How to Prepare Your Application to the US Naval Academy
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Steven Frazier, an Admissions Counselor at the USNA, in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
In this post, we discuss how students can learn more about and prepare to apply to the United States Naval Academy (USNA). This is a multi-step process with numerous requirements that can seem overwhelming at first but with the proper preparation, are quite manageable.
The USNA has several summer programs that prospective students can participate in. The USNA STEM camp, called Summer STEM, is a weeklong program that students can attend during the summer after their ninth-, tenth-, or eleventh-grade years. Students stay on campus in the dorm building and participate in activities with the USNA student body (known as midshipmen) and faculty. The application for Summer STEM opens each January.
Another program is USNA’s Summer Seminar, which is open to students entering their senior year of high school. Also lasting a week, the Summer Seminar is designed for prospective students to get a feel for the school and see whether a service academy is right for them.
There are four important admissions requirements that prospective USNA students should pay particular attention to: physical qualifications, medical qualifications, nominations, and standardized test scores.
First, USNA applicants must be physically qualified. This is determined by a candidate fitness assessment. Applicants can take this assessment as many times as they want, and USNA will accept the best overall score. The earlier you take the assessment, the better chance you have to improve on subsequent tries.
Applicants also need to be medically qualified. Part of your application will include going to a local doctor for a physical to make sure you’re healthy and will be successful at the academy. However, if you do not qualify medically, that does not mean you shouldn’t apply; there are waivers available, so don’t let a medical disqualification discourage you from completing your application.
Students also need to receive a nomination to attend USNA. This nomination can come from many different sources. The most common type of nomination comes from a senator or congressperson. Students should visit the websites of their senators and representatives to access nomination applications, and it’s a good idea to get started on these as early as possible. The USNA admissions website also provides detailed information about the types of nominations.
Finally, students need to provide SAT and/or ACT scores to apply to USNA. The academy does use superscoring, in which your best scores across multiple tests will be combined for an overall score. USNA will even combine SAT and ACT scores, so students can improve their admission chances by taking both tests multiple times.
In general, USNA applicants should have a strong foundation in math and science. This can include high-level classes in algebra, geometry, and calculus, as well as chemistry and physics, ideally with labs. There is no minimum GPA requirement, but applicants should strive to be in the top 20% of their class. AP Honors and IB classes are recommended, and USNA will superscore those tests.
Like most colleges and universities, USNA is looking for well-rounded students who participate in extracurricular activities such as clubs, leadership organizations, jobs, and community service. The skills that you gain participating in these kinds of activities are essential for succeeding at USNA.
The USNA admissions process typically begins in September of each year. If your application is submitted to USNA by September, you may receive an early letter of assurance. This letter says that as long as you qualify medically and physically and receive a nomination, you will be admitted to USNA.
The deadline for students to open an application to USNA is December 31st of their senior year, and the application must be submitted by January 31st. The USNA uses a rolling application with a notification deadline of April 15th. The signing deadline is May 1st.
The number of USNA applicants who complete the application, receive a nomination, and meet the medical and physical requirements is about 3,500 per year. Of these applications, between 1,200 and 1,300 typically receive offers. This means that just by finishing your application and receiving a nomination, you have about a 33% chance of being accepted.
There are also USNA preparatory schools available. These programs are for students who could use an extra year of academic help, have taken a gap year, or may have already enlisted in the military, among other circumstances. There is no separate application for the prep school; if you seem like a good fit for it, USNA will send you a letter with more information. Students who attend a preparatory school attend for one year and upon successful completion, attend the USNA for four years.
If you are interested in learning more about other military colleges in the United States, check out this article: Guide to Military Colleges: Should You Attend One?