Thursday, December 15, 2011

So that is where our FITREP concept comes from ...

I had to read this article by Sam Fellman at NavyTimes twice. Surely this is a mistake.
The Naval Academy is artificially inflating its number of applicants to boost its status among other colleges, according to an academy professor who based his accusations on the school’s own documents.

Specifically, the academy counts as “applicants” people who have not completed an application but have shown an interest through other means, such as applying to the school’s weeklong Summer Seminar or beginning an online application, the documents show.
Come on - surely we have at least the same standards for proper accounting of what is and is not complete for USNA as we do for Seaman Timmy's PQS.
An academy admissions official Dec. 5 used this standard to boast that the school had 18,651 applicants so far this year, saying it put the school on track for a record year for the Class of 2016.

The academy’s number of completed applications is much lower. For example, the Class of 2015, which began training during the summer, had 5,720 completed applications; the academy cited its applicant number as 19,145 — more than three times the number of completed applications.
YMBFKM. Can't you go to mast for sea lawyering/gundecking PQS?

Does US News have UCMJ procedures ... they should as it reads like someone needs to press their dress whites.
An official with U.S. News & World Report, which ranks colleges annually, said it’s “very atypical” for schools to use such a benchmark.
Here is what burns me a bit; shouldn't the press have broken this story? They don't expect mild mannered English professors to do this kind of inquirey ... or do the?
Bruce Fleming, an academy English professor and frequent critic of the school’s admissions process, filed a Freedom of Information Act request on how the academy counts applicants and provided the results to Navy Times.
Yep, our friend Professor Bruce - doing the job the press won't; wait, that isn't fair - he did the prep work and Sam did the rest.

This is nothing new.
The documents Fleming received from the academy show that the school’s total number of applicants includes every high schooler who applied to participate in Summer Seminar, regardless of whether the prospective student later completed an official academy application. It also includes high school juniors and seniors who initiated an application online, according to the documents.

An academy official said the practice of counting applicants this way has been in effect for at least 20 years.
Whoa. If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying - I guess.
The documents Fleming received from the academy show that the school’s total number of applicants includes every high schooler who applied to participate in Summer Seminar, regardless of whether the prospective student later completed an official academy application. It also includes high school juniors and seniors who initiated an application online, according to the documents.

An academy official said the practice of counting applicants this way has been in effect for at least 20 years.
You need to read it all - as it gets very complicated from there.

Not everyone is doing the same thing.
Similar to Annapolis, both the Air Force Academy and the U.S. Military Academy report the total number of applicants as anyone who has started an application. However, both of these academies also provide the total “qualified” applicants — a figure that Annapolis doesn’t provide. The Coast Guard Academy bases its acceptance rate on the number of qualified applicants.
This is important as it is a matter of integrity and transparency - critical for a military institution in a Representive Republic. We shouldn't be playing games like this. When we do, we don't just hurt our institutional reputation, but that of our MIDN - who as anyone can tell you - represent the best our nation has to offer - but this just puts a cloud over them. Uncalled for.

We should be able to hold our own - and if we don't we should take defendable steps to raise our game. Really.
In the 2011 U.S. News rankings, Annapolis and West Point were in a three-way tie for 14th among liberal arts colleges nationally alongside Vassar College, a private college in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Yet Vassar counts only completed applications when reporting admissions statistics.

“The only applicants we count are the ones who we get a completed application from, certainly not anyone who begins an application,” said Vassar spokesman Jeffrey Kosmacher. “Basically, you won’t even be considered for admission if your application were incomplete.”

Still, Kosmacher stopped short of blaming the academy for misreporting its statistics.

“I think the onus is on U.S. News to be sure that if they’re measuring the Naval Academy against any other undergraduate institution, that the way that data like this is being gathered is consistent,” Kosmacher said. “Otherwise, there’s no validity to comparing one school to the other.”
Vassar has more integrity than the Navy? Vassar? Please tell me this is just all a misunderstanding.

How about this. Assuming there isn't a double-secret protocol that no one knows about and USNA didn't throw out with a dismissive, "Take that Fleming!" that makes all the above a sad misunderstanding; in the future let's hold ourselves to the same level of integrity we demand of our junior enlisted's PQS books ... or at least meet the same standard as the bloody Coast Guard.

We're better than that; and I know our MIDN are.

89 comments:

Adversus Omnes Dissident said...

Sal, if you get caught cheating, you ain't trying hard enough."

11B40 said...

Greetings:

There you go again, holding up a capitalist seed-bed like Vasser against a socialist paradise like the Naval Academy. Don't you get it ???  To Vasser, you're not an applicant until your stinking bourgeois check clears. To the protectors of the proletariat, a check, we don't need no stinking check, our funds are appropriately extracted from our fellow comrades, I mean, citizens. 

byron's internet daddy said...

i can see the flying monkeys of the hudson inflating their admissions with a 10 year ground war, but navy?  in a recession?  

for shame.  i miss the good old days of car theft and ecstacy rings.     

cdrsalamander said...

