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School me on US Naval Academy

Old 08-16-2016, 10:28 AM
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Default School me on US Naval Academy

So my new High School Senior caught me a little of guard last night by mentioning the US Naval Academy for college. I must admit I don't know much about the military academies other than what my friend has told me about his time at the Citadel. I'd love to hear some thoughts / feedback on the Naval Academy.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:30 AM
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Depends on what the end game is for him.

I have known lots of Cadets. I've heard lots of stories and have a good idea of how the Academy is. I didn't go but I worked in an industry where a lot of Cadets end up.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:32 AM
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I graduated in 1998. Anything you want to know, just ask. Feel free to PM or throw it out for all to read.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:39 AM
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Already behind the curve a little. You usually start preparations in your junior year. In the late 80's it was the most selective, most difficult college to get accepted to in the country, far more selective than Harvard or any other Ivy school.

Much tougher physical standards (have to pass DoDMERB) and a Congressional approval. They have relaxed the standards a bit, but an 18 year old male (to get max score on PT test) still needs to be able to do 18 pullups, a 5:20 one mile run, ~100 foot basketball throw, 95 crunches, 75 pushups, etc. Each has a 3 minute rest between activities.

No commitment until 2 for 7 night. Basically after completing 2 years, you agree to 2 more years of school and five years active duty. If you leave after 2 for 7 night, you're looking at serving the remaining time as enlisted.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:46 AM
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It definitely depends on what the end game is. USNA, like all service academies, is great at what it does - create Naval Officers. If he/she doesn't want to be a career Naval Officer, it might not be the best place for him/her. The price is certainly right, but the level of commitment is very high if he/she wants to succeed. I am assuming he/she did not participate in Summer Semester or any other summer program. I guessing you also haven't inquired about the congressional nomination required. If he/she is serious about it, and has the grades/extra circulars in order, it can be done. But it will take a ton of effort in a very short time period to get qualified.

As jobowker says, you are a bit behind the curve as most candidates start preparing for admission in their junior year.

My son was considering the USNA as well as the USCGA (yes, the Coast Guard has an academy too). He was actually a recruited athlete to the USCGA, but after giving it a TON of thought, he decided that the academies were not the right fit for him. He still plans on becoming a CG Officer, but will be doing it through another avenue that allows him to experience the more traditional college life.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:51 AM
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class of '92 here...go navy! beat army!

as jobworker said your senior is likely behind schedule for the admission process. you must start in your junior year to secure a nomination from a member of congress in your state (unless you qualify for some of the other limited options).

that said, something like 40% of incoming plebes do NOT come straight out of high school. there's no reason your child couldn't start the process now, and attend a year at a college prep school, a community college, or even do a year at a 4-year university. depending on grades and SAT scores, that may be necessary anyway.

academics is a big part of admissions, but the "whole person" concept is given more than just lip service. candidates should be well rounded in other activities, i.e. sports, scouts, community service, church, etc. holding leadership positions in these activities is given greater weight.

medical and physical testing can be a significant hurdle if your child hasn't been involved in athletics or regular physical training.

the usna website lays it all out step-by-step: https://www.usna.edu/Admissions/Steps-for-Admission/

it was a great experience and i would highly recommend it to any child who's committed to serving. no one should go because they think they will be getting a great education. this is a professional development program to prepare college age students to become officers in the navy or marine corps. while academics is important, if the candidate isn't committed to serving they are going to have a really tough time putting up with all of the pro-dev requirements / burdens.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:52 AM
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very selective, to avoid disappointment make sure you are in the zone before applying
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Getn Busy Livn View Post
... I'd love to hear some thoughts / feedback on the Naval Academy.
You asked.
If his desire isn't to serve a full career as an officer in the USN go somewhere else.
It's a great education, and a demanding environment.
It's purpose is to prepare career miltary officers, and it shouldn't be diluted.


https://www.usna.edu/About/mission.php
Mission of USNA

The Naval Academy has a unique clarity of purpose, expressed in our mission:

"To develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government."

Our mission forms the basis for everything we do at the Academy. It also encourages a sense of spirit and pride found at few other schools.
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Old 08-16-2016, 11:15 AM
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My Son has been at this since his Sophomore year, he attended STEM Camp, an Official Candidate Visitation his Junior year and did NASS at the beginning of this summer (he is a rising Senior). The best way to put this is applying to USNA is like applying to 10 colleges. The application process is very demanding and each step is as difficult as a State college application. Others have outlined the timeline needed but if this is something he wants to pursue, he needs to think about applying as an ROTC Scholarship for freshman year somewhere next year, then get started on that USNA app next Spring. Take some time and go visit Annapolis (if it is close enough) but definitely get in touch with your area's Blue & Gold officer, he/she will be a world of help.
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Old 08-16-2016, 11:21 AM
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Anyone that went to a military academy and did 4 years has my full admiration and appreciation for your military service afterwards... I know I would never have made it through all the mind games and silliness you are put through....
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:09 PM
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I will echo the earlier comments that your son is a bit behind schedule for the process of applying if he wanted to attend immediately after graduating from high school. It really is an eighteen month process in most cases. Same is true for ROTC, though maybe more like 14-16 months for ROTC.

