School Profile: What it Takes to Attend the United States Naval Academy

The United States Naval Academy is ranked #24 on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. Located in beautiful Annapolis, Maryland, this is an extraordinarily structured college that expects excellence from all their students, who are referred to as midshipmen. The United States Naval Academy offers full scholarships to all their midshipmen including room and board and all other necessities. After attending this world renowned academy each midshipman will serve five years either as an Ensign in the Navy or Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. To be a part of this elite college you need to possess strength both in mind and body, dedication, and the desire to represent yourself and your country at the highest level.

The campus at the Naval Academy is referred to as “The Yard,” where the majestic Severn River flows into Chesapeake Bay. Annapolis is a historical city where the early twentieth century structures intermingle with modern buildings. Combining tradition with advanced technology gives the academy all the tools needed for the success of its midshipmen. The Academy takes pride in the student body – past, present, and future. This is made clear by a stroll down walkways that pass buildings named after the outstanding midshipmen that used to attend this Academy. Head over to any of the three monuments devoted to the brave men and women whose heroism is part of the Academy’s extensive heritage.

There are three basic elements to the academic structure at the United States Naval Academy:

  • A core requirement in humanities, engineering, social sciences, or natural sciences to develop critical thinking
  • Core academic courses to teach leadership and professionalism for officer training
  • The student’s academic major

On top of this three part structure there are many other resources and programs that advance midshipmen to the next level in academics. The core focus of the academic program is STEM, keeping the future of the Navy as technologically advanced as possible. While every other college in America allows the student to choose their respective field, at the Academy the needs of naval service come first, therefore a student may not get to choose his or her major. At graduation all midshipmen by law are given a Bachelor of Science degree due to the amount of technical content learned through the core curriculum.

Student life at the Naval Academy is wildly different than that of other traditional colleges. The curriculum, daily life expectations, and philosophy are far more intense than most. The rigor starts the summer before freshman year where students spend eight weeks in training for the intensity of the program and what the next four years will look like. This is more than a college; this is a complete lifestyle change from civilian to midshipmen. Students will have a regimented schedule that will test them physically, mentally, and emotionally; they will be pushed to their limits and beyond. This Academy is not for the faint of heart, students will have a tight structure that promises to constantly challenge them. All midshipmen are required to participate in extracurricular activities as well as athletics on some level, ensuring all midshipmen are well-rounded.

As with everything in the Academy, the athletics are demanding, and those who play one of the 33 varsity sports are pushed to the limits. Excellence is an expectation; more than thirty percent of midshipmen play on Division I varsity teams and sacrifice what little free time is allotted to participate in their respective sports. At the Academy there is not an off season; student-athletes train year round to garner optimum skill and excellence in their sports. The Naval Academy competes in over ten league affiliations and conferences; student-athletes are known to graduate at a higher level than those who do not play sports. There are club leagues and intramural sports for all other brigade members to participate in, and every midshipmen has access to the over fifteen state-of-the-art athletic facilities.

The United States Naval Academy has many deep and meaningful traditions as well as a few fun ones to boost morale and show pride in the Academy. A main tradition is the singing of “Blue and Gold” after every alumni gathering, sports event, and pep rally. This tradition is one of the many showcasing the pride and respect of the Academy. “Beat Army” which started as a chant said after the “Blue and Gold” song manifested into “plebes” showing off, trying to impress their upper-classmen. They drink a concoction of food and condiments and upon completion yell “Beat Army,” followed by the cheers of their fellow classmates. If you hear someone brag about having a “Beat Army,” you’ll know why, so show them some respect and give them a pat on the back.

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By Colleen Hill