United States Naval Academy Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?


Some more than others. When I was at Annapolis in the 1990's, there was a counter-culture that resisted many of the strictures and themes the school attempts to inculcate into the Midshipmen. Finding one's place in this tug-of-war between being a rule-following "team player" and expressing one's individuality is a process that breeds self-awareness and has been a central component of the Naval Academy experience for generations. One stereotype that is not true is that Naval Academy Midshipmen are necessarily politically “conservative.” Most Midshipmen (and military personnel) I have known were fairly apolitical, and those that did have a strong interest in politics were moderate in their views. A poll taken of midshipmen during the fall of the 2008 election revealed that Midshipmen supported Barack Obama in greater numbers than John McCain (remarkable given that McCain is himself a Naval Academy graduate). Another misconception is that one has to be physically combative or war-like to succeed in the military. Although one cannot be absolutely morally opposed to the use of force under any circumstance and serve in the military, many of the most peace-loving people I know have a military background. That said, the “warrior ethos” is an important component of leading a military unit. Above all, I would say that people from the Naval Academy (along with many who served in the military) are among the most trustworthy, reliable, practical, and pragmatic individuals you will find. The training gives one the ability to look at problems objectively, from the standpoint of what works best, and to execute on ideas with integrity and velocity. This is a valuable life skill.

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