Sta-21 Personal Statement Help Service

STA-21 or Seaman to Admiral - 21 is the U.S. Navy's commissioning program for the 21st century and is designed to enable active-duty sailors to get a college degree and become commissioned officers.

History[edit]

Previously there were over a dozen different paths for active-duty sailors to become commissioned officers, "Seaman to Admiral" being just one of them. This wide array of programs lacked uniformity in benefits, selection procedures, educational opportunities, and program requirements. This created a very confusing web of program applications, deadlines, and choices for fleet applicants and was very cumbersome for the Navy to manage and administer.

For all of these reasons and more, the Navy combined most of these current commissioning paths into one consolidated program that preserves the "Seaman to Admiral" name made popular by Admiral Jeremy Boorda: Seaman to Admiral-21 (STA-21).

Current[edit]

The STA-21 commissioning program is designed to meet the goals of the Navy in the 21st century, while at the same time creating a fair and equitable system for outstanding active-duty sailors to receive a college education and become commissioned officers in the unrestricted line (URL), special duty officer (intelligence), special duty officer (information warfare - formerly cryptologist), nurse corps (NC), supply corps (SC), civil engineer corps (CEC), explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), or SEALs. It is extremely competitive for sailors selected from the fleet; the average selection rate has ranged from 10% to 24% from 2001-2010.

In 2011, the program became much more selective for non-nuclear applicants. In 2013, they selected 19 non-nuclear officer candidates out of 542 applicants (3.506% selection rate). For nuclear applicants, the average selection rate has ranged from 20% to 25% since 2010.

All STA-21 Officer Candidates report to the Naval Science Institute before going to their assigned college.

External links[edit]

STA 21 graduating class of June 23, 2005.

"So you want to be an officer, and you
want a free college degree, have you considered the
Seaman to
Admiral 21
Program!

Now that you have enlisted
in the Navy, and have become familiar with the service and all that it
has to offer, are you thinking that you have both the desire and ability
to be a Naval Officer, but you are missing one of the key prerequisites
- a college degree. What are your options now? Well there is one you
may, or may not, have considered; and that is the Seaman to Admiral 21
Program, otherwise referred to as STA-21.

I recently had the privilege
of participating in the STA-21 selection process. Let me say I was
impressed both with the professionalism and fairness of the selection
process, and with the quality of the candidates. The leadership of our
Navy can take heart in the fact that we have some truly great Sailors
doing many great things. My experience also left me with some lessons
learned regarding the STA-21 Program.

The STA-21 Program is, in my
opinion, one of the best officer commissioning programs that the Navy
has to offer. In summary, STA-21 pays up to $10,000 per year for
college costs, i.e. tuition, books and fees. All the while Sailors draw
their full pay and allowances for their current pay grade. Sailors
have 36 months, including summer semesters, to complete their Bachelors
degree requirements. There are many program options; the current ones
are Pilot, Naval Flight Officer, Surface Warfare
Officer, Surface Warfare Officer/Information Professional (SWO/IP),
Nuclear (Submarine and Surface), Special Warfare, Special Operations,
Special Duty Officer (Intelligence), Special Duty Officer Information
Warfare (IW), Civil Engineer Corps, Supply Corps, Nurse Corps, and
Medical Corps, as well as the CORE Option, in which candidates do not
request which Unrestricted Line designator they desire until just prior
to graduation. The full details of the program, specifics for
each of the program options, and the on-line application can be found on
the STA-21 website at https://www.sta-21.navy.mil/. If you are
interested in the program this is the place to start. Additionally,
refer to OPNAVINST 1420.1A (Chap 8) and associated NAVADMIN messages,
for the directive guidance for the program. Please note that the STA-21
website has the most accurate program information. A change to the
OPNAVINST which also incorporates the additional guidance published in
the several NAVADMIN messages is being staffed. In the interim the
website has the definitive information all in one place.

I think that not only our
Sailors, but the Navy overall benefits greatly from this program.
First, the average candidates have at least two years, and in most cases
four or more years, of observed performance to assist in the process of
selecting the best Sailors to become officers. For high school
graduates going straight to the Naval Academy or ROTC there is very
little, if any, opportunity before selection to have their performance
observed and documented by Navy Officers and Chief Petty Officers.
Also, STA-21 candidates are on average a little older than the most
Midshipmen. Some see this as a drawback as it makes for older entry
level officers, but with age comes maturity, and this helps account for
the over 95 percent completion rate for the STA-21 program. Lastly,
because many Sailors already have some college credit coming into the
STA-21 program not all of them need the three years allotted to earn
their degree. All of these factors, proven performance for better
selection, maturity for higher completion rates, and some college credit
to help shorten the time in the program, serve to save the Navy money
while producing a top quality experienced Naval Officer.

