How to Get into the U.S. Naval Academy

Ex Scientia Tridens, “from knowledge, seapower,” is a fitting motto for the U.S. Naval Academy, the official undergraduate college of America’s Naval Service. Based in Annapolis, Maryland, this venerable institution provides talented men and women with the training and knowledge required to become military officers. After securing bachelor of science degrees in their chosen majors, Naval Academy graduates go on to serve commissions as Navy ensigns of Marine Corps.

 

Ranked No. 17 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best National Liberal Arts Colleges, the Naval Academy has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,512 and an acceptance rate of just 9%. Still, that doesn’t mean your dreams of attending this prestigious institution are unachievable. Keep reading to learn how to get into the Naval Academy.

 

Is the U.S. Naval Academy Right for You? 

 

If the U.S. Naval Academy is on your shortlist of colleges, then you probably know that matriculation comes with numerous advantages, including the guarantee of an officer slot in the Navy or Marines. However, you might not realize that the Navy pays the complete cost of tuition, room, board, and medical expenses for all Academy midshipmen. Additionally, students enjoy an array of perks such as entry at military commissaries, hotel discounts, and transportation benefits. 

 

Despite the many benefits associated with attending the Naval Academy, prospective students should know that there are some drawbacks as well. As a condition of accepting the scholarship, students must serve five years of active duty in the military following graduation. To break this commitment, you must repay the cost of your education, estimated at $186,000. If you aren’t 100% sure that you want to serve, this school might not be right for you. 

 

Additionally, Naval Academy students report that freshman year can be a stressful time. The lowest members of the totem pole, freshmen, or plebes, are considered subordinate to the sophomore, junior, and senior classes. Moreover, all Academy students live highly regimented lives, with their days starting at 6:30 AM and ending at midnight. If you prefer to be in control of your own schedule, you might not appreciate this way of life. 

 

Finally, female applicants should note that the school still has a dearth of women. Just 20% of entering freshmen are female at this time.

 

How to Get Into the U.S. Naval Academy

 

Wondering how to get into the Naval Academy? The rigorous application features multiple steps, including a fitness test and required nomination from a statesman. Read on to learn more about this venerable institution and find out what you have to do to submit a complete application by the January 31 deadline:

 

Eligibility

 

Not all students qualify for admission to the United States Naval Academy. According to the college’s website, students must meet the following criteria to be considered for acceptance:

 

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be between 17 and 23 years old
  • Be unmarried
  • Not be pregnant
  • Not have dependents
  • Have a valid Social Security card

 

Of course, meeting these standards doesn’t guarantee that students will be accepted. The Naval Academy encourages interested students to visit the Academy early in their high school careers to showcase their interest and learn what characteristics and achievements the school values. 

 

Additionally, students should embark on a challenging curriculum and participate in activities that show their leadership skills and commitment to serving others. According to the website Operation Military Kids, 93% of the Class of 2022 participated in high school varsity athletics, with 73% serving as captains or co-captains of their teams. Moreover, 91% volunteered in their communities. Additionally, many students participated in STEM classes and attended STEM summer camps. If you’re thinking of applying to the Naval Academy down the line, consider taking steps to beef up your resume during the early part of your high school career.

 

Preliminary Application

 

Naval Academy hopefuls must submit a preliminary application before they can officially be considered for admission. The application includes the following components:

 

  • Social Security number
  • High School Educational Testing Service (ETS) code
  • Class rank
  • Congressional state and district
  • Zip code
  • SAT, ACT, or PSAT scores

 

According to the school website, students can submit these applications if they are currently a high school senior, will be a senior next year, or are in college and looking to transfer to the Academy. Once the school receives a students preliminary application, the admissions team will review it to assess a candidate’s qualifications and assign them a candidate number. At this time, students will also receive instructions with next steps on how to apply to the Naval Academy.

 

Official Application Requirements

 

After completing the preliminary application, the next step is to submit your official application. The U.S. Naval Academy application includes many of the same components required by other schools, including SAT or ACT Scores, school transcripts, and letters of recommendation. The average Academy student boasts a combined SAT of 1410 (ACT of 31) and an average GPA of 3.94. Additionally, students must submit a personal essay conveying their reasons for wanting to attend the school and complete an in-person interview with a USNA Blue & Gold Officer.

 

Unlike traditional colleges, the Naval Academy also imposes physical requirements on applicants. To gain acceptance, students must undertake a medical exam by the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board. It’s worth noting that students with preexisting health conditions may still be able to attend the Academy. The school automatically considers students with disqualifying conditions for waivers. 

 

Additionally, candidates must complete a fitness test designed to evaluate their strength, speed, coordination, endurance, and agility. The assessment requires them to run a mile, participate in a shuttle run, throw a basketball from a kneeling position, and do crunches and pushups. Male candidates are required to do pull-ups, and female candidates must do a flexed-arm hang. 

 

While the testing might seem rigorous, the Academy notes that students who are physically fit should have little trouble meeting the requirements. Individuals who don’t work out regularly may want to start preparing a few months before submitting their official application to increase their odds of success.

 

Getting a Nomination

 

Along with making physical fitness a condition for acceptance, the Naval Academy differs from other institutions in that applicants must secure a nomination to be admitted. As part of your official application, you must submit a nomination from a U.S. Representative, a U.S. Senator, or the Vice President of the United States. Note that you don’t have to know your nominator personally to obtain this recommendation. Still, securing a nomination can be challenging, as Senators and Representatives are limited to five nominees each in a given year. Students should send requests in early to bolster their odds of selection.

 

In most cases, nominators request that students meet with them or someone on their staff for an interview. Additionally, the nominator will likely request information about a student’s background, including academic records, extracurricular experience, and other personal details. For best results, gather all this information ahead of time so the nominator has everything they need at their fingertips. 

 

Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

 

April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.