- A noncom getting into a training program for relatively quick conversion to commissioned officer is common practice in the real world. It would have been quite fitting for, say, Chief O'Brien to undergo such training and get a commission because he essentially did department head work normally done by commissioned officers. We know he did not, but OTOH we see Janice Rand proceed from supposed noncom status in TOS to verified noncom status in TMP (she wears a noncom insignia, even if it's difficult to notice) to verified officer status in the later movies.
- Getting a recommendation from a Starfleet officer is not something specific to non-Federation hopefuls, because Kirk refers to similar patronage as having been part of his own career, in "The Apple". Or are we perhaps to assume that Kirk was not a Federation citizen originally? His childhood did involve a stint at the Tarsus IV colony that did not appear to have much respect for UFP laws and practices.
- Varying lengths of Academy studies are more or less confirmed already: we know of a few four-year stints (even if only through computer readouts in TNG "Conundrum", a cornucopia of such information), but also of a five-year undertaking ("Bread and Circuses") and of a three-year performance (STXI). We also get references to Deanna Troi studying in both Starfleet Academy and the University of Betazeds, quite possibly simultaneously, or perhaps in a fashion that indicates relatively short SF Academy studies.
- The rigorous testing and initial flunking of Wesley and Jean-Luc might be solely due to them having been underage applicants, at least the first time around. Eighteen seems to be the entry norm for H.sapiens
, and might be the age limit below which special competence must be demonstrated.
- The brief reference to O'Brien's Academy studies in "Trials and Tribble-ations" was more a joke than anything else, and might be dismissed without assuming that O'Brien ever set foot in an Academy lecture hall.