Hampton Roads HRNROTC Submarine Warfare
Nuclear-powered fast-attack and ballistic missile submarines form a vital part of Americaís national defense. Utilizing the advantage of stealth coupled with the awesome endurance of nuclear propelled submarines the U. S. Submarine Force has played an invaluable role in the defense of our country in this century. Whether it is conducting Tomahawk missile strikes in the Persian Gulf or other theatres, collecting intelligence, or inserting SEAL's in Special Operations the submarine force provides an agile and flexible deterrent against all those who would threaten the United State's security.
In order to be selected for this career field, the midshipman or officer candidate must interview with the head of Naval Reactors in Washington D.C. Following this selection an accession bonus is paid while the student is still in college (First Installment of the bonus is $15,000). A strong math and physical science background is necessary to succeed in the challenging nuclear power environment. The interviews test the applicant's basic knowledge of technical subjects such as Calculus and Physics. See links below for assistance with preparations for nuclear interview.
After commissioning, submarine officers begin their training by attending Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS) located in Charleston, South Carolina. Upon completion of NNPS, officers will report to nuclear power prototype training in either Charleston, South Carolina or Ballston Spa, New York where they will get "hands-on" knowledge of what it takes to operate a nuclear power plant. Following the completion of the prototype training the last installment of the accession bonus is paid (currently $2000).The last phase of training before reporting to the submarine includes Submarine Officer Basic Course in Groton, Connecticut. In addition to basic pay and benefits, submarine officers receive submarine pay and also may qualify for annual bonuses.
Dress Uniform of the Day (Summer Whites or Service Dress Blue)
Reading Material (for between the interviews)
Cash (for train fare or parking)
The Day Before the Interview
1200-1800 Drive to Crystal City, check into the hotel
1800-1900 Dinner in hotel or in surrounding Crystal City establishments
2000 - Relax~!!
The Day of the Interview
0500-0600 Breakfast and travel via train or bus to the Washington Navy Yard. The train ride will take approximately 15-20 minutes depending on commuter load, so use discretion with your traveling time.
Transportation: Allow for 40 minute trip from the hotel to NR via the METRO. If you are not in Crystal City, adjust the time using a map. Plan to arrive at NR between 0700-0715. If you are using a POV to get to D.C., be advised that parking is very limited at the Navy Yard. Leave the vehicle at the hotel and use the METRO.
0700-0715 Meet with the Nuclear Program Coordinator at NAVSEA (08) building.
0730-1200 Technical interviews
1200-1300 Lunch (Food court is located across the street with ATM provided)
1300-1600 Interview with Admiral Donald. After the interview, all selected for the nuclear fleet will complete paperwork for the nuclear accession bonus and duty preference sheet to request an NPS class and TEMDU station.
- Info about the Technical Interviews
- Info and strategy about the personal interview
- Info about the Admiral's interview
Info about Technical Interviews - Design engineers who work at Naval Reactors conduct the technical interviews in the morning. Most are civilians with specific areas of expertise. If you are an EE, you will interview with the EEís (and most other candidates will interview with people of the same background). The interviews last thirty minutes to an hour a piece and are one on one. Most people have two technical interviews. Some may have a third interview. The only thing you need to bring to the interview is a writing instrument (paper will be provided by the interviewer).
