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Author Topic: Applying for the Naval Academy to become a Nuclear Officer  (Read 6888 times)

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Offline David Carnahan

I'm currently stationed at the Prototype in New York. I'm almost done with my qualifications, which has allowed me to focus on furthering my own career. After much thought and research, I've decided to apply for the Naval Academy to become a nuclear officer, and I've been working on my Personal Statement. I have it posted here, and any ideas on improving it would be greatly appreciated!

Here are the guidelines:

In a well-organized essay of 300 to 500 words, please discuss 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.

And here is my personal statement:

           My life’s goal is to strive for personal excellence. As far back as I can remember, I have always taken pains to achieve that goal, and today, when faced with the decision of receiving immediate self-gratification or sacrificing that time to improve the traits that define who I am, I unfailingly choose the latter. These sacrifices allowed me to conquer my fear of public speaking by auditioning and subsequently winning lead roles in plays, remove my apprehension from “performance under pressure” by sacrificially practicing and ultimately becoming the team captain and star player of my high school golf team, and refine my knowledge by diligently studying for upcoming exams in order to receive exceptional grades.  However, my strong desire for a much greater challenge compelled me to follow in my family’s footsteps and become the fourth generation of a strongly-founded Navy lineage by joining its nuclear program.
            My decision to join the Nuclear Navy is beyond exception the most rewarding decision I have ever made. This program challenges me to utilize my full potential and strong work ethic in order to stand out above others while concurrently training me to adopt key attributes such as discipline, responsibility, and leadership. I am proud to have graduated Nuclear Power School with distinction, and I successfully take class leadership positions while simultaneously staying far ahead academically, despite the increased responsibilities during my training. My ability to lead others allows me to discover how to make correct decisions under large amounts of stress, enables me to focus on the big picture in order to accomplish the task at hand, and permits me to acquire the valuable personal traits, among those is the ability to listen to my superiors’ advice in order to gain from their wisdom. The time I’ve spent so far serving our country as a leader in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program has been both a challenging and recompensing experience, and the opportunities I’m given reinforce the qualities that I am working diligently to improve every day.
           The experience and knowledge I receive from the Navy continue to be exceptional tools that I use to excel when faced with difficult challenges, and I know that becoming a member of the United States Naval Academy will undoubtedly help transform me into the man that I dream of becoming; I will devote all my effort towards improving my leadership skills and encourage others to do the same. My ability to successfully and consistently lead others shows me the true potential that I have in guiding my fellow shipmates, and will allow me to one day make significant decisions that will guide our Navy into a new and uncertain future. I look forward to serving alongside the Navy’s finest and most disciplined officers.

Offline Gamecock

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The time I’ve spent so far.....

1.  (-) Never use contractions in formal writing.
2.  (-) Your life's goal is to strive?  My interpretation of that wishy-washy statement is as follows; "I really am going to try really, really hard to be excellent."  Re-word such that it sends a stronger message to the reader.
3.  (-) I do not like the tone of your message, especially where you brag about your "sacrifices."
4.  (+) It is no worse then many of the other personal statements I've read over the years.  But, its not one I'm going to remember after having read 1,000 other essays. 


“If the thought police come... we will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die... holding a copy of the sacred Scriptures in one hand and the US Constitution in the other."

Offline Rennhack

This Cover leter advice may inspire you:,36722.0.html

Like the "Show don't tell" and "Strong Closing Sentence" parts.

Offline spekkio

Please be aware that whoever reads your essay at USNA will have gone through nuke training if he is a nuke or an aviator who has done a major command tour. You seem to dress up how much leadership influence you exert while at these training commands and devote a good portion of your essay to doing it. Even without going through NNPS, they are still likely to have been around enough to know that you aren't making key decisions about much of anything while in a tracom and the only 'sacrifice' you've had to make as a nuke student is less dicking around in your spare time. Your experience in NNPS/NPTU and the fact that you graduated with distinction is worth possibly 1 line in your essay, provided it's not detailed elsewhere in your application. If you actually hold a leadership position, talk about it specifically (you said in your essay that you have multiple ones without actually telling the reader what they are, which smells like bs). "As section leader, I..." You have about half your essay dedicated to dressing up NPTU, and you're missing the point...

With the second part of the question, they're looking for you to tell a personal experience where you had to make a morally challenging decision. This can be easier to talk about if you held a leadership role in extra-curriculars, but it doesn't have to be something you did as the president of the national honor society or captain of the golf team. It's a character assessment through your life choices, not something you are supposed to try to bs people over. Some things to think about to get you started based on common issues facing high school students:
-Have you ever witnessed a friend drink under-age, do drugs, or otherwise attempt to break the law? What did you do about it?
-Have you witnessed someone getting bullied in school? What did you do about it?
-Have you witnessed someone cheat on an exam or had access to an exam beforehand where you decided to report it to the teacher that the exam was compromised?

Even if you think you made the wrong decision in a certain event, you can write about that and how you do things differently now.

You might have to go back to high school extra curriculars and the like to convey your community service/leadership, as we both know students in nuke school aren't swimming in extra time to do that stuff.
« Last Edit: Nov 15, 2013, 02:27 by spekkio »


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