However, it is not the
intent of this article to reiterate verbatim what is on the STA-21
website and in the instructions, nor to debate the merits of the
program. Instead, for those of you who are interested in this program,
and the leadership of the commands processing applications, I would like
to offer some advice and recommendations to help ensure our best
Sailors get selected.

Overall preparation: In
the STA-21 Program, as it is in many competitive selection processes,
it is often the little extras that make a difference. With so many
great Sailors to chose from selection boards often look for the tie
breakers or the indicators of extra effort, potential and desire. In
this regard the STA-21 Program is no exception. As always, performance
is the number one criteria. So I repeat what I know every Sailor has
heard already, and that is to do well in all that you do. When given
the chance to lead, take it. No matter how small the opportunity, step
up and lead people, and lead them well. Also attend to your physical as
well as your professional preparedness. If everything else is equal
and one candidate scores excellent or outstanding on their PFA and the
other barely passes, guess who is most likely to get selected. The
bottom line it is your career and it is up to you to attend to the
details.

Grading Sailor Potential:
Commanding Officers, and other reporting seniors, if you think you
have a Sailor who has the potential to be selected as an officer, chief,
or candidate for any other special program, then comment on his or her
performance evaluations on their leadership and potential early in their
career; even if the numeric grade and promotion recommendations, which
we know are also influenced by time on board, time in grade and peer
ranking, are not fully consistent with the comments.

Officer Interview Boards:
Commanding Officers and Executive Officers before assigning members to
an interview board, I recommend you conduct training with them on how
to be board members, and how to participate in a board. Convey to them
how the best Sailors should be ranked high and that the comments and
grades should match, and conversely to be honest in their reviews of
Sailors who are not performing up to the level expected for the program
they are applying for. If a Sailor is the number one candidate at
either the Command - Officer Interview Board or the Nomination Review
Board (NRB), then the grades and remarks should match their outstanding
ranking. Quite often candidates are graded Outstanding by their
Commanding Officers, and/or Chair of the NRB, only to be graded all over
the map by the more junior board members. Also the grades should match
the comments. For instance, comments to the effect that a Sailor would
make a "great officer with unlimited potential" when coupled with
mediocre grades, especially a grade of "Good" or lower in the Officer
Potential block, sends mixed signals. This lack of consistency has to
be reconciled by the Selection Board, and it only makes it that much
harder to evaluate a Sailor's true potential. The bottom line is to
make sure your top candidate(s), both in a given year, and as compared
to all Sailors interviewed throughout your career, truly stand-out in
the board appraisals. (Note: I say all this because I know not every
junior officer is properly prepared for these type boards. I distinctly
remember as a Lieutenant being ordered to go sit on similar type boards
without any guidance, training, or preparation from my seniors. My
only tools were the limited instructions on the appraisal form itself,
and my own good judgment.) For Sailors going before a review board
remember this is your chance to show you have leadership potential, so
put forth your best effort at "leading" the board to recognize your best
qualities. I recommend before going before a board, that you ask some
Officers or Chiefs to do a mock board for practice. You should be
prepared to answer the big questions of Why and What. For example, WHY
do you want to be an officer, and WHAT do you expect to do for the Navy
as an officer. Also, if there is a skeleton in your closet this is a
good chance to explain it away. For instance, if your transcripts show
that you did poorly in college before enlisting, but there were
extenuating circumstances as to why, this is your chance to explain what
they were.

QA the Application
Package:
Career Counselors, Officer Program Coordinators,
Commanding Officers and Executive Officers, should assist their
applicants by taking time to closely scrutinize their packages for
correctness and to determine if the applicant really meets the
requirements for the program option applied for. Every year
approximately one third of the applications received for the STA-21
Program are determined to be Not Qualified for one reason or another.
The top three reasons for being Not Qualified are: no SAT/ACT scores,
the applicant did not qualify for the STA-21 Program or the program
option applied for, or the application lacked a mandatory document. The
STA-21 Program application packages are due the same time every year,
postmarked by 1 July, but far too many applicants, and their commands,
wait until the annual STA-21 message is released, and then they scramble
to put their packages together and submit them in time. This includes
taking the SAT or ACT. The number one reason applications are Not
Qualified is due to a lack of SAT or ACT scores. Because these tests
can be taken up to three years before the board, Sailors should be
encouraged to think ahead and take the SAT or ACT some time during the
year before they plan to submit their application, if not sooner. The
number two reason for being Not Qualified is the applicant does not meet
a program, or program option, requirement, particularly the age
requirement. Both applicants and their commands need to closely
scrutinize the eligibility requirements for the program, and its'
various options. If after careful scrutiny either the command, or the
applicant, is still unsure if the program requirements are met or not,
then either one can contact the STA-21 Program office by email atPNSC_STA21@navy.milor call (850) 452-9563, DSN:
922-9563. The office personnel can answer all questions, and explain if
a specific requirement can be waived, or not. (Note: As previously
mentioned the STA-21 website has all the current information regarding
the requirements for each program option.) Lastly, all too often
application packages are missing mandatory documents. This is
regrettable, and especially so when it is documents added after a
candidate has submitted the application package for command review,
endorsement and submission. For example, both a Commanding
Officers' Endorsement letter and a Commanding Officers' Recommendation
Form are required. Samples of both can be downloaded from the website.
Also for every Sailor, you should attend to the details of your
application package, after all it is your career and the completeness of
your package or lack thereof sends a message as well. There really are
no excuses for mandatory items being missing, the one notable exception
being SAT/ACT scores that are pending receipt from the testing agency.
Let me repeat that if even one of the mandatory items is missing then
the application, and in turn the applicant, is deemed Not Qualified.

