The Resume and Essay
In the first two parts of this blog series, we talked about the steps you need to take to help your student maximize their opportunity to get into a service academy. In the third and final part of this blog series, as promised, we are sharing some additional examples of a resume and an essay that helped to successfully secure multiple nominations to multiple academies.
Once in high school, the resume fodder begins. Keep in mind that these schools are looking for the “whole person” approach and the resume will need to show accomplishments in academics, athletics, community involvement and leadership. Here is a sample of a winning resume that garnered one million dollars in college scholarships from USNA ($450,000), USAFA($450,000) and UCLA ROTC ($180,000).
Sample Resume for A 2015 USAFA Graduate:
Presidential Appointment to the United States Air Force Academy
Presidential Appointment to the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of California at Los Angeles
Lancaster City Youth Commission Chairman (this is legitimate, sworn-in commissioners for Lancaster City. It was after and application process, an interview, and a popular vote to get to chairman out of at least 50 top youth in the region)
Assistant Manager and tutor for Math Magicians in Quartz Hill (July 2010-present)
Blockbuster Video (August 2009- August 2010)
Intern at the Honorable Buck McKeon’s office in Palmdale, (Summer of 2009)
Captain for DCHS Varsity Volleyball team for 2 years
Captain for DCHS Varsity Mathletes
Current Class Rank: 2 of 107
Cumulative, Unweighted GPA: 3.97, Weighted: 4.2
Over 1250 hours of volunteering since 9th grade
Summer of 2010
– Attended the United States Air Force Academy Summer Seminar
– Attended the United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar
2009-2010: Junior, Desert Christian High School
– ASB, Activities Representative (Coordinator)
– Vice President of CSF (California Scholarship Federation)(VP of 80+ members)(Is a position for a 12th grader, achieved in 11th grade)
– Member of NHS (National Honor Society)
– Varsity Cross Country (Runner, and Manager)
– Varsity Soccer
– Varsity Volleyball (Team Captain as Junior)
– Varsity Mathletes (Starter)(year round)
– Worship Team, Leader (In charge of 13 musicians), at Desert Christian High School, at The Highlands Christian Fellowship, and at Central Christian Church (playing Guitar, and Bass Guitar)
– Approved Tutor: Chemistry, Biology, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Physical Science, Math A, English 9, English 10, English 11, Spanish I, Spanish II, Spanish III
– Attended RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards)(Recommendation from School Administration, then accepted through application process)
Awards for Junior Year:
– United States Achievement Academy: National History and Government Award in AP United States History
– United States Achievement Academy: National Leadership Merit Award in Leadership
– United States Achievement Academy: National Leadership and Service Award for being an All American Scholar
– ACSI Distinguished High School Student for outstanding Achievement in both Academics and for Leadership
(Note: All of these awards are based of raw data [grades, service hours, activities, demonstrated leadership] as well as multiple teacher recommendations. During this awards night, I was one of 3 people, of 400, to receive the last two awards)
2008-2009:, Sophomore, Desert Christian High School
– Varsity Volleyball
– Junior Varsity Mathletes, (Team Captain)
– Worship Team
– Honors English 10, Algebra II, Chemistry (All advanced courses, the only ones offered)
– World History, Spanish II
– California Scholarship Federation, Cabinet, Sophomore Class Representative (3.5 GPA and above)
– National Honor Society (3.2 GPA and above)
– National Honor Roll Award
– Chemistry, Biology, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Physical Science, Math A, English 9, English 10, English 11, Spanish I, Spanish II
2007-2008:, Freshman, Desert Christian High School
– JV Volleyball
– JV Mathletes
– National Honor Roll Award: Academics, Honor Roll
– Honors English 9, Geometry, Biology, Advanced String Ensemble-Cello (All advanced courses, the only ones offered)
– Spanish I, Freshman Studies (Speech and Health)
– California Scholarship Federation
– Worship Team Member
– Graduate, Desert Christian Middle School, 4.0 GPA (All A’s, no weighted classes offered)
-Student, Desert Christian High School. Expected graduation: June 2011
– National Honor Roll Award: Academics, Honor Roll
– International Foreign Language Award: Spanish
– Presidential Award for Academic Excellence
– Mathletes, Team Captain, 2007-2008, 2008-2009
– Student of the Month: Leadership (Freshman and Sophomore Year)
– Student of the Month: Genuineness (Junior Year)
– Desert Christian High School Letters:
-Varsity Cross Country, Soccer, Volleyball (2 years)
-Fine Arts (Advanced Strings Ensemble)
-Academics (3.5 or higher) (6 of 6 possible Semesters)
-Principle’s List: Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior years
It’s never too early to begin to think about what you would like to write in your admissions application essay. These are very important and should bewell thought out before submitting. Be sure to have you liaison officer review it before you submit it or ask an academy graduate to help. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a faculty member from your school review it as well. More eyes on the project can mean a broader perspective, but it still needs to be your own voice, so you will have the final word on the essay.
