Advice to those Applying for CO'2019 or CO'2020

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by RogersCO'19, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    So I love this forum and it has offered my tons of insight so I want to share mine to those who are currently in the application phase. I posted this in another thread but I feel it is important so I want to reiterate it to all that would take the time to read it. Also if anyone else wants to bare their advice or words of wisdom, GO FOR IT! Anyway,

    Here is my tid bit of advice...

    1) Fitness:
    Start working out now! I don't care how fit you are, there's always room for improvement. You need to be preparing for your CFA. Mine was a very challenging 30 minutes. I've been chubby all my life so it was extra hard for me but I have a friend who attends USMA that was physically amazing and it was hard on him too. So do push ups, pull ups and sit ups at least 5 days a week for a minimum of thirty minutes. Also Run your behind off! Not just for the CFA but for USAFA itself. I started with a mile, then a mile and a half, and now I run 3 miles. Occasionally time yourself to track your mile and 1.5 mile speed. My work out regime goes as follows...

    I start of with a 3 mile run, outside on a road that is up and down hill. Find an area like this to help running, I promise it will help. I started at 1 mile on this road, then a week later 1.5 miles and then after running that distance for a few weeks I increased to 3 miles. I plan to increase that here soon. Monitor your breathing and stamina to prepare for the elevation change.

    After running I am off to the gym

    I do three sets of
    20 Inclined on stairs diamond push ups
    20 wide arm push ups
    20 close arm push ups
    As with the running, I started doing 5 of each push ups and then 10, 15 and now 20! It is exhausting but it helps so much.

    After that I do three sets of...
    20 Crunches
    20 Sit-ups
    20 flutter kicks
    Again, I started with 10 and then 15 and now 20

    Also get used to doing pull ups or at least practicing the form
    I use an assisted pull up machine that lessens my weight I am pulling up so that I can be more used to the pull up form to perform more reps. I recommend doing this first. Trying pull ups after all those push ups is agony. This regime is a bit long usually takes me about an hour and a half and some times we change up and lift weights but this is a good place to start, it certainly helped me. Lets just say that before I started working out, 5 push-ups were hard for me. Now when I leave the gym I usually have completed a total of 180 something push ups, depending on how my dad changes the routine. Also, have a gym buddy! My dad is a god send.


    2) Test Scores:
    These are important because academics weigh the most. Use the scores you have, BUT DON'T STOP TESTING unless you are accepted or maxed out (36 ACT or 1600 SAT) trust me on this one. I took the ACT four times! And the SAT twice! I was scheduled to take more but I got accepted. Never forget that they take mixed scores either! My composites on the ACT sucked. I got 25,24,23,24 (in that order) but my highest scores were (Math 25 Reading 29 English 26 Science Writing 25) my SAT highest scores were (Math 560 Reading 580) I recommend taking both. To people, one is easier than the other, but you need to take both so you know which one produces better scores. I did better on the SAT because it felt easier. I let myself get overwhelmed with getting good scores and it affected my scores negatively so don't stress yourself out over scores. Also take the writing at least once so you can apply to back up colleges. Also, If you are on free or reduced lunch, or get special assistance at school, you may qualify for SAT and ACT fee waiver and College application fee waivers. Talk to your counselors. They will be helpful and you should use all resources possible. These waivers will save you hundreds. Testing and college fees are no joke.

    3) Recommendations:
    This process requires tons of recommendations so start having some teachers in mind. I applied for 2 senatorial Nominations and 1 congressional nomination which are applications in them selves and required three recommendations each. What I did was picked six teachers and had each of them write a letter of recommendation for my nomination packets and o had four teachers write me letters for USAFA (2 of those will be done online) by the end of it I had extras but more is better than less but only send the requested maximum amount.

    4) Find support and don't get discouraged:
    This is going to be a hard a stressful process. The acceptance rate is 9.9% and USAFA is the 4th ranked university in america (above all the military academies and Harvard, Stanford and Yale.) So its huge. At one point o got discouraged. Never get discouraged! Keep treading on and have someone to vent to if you get to stressed. I had a best friend that I vented to about everything. Having their support helped me not give up on myself. This is a mind game as well as a physical one.

