USNA requires naming five individuals, but there is more!
As you start your Naval Academy application, called the Candidate Information System (CIS), you will note that you are required to designate five individuals under the "Recommendations" section of the CIS. However, only two of them provide an evaluation. The other three provide important components of your application. And, finally, an applicant may add three more 'optional' recommenders to their file using this section of the CIS.
In this blog, I'll review each of the individuals and the 'service' that each is requested to fulfill.
For each listed individual, you will submit their first and last name and their email address. Note that when you complete the information and save it, an email will be sent immediately to the recommender. The five required recommenders are:
Academic Information Recommendation
Extracurricular Activities Verification Recommendation
Plus, as I noted previously, a candidate may also name three optional recommenders, which I will also discuss in this blog.
As you will note in the application screen here, each required recommender is listed. In 2023, this screen has undergone a few modifications so your application may be slightly different. Let's review the list.
Academic Information Recommendation. Your counselor (or similar school official) will be asked to upload an academic information form, your school profile, and your official transcript. For most students, the counselor is the ideal person to designate for both roles, EA Verification and Guidance Counselor. Just record the identical contact information for both entries.
Fitness Recommendation. Name the person who will administer the Candidate Fitness Assessment for you. The CFA administrator may be a physical education teacher, a team coach, a current JROTC instructor, an active duty commissioned officer, or a Blue and Gold officer (BGO). Family members are not allowed to administer a candidate's CFA.
The adult that you designate will receive instructions via email. A candidate may take the CFA as many times as you would like to improve your score; however, you will need to contact your Admissions Counselor to resend a new link for the CFA Administrator to enter a new score for you after the first one has been submitted.
If you choose to use CFA scores from the Naval Academy Summer Seminar, or a Candidate Visitation Weekend, then this designation will not affect the scores that you recorded and accepted.
English Teacher. Designate either your current or previous year’s English teacher. This teacher will receive an email containing a URL link. This link will present the teacher with an evaluation form to be completed and submitted.
As a high school student, the school official should be a junior or senior year English teacher. If you are a college student, the school official should be a current college English professor or prior year English teacher. Most often, the prior-year English Teacher for college students is the senior year high school English teacher. If you do not have an English teacher available from the appropriate grade levels, please contact your Admissions Counselor for a waiver to use a different recommender.
Math Teacher. As with your English teacher, designate your current or previous year’s math teacher. All of the other guiding details noted for your English teacher are identical for the math teacher too. If you do not have a math teacher available from the appropriate grade levels, please contact your Admissions Counselor for a waiver to use a different recommender.
Extracurricular Activities Verification Recommendation. This official may be your Guidance Counselor, Registrar or Principal/Vice Principal from your current high school, who will confirm the accuracy of your listed extracurricular activities.
Enter all of your 9th through 12th grades activities in the Candidate Activities Record. If you have not yet entered 12th grade, include activities in which you expect to participate during your senior year. For post-high school applicants, you may use the drop downs or other option to indicate any extracurricular activities that you have been involved in since graduating from high school. You will also enter the school official who will validate your activities. Note that (J)ROTC Instructors or coaches are not able to validate your extracurricular activities.
One last point: you may want to provide your résumé to the validating official and review it with her/him prior to submitting the Candidate Activity Record and the official's name in CIS. Also, that same official (likely, your counselor) may upload a copy of your résumé during this process to provide a complete list of your extracurricular activities.
Optional Recommendations. To add additional recommenders, you will simply use the +Add Recommendation link located at the end of the list. I suggest using recommenders who have interacted with you 'outside' the school classroom. Your Scoutmaster, JROTC commander, lacrosse coach, club sponsor and other adults in your life are examples of the types of "other recommenders" to use. Add one, two or three -- just be sure to take advantage of this option!
Eight names and eight email addresses should be provided under the Recommendations section of the CIS. In this example, you will noted that two recommendations are specified (and the EA verification label is missing). Five recommendations are mandatory and three are optional. You'll note that this particular example, the BGO is also noted and indicates the status of the required interview as "Incomplete." You will not add any information for the BGO line.
Although completing this work is quite easy, the relationships themselves will take time to establish. Focus on building these connections as soon as you can as they are quite important. Plus, you will want to coordinate with each recommender so that they expect the email and are prepared to fulfill the requirements of their 'role.'
In closing, let's discuss home schoolers. USNA Admissions recently provided guidance to a home schooled student. They noted the home schooling parents would fulfill the guidance counselor's role. Clearly, the same would also be true for the teachers' roles. Lastly, the individual that conducts the CFA should be designated as the PE Instructor/Coach. Since a parent is likely to complete multiple portions, USNA Admissions recommends that the evaluation be based on "objective measures."
No matter your school, your activities, or your accomplishments, this portion of the Naval Academy application is an important component. Make plans and address this section early. Good luck with your Naval Academy application!
[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 . . . including helping you coordinate with your USNA recommenders. Contact me at email@example.com, 503.515.7406 or use my contact form on this website.]