Technical Interview Details
- minimum of two interviews
- third interview may be given (random, question of the day or questionable performance on prior interview)
- 30-60 minutes in length
- first 10 minutes are usually personal questions
- given in the interviewers office
- interviewer is a senior design engineer
- interviews are staggered
- no competition between applicants
- assess your ability to make it through Nuclear Power School
- all courses on transcripts are fair game with special emphasis on Calculus and Physics
Technical Interview Hints
- all questions are given orally - be prepared to write
- use plenty of paper or blackboard and present ideas clearly
- take your time, the interviewer will speed you up if required
- make assumptions: do not ask for assumptions do not assume the problem away, DO make the problem solvable
- use numerical approximations to make the math easier
- understand the question
- use the problem solving approach (draw pictures or graph information)
- use applicable equations - do not ask if derivation is required
- do not volunteer information or lack of information
- do not expect help or additional information from the interviewer
- DO NOT give up unless told so by the interviewer
- ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH CONFIDENCE
This page also contains the type of personal questions most often asked by Admiral Donald. You may also be asked some of these questions during the first 5-10 minutes of your technical interviews. Keep these in mind when answering them:
- there is no one correct answer for everyone
- you are the only expert on yourself
- decide what is the best answer for you
- be straight forward, honest and consistent
- be as direct as possible with your answers
Interview Strategy - Consider the purpose of the Naval Reactors technical interviews. The interviewers are attempting to determine if you are the type of person who can be in charge of a nuclear power plant. For instructor candidates, are you dynamic enough to teach a wide range of technical subjects to extremely intelligent students? The interviewers are projecting you into these roles.
When given a technical problem, use standard problem solving techniques (i.e. write down the problem with given information, known relationships, diagrams as necessary).
Make sure that your answer is reasonable!
Talk your way through the solution. This is very important. The interviewer is as interested in your thought processes as he is in your final answer. At times, he/she will stop you before you arrive at the final answer if you show an adequate understanding of the problem. Also, an interviewer is more inclined to help you if you show some basic understanding and if he knows you may have problems.
Anything on your transcripts is fair game. However, most questions will focus on calculus, physics and your major.
Be positive! When asked about weakness on your transcript, acknowledge it and say what you have done about it.
Answer thoroughly and expansively. Tie in your answers to fundamental principles.
Show perseverance! Do not give up on a problem. NEVER, ever say, "I donít know". Uttering these words can prove fatal.
Grades get you to the interview. They do not get you selected. Motivation and enthusiasm are as important as technical ability.
Info about Admiral's Interview - The Admiral will determine in less than five minutes whether or not you will become a nuclear officer in the Navy. The Admiral has your transcript and write up from your interviews. If he asks you how the interviews went, be honest since he knows what his staff has told him. If an interview went poorly, let him know you think you didnít do well. If you had a poor semester, be prepared to answer why your grades were poor. (DO NOT say, ďI didnít apply myself that semester,Ē and leave it at that, even if you really didnít apply yourself that semester, what did you learn from the event and how has it shaped you since then.
By the time you interview with the Admiral, there is nothing you can do about your previous interviews or your transcripts, but you have complete control over how you present yourself. First impression is the only thing you will leave him with, so they are extremely important. A firm handshake (if offered), strong voice and good eye contact are mandatory. He rarely asks technical questions. Remember, the Admiral will be trying to imagine you on the bridge of a warship or in control of a submarine, before a room of extremely competitive students (Instructor), or maintaining the impeccable design standards of Naval Reactors (NR Engineer). He asks most people "Why do you want to do this?~ You should have an answer ready. Above all else, be honest and professional.
Example Questions asked by the Admiral:
- What assurance can you give that you will successfully complete Nuclear Power School (NPS)?
- What are the hours of study required in your major as compared to the number required of an engineering (non-tech) major at your school?
- Why were you so nervous in your interviews?
- How did you pay for college?
- What did you do during the unaccounted-for time on your transcript?
- To what other schools did you apply?
- In what extracurricular activities did you participate?
- Discuss any summer jobs and school projects.
- Is your school accredited?
- How did your school/dept. compare with others?
- Why are you a technical major when you do so much better in non-technical subjects?
- Are you fully aware of what you will undergo at NPS?
- How were you informed about NPS?
- Do you feel that your preparation was adequate enough to get you selected?
- Why did you choose to attend your college?
- Why did you choose your major?
- Why did you transfer schools (if applicable)?
- How many hours per week do you study?
- Why did you take more than 4 years to complete college?
- Where are you from?
- What do you do in your free time?
- Why do I interview each applicant?
- Tell me something about the program.
- Why should I let you into the program?