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Your Career

From Enlisted to the Academy

A Midshipman's Story from the Fleet to the Classroom.

When I was 19 years old, I stood at a crossroads, facing a choice between college and military service.

Without thinking, I sprinted towards the military. I grew up in a service-oriented family, and I knew I wanted to spend my life serving others. However, when I enlisted, I knew very little about the military in general.

As I went through A-School, I soon learned the difference between what it meant to be an enlisted Sailor and what it meant to be an officer. Over the course of almost three years, I finished A-School, was sent to my first command, and completed my first deployment. I fell in love with the military and what it had to offer, but I also felt like I wanted something more.

I had an officer at my first command, Lt. j.g. Joanna Clark, who saw that spark in me. She was a 2007 graduate from the Naval Academy and she slowly slipped the Academy into our daily interactions. It wasn't too long before I realized what she was doing. She told me about the intricate bonds she had developed with her classmates and best friends, about how she was a varsity athlete, and how she wished she could go back. Before deployment, she helped me throughout the application process and sat with me after work every day to go over SAT problems.

I was lucky to have one of the best mentors in the fleet, but I realize not everyone has that opportunity, which was one specific reason why I knew I wanted to become an officer. She inspired me with her leadership to be like her.

Midshipman Anna Wade

Midshipman Anna Wade

Leading enlisted is about serving and leading those who chose selflessly to give their lives to their country.
I fell in love with service and after spending time being enlisted. I realized all people, no matter their pay grade, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I wanted to become an officer so I could not only be a good officer but a good leader and help give opportunities to people who would otherwise not have them.

ALNAV 065/15 outlines the specific requirements to apply to the Academy. It seems like a daunting process, but it is completely attainable.

When applying, I had to submit my high school grades and retake the SAT. To be competitive, fleet applicants should have a strong high school GPA and should aim for SAT scores above 500 in verbal and 550 in math.

The Academy looks for people of strong moral character and who have demonstrated leadership skills in their enlisted career, as displayed in their record, military recommendations and command interview.

Physical fitness is also important. The Academy will look at your recent command physical fitness assessments and also requires candidates to take a candidate fitness assessment. I wasn't exactly the fastest runner, so I ended up working extra hard with LTJG Clark, a former track star at the Academy, to prepare.

Midshipman Anna Wade

Midshipman Anna Wade

I also had to write a proposal to the Secretary of the Navy, who was the one who gave me my appointment. The deadline to apply for the Class of 2020 is December 31, 2015, and all documents for the completed application are required by January 31, 2016. It's important to start as early as possible.

But it's worth it. I've been blessed with being able to meet some of the greatest people in the world here. I truly believe all of my classmates are people I can count on later in life after we leave here. The education is phenomenal, but I am most honored to be a part of a family I can count on and trust, to be part of a legacy of future leaders who have pressed on through hardship to become honorable and courageous leaders.

Up to 170 Sailors may be appointed to the Academy each year, and those who don't receive direct appointments may have the opportunity to attend the Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) if their package is strong. I was picked up for NAPS and spent a year in Newport, R.I., relearning math, chemistry, and English. I met a lot of great people there who started out plebe year with me as some of my best friends in the world.

I started my first class (senior) year a few weeks ago, and it is already flying by. I appreciate all of the opportunities the Academy has afforded me, and I look forward to having a fun year with my classmates before returning to the Fleet as a commissioned officer in May 2016. I could not be more proud to be a part of this family.

Midshipman Anna Wade

Midshipman Anna Wade

Individuals interested in applying can find a list of needed resources at