Visit to US the Naval Academy, May 5, 2015
Located in Annapolis, Maryland, the US Naval Academy educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The entire campus is a National Historic Landmark and home to many historic sites, buildings, and monuments. Approximately 1,300 “plebes” enter the Academy each summer and enroll as midshipmen. A small percent are citizens of other countries, sent to the academy by their home government. The program includes academic work leading to a bachelor of science degree, military leadership training, and mandatory participation in athletics.
Not having been to the Academy before, I was expecting something more “military” in appearance. Wrong! The campus is stunningly beautiful; the buildings are majestic. Most were build about 100 years ago, just before the first world war, we were told.
Our tour guide was neither a midshipman nor an alumnus; he was a retired firechief, but his son and daughter are alumnae, the son currently on active duty on a submarine in the Atlantic. So, he was able to give us lots of stories about the Academy.
The briefing by two admissions officers was open and informative:
- There are 4500 midshipmen, 23% female. Women can do all assignments in the Navy except for Navy Seals. The academy is working to increase the proportion of females.
- The curriculum is heavily weighted towards technical subjects, in all majors. Only 10 to 15 grads go directly to med school each year; so, it’s not particularly suitable for a premed.
- It is possible to walk-on to a varsity team.
- The government pays all costs. And there is a $1017 stipend per month, out of which uniforms and travel expenses must be covered.
- 88 to 92% of those who enroll graduate.
- Midshipmen get 4 weeks vacation in the summer; the rest of the summer they are in training. They do get leave for major holidays.
- There is a minimum 5-year active duty commitment.
- Interested students should start the process early. Juniors can apply in January for the summer seminar, 6 days in June. Rising 9th, 10th, and 11th graders can apply for summer STEM camp. Both opportunities are competitive for admission.
- For students who are strong candidates except for some academic weaknesses, there are two prep schools that students may attend for a year, at government expense; appointments can come a year later in those cases.
- To gain admission, a candidate must be found qualified by the academy and must get a nomination from a congressman, senator, the vice president or the president.
For more facts and figures, see collegeboard.com