A lot of questions

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Sutter93, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. Sutter93

    Sutter93 Member

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    I had previously posted in the CollegeConfidential forums, and I thought I would like to try my like here as well.

    I know I am asking a lot of questions, and most likely questions you all are familiar with seeing on these forums. But any help is greatly, greatly appreciated. I apologize in advance, for this will be a very lengthy post.

    First set of questions (copy and pasted from my original post at CollegeConfidential)

    I understand that starting March of my Junior year, I can start applying by filling out the pre-candidate questionnaire online. However, I am worried that at this point, they can reject me based on my grades.

    I am not exactly sure what kind of information they ask for in the pre-candidate questionnaire though. My grades are not terrible, but they're not great grades -- which most kids who are applying to the academy have.

    See I did somewhat poorly in my freshman year and ended up with an equal mix of A's and B's first and second semester that year. I also had a C first semester. However, you can see that my grades have improved second semester, with only two B's and four A's.

    First semester I only earned two A's in 10th grade, but only two B's the second semester - a significant improvement, at least I would consider it so.

    Junior year, I am currently sitting on and shooting for a 4.0. But expecting the worst, lets say I end up with two B's, but both were in a weighted class.

    I would also like to make it clear that I have been enrolled in challenging honors/AP courses, which would explain my grades. But I was also lazy in my schoolwork and homework, however I have taken measures to improve my work habits.

    Now that's just my grades, I believe I have been involved in some good extracurriculars (officer of two out of four clubs that am involved in), I am in NHS, I volunteer regularly at a hospital, I also expect to attend a leadership seminar, and I will be captain of my soccer team.

    I received great scores on my SAT's, with a 720 in math, a 690 in CR, and a 700 in writing.

    Anyway, my questions are, what kind of information does the pre-candidate assessment ask for, will my grades hurt my competitive-ness, and how does the rest of the application process work in terms of showing the academy your achievements.

    I really am genuinely interested in serving in the military as well as pursuing some kind of career in engineering. That is why I really want attend the academy.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, I really appreciate it.

    Plus, I am currently sitting on a 4.0 first semester of Junior year. I only hope to keep it that way until the end of the first semester. I'm only worried about my math grade, which is a very low A. I hope this does not look bad to the academy, since they would probably like to see strong grades in math-- btw I am currently in Pre-Calculus, and during my previous two years in high school, I have only managed to pull off B's in math classes. I'm not bad at math, I test very well on standardized tests.. I just don't do the homework. But believe me I am turning around my work habits.

    Another question I have is :

    Do I need to get a recommendation from a teacher, coach, etc. when applying to the academy? I know I have to get one in order to submit an application to receive a nomination from a MOC, and I was wondering if the USAFA requires a recommendation as well. I don't see anything about it in the "USAFA admission requirements", but I am still just wondering.

    Last couple of questions:

    What is life like at the academy? Would I have time to get in touch with my friends and family back home every so often or would I have time to socialize with other cadets?

    How approachable are the teachers? Say you don't understand something, would you be intimidated by asking a professor? I mean, I'm not shy or anything but I have had just a couple teachers who would be like "were you even paying attention in class?" if you ask them something. It's just not pleasant dealing with those kinds of teachers.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to read this. I really do appreciate it! Ever since I started seriously thinking about my future and decided on attending the air force academy at the end of my sophomore year, it was the first time I have ever gotten excited about my future. I really plan to work hard, and I only hope my meager performance in the past does not affect my future with the academy.

    Also, last question for real. How do I go about becoming an air force officer? Lets say I don't get into the academy, what other routes can I go? Will I be able to pursue a career in aeronautical engineering as well?

    :biggrin:
     
  2. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    Others here can answer your questions more thoroughly than I can, but here are some tidbits I can supply.

