April 21, 2011
You Want to Be a USNA Midshipman? Start Today
You’re starting high school next year, the most seminal period in your lifetime to date, the years
that will decide what happens when your future becomes your life. Do you get accepted to the college of your choice, a second-tier choice, or a safety school? Do you end up in vocational school following a technical dream, or do you end up thrown into a job market which is hopefully better in four years than it is now (which is the same thing I said two years ago).
One bit of information I know about you is you are interested in the Naval Academy. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. Based on that, I’ll make the following assumptions:
- You’re planninin the hardest classes possible for you. They might be honors, AP, IB–but it is the best you can do at this point in your education. If they aren’t AP, work towards those. If your school only offers honors, don’t worry about it. The Admissions Board only asks that you take the hardest courses available to you.
- You’re trying out for a challenging sport. It might be Varsity or JV. It might be a team sport or golf. Whatever it is, it’s the best you can do, and that’s good enough. The Navy likes physically-fit members, and the way they can judge that on the application is that you participate to the highest level possible.
Sound like a busy schedule? Get used to it. The Naval Academy chronically overworks its Mids, so you want to show them that you thrive in just that sort of environment. In fact, let’s up the ante and add a few more activities that will improve your application and potential for acceptance:
- Work on your communication skills. That might be public speaking–join the debate team or Model United Nations. It might be writing–take journalism, participate in the school newspaper. The Navy expects their officers to be well-spoken and excellent writers, so develop those skills while you have time.
- Work on your reading skills. Read classic literature, the timeless novels that everyone quotes and expects anyone with intelligence to understand. Statements like, He’s through the looking glass (to someone acting weird), Me thinks he doth protest too much (to a friend who claims he didn’t notice that girl over there), So we beat on, boats against the current (explaining a failing but tenacious argument with the teacher). Know them so you can use the allusions and as important, understand them. (Where are these from? See if you can figure it out.). Also read military books to ground yourself in your future.
- If you have a unique hobby, continue it. The Admissions people want to know you’re busy, pursuing a passion, striving for the best that you can be.
- Be a leader of something. ASB is fine, but not the only choice. You can be president of a club, start your own club, be the student rep to your City Council. It doesn’t matter as long as you display leadership. There are no followers in the Officer rank of the Navy.
Good luck as you begin high school! Take a day off and then return for more instructions.