“I was at the United States Naval Academy.”
It’s a crazy thing to think about. The Naval Academy is ranked high in the nation’s best colleges. In fact, it was ranked #1 Public School by US News http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/united-states-naval-academy-164155/overall-rankings). To be honest, I never once thought I would have the honor to step foot on the grounds, let alone participate in the Summer Seminar. The Summer Seminar held at the academy is for upcoming seniors who are interested in attending the academy after high school.
During the six days that you spend there, you live the life of a midshipman, a plebe (freshman) to be exact. You wake up every morning at approximately 5:30 and do Physical Training (PT) followed by formation and breakfast. While you do a lot of physical activity, the seminar is focused on academics and getting a feel for life at the school. Two of the six days, you attend eight academic workshops of your choice and learn how the classes are run. You then finish off the night with either drill and ceremony or with intramural sports. One night of the week, however, you take a trip to Arlington ceremony to watch the Marine’s world famous silent drill team. You finish off the week with completing ‘Sea Trials’, a task that plebes do at the end of their school year. You get woken up at 5:30, eat breakfast, and then it’s off to PT for a good six hours. While Sea Trials may seem intimidating, it is quite possibly the most enjoyable activity you will complete while at the Summer Seminar. Along with informational briefs and academic workshops, questions about the academy are always being asked, and answered. You spend your week with an upcoming sophomore as a mentor, as well as upcoming seniors higher up in the ranks, who have first hand experience with the admissions process and life at the academy. I, for one, have never really been one to ask questions, but surprisingly found myself asking tons of questions.
The academy is absolutely beautiful, and after spending about a week there, I could not imagine myself attending any other college. Before the seminar I was still unsure as to where I wanted to go, and now I am almost 100% positive that this is where I would like to attend. There were a few students in my squad however, that decided that they were not up for the challenges of attending the academy and would have made a huge mistake in choosing to apply before experiencing the academy in it’s best sense.
So please, before ruling a school out completely, or deciding for sure where you would like to attend, visit the campus. Many colleges and universities offer summer programs or visiting weekends for students to get a feel of life at their school. This was just my experience at my dream school, what will be your experience?