    5) Don't stop fighting till it is officially over:
    There will be times where you think you won't make it. Every time I took my ACT and my scores went down, I started to think I wouldn't make it. I applied for early action and on Jan 15 they told me I was deferred to regular decision. I was denied one nomination and got a nomination for a different academy. After all that I wanted to quit. 2 weeks after those negative letters, my congressman calls me and tells me that I have been accepted to USAFA. I promise, that is the greatest feeling you will ever feel and it is worth the fight and hard work so never give up! Until they write you a letter that says that you have not been accepted into USAFA, you are still competitive!

    6) Keep on the Ball:
    START AS SCHEDULED IT WILL RELIEVE SOME STRESS! I had no varsity participation and not much going for me so I had to cram a lot into my Junior and Senior years and I didn't even start my application until the beginning of my senior year but I still finished for early selection. That's what you should shoot for, it looks good and they consider that you finished everything early. Take AP classes or honors, get a varsity letter or at least play a sport and find a leadership position to excell in(not just to hold) maintain a good GPA! At least 3.5, mine was 3.7 so not everyone who is accepted is a 4.0 but shoot for 4.0 regardless! Never slow down, just power through the paper work and the challenges! Use your parents! Mine help me so much its unreal! Do things to make yourself stand out! Where I lacked in ACT scores, I made up with Leadership roles and a bounty of honors classes. I have taken a total 6 Honor courses, and 4 AP courses. My GPA was dragged down by not doing so hot in Pre AP precal. College prep classes such as AP classes will help because they are freshman college level classes.

    7) Have a back up plan:
    If USAFA is number one than go for it head on! But have a contingency plan! I completed my packet for early action which is due NOV 1 so I used the extra time afterwards to meet December, January, and February college applications. I Applied to like 10 schools after finishing my USAFA application and got accepted to Penn State and others so I knew if USAFA didn't happen, I had a great school to go to. At least apply to one school you know you'll be accepted and one that is harder to get into, that's just minimal though. Also apply for at least 2 scholarships and FASFA! You can't use FASFA for USAFA from what I understand but if you are not accepted and attend a civilian college, it will help.

    8) This is the most important thing to remember.
    NEVER FORGET THAT YOU CAN DO THIS!

    I just shot a lot of info at you, I know, but I promise it should help and I through in all my personal examples so you could see how someone has gone threw it. And I did this recently. I'm going into the class of 2019. If you have any questions while applying, feel free to ask me!
     
  2. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    9) Interviews

    Interviews are likely to be a part of this process so here is advice on that that I just gave to another person
    • Just remember these things:
      • Be yourself
      • Don't get so nervous you can't answer questions
      • Be professional
      • Do not be a robot
      • Be prepared for questions based on your packet and some random questions.
    • My liaison officer told me that there is no right or wrong answer so don't say something to please your interviewer, be honest but also keep in mind that if they ask you something like "who do you see as a role model" and you say "Adolf Hitler" that very well may be frowned upon. Also, if they ask about something related to the president. DO NOT BASH YOUR PRESIDENT. Whether you agree with him or not. Your president is the commander in chief and it will be your job to carry out his lawful orders as an officer.
    • During my liaison officer interview I got asked a question that I didn't have an answer to so I wung it. I don't think I answered it well at all. I felt uneasy about my question because my AOL looked like he didn't understand my answer so I studied up on it on the off chance that he would ask it again. When I went for my congressional Interview, my liaison officer was one of the interviewers and asked me the very same question! Lucky for me I knew I bombed the question the first time so I studied and came up with a brilliant answer. The look on my liaison officer's face was a look of surprise and also of being impressed. He knew that I knew I goofed and that I fixed my mistake.
    • It defeats the purpose of telling you what questions to prepare to be asked because One it is based by individual and two, part of not knowing the questions shows your trueness in each answer you give because it is off the top of the head. You can attempt to study, and as you see I did but raw answers show who you are and how you think. I only studied my answer because I messed it up so badly and figured there was a chance it would be asked again. Hope that helps.
     
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  3. viperdriver

    viperdriver Member

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    good post!
     
