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 high school student who was accepted. 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 successful candidates are accepted without a LOA. Don’t think too much about it, but if you get one, cheer.
Get DodMETS done. Immediately. If you’re healthy now, who knows what happens later. When you’re done, you’ll receive notification (eventually) that you passed, failed, or they have questions. If you failed because of something you can get a medical waiver for, do it.
A good rule is to do everything you can, until the ball is in someone else’s court so to speak, and then follow up until you have your next job. Don’t expect a waiver to happen without lots of personal attention.
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. 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 the online application site to 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 two teachers
Teachers are very busy writing these for many seniors. 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.
You’ll have to take it at USNA, so show the Academy you’re capable.
Seniors–If you haven’t already, start the Application
…on the USNA website. 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.
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. 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:
- How to Prepare for the Congressional Interview–Part I
- How to Prepare for the Congressional Interview–Part II
- How to Prepare for the Congressional Interview–Part III
- Get a Congressional Nomination to a Service Academy
Seniors–Get LofR from Senators
They are issued during the same timeframe as the Congressional Interviews. Most Senators don’t require an interview, but find out what requirements are unique to your senator by going to their website. Mail the packages to the Senators.
Seniors–Attend a Candidate Weekend Visit
Candidate Visit Weekend (CVW) is a program conducted aboard USNA during the Fall and Spring academic semesters to expose candidates to all facets of life as a Midshipmen. CVW is an opportunity to sample university-level academics at USNA, to discover whether the Naval Academy will help you achieve your goals, and to offer valuable insight into the admissions process.
CVW is offered by invitation only throughout the academic year. Invitations are largely based on the level of completion of your application. Even if you’ve already received your offer, attend this exciting weekend if the invite arrives. 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.
Juniors–Register for PSAT/NMSQT test
This is done through your high school counselor. Register now for the October test. It is the gateway to many college scholarships and opportunities.
Go to 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.
Go to a USNA Forum
Don’t miss a chance to meet with USNA Admissions reps.
Tour the Yard
That can be done if you’re in Annapolis, according to the following schedule:
Leahy Hall Briefing Times
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. & 2 p.m.
*- These days exclude Federal holidays
**Note: Admissions briefs are held in Leahy Hall, which is about a 10-15 minute walk from Gate 1.**
Take SAT and ACT
Seniors–September is the last chance to improve your score. Sophs and Juniors–take one and see how you do. If you’re over 1400, you’re doing great. If 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 reading list
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 Other 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
Follow USNA or Bust on Twitter
Jacqui Murray wrote the popular 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, a USNA columnist for Examiner.com, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a weekly contributor to TeachHUB, and a monthly contributor to Today’s Author. 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.