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This year's board will meet in September, according to NAVADMIN 116/22 released May 19. To be considered, initial applications must be postmarked on or before July 1.
Navy officials recommend not waiting until the July 1 deadline, instead encouraging early submission as it allows time for feedback to Sailors if their package is missing required documents or if anything is not readable, the message said.
Those needing additional documentation have until August 1 to submit any additions to their applications.
The message announced temporary changes to the policy this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, impacts to the availability of college aptitude and fitness testing have resulted in exceptions to policy and alternate ways to fulfill those requirements and documentation.
If a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) was not performed within the last year, a Commanding Officer’s (CO) statement in the endorsement is required to ensure the applicant is within height and weight requirements.
Qualifying college entrance test scores are still required. However, an exception to policy for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Test (ACT) application requirement has been approved for those stationed outside the United States at any time between April 2021 and April 2022, those deployed at any time between April 2021 and April 2022, or those applying for STA-21 nuclear option (STA-21(N)).
Candidates are advised to verify school admission requirements, as the STA-21 SAT/ACT waiver does not supersede a particular university’s SAT/ACT admission requirements. For those unable to test, a command letter indicating testing was not available to them should be included.
To allow more Sailor participation and eligibility in applying, SAT and ACT scores can be from exams taken between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2022. An exception to policy has been approved for FY-23 extending the SAT and ACT validity window from three to five years.
In those cases, Sailors must provide their high school cumulative grade point average (GPA). For Sailors who graduated more than five years ago, they must have a minimum of 12 college credits with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
Competition for quotas is keen. Of the 429 applications received for the fiscal year 2022, 394 were board eligible and 55 Sailors were selected. This year's panel will offer roughly the same opportunity.
Those selected attend college full-time while collecting a paycheck at their current paygrade. The Navy covers tuition through an annual $10,000 stipend. The Sailor is responsible for any costs over that amount. Sailors can use the GI Bill to cover any difference.
Critical to an applicant's package is a written, personal statement.
"The personal statement is an opportunity for you to 'speak' in front of the selection board without physically being there," said Lt. Cmdr. Edward Kenneweg, who handles commissioning programs on the staff of the Chief of Naval Personnel. "It's also an opportunity to address any sort of adverse info, such as a low high school GPA. These selection boards truly embrace the ‘whole person concept’ for selecting candidates."
The NAVADMIN outlines specific items Sailors should address in the statement. For example, telling the board about sports or other high school activities helps paint a complete picture of the applicant. Discussing your motivation for becoming an officer and what you will bring to the wardroom as a prior-enlisted Sailor is also suggested.
Just as crucial to what Sailors choose to say in their statement is how they write it.
"The application is a reflection of the applicant," said David Burmeister, a retired Navy commander who heads selection and placement for STA-21 as well as Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC). "Spelling and grammar count, so applicants should review their entire packages before submitting."
Another item to note is to ensure that applications are sent to the right location. For the second year in a row, applications will be sent to Naval Service Training Command in Great Lakes, Il. And not Pensacola where they were sent in years past.
Details on this year's board specifics are available in NAVADMIN 116/22. This includes where to send completed applications, Sailor application requirements and command responsibilities in the screening process.
Overall program requirements and application details — as well as program contacts — can be found at https://www.netc.navy.mil/Commands/Naval-Service-Training-Command/STA-21/.
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