  4. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    Thank you! Just trying to help!
     
  5. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    Wow RogersCO'19, that is a lot of really good advice! Thank you for posting this and I agree with you 100%. I am thinking about creating my own thread like this sooner or later. ;)

    Oh, and CONGRATS AGAIN on your appointment! :thumb:
     
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  6. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    Thanksss
     
  7. army2021

    army2021 Member

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    Very helpful! Any advice for trying to get nominations. Also if you want to apply to multiple academies is their a "strategy" towards nominations? I know my congressman has us rank the academies we want to attend in order within the application so was wondering how to approach this type of thing if I want to possibly apply to multiple academies. Or is it best to just set your eyes on one academy? Also,what were some of your leadership stuff? Im in JROTC and CAP. Any other recommendations for leadership?
     
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  8. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    I have heard that they like to see people aspiring for multiple Academies. And don’t worry that applying to multiple academies will hurt your chances. From my MOC, I got a nomination to USAFA AND USNA. And it is really nice to have a fallback plan. Because I live in Colorado, competition for USAFA is super high. My friend did not get a nomination to his first choice, USAFA, but they gave him his second choice, USNA. So I definitely recommend asking for a nomination to each academy.

    My advice: start early! It reduces your stress load. This year, I was starting school, applying to USAFA, and a bunch of other schools, AND doing the nominations applications! It was tough! If you can get as much of this stuff out of the way during or before summer, you’ll have a much better senior year!

    As far as leadership, you look great! JROTC and CAP are both awesome! I would say to strive for leadership positions there, like Flight Sgt or First Sgt; they like to see that you are taking on as much leadership as possible!

    Best of luck!
     
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  9. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    As far as nominations for different academies, I'm not exactly the best to answer that because I was USAFA through and through. Coast gaurd academy didn't have my major and I never finished my USNA packet, I applied for naval ROTC instead. Still haven't heard back on that lol. You could possoble rank usafa #1 on one applocation and rank you other academy #1 on a dofferent nomonation packet. O ranked mine the same on all three but i Recieved a congressional nomination for USAFA and A senatorial one for USMMA which i never applied for. But anyway, my stragety for getting nominations was to make myself stand out. Our senators and congressmen get loads of applications. Instead of just sending them a stapled group of papers, I sent both senators and congressman portfolios with paper protectors and all that jazz. In order to get the nomination for USAFA that I did get, I had to sit in an interview. And boy was the panel intimidating, I had my ALO, a POW with President Mcain purple heart recipient, and 2 DR.s that were Air Force officers with PhDs. Be prepared to talk about yourself. And my questions were based on my packet and my resume, and then some questions that are random. They probably will ask you what your back up plan is so think about that. Other than that just be calm and be honest. Do not lie. Also, if you have a heart felt reason for your career choice, sell it, you're selling yourself to these people. My reason for wanting to go onto the mental health field is because both of my parents have PTSD and I want to help soldiers because I know how it affects families. When they asked, I let them know. I got personal with them. As far as leadership, most of mine was JROTC based, I kind of stood out because I am a Let 2 that has done a whole lot, also I am my chemistry club secretary and we have 200 members and I was in leadership roles on my drill team. Hope this helps
     
  10. TheEvanCat

    TheEvanCat Member

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    For my Senators (Florida), I had to rank the schools and they offered me interviews to just one (the AFA.) My Congressman had me check off what Academies I was applying for and I wrote down all of them and ended up with him giving me a nomination to all four Academies. So if your Congressman only gives you an interview for one Academy or something, then it might just be ranking the ones you want the most. I'm sure everyone does it differently.

    Since I was out of state (I kept Florida residency but I live in Rhode Island), my interview was literally one of the Colonels in their board calling me unexpectedly at seven in the evening. He seemed to be asking general questions, nothing that I'd expect in an interview. I didn't actually realize it was the interview (I wasn't really told that it was) until the end when I asked, "So when is the interview, sir?"

    "That was your interview."

    As for leadership, I did JROTC until I moved and there wasn't the opportunity anymore (about three years.) Still got the nomination just with that.