B.I.D.,
I am serious.  Change your name or I will ban you.

Strike 2.

Boat School Grad said...

<span>I am a Blue and Gold Officer and have been for many years.  This admissions cycle (USNA Class of 2016) the USNA Admissions Powers-That-Be decided to "cross pollinate" all NROTC and USNA application requests.  Every NROTC applicant was automatically dual coded also as a USNA applicant, even if they had not interest in USNA, and all USNA applicants were dual coded as NROTC applicants even if they had no interest in the NROTC program.  That raised my slate of USNA candidates from my little part of the world by 30%.  I thought the policy was odd.  I had to call all the NROTC candidates and ask if they were truly interested in applying to USNA.  Most were not.  I just thought it was a waste of time.  Never really considered the USNA application inflation angle.</span>
<span></span>
<span>Nothing surprises me anymore.  Everyone inflates their data in a desperate attempt to maintain their piece of the budget pie in a rapidly deleveraging financial world.  Jeez, and we got in trouble for raunchy 8th wing player skits??? </span>

Steel City said...

What is even sadder is the total lack of surprise, given the source.  Too many recent ethics, moral failings coming from Annapolis to list here.  Just one more stain on the reputation of the United States Navy.

Boat School Grad said...

<span>BTW, if USNA measured their acceptance rate as the number Appointed over the number Triple Q'd with a Nom then the acceptance rate would be around 55%.  Not the perception of exclusivity USNA wants.  But that's as equally an unfair measurement as what they are using now.  To get to the Triple Q with a Nom point aint easy.</span>
<span>I think a reasonable measure would be number appointed over number of apps completed.  Many incoming HS seniors like to brag that they just applied to USNA, but only 25% of my BGO slate of candidates typically complete their application and between 10% and 15% of my slate are Triple Q'd with a Nom.</span>

Boat School Grad said...

Not sure what the issue is between you'se guys, and it's def your blog Sal, but when I see "Change your name or I will ban you" it just sort of goes against all that I feel the Blogosphere stands for.  Freedom of expression.

Banning ought to be for truly banable offenses.

JimRockford said...

The Naval Academy's honor concept --  a Midshipman shall not lie, cheat or steal -- only applies to the Midshipmen.  Everyone knows this. 

Boat School Grad said...

Who Watches the Watchers at USNA?  Who Fries the Friers?

cdrsalamander said...

BSG,
I asked BID nice once.  It is a direct poke, and a rude one, to one of the first guests here back in '04.  I also consider Byron a friend.  I call this a front porch for a reason - I run it the same way I do my front porch.  Everyone is welcome, I just ask that people have a thick skin, a sense of humor, and try to play nice even when they are throwing an elbow.  Heck, I throw elbows all the time.  Where I draw the line is when things get too personal, psycho-sexual, or excessively insulting to my guests.  Byron is my guest, and a guest who is my friend.  BID is a guest too, but a new one.  He is very welcome here - but he needs to act like he wants to be a guest.  If he gets his jollies from walking on to my front porch and without even knowing anyone goes around being rude - even after the host asked him nice not to be - to my guests .... well ... that is outside the lines.  Maybe it is a Southern thing.  Anyway - BID is more than welcome here - I just want him to comment under a name that isn't insulting to one of my guests of long standing. My request has nothing to do with his freedom of expression. I don't think that is asking too much.

Heather said...

So, not only are they no longer selective in their admissions -- admitting 25% of completed applications (or 55% of Triple Q with Nom) -- but they actively discriminate along racial lines of those applications that are completed (91 percent of qualified African Americans and 82 percent of qualified Hispanics were offered seats in the Classes of 2012-2014 according to this.) 


I love the Academy in my bones. I want it to suceed. I want it to produce career naval officers with integrity, wisdom, and knowledge.

It depresses me that  D-1 football and social engineering have caused it to be a place where remedial subjects are routinely offered. It used to be hard, really hard to pass the test for admissions.  Now? Not so much. 

I'm thinking that China doesn't have these moral dilemmas with their naval service.

Boat School Grad said...

Roger.  Good enuf for me.

aflapr said...

To be fair - the Coast Guard Academy used to game the system as well. CGA used to have a two part application process. If you submitted part 1 (which was a one page "scantron" deal), you received part 2 and were considered an applicant. Tons of folks submitted part 1, but never a part 2 so this drove the acceptance rate way down. CGA harked on this and used it to tout itself as the most selective college in the country.

http://www.chron.com/life/article/The-old-college-try-1993851.php

However, about 5 years ago the Admissions Dept finally decided that this wasn't on the up and up - so they changed the reporting. As the more recent story says here, it's now only based on qualified applicants.

Boat School Grad said...

