Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Two-Track Admissions System at Annapolis

There is an interesting piece in the local Annapolis The Capital online edition by an English Professor at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Bruce Fleming: The cost of a diverse Naval Academy. He says the incoming class at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis will be 35% minorities this year and explains how the figure was achieved.
Midshipmen are admitted by two tracks. White applicants out of high school who are not also athletic recruits typically need grades of A and B and minimum SAT scores of 600 on each part for the Board to vote them "qualified." Athletics and leadership also count.

A vote of "qualified" for a white applicant doesn't mean s/he's coming, only that he or she can compete to win the "slate" of up to 10 nominations that (most typically) a Congress(wo)man draws up. That means that nine "qualified" white applicants are rejected. SAT scores below 600 or C grades almost always produce a vote of "not qualified" for white applicants.

Not so for an applicant who self-identifies as one of the minorities who are our "number one priority." For them, another set of rules apply. Their cases are briefed separately to the board, and SAT scores to the mid-500s with quite a few Cs in classes (and no visible athletics or leadership) typically produce a vote of "qualified" for them, with direct admission to Annapolis. They're in, and are given a pro forma nomination to make it legit.

Minority applicants with scores and grades down to the 300s with Cs and Ds (and no particular leadership or athletics) also come, though after a remedial year at our taxpayer-supported remedial school, the Naval Academy Preparatory School.

By using NAPS as a feeder, we've virtually eliminated all competition for "diverse" candidates: in theory they have to get a C average at NAPS to come to USNA, but this is regularly re-negotiated.

Hat Tip The Two Malcontents


The Underground Pewster said...


It is hard for me to predict what kind of military commanders will come from such a system because it is so hard to tell what you've got until you are under the gun. Hopefully, the military advancement structure for the graduating ensigns will give us the most capable leaders, but history tells us that in times of peace, good combat leaders may get passed over for promotion.

Andy said...

This is unsettling for a number of reasons, most of all being the fact that combat and carnage are equal opportunity entities that don't recognize disadvantaged, real or otherwise.
The USNA exists for the purpose of training naval warriors of the highest caliber. It's not a liberal arts school on the Severn River. Its efforts have contributed to our nation's global naval superiority. It's graduates find themselves in zero-sum situations where failure may mean the death of all hands and the loss of the vessel.
Just as all are not suited to be violinists or steeplejacks, Certainly not all are suited to the rigors and demands of the naval warrior. To say this is a violation of one's person is pure foolishness.

God's Peace

USAF 1980-2000