But please don't discourage him if he is interested!!! There are other ways and paths to getting into a service academy, and to pursuing ROTC at a 4-year college.

Some options have been mentioned above (i.e., apply now for a year later, and take a gap year or attend college elsewhere for a year.)

Another option is to enlist now in the Navy or Coast Guard for a 2-year stint. This would give him a very good picture of what Navy life/work is like, at least from the enlisted side. All services, including the Navy and CG, have a special program for qualified "prior enlisted" members to attend their academies. From an admissions standpoint, "prior enlisted" candidates are highly valued members of the student body, since they bring additional relevant experience that most officer candidates lack.

Another advantage to being "prior enlisted", is that your time at the academy is considered "time in service". So when a "prior enlisted" graduates, they have already tallyed up quite a few years of service toward retirement (their years of service as an enlisted man/woman, plus the 4 years at the academy.) A more tyical cadet does not recieve "time in service" for their years at the academy.

And if your son does not want to delay beginning his college studies, but finds he is too far behind to meet the service academy deadlines, then encourage him to consider universities with established ROTC programs. ROTC is a great compromise between service academies and the more typical college experience. Don't get me wrong, ROTC has very challenging requirements, but a big difference is that candidates are not in "military mode" full-time like they are at the service academies.

ROTC can be pursued immediately at college (assuming there is a program), even without having received a scholarship. All your son would have to do is sign up for the program during the summer before enrolling at his school for freshman year. Initially there is no pay-back commitment without a scholarship in place, so there is no risk and he could drop out anytime up to the end of sophomore year. This is the path my son took -- like your son, he was a bit late in realizing he wanted to pursue this path. But he found his way forward, and he ended up receiving a 3-year scholarship for soph-junior-senior years.
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:10 PM
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Class of '74 here. Still active at the Yard and as stated above, it is a total commitment. Selection is again at it's highest as there are less individuals going into the military. I believe this years class admitted only 1100 midshipman. There is a tremendous amount of preparation necessary to just fulfilling the application process. You need to contact your local Blue and Gold Officer. They will guide you and help you, and they may also tell you it's not for your son/daughter. It is the MOST rewarding experience I have had in my life. You must be driven and extremly hard working. It has provided me with opportunities that many only dream of and never realize.

Go Navy-Beat Army
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:11 PM
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my neighborhood is thick with graduates. If you son wants a career, it is a no brainer. Probably little late for this year, but ROTC could be a good option, and shoot for next year.

I will say that the football and basketball games are the only public places that we let our kids run free. The vast majority of the crowd are top notch, and there is no more family focused group of people in the world.

Lucky to live nearby
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:23 PM
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class of 66, glad to help anyway i can.
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by D.M.D. View Post
..
Go Navy-Beat Army


Both my father and brother were career naval aviators (brother academy grad). So up to a few years ago, I would have signed off in the same way.

But son is... Army! So now I have to be more careful what I say.

My nautical bent and family background tilts me toward favoring the Naval and CG services. But I have to say this about the Army -- in the ROTC realm they offer many more options and pathways to becoming a commissioned officer. So I encourage anyone who is curious about natonal military service to explore all the options -- there are some lesser known scholarship pathways.

Our son is attending a top-10 nationally ranked universty and even though he arrived without a scholarship he will graduate with no debt at all and money in the bank-- thanks to the Army's ROTC program. He even hopes to follow in grandpa's and uncle's footsteps by going into aviation -- albeit green aviation instead of blue and gold!
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:39 PM
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75 pull ups? That's steep!

I second the ROTC option, my best friend from high school did ROTC at UF and became a Marine Corps fighter pilot.

There are also officer programs for enlisted personnel if he chooses to enlist.

Several USNA grads here, use them and good luck!
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by The Spit View Post
albeit green aviation instead of blue and gold!
I read that as helos instead of jets.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by atcfris View Post
I read that as helos instead of jets.
Yep! He's interning with an Apache squadron right now.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ol guide View Post
class of 66, glad to help anyway i can.
This is the guy I would choose as my primary information source.

Salute, Captain.


Big Al
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Old 08-17-2016, 04:13 AM
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Thanks everyone for the information. It's actually my daughter who is thinking about the NA. It sounds like she is a little behind the curve on the timeline but I will make contact with the local blue and gold officer and start the conversion.

Honestly, internally im proud of her for giving it some thought. Im sure she would make an excellent Naval Officer but another part of me thinks the more traditional university path is a better option for her.

I appreciate all the responses!
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