Adversity Essay

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by sciswim, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. sciswim

    sciswim Member

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    Hi All,
    I'm trying to complete the third essay for this year's candidates, and the prompt asks you to explain an ethical dilemma or setback you have experienced and how you dealt with it. The problem is, I can't really think of something that has significantly affected me like that. Any suggestions?
     
  2. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    I think many candidates struggle with this prompt, I know both of my cadets did when they were going through the process. Especially if you have been raised to be an honest person. Maybe it was a dilemma you had with a peer. You can do a search on this forum to see what has been written in the past.
    My DS went back to an instance in grade school that later in his life had a big impact. So, I don't think there is a real time limit (as in how far you have to go back to find something).
    What ever you do don't rush it, put some thought into it, do some soul searching and I am sure you will do fine.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with kdc, do not rush this at all. Many candidates rush their application in hopes of getting that golden ticket...LOA. The fact is the AFA is the stingiest SA out there in handing out that golden ticket. If I recall from LY there were about 150 in total or about 1% of applicants that open files, 3% of those that get noms.

    You need to take this time to think about it. It doesn't have to be the I saw a friend cheating on a test or drinking underage essay. It can be someone in confidence informing you of something, do you break the trust, do you reach out for guidance on how to handle this, or do you remain quiet.

    You should remember that they are going to read thousands of these essays, this is the time you can set yourself apart and grab their attention. Taking time to make it unique is important.
     
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    +1 :thumb:

    Last year all the LOAs for USAFA went to recuited athletes. So assuming this year is similar (which appears to be the case) there is absolutely no reason to rush through any component of the application. If USAFA wants you as a recuited athlete, they will let you know and then you can respond as appropriate.
     
  5. McCoy

    McCoy Member

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    I also had a hard time with this one. Not being able to find a major event that I found to be a ethical/moral dilemma in my life. I ended up writing about how a mind-frame I used to possess that was wrong and overtime I found myself disagreeing with how I was and how it improved things once I got over it. My point being it doesn't have to be a specific event in your life, but maybe an idea you possessed, etc.

    (Hopefully this post makes sense!)
     
  6. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Look, the Admissions Board is not expecting a bunch of young men and women in high school to tell them how they marched up to the Gates Of Heck, drew their sword, threw down their gauntlet, and shouted their righteous challenge. They're not expecting every one applying to have had to overcome cancer, or homelessness, or to have saved that proverbial bus full of Nuns. They are looking for your POTENTIAL as a leader in tomorrow's military. Do you know how to adjust, how to learn, how to improve yourself? Do you know what it is to set the example, not just for others but for yourself and your own convictions?

    Unless I am mistaken, NONE OF YOU are living in a perfect world. We all face challenges in life, no matter how big or how small. How you react to those challenges is what they want to see. Have you FAILED at something, either a test / grade, getting picked for Varsity / lead in the school play, getting rejected by the person you had a crush on? What did you do about it or change about yourself over it? Did you study harder / practice longer / get a better haircut and nicer clothes? Did that work? What did you do if it DIDN'T work, quit and give up, or try again, or take it as a life lesson ("life's tough, and not everything worth getting is easy to get")?

    Have you ever been on a sports team / club / group of friends where things weren't going well (losing / can't get money for the next big trip / one of you (or all of you) are in trouble)? How did you react when the complaining / finger pointing started? Did you rally the team, or join in on the gripe session? Did you join in, and later regret it and mark it down as another life lesson and set your goals to never let that happen again? Or did you just give up on the team and quit? (And another life lesson, sometimes a leader has to DISBAND a team for the sake of the mission, or get rid of dead-weight / tumors to thrive; did you?)

    Did you join in on picking on the kid no one liked? Or were you that kid? What did you do about it? What did you learn? Did you step in and stand up for the kid being bullied, or did you vow to step in the next time? Did you stand for yourself, or did you crawl away and lock yourself in your room?

    Tell them about YOU, and YOUR life lessons. I've given you TONS to consider, but I ain't gonna write it for you. And trust me, they can tell when you don't write it yourself!
     
  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Bullet is dead-on accurate in his assessment! :thumb:

    And forget about LOA's..."they ain't happening!" Okay, there will be some but I am fairly sure they'll only go to heavily recruited athletes, again. Why? Lots of reasons.

    This next class (2017) will be a "tiny bit" bigger than 2016; on the order of perhaps 1100 total. That being said, everything will be looked at closely and USAFA will wait...and wait...for each candidate to get EVERYTHING in so that each has the best chance of selection!

    Don't drive yourself nuts trying to come up with "the perfect situational paper" here...Bullet gave you great things to consider, as have others. Reflect upon all of them and then "go where it takes you!"

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  8. jro

    jro Member

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    Although this thread seems to be drifting from the original issue raised on essays, I'm going to ask this question anyway (sorry). A couple of the above posts suggest that there is no benefit to getting your application and supporting materials completed and submitted early (except, possibly, if you're a recruited athlete). On the other hand, I've read other posts on this forum that suggest there are potential benefits to candidates that finish early, since the admissions committee will see their application every month from October through the spring. Could someone clarify these seemingly inconsistent comments? Am I misunderstanding something? Thanks. JR
     
  9. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    I think everyone is trying to tell the OP not to rush the essay. To put some effort into the thought process and come up with the best essay that they possibly can. Don't get me wrong, in this day and time getting your application in as soon as you can is to your benefit. However, if you don't put together thoughtful essays, you are just filling a square and the admissions board is going to see that. Each part of the application is important, you should never be just trying to fill a square.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Lets clarify a couple thing.
    1. The admissions board will NOT see your application every month from October through the spring. They will see it 1 time normally. If it isn't 100% complete, the admissions board won't even look at it. So; assuming it's complete, it will go to the board, they will see it, and they will score it. Then, they won't see it again. Unless there are special attributes they want to review.