<span>A few years ago I literally bumped into one of my USNA profs here in my little berg. (I reflexively started sketching free body diagrams)  He had retired.  He was an engineering prof.  MIT PhD.  His Midshipman given call sign was "Killer".</span>
<span> </span>
<span>I thought for sure he would die in Rickover Hall rather than retire.  When I asked why he had retired he commented that at the time I was an upper level engineering student and he was a mid-career prof he thought we were massively unprepared for the rigors of USNA engineering compared to the students he had had 15 years earlier.  But 15 years after I had graduated he felt the then USNA engineering students were massively unprepared compared to the slackers he perceived my class to be.  So he gave up and retired.</span>

Old Farter said...

Well, the goal was to run the Navy like a business. Looks like we are achieving it, many times over.

Anonymous said...

Triple Q with Nom???

Can you briefly explain the reference?

Thanks,

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Well, no.  If the Navy was a business, and decides to sell off as junk its most expensive capital investments, at half or less of their designed service lives, they would be out of business or find themselves without jobs courtesy of the investors.

Businesses that drink up this institutional racism at the cost of competence either go out of business or rely on the government for their existence.

Old Grunt said...

I'm glad to see Dr Fleming actively holding the Naval Academy accountable for what it does (i.e. wasting taxpayers dollars).  I was a bit worried he might have fallen off the map since he has published nothing on his website (you have the link) since his settlement with the academy concerning a withheld bonus, punishment for questioning the academies approach to "diversity."

He has hit another raw nerve with this one.  All you have to do is go to the link and read the origonal article and then scroll down and read the vicious personal attacks. There is an old saying for attornies; "when weak on the law, argue facts; when weak on the facts, argue the law; when weak on both, conduct personal attacks. Dr Fleming states facts and he quotes standards (the law). Rather than argue on these points, people resort to name calling.  I am assuming many of these name callers have attachment to the Naval Academy. Is this the quality of the person the academy employs or graduates? Then shame on the academy.

Finally, if I were part of the academies leadership, I would be ashamed to be listed in any category as a "liberal arts" college. Silly me, I always took the academy for a science and engineering school first.  Has academics sunk THAT low for the academy now be simply another diploma mill? $500,000 (counting NAPS?) is a high price for an engineering or science degree but a ridiculous and criminal amount for a liberal arts degree. Tellmeagain why we have the Naval Academy when we can produce real engineers and scientists via ROTC for 1/3 the cost or less?

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Make that "we should be better than that". If you pull a stunt like that over 20 years, you are that.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree URR.  By the way, outstanding article on 'Workplace Violence' the other day over on the USNI blog. 

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Grazie, signor!

formermid said...

Guest,
To get accepted to USNA, you have to pass the minimums on the physical test (ie pushups/run/etc), be medically qualified, and be all-around good enough (test scores/grades/sports/other ECAs) for them to want you and thus offer you admission. In addition to those three things, you also have to receive a nomination from your U.S. Congressman or one of your Senators (there are also a few other sources, but these are the most common). Obviously, this is very different from the application/acceptance process for most other schools, and this is where the debate comes in about how they should count their application numbers/acceptance rate. Personally, I think they're severely stretching the truth about how many people "apply" and how low the acceptance rate is, but given everything else I saw while I was there, it doesn't surprise me.

USNA grad said...

<span>On one hand many folks are bent out of shape that USNA, and possibly other service academies, count applications differently than civilian colleges.  And then in the same breath many proclaim that service academies should be different (more “demanding”) in their admissions process and their final product (a junior officer ready to hit the Fleet and perform). <span>  </span>Is it really relevant how USNA compares to other colleges and universities in an otherwise irrelevant statistic?</span>
<span> </span>
<span>At the end of the day, I think there’s only a foul on USNA’s part if it knew that U.S. News & World Report wanted application data defined and reported one way, but USNA decided to define it contrary to the magazine’s criteria.<span>  </span>Absent ascertaining USNA's motive (stated by senior USNA leadership, not presumed or editorialized by Professor Fleming or Navy Times), I am holding judgment.</span>
<span> </span>
<span>While he’s at it, Professor Fleming should check his facts in his Dec. 11 guest column in the Annapolis Capital where he claims USNA spends $500k to educate a USNA grad.<span>  </span>Based on the most recent standardized Department of Defense accounting criteria, Navy spends about $380k to produce a grad.<span>  </span>Not cheap for sure, but the good professor might want to get his facts correct before using them in public or he risks losing some of his credibility as a self-proclaimed advocate for our taxpayer dollars. </span>

BUTCH said...

Color my not surprised that the admin at Annapolis gundecked their stats.

Old Grunt said...

USNA Grad, could you identify your reference as to where you came up with the current cost of $380,000/USNA graduate? Does this include NAPS? I ask because I came up with one 2004 study comparing the cost of an Academy graduate with an ROTC graduate. The numbers that report used were $340,000 for the naval Academy versus $86,000 for an NROTC graduate and the study used FY97 dollars. It is unlike Dr Fleming to throw around numbers unless he is rounding off (which, if you do figure $380,000 for a graduate and then you throw in another $50-$60K for an additional year at NAPS, it is not far off

QSPN said...

