunities.
Take SAT and ACT
Juniors/Seniors–If you’ve taken it and are over 1400, you’re doing great. If you’re not, take it as often as possible. There’s a trick to the test that you’ll figure out as you take it over and over. A lot of colleges offer a PSAT-type tests for free. Take advantage of those opportunities. That’ll keep costs down and provide feedback on what you should work on.
Hone these critical skills
All USNA applicants and grads are leaders. If you’re a freshman, even a sophomore, not sure if you have enough of the leadership gene, check out these posts to see how to develop these traits:
- How to solve problems
- How to manage your time
- How to prioritize
- How to get along with people
- How to think
Check out the Marine Corps summer reading list
Attend an Academy Night
These occur throughout the year, so keep your eyes open. They’re offered through the School District or your representative’s office. Check those websites to find out when you should go.
Click here for more information on Academy Nights.
Tour a warship
These tours are offered through your Blue and Gold officer or any number of other avenues. Find a tour. Take it. You want to be sure the Naval Academy is right for you. Seeing how officers work on a Navy ship is a good idea.
Visit Colleges You Might Like to Attend
Applications aren’t due until November/December. Be prepared. This time, before you make a decision, is the time to determine which colleges serve you best. A word of advice: Have back-up schools to USNA. Even if you’re accepted, you want to know it’s the best choice for you, so investigate the competition. Make an informed decision.
Be a leader
Wherever there’s an opportunity to be a leader, take it. The Military Academies want to see you as a proactive, can-do person, not a follower. Officers are the ones who make things happen and inspire the enlisted to do their best. Be that person.
Create your resume
Check how to create your resume. List all of your activities, awards, community service. The best time to start this is as a freshman, but if you’re older than that, do it now. And keep it up to date throughout high school. It’ll remind you of all your accomplishments when you’re filling out applications and essays.
Continue Community Service
Most colleges want to know you give back to your community; Military Academies are no exception. Do as much as you can. Give as much of your time and labor as you can afford. No, it doesn’t mean you do less in academics or sports. Figure out how to do it all. That’s the kind of person USNA, USAFA and all military academies like.
Are you a Future USNA Midshipman?
Read the qualifications of a Midshipman here. See what you think.
Jacqui Murray is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, an ISTE article reviewer, a weekly contributor to Write Anything and mother of a Naval Officer and an Army grunt. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, will be out this summer. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.