A Successful Naval Academy Essay Example

The following is an essay from a midshipman who won an appointment to Annapolis in the past few years. Want to know what makes an effective essay? We break down this successful essay and give you specific commentary as to why the response is effective. For information on all the Naval Academy application requirements, read our Ultimate Guide to getting into the Naval Academy.

The Prompt:

In a well-organized essay of a total of 300 to 500 words, please discuss both of the following:

(1) Describe what led to your initial interest in the naval service and how the Naval Academy will help you achieve your long-range goals, and

(2) Describe a personal experience you have had which you feel has contributed to your own character development and integrity.

The Answer:

My desire to serve my country is one that has developed over time through my experiences at home and in the community. Becoming an officer in the Navy would be both great honor and responsibility and one that I am prepared to undertake.
In order to make that statement, I first needed to better understand what life would be like as a Naval Academy midshipman and future Navy ensign.   I had an action plan to find out more.   First, I visited the University of Tampa Naval ROTC program and talked to midshipmen and the officer staff about what life would be like as a midshipman.   I also attended the USNA Summer Session last summer to learn more about officer candidate training and future naval officership.   I have spoken to several naval officers about my chosen career as a nuclear submarine officer and learned much about the responsibility and standards that will be demanded of me leading crew members driving, powering, and arming these advanced vessels.  It is an awesome responsibility that I want to start with my enrollment at USNA. I have tried to fashion my life to work on increasing my responsibility and modeling selfless service to others that is the hallmark of a Navy officer.  I am a caregiver for my brother Peter, who has a significant intellectual disability and autism. My parents both have jobs that require early starts and frequent travel, so I take care of Peter before and after school each day, and also help with his care on weekends and holidays. My care includes getting Peter to and from school, helping him get dressed, meal preparation, medications, and overall supervision for safety. There are aspects of this that are tough. It has meant that I can’t join clubs or sports that meet before or after school, that I have to stay patient and calm even when Peter is having a really difficult day, and that I always need to put his safety and well-being ahead of all else. The experience has taught me the importance of selfless service and leadership at home, and I have learned that service to others isn’t always easy or fun, but that it always the right thing to do.

I have also embraced increasing responsibility through scouting by obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout.  It was in the Scouts, through service projects that benefited the community, face to face mentoring of younger scouts, and building a cohesive and self-sustaining unit, that I learned that leadership was the way to serve others and to put their good before my own.

Becoming an officer and submariner in the Navy would be an honor and privilege. The years I have spent growing as a leader at home and in scouts has shown me the importance of service and I look forward to pursuing future service to my country starting as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy.

Commentary:

Notice that this essay is not a laundry list of what the candidate did in high school but rather what the candidate did to find out more about what life would be like as a midshipman and an officer in the Navy. The candidate visited the closest Navy ROTC program to talk with officers and officer candidates. Even better (or as an additional step) would have been for the candidate to visit a Naval Reserve unit. You can find a list of units here (they are nationwide)

The candidate also talked about other experiences such as the USNA Summer Seminar and other tangible things he did to find out more about life at USNA and as an officer in the Navy. The second paragraph then gets at the second question. Make sure you tell a story and make it inspiring. Emphasize selfless service and putting others ahead of oneself. Officers in the Navy lead by example and care for their sailors. Mission first—People always. End the essay with perhaps a brief summary of your leadership and other things you have done but conclude forcefully with your excitement and desire to serve others as an officer in the Navy.

Final Thoughts on Writing Your Naval Academy Application Essays:

The key to this essay is to do tangible things to learn more about being a Naval officer. The best way to do this is to ask serving or retired Naval officers how they would answer this question. By visiting Navy ROTC programs, Navy Reserve units, and talking with officers, you show that you went the extra mile to learn more about the Navy and officership. In the second part of the essay, be memorable. Emphasize selfless service and putting others before yourself. Conclude the essay telling the committee you are excited about serving as an officer in the Navy. You can also read our tips on congressional nomination essays here.

If you do the above things, you are that much closer to a Naval Academy appointment!