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  • Writer's pictureLTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

High School Juniors & the US Naval Academy

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

By the way, I give the same advice for USAFA, USMA, USCGA and USMMA!

Candidates for the US Naval Academy

Your junior year of high school (or even earlier) is an ideal time to line up your preparations for the US Naval Academy. If I could create a successful 'mathematical' formula for students to define these important foundational steps, it would consist of four variables:

A + B + C + D = "Your strong USNA candidacy"

Here's my definition for each of the four terms of this 'formula':

"A" - Read every page, link and drop-down menu on the USNA.edu website. This website is your primary source of information about the application process. You will find a majority of answers through this website. You should take notes and start formulating your strategy to become a midshipmen. That is, outline what steps you need to take and when.

"B" - Review details around Nominations through my blog. Two other blogs, about the nomination committee and the lead staff member, are also helpful too.

Follow this research by finding the websites for your two Senators and your Congressional Representative. Typically, you will find information under "services" or a similar menu heading. Read over all of the details presented on the Member of Congress' service academy nominations pages, including FAQs.

"C" - Research potential alternate plans, such as college Naval ROTC. If your goal is commissioning as a Navy or Marine Corps officer, do your due diligence. Understand your potential career path and learn more about the 'job' you seek. Also, remember that many USNA midshipmen are re-applicants, who attended a year or two of college as NROTC midshipmen. NROTC is also a great route to earning your commission. Be sure to read my blog about ROTC scholarship applications.

Annually, there are 2500+ fully-qualified candidates (i.e., qualified academically, qualified medically through DoDMERB, and qualified athletically by passing the CFA), who earned a nomination, but unfortunately a large portion will not be offered an appointment. USNA simply does not have not enough room for the entire qualified pool.

"D" - Lastly, look at the other services and the other four service academies along with Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC. You may be overlooking great career alternatives that allow you to serve as a military officer. Note that the US Merchant Marine Academy commissions officers into the Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard every year, providing a great alternative for some students. Senator Mark Kelly from Arizona is a USMMA graduate, former Naval test pilot and ex-NASA astronaut. The same path could work for you.

One last item: applications for the Naval Academy Summer Seminar open in early January of your junior year. I recommend applying for the seminar, even if you know you cannot attend. The application serves as your 'preliminary candidate questionnaire' allowing you to qualify as a candidate and open your application when it is available in the late Spring.

Sadly, there is no 'magic' formula. Preparations, as I outlined above as "A + B + C + D," is a great outline of the steps you should take. I work with students every year that earn both US Service Academy appointments and ROTC scholarships. Our work always 'starts' with these steps and the actions that you will need to take to be successful.

I wish you the very best on your journey to becoming a Naval Academy midshipman!

[I would welcome a chance to discuss details with you. I offer coaching services to pace and prepare you (and your parents!) for the entire Academy application process . . . along with the concrete steps you must complete! Contact me at chris@cbbrechin.com, 503.515.7406 or my contact form on this website]


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