    My Senators ended up deferring their nominations to my Congressman.
     
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  11. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    That brings up another good point, get used to answering the phone and getting unexpected calls. Usually when I get phone calls to numbers I don't know, I ignore it and let it go to voice mail. "If it is important they will leave a messege" well one night I got a random call and this time I decided to answer. Lucky I did because It was my congressman telling my I've been offered an Appointment to USAFA. So a call could be a life changer. I'm sure my congressman could tell you how excited I was because I instantly started crying and then apologized to him because i was crying in his ear. Haha So pick up the phone aha. And hwy I got a nomination deferred too. I think they do that to spread the nominational wealth.
     
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  12. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    On this thought…

    I was at work when I got an unexpected phone call. The caller ID read “Restricted”, which generally means I accidentally made my phone call itself. I opened my phone (flip phone lol) and listened, but heard nothing, so hung up, assuming I had indeed called myself. The number called again a few minutes later. I answered this time. This was my conversation:

    Me: “Hello?”

    Voice: “Hello, Bailey this is [something garbled]”

    *assuming it’s one of my friends*

    Me: “Wait, what?”

    Cory Gardner: “This is Congressman Cory Gardner”

    I wanted to die. First, I hung up on my MOC, and then I was SO unprofessional! He was calling to congratulate me on my two nominations and I failed this conversation epically! Moral of the story: ALWAYS maintain a professional demeanor over the phone!
     
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  13. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    Just to add balance on the leadership point. You can get leadership outside the traditional organizational ones mentioned, JROTC, CAP, and Scouts.

    Remember being a Captain on a team, Drum Major on the marching band, student council show leadership. Starting/organizing your own fundraiser/events shows leadership. There are many ways to get leadership experience/work you just have to go looking for it.

    While the one mentioned (JROTC and CAP) are great for this, they are not the only ones. I didn't want to give other readers the thought that they had to check the JROTC box. There are other ways to get leadership and all avenues should be explored.
     
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  14. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    This is very true, Jrotc is just a convenient source of leadership because that is what the program is made for. To build better citizens and leaders. There are others though. Team captains, I am the secretary for my Chem club, leadership at work or even at home counts!

    And yes professionalism is key on phone calls haha
     
  15. TheEvanCat

    TheEvanCat Member

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    Yeah, I figured they'd have a system for it. After my interview with my Congressman (he gave me four noms even though I didn't know if was being interviewed!) and I got my noms I think they might just let each other know their lists.

    I'm a weird case with my nominations because of where I live and where my residency is (yay Florida military residency laws!)
     
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  16. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    Haha congrats on those getting noms is one of the hardest parts
     
  17. USAFA: 2016!

    USAFA: 2016! Member

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    I really liked your advice and I hope you take this as me just adding stuff in an not criticizing you; that will come this summer :director:. :)Just some things that stuck out to me....

    -highly recommend doing more abs than that as you prepare for BCT. As a gauge, right now I can do flutter kicks for 2 minutes without stopping, then hold legs at 90 degrees or 6 inches for a few seconds, I can do another minute or more. Not bragging because I wouldn't even say that's impressive around here, just saying I would recommend being able to do at least 100 4-count flutter kicks by BCT. Start where you can, but increase as fast as possible without compromising form.

    -Pushups, also recommend as many as possible. I think your variation recommendations are great, but I would try to be able to max our PFT standard before coming to BCT (72 pushups in 2 minutes without ever breaking form for males, 48 with same standards for females). Once a week or so, just do pushups until failure once to see how high you can go.

    -Running; I think your distance running is a good amount as long as you're adequately pushing yourself during it. I would also recommend doing some middle distance running. An example workout would be to one day forego your distance run and instead run 5 x 600 or 800M as fast as you can and try to only lose 5 or less seconds each time.

    Thanks for posting this advice! I thought most of it was spot on!
     
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  18. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    Oh no I don't take it as criticism, I am glad you offered the extra insight. Thanks for the advice, I'll start adding that into my routine. And Yea, I'm anxious for BCT I'm sure even if I'm doing things right it'll be wrong. But I guess they need to break you down to build you up. It's gonna be a wild ride.
     

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