IMHO, USNA has been on a mission for years to upgrade its status among colleges. That mission has given birth to many changes, often related to diversity and improving reportable data (such as application data, admission data, and graduation rates). One such change was massive overhauling of the honor system so that it became almost impossible to get thrown out for commiting one OR MORE honor offenses. Another was grade inflation coupled with a significant lowering of academic standards. Yet another was disenfranchising white male applicants and midshipmen (and possibly Asian applicants and midshipmen) relative to all other applicants and midshipmen--at least this prepares them for the fleet, where they'll get the same treatment. Though many of these changes were slowly in progress for years, they went baliistic during the Rempt administration. Many of them continue today, although the current Superintendent is trying to rein some of them in to an extent.

Some additional things the Superintendent could do include: (1) raise the academic standards--the faculty is dying to do this; (2) enforce study hour in Bancroft Hall (that hasn't been done in years); (3) tell the professors and mids that it's not the professor's problem when the mids literally refuse to study or do homework (I'm not kidding); (4) kick out poorly performing mids (unlike his recent predecessors, the new Superintendent has done some of that); (5) move the honor system back in the direction from which it came/stop allowing repeat offenders to be repeatedly counseled; (6) treat midshipmen the same, regardless of diversity labeling, as a first step to eliminating diversity labeling; (7) reverse the gentrification of the military staff and military faculty--the mids have few junior officer role models and also come into such routine contact with O-5s and O-6s that the distinction between midshipmen and senior officers gets blurred; (8) overhaul the senior staff and faculty to get rid of all the yes men (and women) and Kool-aid drinkers so that the Superintendent gets unfiltered ground truth about what's really happening on the Yard; and (9) deemphasize how USNA looks to the public and emphasize how USNA works for the country.

To be continued . . .

QSPN said...

<p><span>Continued from previous posting . . .</span>
</p><p><span></span>
</p><p><span>T</span><span>he top of USNA classes remains relatively strong, the bottom remains relatively weak, but the middle is allowed to do just enough to get by--and that's where a big problem lies. Overall, current vintage USNA graduates are accustomed to performing at some minimum standard unless they have their own personal standard that is higher. Excellence is no longer the standard because it has been sacrificed for other goals, some discussed above.</span>
</p><p><span> </span>
</p><p><span>One previous Superintendent's motto was "Excellence Without Arrogance". Unfortunately, what USNA has now is the converse.</span>
</p><p><span> </span>
<span>FYI, I am a USNA grad, I've taught at USNA, and one of my children is a USNA grad--so there is sound basis for my opinion based on personal observations and discussions. YMMV.</span></p>

Anonymous said...

I remember the day I received a letter from the Naval Academy saying that I wasn't accepted. Too bad I had never applied.  I asked for information once, and completed an NROTC application. It all makes sense now.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Did they get credit for rejecting a white male?

Anonymous said...

Really?  The entire school all has minimum QPRs. They're all just doing enough to get by?

Anonymous said...

The Nom's are a filter for applicants, measuring applicants post Nom would be inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Byron doesn't have thicker skin.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Too bad you don't have a thinner skull.

Anonymous said...

Given the number of insults hurled by Byron and Regis, one would think they wouldn't be so easily offended.  I guess egos are fragile on the interwebs.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span>Byron is my guest, and a guest who is my friend.  BID is a guest too, but a new one.  He is very welcome here - but he needs to act like he wants to be a guest.  If he gets his jollies from walking on to my front porch and without even knowing anyone goes around being rude - even after the host asked him nice not to be - to my guests .... well ... that is outside the lines."</span>

Guest, ask about any part you don't understand, and Sal, the good host that he is, can explain it again.

Anonymous said...

Regis, you missed a part "<span>I just ask that people have a thick skin."</span>

Anonymous said...

Or, did you just not understand it? Since asking if there's a part someone doesn't understand is polite on 'the front porch' and not meant to question someone's intelligence.

Sean said...

If the minimum was not good enough.....it would not be the minimum!

Sean said...

Second the notion of having more junior officers that are several years removed from the mids as role models....Kind of difficult to build empathy with an officer that is ten or more years removed from college.  That might as well be measured in dog years...

Sean said...

I understand that (having gone through the process myself to the point of having a nomination from my local Congressman) - what I was curious about was the term "triple Q with nom"?

I suppose that this means something very specific, but I have no idea what it refers to for the admission process to USNA.  I understand things might have changed a smidgeon since I applied in the early 1980's....just looking to benchmark how far the drift is...

LCDRLDO6440 said...

<span>"our MIDN - who as anyone can tell you - represent the best our nation has to offer"  </span>

<span>WTFAYS????</span>

cdrsalamander said...

I didn't give the exclusivity ....

ENZ, USN said...

I disagree with Sean Completely.  I graduated last Spring and got the opportunity to spend a Semester at West Point.  Based on my experiences I'd say that not only does West Point structure their Officer-Mentors Better, but even that the Marine Officers at the Academy do better than the Navy ones.