    - Remember, the Academy looks at a lot of things in your application, not just grades. They look at class rigor, extracurricular activities, physical fitness, leadership experience, standardized tests, and then there's the interview. The academy recalculates your GPA, so weighted classes re taken into account.
    - During Basic cadet training your contact home will be severely limited, but after that you have access to e-mail and may have a cell phone. Time away from the academy is limited, though, especially during your 4th class (freshman) year.
    - You will need a recommendation from a math teacher, English teacher, and chemistry or physics teacher. The recommendations are online. You supply USAFA with the -mail address, and they will send them to your teachers. MOCs all have their own recommendation requirements.
    - If you do not make it into the academy, there is Prep School, ROTC, OCS/OTS (name depending on branch; basically, get a college degree and then apply for a commission as opposed to doing it simultaneously). These are all great routes, and none makes better officers than any other. They just make different officers. The best path for one person is not always the best for someone else.

    Look around the forums; a lot of good questions have been asked by others that may help you.
     
  3. SMZ

    SMZ Member

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    The initial Precandidate Questionaire only asks for self reported scores. Your SAT Scores are above average for the Academy, and while your grades could be better, the question on the Questionaire is your overall GPA. Figure that out, and just for reference, I believe average admitted cadet has a 3.8, however at your stage, they're just weeding out those blatantly not qualified. You should be fine. I'm in the same boat as you as far as testing too. I have a 3.67 GPA (As per the Academy) but got a 34 on ACTs and 1450 on SATs. When I spoke with my counselor when I visited, she was very impressed with my Academics, so having better standardized test grades can certainly offset slightly lower than normal GPA.
     
  4. Sutter93

    Sutter93 Member

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    Well I am glad the rigor of my classes will be taken into account. However, freshman year I was just plain lazy. I have improved my study habits since then. I was not motivated, I had no one watching over me, but at least I bucked up before the end of freshman year :D. Unfortunately, by sophomore year, my classes got harder and I did not develop the right study habits. Second semester sophomore year was my proudest year :D By then I was able to manage my time efficiently and everything. *happy dance*

    How much extracurricular activities do average applicants usually take on. I feel I might be lacking in that category. Next year I will be captain of my soccer team, I am officer of two on-campus clubs, I volunteer regularly at a hospital as well as racking up various volunteer hours, I am involved in NHS, and I will attend a leadership camp/seminar. I also hope to get into an engineering camp over the summer, but expecting the worst and saying I don't make it in, how do my extracurriculars look as of now?

    I have lettered in soccer since my sophomore year and I have lettered in music as well (band).

    I am also involved in the academic decathlon.

    I've been looking at stats of other applicants and they seem like super-kids to me. I only hope that is not the same caliber of students I am competing with in a small city in Southern California.

    Anyway, my most important question:

    Do the recommendations have to be teachers from a certain year or can I get recommendations from my Junior year or Senior year teachers or something. I would love to get a recommendation from my 10th grade English teacher and 10th grade chemistry teacher -- I won't have physics until my senior year. And when is the deadline for these recommendations, given that the year I graduate is 2011.

    Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions. I haven't quite found what I was looking for, but then again I've only gone through ten pages of the forum :shake:
     
  5. Sutter93

    Sutter93 Member

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    Oh yes, another question I have been meaning to ask. Since I live in California, my transcript has two parts to it. UC calculated GPA (weighted grades starting from 10th grade) and normal weighted GPA from all grades and a normal unweighted GPA.

    Excluding my freshman year, I would have a pretty good GPA. But the unweighted GPA from all years would be what I have to report, isn't it?

    In that case it would be 3.5 by the time I fill out the precandidate questoinnaire. Though I still have my SAT scores to save me.

    However, if they take WEIGHTED grades from all grades it would be... 3.73.. yay?

    But excluding freshman year it would be 3.67 unweighted and 4.2 weighted. YAY
     
  6. Sutter93

    Sutter93 Member

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    @ SMZ
    So you're a Junior as well?

    GREAT ACT SCORES!!! I AM IN COMPLETE AWE OF YOUR GENIUS! :D
     
  7. Sutter93

    Sutter93 Member

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    Okay nevermind, I got my questions answered from lurking this forum.. Thanks a lot everybody :D
     
  8. SMZ

    SMZ Member

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    Nah, I'm a senior
     

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