    2. I am the biggest proponent of getting the application done as soon as possible; HOWEVER; I have put in some stipulations. I will state in a moment the person(s) I believe will benefit the most from completing their application early and submitting it. But let me say, that for the majority of applicants; who are "AVERAGE"; it will not benefit you. And average, doesn't mean compared to other high school students at your school. Chances are, you're above average compared to them. But "Average" as in compared to the normal academy applicant. If you are the "Average" with the 3.6-3.9gpa; 29-30 ACT, 1900 SAT, top-10% of class, plays some varsity sports, member of a club or two, etc... Then you are average and most likely won't benefit from an application submitted and ready for the first board to meet.

    3. Now; if you're in one of the following categories, an early application reviewed immediately can be beneficial. Remember; while the "Majority" of appointments are given in march-april, not ALL of them are. And not just athletes. Just like any college, the academy is competing for the "BEST of the BEST". So some appointments are given prior to March-April. But the 90%+ will find out in the March-April time frame. The reason for completing the application early is for the human factor. This includes both the admissions board as well as your MOC. So, which applicants do I recommend completing their application as soon as possible? Generally; part of the "NO BRAINER" club. These are the type of applicants that are also usually considered for early admissions to high end colleges/universities. The kick butt academics and total package. To include the following:

    3a: Those with ADDITIONAL nominations besides the MOC which won't happen until usually December-January. These include those with a presidential, ROTC, and other military related nominations.

    3b: The person who isn't IN the Top-10%, but rather who IS THE TOP. Ranked #1

    3c: The person with a MINIMUM GPA of 3.98-4.0 UNWEIGHTED; 32+ minimum ACT; 2200+ SAT. class officer; Varsity team captain; 200+ Volunteer hours; KICKS BUTT ON THE CFA; Leader in other activities; etc...

    Put it this way. Answer the FOLLOWING QUESTION. "Are you applying for EARLY ADMISSIONS to significant colleges/universities in the country; not necessarily just Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, etc...; but significant schools that's AREN'T the normal State University"? If you answer yes to this question, and have all/most of the attributes I listed, then it can benefit you to complete your application early. Admissions may want to compete to get you instead of letting another school get you. If you have a military nomination, they may even give you an early appointment to get you to commit. If you are going up for a MOC nomination and you are in this category, and you can PUT THE FACT that your application is complete when you send it to the MOC for review; etc... these things can possibly impress and influence getting a nomination from them.

    So yes; completing your application early can definitely be beneficial. It's human nature for the review board and MOCs to be impressed by the commitment, determination, time management, etc... of an individual. It can definitely make you more desirable. However; if you are the AVERAGE applicant; which 90% +/- are; then it probably won't benefit you much. Then again; the type of person who is doing their application early, is going to do their application early ANYWAY!!! It's in their nature. Just like they applied for early admissions to USC, Harvard, Purdue, Yale, Columbia, Georgetown, etc... They aren't submitting it early because they think they're gaining a leg up. They are submitting early because they know, without being arrogant, that they WILL be considered by all of these schools. If you're asking whether to submit the application early; chances are you aren't in the top-10% of applicants who are doing this anyway; to many schools; because it's what they do.

    And there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with being in the top-90% of academy appointees. While LOA's might NOT be the norm any longer, except possibly for some athletes, that doesn't mean if the academy comes across someone in the "No Brainer" club that they won't give an LOA or an early appointment if they also have a military related nomination. Imagine for a second. A person with a presidential nomination; which is given almost immediate in the summer. They have a 4.0 gpa unweighted. They have ALL classes in the IB program or ALL of their classes are AP classes. Again; a 4.0 in ALL of their classes for 3+ years. They are the class pres/vp/sec. They play 3 varsity sports. (NOT recruited athlete). They are the captain of 2-3 of those varsity sports and they've been varsity for 3 years. They nail the CFA. They belong to 3+ clubs/organizations with leadership roles in those too. They also have 200+ hours of volunteer time. They are totally triple qualified, as well as pilot qualified. They are basically the BEST of the BEST. Do you think the academy wants to let them get away? They will go after them. And yes; there are quite a few of these individuals at the academies.

    However; if that SAME PERSON didn't complete their application until January/February and possibly they didn't get a MOC nomination immediately, it is much easier to get turned down. But again; this individual probably will do the application early anyway; because it's in their nature, and they are also applying to a bunch of other universities with early admission. Hope this explains it better. As least for MY OPINION and perspective. And while I've seen a lot more LOA's in the past, and the new appointment process is a lot more competitive; the academy also knows what a member of the "No Brainer" club is. Not saying they are guaranteed an appointment; just that the academy will make an effort to definitely get this person. But they won't even know you exist if your application isn't 100% complete.

    P.S. Something the MAJORITY of applicants forget or don't realize. Just because a person is applying to a military academy; DOESN'T MEAN IT'S THEIR #1 CHOICE FOR COLLEGE!!!! This is one of the biggest misconceptions. Too many think if you apply to the academies, it's something you've wanted your entire life. So untrue. To many applicants, it's another school. It's in the quality of that of Harvard, Yale, Brown, Purdue, etc..., but it's still just another school. They have no trouble serving their country and giving 5-6 years. But many of these individuals are also applying to 4-5 other schools. And there are quite a few that if accepted to, they will turn down a military academy appointment in a heart beat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  11. jro

    jro Member

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    Thanks CC! That is about the most comprehensive answer I could have asked for....
     

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