First the Officer Structure of each school from their Commandants Down:

USNA

Dant (O-6)
Dep Dant (O-6)
6 x Batt-O (O-5 that makes O-6 within a year of arrival in a 2-4 year tour)
30 x Company Officers (O-3)

USNA Marines shift Batt-O's to only O-5 and Company Officers to O-4 (maybe O-3 that puts on Oakleafs)

West Point

Commandant (O-7)
Brigade Tactical Officer (O-6)
4 x Regimental Tactical Officer (O-5)
32 x Tactical Officer (O-4, maybe O-3 that puts on O-4)

Now why I think the Woops and Marines have it right.

They have fewer Senior Officers.  The Batt-Os and Dant at Navy all need to agree on a Brigade Wide policy before it can be implimented, meaning that if it does bring about any change, it takes a very long time.  Plus Each Batt-O allows for different interpretations of policies, while only some of them actually allow the Midshipmen to make the decisions themselves.  Part of this is a function that 7 Post-Command Captains are inevitably going to butt heads and want to be in control, particularly to someone that isn't even an Ensign.  As a result of this a select few Mids get a lot of 0-6 attention.  Fewer Senior Officers allowed West Point to function with the Cadets having more responsibility ability to work things out.

ENZ, USN said...

(Continued)

The Company/Tactical Officer role is much better fit by Senior O-3/O-4 vice a Junior O-3.  Particularly with the LEAD Program (LT that has had two 2-year sea tours and a year at Maryland getting a Masters in Leadership as a Company Officer), very Junior Leiutenants can be acting in a Mentoring role.  Often they do only what they know best and play Division Officer over the Midsihpmen, again taking responsibility out of Mishipmen hands and preventing from worthwhile leadership training.  Many of these LT's can even be the same age as the oldest of Mids, which shouldn't matter, but it does make it odd when the Company Officer's invite their girl or boyfriends to Tailgates, Dining Outs, or other events.  What makes the more Senior O-3's and O-4's better at this role is that they have been in for those 10 years.  They have stability in their life (often married with children).  They have both sea and shore tours, and roles that were much more removed from the troops, so they understand how to mentor and provide guidance without micromanaging things.  They also have a deeper commitment to the service, already knowing that they are staying in for a career.

2 final points.  This allows West Point to develope Cadets more than Midshipmen do at Annapolis (as a 2nd Generation USNA graduate, this truth hurts me, but it is the case).  If you think some of those latter points about the LT's are a little harsh, they are from personal experience.  My old Company Officer was good at only a few limited things, making sure every error was out of chits after holding onto them for a week, being a brown noser to the Batt-O and not letting the Midshipmen make a decision.

DM05 said...

The important question is what about the revised diversity percentages? If they don't stay up, someone's FITREP is going down.

ENZ, USN said...

The excellent Mids often only excel because they want the attention and stripes, not that they want the responsibility or the job.  Not to say there aren't Mids that are good and excel to excel, but just that all of the arrogant ones strive for the additional attention.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Damn, beat me to the quip.

formermid said...

Apologies for speaking for Heather again, but I can only assume this is what she means...

Triple Q= qualifications in the 3 areas I mentioned above (physical, medical, aptitude)
Nom= nomination from a nominating source (Senator/Congressman/VP/etc.)

I agree with BSG below that using this standard to stack USNA relative to other schools would be completely unfair to USNA. I don't think using completed applications vs. # appointed is completely civilian-equivalent, either (it's quite a bit more difficult to complete even just the application for USNA than it is to do for other schools, and thus I think other schools would benefit from this comparison), but without knowing what other metrics are available from the Academy's side, that might be about the best figure to go off of.

As for how bad stuff is being skewed, the fact that they count all Summer Seminar/ROTC applicants as official applicants to USNA is ridiculous. Applying to ROTC for some school out on the West Coast shows about as much interest in USNA as does...well, you get the idea. That's sad. If what Anonymous says below is true (that you're pretty much part of the "applicant" pool from the moment you request information from them), that's even worse.

Old Nuke said...

The government says that there is little to no inflation .... I guess they have not been looking at our service acadamies, especially Canoe U.  Rampant inflation should only be feared in finance, not college admissions.

Do we not have enough qualified applicants that we have to gundeck the count?

What an inspiration Annapolis has become. 8-)

Douglas said...

Did the two "You're the kind of candidate we're looking for" letters I got back in high school count? 

LT B said...

Was his name, Mr. Hand?  :)

James said...

"Captain can you tell us why your you and your crew have listed 89% of your aircraft in readiness when your actucal levels are around 30%?"

Well sir. thats the way they taught us to do things in the academy.

LT B said...

