Key to Success
Academics are the key to a Mid’s success, especially since everything is based on merit (80% academic and 20% military performance constitute your CQRP). Studies are very demanding and after getting A’s in high school, getting a D or failing an exam can be quite a shock.
Choosing a Major
Choosing a major that one has a passion for is very important. One that helps the Mids stay motivated even while studying long hours and on weekends.
If you can validate a course during Plebe summer you will be able to move ahead or take more advance courses. All Mids are assigned academic counselors who will help them select the best course offerings. Towards the end of Plebe year, each Mid makes a selection from one of the eighteen majors with the help of his academic and military advisor.
Meeting with the Academic Board
Since the Naval Academy is such a concentrated four year program, if someone falls behind academically it is likely the Mid will be forced to resign. A minimum course load is 15 hours per semester and a 2.0 CQRP is required to graduate.
Moreover, the Academy does not waste its time with anyone that fails due to lack of effort. The Academic Board meets every semester and reviews individual records of those who have done poorly during the previous semester. They look at all aspects of the midshipmen’s record and decide whether to separate him from the Academy.
Extra Help is Available
Some courses may be available during Summer School for make-up and/or enrichment, but for many, it is too little, too late.
Extra instruction (EI) is available to all Mids. It is said that everyone who receives an appointment should be able to conquer the academics if they really try and the professors and officers want to help everyone succeed.
Many get "the gouge" from their roommates or upper classmen. Small classes are a definite learning advantage, but if you go to class unprepared, your lack of preparedness will not go unnoticed.
First Year Classes
Many plebes are interested in one of the seven designated degrees but are afraid they won’t be able to handle the academics. When making that decision, it is usually best to start out in a more demanding major because it is easier to drop back to a less challenging major than to try and get into a tougher one later on. All Plebes will be taking a similar course load their first year. It should look something like this:
1st Semester: 16 Credits
Naval Leadership I
Rhetoric and Intro to Literature I
Physical Education (Weight Training and Conditioning)
2nd Semester: 18 Credits
Fundamentals of Naval Science
Rhetoric and Intro to Literature II
Physical Education (Swimming)
Other Academic Opportunities
There are many special academic opportunities that offer an even greater challenge for those students that meet the criteria, such as: Trident Scholars, Honors Program and Voluntary Graduate Education Program (VGEP). The catalog gives a detailed description of each of these programs.
Exams are scheduled and the semester ends before Christmas leave, so the Mids begin the second semester in the new year. Mids may request that their grade reports be mailed to their parents, Senator or Congressman (or the person who gave them the appointment).