Getting into Service Academies or ROTC programs for high school students, and even new college students, is a long process that requires high performance and exceeding many standards. Here is a series of questions from a young man considering the Naval Academy while a freshman in another college.
Dear Mr. Smith,
The reason I am reaching out to you is because I am currently putting in my application to the United States Naval Academy, and I was wondering if you could assist me in this process. I am a college student and have made up my mind that I would like to attend a Service Academy, especially the Naval Academy. I understand the focus they require from an Academic standpoint, but I am more curious about their character and leadership requirements.
I had a few questions, and it would really help me in this process if you could briefly answer a few of them.
These are great questions. See my answers below after each of them.
I would always start here: www.usna.edu, admissions department. Check out that process and get the ball rolling.
1. What helped you to get into the Academy?
I played a sport every season in high school, made good grades, scored well on the ACT and SAT, had some leadership roles as team captain, club president, vice president, etc.
2. What specifics does the Academy like to see in promising applicants?
You need to be well rounded, smart, athletic, a leader, and a team player. Being a recruited athlete is helpful, and you need something to set you apart from the average applicant.
3. Do they take someone with pure brains over someone with leadership ability as well as above average grades?
Not typically. You have a mix of it all, but they will take geniuses too. There are some minds that actually write computer curriculum, do ground breaking research, and graduate as Rhodes scholars.
4. What can I do to have a strong application?
Write a good essay about yourself and why you want to serve your country. Have good grades (mostly A's), play college sports, retake the ACT and SAT if needed. Participate in any leadership roles; clubs and sports help, as do community service projects.
5. Does being a current college student show commitment?
Yes. They get college-aged and active duty Navy applicants each year. You have until you are 22 years old to become a freshman at USNA, actually.
6. Will being a two-sport athlete throughout high school and a current collegiate athlete be a positive for my application?
Sure. Add in good grades and you are an excellent candidate.
Stew Smith USNA 1991
Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.