The following is an essay that garnered our son, Philip, nominations to both USNA ($450,000) and USMA ($450,000) .
The Essay – Following in a Father’s Footsteps
In the military lifestyle, heroes beget heroes. There are so many families that have a history of military service, and oftentimes, military “brats” will grow into adults who have the desire to serve, as well. Here’s is Philip’s essay:
Growing up in a military home, I saw very little of my father at times. As an officer, he was often gone taking care of his troops, performing his duties, and faithfully serving his country. I never truly understood why he did what he did until his dream became mine. When I walked on the campus of the Naval Academy this past summer during the Summer Leadership Seminar, I saw greatness. I saw an institution that taught men and women to be leaders, thinkers, and people of character. But most important, I saw my cadet commanders as men of high leadership with a servant’s heart. They put our comfort ahead of their own, as my father did with his men.
All my life I have dreamed of one day leading hundreds or possibly thousands of men and women. I have sacrificed much in the process of becoming a competitive candidate for the academy. It was not Summer Leadership School that made me want to be in the military, it was my father’s integrity and service. However, it was the midshipmen that I met that made me determined to attend Annapolis. It was my goal to become an officer; now it is my goal to become a warrior and a gentleman, in the finest sense of the word. To learn “Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.” I desire to carry on the legacy of the service academies and to achieve a sense of accomplishment that no other college or career can offer.
Many nights I would stay up late, wondering if my father would come home or be deployed. I wondered if he was okay, or if it was his life that had been taken in one of the plane accidents that occurred in his various Air Force squadrons. However, these experiences did not make me turn against the military—it was quite the opposite. I began to see my father as someone very different from my friends’ fathers. I saw him as a warrior and a true hero. So many times I read about or see the actions of evil men. These are men who would not hesitate to strike down those whom I have come to love and cherish. I knew there was only one thing standing between me and those men—it was my dad. It was men like my father and those with whom he served that rose to stand up to people who seek to destroy everything we hold dear. I knew that I was called to be one of those men who took a stand, and I know it is the service academies that will teach me to stand, and to stand strong and proud.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”—Martin Luther King Jr.
Hi! I am applying for the Naval Academy and I would appreciate someone helping me with my personal statement.
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.
The United States Naval Academy is where I want to be. The academy will give me unparalleled, wide-ranging skills and allow me to serve my country to the best of my abilities. I have never been 100 percent sure about anything except this; the Naval Academy is the right place for me. It will open doors to my future and allow me to do things that never thought I would be able to do. It is the place where I am supposed to be, where I will become the best I can be, and where I want to be.
The route to this revelation was pretty round about. Honestly, the Coast Guard Academy piqued my interest in service academies. The volleyball coach was recruiting me, and as I looked into it more I began to realize how great service academies are. My dad was in the Navy and when I shared my interest in service academies he suggested looking into the Naval Academy. I watched videos, read stories, and learned a lot about the academy. I read about the extraordinary places and amazing experiences had by shipmen. I learned about the great academics, healthy competition, emphasis on moral development, and physical requirements. It was these aspects that made the academy seem like a good match for me. Then I was given the opportunity to attend Summer Seminar and it was there that my desire to attend the Naval Academy was solidified.
The ambience of the Naval Academy is remarkable. The unanimous dedication to the United States and amongst peers is so motivational and inspiring. An education at the Naval Academy forges such an intense bond between classmates that could not be experienced at any civilian college. The sense of unity is one of the reasons that I want to attend the academy, but the biggest reason that I want to attend the academy is because I want to be a part of something that is bigger than myself. I want to have something to work for other than myself and do something that will have an impact on the community.
Character development is an integral part of the Naval Academy. I experienced a taste of the growth that happens during the mock sea trials at Summer Seminar. When my squad and our partner squad ran the obstacle course there was a boy who was having a really tough time physically and mentally. The course was timed and he was adding considerable time. We were all really competitive people and we could have just left him behind and let him quit, but we did not do that. The course tested him physically, and the rest of us were tested morally. We all worked together and helped him get through it. We stood by him every step of the way and were rewarded by friendship and camaraderie. It was a great experience and I look forward to the development that an education at the Naval Academy would provide.