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General Advice for Grades 9-12


Although it is too early for you to apply, it is not too early to prepare. By starting now, you will get a head start on making yourself a competitive candidate. The key to candidacy at the Academy is simple: achieve good grades in challenging college prep courses, hone your competitive spirit by participating in athletics, and practice your leadership skills in clubs and serving your community. For now, please have a look at our STEM Website, which provides information regarding the Naval Academy Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math camp. You may apply for STEM as a rising 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th graders. We recommend that you apply for this wonderful opportunity to see the Naval Academy and explore the world of STEM!


If you are in 10th grade, you should continue focusing on your academics, extracurricular activities, leadership roles and taking the PSAT. 10th grades also have the ability to apply for Summer STEM. When planning your high school curriculum, you should keep the following suggestions in mind:

To improve your chances of board qualification, your high school preparation should include the following:

  • Mathematics - four years of mathematics courses, including a strong foundation in geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. Courses in pre-calculus and calculus are also very valuable and are highly encouraged.
  • Science - one year each of chemistry and physics, with lab if possible.
  • English - four years of coursework with special attention to the study and practice of effective writing. Surveys of English and American literature are especially helpful as background for the future study of literature.

To further enhance your competitiveness for admission, the following courses are also recommended:

  • Foreign language - at least two years.
  • History - one full year of U.S. history and, where possible, a full year of European or world history.
  • Introductory computer and typing courses are recommended because all midshipmen are required to use personal computers in most courses.

We recommend Honors, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate courses if offered.


Please keep the following timeline in mind if you are currently in 11th grade:

  • Starting in December of your junior year (if not sooner): Take the ACT and SAT exams early and often. If you do not score well on one, take the other. The Naval Academy combines the highest math and verbal scores from either test to evaluate your competitiveness. Results are accepted as late as February of your application year.
  • January-March of your junior year: Complete a USNA Summer Seminar application. This application also serves as the preliminary application so there is no need to submit another one.
  • April of your junior year: Complete a preliminary application (if you did not apply to Summer Seminar). If you meet the minimum academic standards, you will be notified that you are an official candidate and you will be given instructions on how to complete the remainder of your online application.
  • Spring of your junior year: Begin contacting the offices of your Representative and both of your US Senators to request a nomination. Many Congressional members set an early fall deadline for nomination requests. Check their websites to determine their procedures.
  • June of your junior year to February of your senior year: Complete your online application, medical examination, and Candidate Fitness Assessment.


If you have already entered 12th grade, please complete a preliminary application as soon as possible. If you meet the minimum academic standards, you will be notified that you are an official candidate and you will be given instructions on how to complete the remainder of your online application. You should be sure to manage your application carefully, paying special attention to deadlines for your individual congressional nominations. We also suggest that you read our FAQs page and try to learn more about life at USNA to make the most informed college decision possible. If you believe USNA is for you, begin preparing yourself physically for the challenges of Plebe Summer and apply now!