Sailors can now apply for the Seaman to Admiral–21 undergraduate and commissioning program.

Sailors selected for the program will keep their current paygrade while collecting a paycheck and attending undergraduate courses full time, along with a $10,000 annual tuition stipend. Sailors may also utilize their GI Bill for additional expenses.

Applications require a personal statement, which is where the Navy advises sailors to detail their experience with high school activities, including sports, and delineate why thay aare interested in becoming an officer.

“This is an opportunity for you to ‘speak’ in front of the selection board without physically being there,” said Lt. Cmdr. Edward Kenneweg, who oversees commissioning programs on the staff of the chief of naval personnel, in a Navy news release. “It’s also an opportunity to address any sort of adverse info, such as a low high school GPA.”

Another component of the application is receiving a commanding officer’s recommendation, according to a Naval administrative message Wednesday.

“The CO’s endorsement is extremely important, especially the ranking of the individual among his/her peers,” the NAVADMIN says. “The endorsement should contain specifics about the individual’s academic potential, commitment, leadership, service above self and potential as a naval officer.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Navy has postponed the last three physical fitness assessments. That means sailors only need their commanding officer to sign off that they are within the Navy’s height and weight requirements.

The pandemic has also posed challenges regarding availability for standardized tests, so sailors unable to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) are still eligible to apply for the program if they have a command letter detailing that testing was not an option for them.

Sailors who don’t submit SAT or ACT scores are instead required to submit their high school cumulative GPA. If a sailor graduated high school more than five years ago, he or she must have racked up at least 12 college credits since, and have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Sailors have until July 1 to submit their applications and they must be postmarked by then, although the Navy is advising sailors to do so earlier in case there are missing required documents. Sailors will have up Aug. 1 to get any missing documents submitted.

“The application is a reflection of the applicant,” said Cathy Kempf, a retired Navy commander who heads selection and placement for STA-21 and the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, in the release. “Spelling and grammar count, so applicants should review their entire packages before submitting.”

Applications are sent to Naval Service Training Command, and the selection board is scheduled for September.

Sailors can apply for the following career paths: surface warfare, surface warfare engineering, nuclear (surface/sub), special warfare, explosive ordnance disposal, naval flight officer, pilot, Civil Engineering Corps, Nurse Corps and information professional.

For fiscal 2021, the Navy received 339 applications — of which 318 were board eligible. The Navy selected 55 sailors for the program, and the service expects similar numbers for this fiscal year.

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