My view as an instructor is a lot like QSPN.  I did not go there, and went to a smaller school.  I found the top 2 to 5 % to be very well equipped to make it in just about any institution.  The bottom, would probably drink their way out of a civilian school.  The middle students are able to coast academically.  It is very hard to fail out of the academy.  To the school's credit, they encourage the instructors to spend time outside the class, help the students and get them extra help when they need it.  A student that fails, more often than not, has avoided this help and extra work.  I would argue w/ ENZ, that not all of the top performers are all about the stripes, etc, but they are either that good, or have always done what it took to excel, and the academy is no different.  I talked w/ one of the students we sent to MIT after the USNA.  She said it was a HUGE culture change and very difficult up there for the matriculated mids.  Disclosure statement, I did not do well my first two years in school, but the switch flipped and I realized I had to compete for a job so pulled my head out of my fecal depositor and learned the material.  The lack of real competition for a job at the academy also helps keep mediocrity alive.  As long as the academy is all about image, they will have these problems. 

ENZ, USN said...

I definitely agree that there are a good bunch that excel and do great, but also that there are also those that play the brown nosing game for stripes and prestige and do not actively do anything once they have the role.  Most of this happens more on the Bancroft side than the Academic side.  It just gets embarrasing when you see multiple classmates in leadership roles on stage giving a prewritten speech behind a podium and you can see their eyes on the sheet reading it without emotion, or worse, moving around distractedly behind the podium like no one realizes it.  Sadly you know those same ones can talk to an O-6 like they've been friends.

ENZ, USN said...

Or, as the case was most times, sticking it out in your room and not caring about anyone else and getting your Supe's Star just for the priveleges.  I know a number of people that only cared about getting into the top 100, nothing else, and it is disheartening when you are trying to convince people that "Honor, Courage, Commitment," "Ship Shipmate Self," or even the Mission of USNA are symbols that have meaning rather than just catch phrases like the ones that leadership instructors looked for in papers.

formermid said...

The cost...depends on who you ask:

 http://navy.scout.com/2/979984.html

This article covers the issue pretty well and links just about every possible source you could want to read on the subject. I'd quote some of the figures, but you pretty much have to read it to understand the vast discrepancies that exist in the numbers.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Midhsipman Spicoli!

Boat School Grad said...

OK.  Then count all Triple Q apps as official candidates.  That would be reasonable.

QSPN said...

<span>Where do you get "[t]hey're all just doing enough to get by" from "the middle is ALLOWED to do enough to get by" (emphasis added)? Don't create a strawman--just analyze actual content.</span>
<span></span>
<span>Since you know what a QPR is, you obviously have some connection to USNA. How's your QPR?</span>

USNA grad said...

And U.S. News & World Report's latest reaction: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-rankings-blog/2011/12/15/latest-acceptance-rate-data-not-inflated-us-naval-academy-says

USNA grad said...

<p><span><span>The cost of approximately $380k (USNA class of 2009) is from an annual DOD report that standardizes the accounting process for the three military academies and is reported to congress.<span>  </span>Looks like USNA provided those stats in past Navy Times and Capital stories from what I can tell.<span>  </span>The figure includes the cost to run the prep schools for each academy.<span>  </span>Since the average cost for a NAPS grad is spread among a small population (175-300 depending on year), it appears that the average NAPS grad costs anywhere from $15k to $25k a year. <span> </span>And since NAPS comprises about 20% of an incoming USNA class, their costs don’t account for much of the overall USNA pie.<span>  </span>Even if NAPS costs were not part of the $380k, it wouldn’t get the total to the $500k/USNA grad cited by Prof. Fleming.  For what it's worth, I am not defending the need for NAPS, just the numbers.</span></span>
</p><p><span> </span>
</p><p><span><span>Can’t speak for the professor, but he might be referencing “value” and “worth” claims that are very subjective and vary depending on which Blue & Gold officer you talk to or which USNA booster is touting the school at the annual high school ceremony listing everyone's college scholarships.<span>  </span>Those figures are in the eye of the beholder.<span>  </span>Anyone can inflate those numbers, particularly if they wanted to add in the “value” of flight or nuke training upon graduation, guaranteed pay for at least 5 years or the money saved by not having to pay interest on civilian school loans.<span>  </span>Using that rationale, the “worth” of a USNA education might be millions.<span>  </span>“Cost” can be very different from “worth” and “value”. </span></span></p>

QSPN said...

Although USNA's position is a farce, it's a well thought out farce. One or more people whose goal was at least partially to inflate the Academy's ranking must have devised this scheme in which USNA has an officially defensible, albeit silly, position. For example, all Summer Seminar students--surprisingly few of whom actually end up going to USNA--apparently are told that going to Summer Seminar counts as an application. Clearly, that's nothing like actually completing an application or being found fully qualified for an appointment. Although unstated, I wonder if students who complete an application but do not earn an appointment that year (and do not take positive steps to withdraw their names from the applicant pool) continue to be counted year after year until they exceed the maximum age for admission? Such counting would inflate the number of applicants and also be consistent with the officially defensible position. I wonder what other groups of people might be surprised to find out that they're counted as USNA applicants?

