On The Yard


    The Most Important Ways to Prepare for United States Naval Academy Admissions

    By Bill the Goat on August 4, 2023

    The Most Important Ways to Prepare for United States Naval Academy Admissions

    The U.S. Naval Academy is famously challenging to get into. Right now, the acceptance rate hovers around 7%, making it one of the most selective schools in the nation. There are many reasons why it generates such great interest. Students are attracted to the excellent quality of education, incredible campus, and most importantly the unparalleled training experience and opportunity to become a future naval leader in the most powerful Navy in the world. 


    Related: The Differences Between a USNA Midshipman and a West Point Cadet.


    How to Increase Your Chances

    If you work hard during your high school career, earn top grades, score well on standardized college board tests, show exemplary leadership and amass a number of skills to prepare you for this challenge, you have a shot at becoming a midshipman. Here, we’ve pulled together what it takes and how you need to prepare to have the best chance at gaining admission.


    The USNA Admissions team has put together some guidance for Naval Academy Admission requirements for all four years of high school in a document titled “General Advice for Grades 9-12.” You can find the information here, and there is also a helpful FAQ page that addresses many of the most popular questions. USNA Admissions is an excellent Naval Academy Admissions resource.Take this time to research USNA (and come visit!) to see if it’s the school for you. Here are the recommended steps:


    9th Grade: Start preparing early to increase your chances for success. According to the “General Advice,” “The key to candidacy at the Academy is simple: achieve good grades in challenging college prep courses, hone your competitive spirit by participating in athletics and practice your leadership skills in clubs and serving your community.” You can also get some real Naval Academy experience at this level and subsequent grades through the USNA Summer STEM camp. Rising 9th, 10th and 11th graders can attend. This experience not only gets you behind the curtains at the Yard, but it also lets you interact with instructors who can get to know you better, beyond the application you’ll be submitting.



    10th Grade: The team recommends continuing to focus on your academics, extracurricular activities and leadership roles, as well as taking the PSAT to prepare for later SAT testing. You can also apply to Summer STEM this year. Here are the recommendations for shaping your curriculum to maximize your chances of being accepted:


    • Mathematics: Four years of mathematics courses, including a strong foundation in geometry, algebra and trigonometry. Courses in precalculus and calculus are also very valuable and are highly encouraged.

    • Science: One year each of chemistry and physics, with a lab if possible.


    • English: Four years of coursework with special attention to the study and practice of effective writing. Surveys of English and American literature are especially helpful as background for the future study of literature.



    To increase your chances of board qualification further, they recommend:


    • Foreign Language: At least two years.


    • History: One full year of U.S. history and, where possible, a full year of European or world history.


    • Introductory Computer and Typing Courses: Recommended because all midshipmen are required to use personal computers in most courses.



    USNA Admissions also recommends taking Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are offered.


    11th Grade: The following is the suggested timeline for this busy year:


    • Starting in December of this year (or sooner): Take the ACT and SAT exams early and often. If you do not score well on one, take the other. The Naval Academy uses the highest math and verbal scores from either test. Results are accepted as late as February of your application year.


    • January - March: Complete a USNA Summer Seminar application, which also serves as the preliminary application so there’s no need to send another one. This is a one-week camp that gives you a taste of what life is like at the Academy.


    • April: Complete a preliminary application (if you didn’t apply to Summer Seminar). If you meet the minimum academic standards, you will be notified that you are an official candidate and you will be given instructions on how to complete the remainder of your online application. 


    • Spring: Start reaching out to the offices of your Representative and both of your US Senators to request a nomination. Often they set an early fall deadline for nomination requests. Their websites will have updated information regarding their specific policies.


    • June of Junior Year - February of Senior Year: Apply! Complete your application, submit your medical examination, and send your Candidate Fitness Assessment.



    12th Grade: At this point, you’ve completed most of the application. If you haven’t sent the preliminary application, make sure to do so as soon as you are able. If you meet the minimum academic standards, you’ll be notified that you are an official candidate; then you’ll receive instructions for how to complete the rest of your online application. Make sure to monitor your application to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines like the congressional nominations. Then start preparing for the rigors of Plebe Summer!



    Come See the Academy!

    We highly recommend coming to visit before you’re accepted to get a feel for what life is like as a member of the Brigade of Midshipmen. We offer an excellent USNA Admissions Briefing & Walking Tour, which is a great place to see the sights and get your questions answered. The Naval Academy Business Services Division supports the Brigade of Midshipmen by donating our profits from our 20 business units that allow our mids to be successful, well-rounded future leaders. We support a variety of extracurricular activities such as cultural arts, theater, music, club sports, and a variety of other club activities. You’re making a difference every time you visit by supporting our midshipmen. Best of luck in the application process and we hope to be able to welcome you aboard the Yard soon. Go Navy!

    Book a Tour

    Bill the Goat
    Written by Bill the Goat | August 4, 2023


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