The United States Naval Academy is the second-oldest service academy behind the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The Naval Academy was founded in 1845 in Annapolis, Maryland. Students at the Naval Academy, referred to as midshipmen, train to serve as commissioned officers in the United States Navy or the United States Marine Corps upon graduation. They attend for 4 years and graduate with a bachelor of science degree.
Not Your Average College
The U.S. Naval Academy is more than a typical university. It’s one of the nation’s leading universities and it offers state-of-the-art academic and professional training. As one of the most prestigious schools in the country it is the number 1 ranked public school in the nation, is the 5th ranked STEM college, and has the 4th best undergraduate engineering program.
With all that the U.S. Naval Academy has to offer, it’s not hard to see why it’s a competitive program to get into. In 2018, the Naval Academy’s acceptance rate was 9%. That’s the lowest of all of the 5 service academies – with the U.S. Military Academy coming in with an acceptance rate of 10%, the U.S. Air Force Academy with a rate of 11%, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at 15%, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with the highest acceptance rate of 18%.
The application process for getting into the Naval Academy is a long one. The process is lengthy, requires a lot of advanced planning, and is generally more involved and selective than a regular college or university. The academy has stringent admission requirements and before you can even submit an application, you have to meet a whole bunch of qualifications. Basic eligibility requirements include:
- U.S. citizenship
- Between the ages of 17-23 on July 1 of the year of entry
- Not pregnant and no dependents
- Have a valid social security number
In addition to the normal college admission procedures, the Naval Academy also requires applicants to get a nomination, pass a medical exam, take a fitness test, and participate in an interview.
Applicants must start the application process to be considered for the Naval Academy earlier than they would for a regular university. The application process typically begins during the second semester of the applicant’s junior year of high school.
One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for the best chance to attend the Naval Academy is to start the admission process early. One of the requirements that can take up a lot of your time is a nomination. Most nominations are from members of Congress and reaching out and receiving replies from their offices can take time. You’ll also need to plan to take the SAT or ACT early enough to receive and include your scores in your application.
Familiarize yourself with all of the requirements and give yourself plenty of time to get everything scheduled and taken care of. Your ability to complete this task is the academy’s first test of your time management skills.
The United States Naval Academy is an extremely competitive program. At a 9% acceptance rate, it’s right up there with Duke University and Dartmouth College which both also have a 9% acceptance rates. It’s easier to get into Cornell or Vanderbilt than it is to get into the Naval Academy. That means you’ve got to do everything you can to give yourself a competitive advantage.
The curriculum at the Naval Academy is heavy on math, engineering, and science courses. Consider taking courses such as Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics in high school to demonstrate your ability to handle the academy’s course load as a midshipman.
More Than Academics
While good SAT and ACT scores and a high GPA are absolutely necessary, they aren’t all the Naval Academy looks for when considering applicants. The Navy is seeking out its future leaders—people of high moral character, who are motivated and well rounded. Participating in extracurricular activities such as sports, or clubs like National Honor Society, Drama, Public Speaking, or being a student body leader can give your application an edge.
Another way you can set yourself apart from your peers and increase your competitive advantage is to participate in campus visits or summer programs during high school. Attending these courses shows initiative, interest, and will cultivate valuable leadership skills and experiences that will stand out on your application and in the interview portion of the application. The Naval Academy offers a wide range of immersion programs for interested applicants including:
- Campus Visit and Tour– the Naval Academy offers campus tours to the public to see the campus, see a sample dorm room, and learn about Navy traditions.
- Candidate Visit Weekend– students seriously interested in attending can visit for a full weekend. You’ll get the opportunity to spend time with your midshipman host, attend classes, share meals, and participate in sports to get a feel for student life at the academy.
- Summer Seminar– high school students going into their senior year can live as a midshipman for a week in this fully immersive summer program. From fitness to academics, it’s the full experience.
- Summer STEM Program– a program for high school students to use the Naval Academy’s state-of-the-art STEM facilities and interact with faculty while completing hands-on research in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
If you develop a plan for how to make yourself competitive and start early, you should have a good chance at getting into the U.S. Naval Academy. Good luck!