Along that line, any guesses as to whether USNA has an officially defensible, albeit silly, position regarding inflating the number of Summer Seminar students who apply to or get into the Naval Academy? Such a position would help to self-validate the intrinisic value of the Summer Seminar program.

Mark T said...

You had me - I was screaming Gun decked PQS at about the same time you stated it -

Does Adm Greenert have the cajones to haul each academy supe for the last 20 years to mast for a 100 dollar fine and public rebuke? Not to mention the cost of getting new pants - we all put a few pounds on when there is no more PRT...

Put a little ethics and accountability BACK into leadership -
How do you take SN Timmy to mast for gundecking PQS or PMS if the 4 stripers and 1 stars clearly gundeck everything at the academy.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

Well, there is that whole "tasty waves" thing...

USNA grad said...

<span>Applicants to Summer Seminar are only counted for the year in which they were first eligible to to enter - they are only counted once.  The same applicant to Summer Seminar does not get counted year after year.  Actually a high perecentage of Summer Seminar attendees are offered an appointment.  It has been one of the most successful tools to attract students who are genuinely interested in USNA and on I-Day have a better sense of what they're undertaking.  If anything, the experience discourages other applicants from continuing the entire application and nomination process for something which isn't their cup of tea.  Summer Seminar isn't the problem here.  USNA's application counting methodology has been in place for some time, well before Summer Seminar became a popular admissions program.</span>
<span> </span>
<span>At the end of the day, I think our discussions have focused on a relatively meaningless stat: applications.  I have heard the current supe talk to us alumni how he believes applications are only an indicator of interest, and that he wants to increase the number of qualified candidates.  That's where USNA's selectivity should come into play and he apparently says that's where USNA needs to focus next.  I have to agree.  It's that crunch between fully qualified and offers of appointment where USNA can sleep at night knowing it chose the best young men and women to become the next generation of leaders.  What has not been successfully explained for many is why USNA leaves so many qualified candidates on the table each year who could be admitted directly to USNA, but instead decides to send less qualified to NAPS.<span>  </span>And unlike what many of us alumni thought, not very many of those sent to NAPS are prior enlisted who I think many would agree would make good officers, but just need some academic brushing up.  USNA will tout NAPS prior enlisted examples, but they are the exception, not the rule.  Several of those sent to NAPS and passed over more qualified applicants are apparently sent for other motives.</span>

WCOG said...

LoL to drawing FBDs, I graduate with an aero degree this weekend and all I see now when I look at the world around me is a series of equivalent force systems.

WCOG said...

Ironically, most naval officers are highly conservative and Vasser is a hotbed of commie filth. What a dumb world we live in...

cdrsalamander said...

Grad,
Thanks for the link.  I think this is the money quote, "<span>The Naval Academy considers an individual to be an applicant when they submit information which allows USNA admissions officials to take any of the following actionable steps: offer admission, decline admission, place on a waiting list for further consideration, or acknowledge withdrawal of application by the individual. This is consistent with the Common Data Set definition of an applicant.</span>
<span>
<p>All Naval Academy Summer Seminar applicants are advised that their application to Summer Seminar is additionally considered as an official application for admission to the Naval Academy. Summer Seminar applicants can request that they not be considered for admission to the Naval Academy.
</p></span>
<span>The Common Data Set does not equate "fulfilling the requirements to be considered for admission" with completing each and every application step. Like other universities, USNA considers an individual to be an applicant when they have completed enough of the admissions process for USNA to take "actionable steps" as defined by the Common Data Set."</span>"  Sounds like we're in the fuzzy middle where both sides of the argument are, in a fashion, correct.  Sea Lawyer'y ... but correct.  

QSPN said...

I don't have access to percentage statistics regarding USNA Summer Seminar students, but I suspect the real number that attend USNA (not just get offered an appointment) is significantly less than 75%, and it may be less than 50%. Some of those students actually go to USMA or USAFA, but many don't end up going to a Service Academy at all. Whether you consider such an attendance percentage "high" or "surprisingly low" may depend on your perspective. Whether USNA publicly releases a number that can be believed is another story more germane to this thread.

NAPS used to be a place to "brush up" on academics. Its curriculum was similar to that of plebe year so NAPSters could get a first look at material they would run into again upon arriving at USNA. However, any substantial rigor in the academic program at NAPS was effectively eviscerated, so that is no longer the case. Now NAPS appears to be little more than a holding pattern--during which NAPSters get paid quite of bit of money--until they get their virtually automatic appointment to USNA the following year. How virtually automatic you might ask? Well, as shown by a 2009 graduate of USNA, you don't even have to pass the watered-down curriculum at NAPS to get an appointment. How special is that?

formermid said...

Defensible, but still pretty sad. I suppose it's not the last time that someone will manipulate numbers/statistics to get them to say what they want, though.

As for NAPS' purpose/prior-enlisted representation at NAPS/USNA...you can draw your own conclusions based on the numbers.

