Depending upon where you are in the process, you may have done some of the items on this list. Skip them. Be
happy you’re done. Move on to the next:
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–through Summer Seminar? DodMETS
Get DodMETS done. Immediately. If you completed Summer Seminar and they gave you your candidate number, that means they’ll be inviting you to take the medical exam.If you’re healthy, don’t wait. Who knows what happens later.
Click here for background on DodMETS
Seniors–get the CFA done
Get it out of the way. 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. Summer is a good time to do that because you can concentrate on the physical aspects without worrying about your all-important high school grades.
For information on the Candidate Fitness Assessment, click here and then here.
Seniors–if you have a Candidate Number
Set up a binder to keep all of your application material together. I recommend a two-inch binder so everything you do is in one spot. Make a tab for every activity, i.e., CFA, Congressional Interview, online Preliminary Application, etc..
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.
Take Summer School
I hope you took summer school. If you didn’t do it next year. Take classes that
- will get you ahead of the curve
- will give you extra time to study the more difficult academic courses (AP Physics, Calculus, etc)
- will improve the bad grade you got in a class
- will enhance your resume (Spanish III)
At military academies, there are no summers off. You get a brief leave, but the rest of the time is spent learning your craft in situ–on a ship, a sub, a YP.
Seniors, request a Congressional Nomination Package
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. Mail the packages to the Senators. Often, they do all of their selections via mail–no personal interviews. For the Congressperson, hand carry it to them. 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:
Juniors–get the preliminary application completed
That’s on USNA.edu. A preliminary application must be submitted to become an official candidate for next year’s entering class. January is the deadline to complete preliminary application if you want to be included in next year’s application process.
Soph/Juniors–Prepare for CFA
Juniors: You can take this as soon as you have a candidate number. For information on the Candidate Fitness Assessment, click here and then here. This will be given during Summer Seminar. 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 in August to have that out of the way.
Soph/Juniors–Take SAT and ACT
If you’re 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. BTW, if you’ve read any of the books on this list and would be willing to contribute a book review of it, I’d be thrilled to include you. There are far too many books for me to cover so I need help!
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. First and foremost, you want to be sure that a Naval Academy choice is right for you. Seeing how officers work on a Naval ship is a good idea.
Visit Colleges You Might Like to Attend
Applications aren’t due until September (early apps) or November/December for the rest. Be prepared. This time, before the earliest 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.
Focus on your unique skill
With summer comes less academic work. A good time to get back in touch with whatever it is that sets you apart from others. Military academies like that side of you. They want to know you can do everything, not just academics and sports.
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.
- Read this post on Why We Serve
- Read this Qualifications of a Naval Officer from Reef Points
- Read about the USNA Honor Concept
- Read what you might not know about USNA
- Read Six reasons why you might be a midshipman…
- Read 9 Secrets for Getting in USNA
- Read Life the USNA Way
–taken in part from Building a Midshipman: How to Crack the United States Naval Academy Application
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Jacqui Murray wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco blogger,IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.