Take the SAT or ACT: The
STA-21 Program requires a minimum SAT score of 500 Critical Reading and
500 Math, or an ACT score of 20 English and 21 Math for eligibility.
The one exception is the Nuclear option where the minimums are a
composite SAT score of 1140, or a composite ACT sore of 50. These
requirements cannot be waivered. As previously stated, if you think you
are interested in this program then take the test. The score for any
test taken within three years of application is acceptable. Because of
the delay between testing and score release it is strongly recommended
you be proactive and take the test early. Also, by testing early, you
will find out if you meet the minimum requirement before investing your
time to put a package together. If you do not meet the minimum
requirement the first time you test, you can take the test again. It is
also recommended that if you have been out school for awhile, or did
not test well on your first attempt, that you consider taking a SAT or
ACT test preparation course, or at least get a test study guide for
review.

Take some college
courses:
Having some college already completed is a big plus for a
program the only allows Sailors only 36 months to complete a Bachelors
degree. For those who may not have been strong students in high school,
or in their pre-service attempts at college, going to college off duty
and establishing a track record, even if it is only a few courses, can
make a big difference. However, if you do take courses you need to make
sure you are prepared to do well, in other words you have both the time
and motivation to get good grades. Although it is certainly not a
prerequisite, with one or two program options as exceptions, being
halfway to graduation with either an Associates Degree, or the
equivalent number of courses, is very good.

Take the right college
courses:
While taking college courses is important, it is also
important to take the right college courses. Calculus and physics are
requirements for almost all STA-21 Program options, and having
successfully completed them before entering the program is significant.
This issue will be even more important for applicants in 2009 or later
because attending BOOST to help prepare for the rigors of college,
especially math and physics, will no longer be an option. Of course it
is important to get good grades, no matter what the course.
Universities require minimum grades before a course taken elsewhere can
be accepted and applied toward one of their degree programs; also the
grades for all accepted courses will be included into the new degree
programs GPA calculation.

Have a college plan:
If you are going to pursue a college degree off-duty, whether in
preparation for STA-21 or not, then you should have a degree plan.
According to their transcripts it appears that many Sailors are taking
college courses in a random, unorganized fashion. Additionally, many
applicants state they are pursuing a particular degree but have not
taken any courses in support of that degree. For instance they want to
pursue, or are already pursuing, an engineering degree, but to date they
had not taken a single technical course, and the courses they have
taken are not transferrable to a technical degree program. Sailors
should have a purpose and a goal in their pursuit of a college degree,
and they should be counseled by Navy Campus and their Career Counselors
along these lines.

Make a strong statement:
As part of the application Sailors must submit a personal statement. I
recommend that your Personal Statements should provide specifics on why
you want to be a Navy officer, and in turn be a member of whatever
officer career field you have chosen. Also you should demonstrate an
understanding of the requirements of that career field and a sense of
what you can do for the Navy and not just how you will benefit
personally if the Navy selects you for this program. All too often
these Personal Statements are simply a list of prior jobs and
qualifications, without any substantive comments about why a Sailor
wants to be a Naval officer, nor what he, or she, expects, or plans, to
contribute to the Navy. The Personal Statement is your best opportunity
in the STA-21 application to tell the Navy why you think they should
select you for this program, and what you expect to do with the
opportunity if it is afforded to you.

The Seaman to Admiral 21
Program is an excellent career opportunity. I encourage every Sailor
who thinks they have the right stuff to be an officer to take a long,
hard look at this program. It is not an easy program. You really have
to apply yourself to complete your degree requirements in 36 months.
Going to school will be your full time job, which is why you also have
to attend summer sessions, even if you do not need to in order to meet
the 36 month limit. Also you will be assigned to a Navy ROTC Unit, and
have to meet all of their requirements for Naval Cadets. However, I can
assure you that the rewards more than compensate for the sacrifices.
It is an opportunity well worth the effort, and for all of you that
apply, and are accepted, I wish you the best of luck."

Look here for program details: http://www.sta-21.navy.mil/index.html

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