21/246= 3.7% of the NAPS class last year were prior-enlisted.
(21+25+16)/1229=5.04% of USNA 2015 is prior-enlisted (number drops to 3.7% if you take out the 16 Nukes)

Source: http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/USNA%202015%20Class%20Portrait.pdf

QSPN said...

I would love to see the Superintendent restore some teeth to the NAPS curriculum. If he wants to raise the academic standards at USNA, he would need to do so at NAPS as well or many of the NAPSters would find it even more difficult to stay afloat academically at USNA.

In that vein, it is my impression that the vast majority of academic problems plebe year at USNA start with chemistry because everyone's got to take it, the course is tough, and it's extremely time consuming due to the lab work. NAPSters should get a heavy dose of a serious Chemistry course. Ditto math/Calculus (some need a heavy dose of Algebra first) and English (a hat tip to the Haverford crowd since mids generally struggle with that subject, too).

Even if the only academic subjects NAPSters studied were math/Calculus, Chemistry, and English, they would be way ahead of where they are now (assuming those courses were taken seriously by the NAPS administration, faculty, and NAPSters). And if a NAPSter can't hack the academics at NAPS, then don't bother offering that individual an appointment.

James said...

The admirals are to buisy politicing and sucking up to the diversity zars to think about either accountability, war fighting or honor......sorry.

Anonymous said...

My QPR is good enough to know that your statement is impossible, let alone implausable.  If the middle are doing just enough to get by, the bottom aren't doing enough to get by, they wouldn't be there.  Just analyzing your ACTUAL content.

Anonymous said...

LT B, Why do you work at an institution that you have such a low opinion of?  Can't do better?

Anonymous said...

You're saying that unqualified applicants don't apply?  Fascinating logic!  If they didn't apply how were they disqualified?

formermid said...

Excuse the typo. 21/246= 8.5%

LT B said...

I have not been there in several years, and it does not sound as if it has embraced Navy Core Values any more now than it did when I was teaching there.  After about a year there, I was rather unhappy with the way things worked there.  After 2 yrs, I was disgusted with the place.

I?TFP said...

I completed NASS in 2000.  I wasn't accepted and later found that only 2 of the 12 guys/gals in my group accepted appointments.  I was accepted for the following class and went on to see the same trend when my classmates were NASS detailors...less than half of their kids ever raised their right hands.  But the best information I have comes from my time on plebe summer detail.  Less than a quarter of the kids in my platoon had gone to NASS.  So, I'm not sure if it's a successful tool for attracting better candidates who accept appointments, or a successful tool for sending better candidates running for the hills and making more room for minorities and others who sure can fluff the feel-good quota.  But all of those fleeing NASS attendees who are considered applicants can then be used to boost the average scores of the typical USNA applicant...even though in reality they completed applications to Yale, U Penn and other such schools.

I?TFP said...

Couldn't agree more with having more senior O-3's and O-4's in the hall.  It WAS awkward to have girlfriends brought to functions that might as well have been dating the mids (sometimes it ended up that way).  My company officer was good at EXACTLY the same things yours was...all 3 of them.  He was so nervous that he stumbled over his own shadow.  And he had no long-term experience with sailors to think of any way to fix problems besides securing liberty.  He could only react to issues, not prevent them.  He was one of my best examples of what not to be.  There were a lot of those.

I?TFP said...

It's like the standard DoD budgetary process...everyone needs their piece of the pie.  You better be able to inlfate your mission completion and your fit rep if you want to keep your program.  (i.e. someone needs to edit the flight schedule because if the flight was never scheduled, then it couldn't have been incomplete.) But can the same bloated process work in the world of college admissions?  It's an epic battle of DoD vs. Academia...and all of those Navy spokepersons can't write bc they were in trucker english, not Fleming's english.  So there is a lot of explaining to do but who is going to do it?  Looks like Fleming's is a clear victory.  The pen is mightier.

I?TFP said...

(and the truth)

QSPN said...

I?TFP--your statistics do not seem unreasonable based on what I have seen (an admittedly small sample size). NASS appears to attract a lot of smart, cross-country-runner types from all over the country that have a lot of options with respect to college. One might call many of them preppie. Some would call them disproportionately upper class and/or white. The NASS demographics certainly don't seem to mirror the diversity-driven demographics in the plebe classes of recent vintage. And since USNA has virtually complete control over the demographics of NASS, that should be surprising.

Another gem hidden in your story is that you were accepted for the following USNA class. Some would argue that it is exceptionally hard for qualified white male candidates to get an appointment. To do so, you have to really stand out so that your performance is at a level for consideration for an appointment by a Senator from your home state, as opposed to a Representative. As a result, some of these qualified-but-not-appointed white male candidates attend a year of college and then reapply, often getting in. Thus, the current system effectively appears to make many qualified white male candidates apply twice (including spending a year in college) in order to receive the same consideration that a non-white-male candidate receives for meeting a lower "qualification" standard.

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