Have you ever heard of the United States Naval Academy? Most people know it as Annapolis, since it’s located in Annapolis, Maryland, or USNA for short. It’s also, like most U.S. military academies, one of the most competitive schools in the country. For anyone interested in applying to the Naval Academy, we asked our colleagues at Gain Service Academy Admission to share some insightful tips:
How to Prepare Early in your High School Career
The general theme here is to make sure you challenge yourself!
The Naval Academy core courses are challenging. Taking challenging classes during high school will help you prepare for USNA’s academic rigor. Start early! If you have a choice to take Advanced Placement or IB classes, do so. Focus on being in the top 20% of your high school class academically, at least.
Get involved in your community and take on leadership opportunities. Find activities you are interested in and get involved early. Showing a history of involvement versus just joining a club or group for college admissions can be transparent. Plus, if you get involved early you may have additional leadership opportunities that a newer group member may not receive.
Consistency and making an impact when it comes to clubs, groups, student government, and teams is what the admissions team and Blue and Gold Officers are looking for. Here are some stats from a recent class in terms of participation:
- 91% Varsity Athletics
- 90% Community Service
- 73% Captain/Co-Captain of Sports Team
- 67% National Honor Society
- 66% Student Body Leader
- 66% Dramatics, Public speaking or debating
- 47% Church Group
- 44% Tutoring
- 35% Work Experience (>10 hrs/week)
- 26% Musical Activities (Band, Chorus, Etc.)
- 20% Primary Language in Home Not English
- 16% Boy/Girl Scouts
- 15% ROTC/JROTC/Sea Cadets/Civil Air Pat.
- 13% First to Attend College in Family
- 13% School publication
- 12% First Generation American
- 11% Hardship or Adverse Life Experience
Join athletic teams and focus on fitness. 91% of a recent Annapolis class participated in high school sports and lettered. This highlights the importance of getting involved in sports in high school. You can also combine athletics and leadership by serving as a Team Captain.
Your athletic participation and success on the fitness test are both key elements to plan for. The Naval Academy application includes a fitness test!
Preparing for the Naval Academy Later in your High School Career
Some students don’t find out about the Service Academies until it’s time to start applying for colleges. This can be their junior, or even as late as their senior year of high school. It will be difficult to overcome a lack of leadership and sports activities, but focusing on test scores is the single most important thing you can do to overcome academic weaknesses.
Keep in mind that for the Naval Academy, you must start a pre-candidate questionnaire by December 31 of your senior year. This would traditionally only give you a month to complete the entire application process, so we recommend getting started much earlier if able! You can start your application here.
Focus on your test scores, as these are extremely important to the Naval Academy. We recommend testing during your junior year to give yourself time to retest if necessary. Here are test scores for the Naval Academy from a recent class from 25th – 75th percentiles:
SAT: Math – 620-760 / Verbal – 630-760
ACT: Math – 27-32 / English – 27-34
Scoring within these ranges could indicate you are competitive, depending on the rest of your application. Athletics and leadership are also major considerations. You can find a class portrait of a recently admitted class here, for additional insight.
When it comes to the interview, practice, practice, and more practice! The Blue and Gold Officer (BGO), who acts as your liaison officer is a milestone you must accomplish during the application process. We place a higher importance on the Congressional nomination interview, as a nomination is a must-have in order to get admitted into the Naval Academy. Depending on your geographic location, the competition could be incredibly difficult.
Make sure you practice your interview before it’s time to meet your BGO or Congressional nomination interview team!
You can find out more information on how to get into the Naval Academy here. We wish you luck in your application and desire to become a Naval officer!
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kirkland (U.S. Army, Retired) was one of the few officers ever to command two separate Army ROTC programs–Claremont McKenna College from 2006 to 2009 and the University of Southern California from 2010 to 2013. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point and has also earned a MA and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. He served over 25 years on active duty. The author and his team provide in-depth, personal consulting to ROTC scholarship applicants and their parents as well as full support for competitive Service Academy admission. For a deeper understanding of what the ROTC scholarship entails, check out Rob’s thorough explanation of the topic on the Tests and the Rest podcast.