ALO Interview Weight

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by dancing_falcon, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. dancing_falcon

    dancing_falcon Member

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    Hi everyone,

    My ALO requires 3 interviews with him before he submits his recommendation, and I've already had 2. They went really well so far, and he has even agreed to administer my CFA for me. My question is: how much weight does the ALO interview have in the admissions process. I know it's a pretty big part, but how big is it actually? Is his recommendation worth more than my CFA results or are they similar weights?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    In the older catalog/brochure, they had a break down. Even though they don't list it in the new online brochure, the concept is still the same. They've just made it a little more vague to allow the academy a little more flexibility when needed.

    In the past, the break down was:

    Admissions Review/ALO interview/CFA/Writing Sample: = 20%
    Extra Curricular/Athletics/Clubs/Volunteering/etc: = 25%
    Academics/GPA/SAT/ACT/Class Rank/etc: = 55%

    I will tell you one thing. An ALO on their own, no matter how GREAT of an interview and thus report that they write on you, cannot GET YOU AN APPOINTMENT. No ALO can GET you into the academy.

    However...... Having said that....... An ALO, can definitely keep you FROM GETTING an appointment; if the report/score is low enough. You could be a 4.0gpa, with a 36ACT/800SAT, etc. If your ALO doesn't think you're a good fit at the academy; marks you down in many areas of the interview; gives you a low score and follows it up with reasons; there's a pretty good chance the academy won't take a chance on you. Now matter how good the rest of your application looks.

    This doesn't seem to be an issue with you. But I ALWAYS write in the 3rd person for all those lurkers who read post with similar questions or concerns; but they don't want to post.
     
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  3. dancing_falcon

    dancing_falcon Member

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    Thank you so much! This answer really clarifies everything for me.
     
  4. time2

    time2 Member

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    The question of 'how important is'......this or that gets asked a LOT on here. Best to assume everything about your application is important and treat it as such. Would you behave different in the interview if someone told you it was not important? SA's might change their formulas over time, so it is best to focus on the things in your resume you can positively impact.
     
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  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    One thing that most applicants ask, don't know, and get headaches over, is trying to figure out the "Minimums". I.e. "What does it take to get in"? "What are my chances"? "What is the average....... whatever"?

    Here's the deal. There definitely are MINIMUM standards to get it. The problem is; 95%+ of all appointees, score much higher than the MINIMUM. For instance..... The AVERAGE GPA for an incoming appointee is 3.86 gpa. That is much higher than the MINIMUM standards. So what good is the minimum? Why even ask it. There's a 95% chance if you get the minimums, you won't receive an appointment anyway. Sort of like the ACT, SAT, GPA, etc. Don't ask what the average or minimums are. If you ask that question, I will encourage others on the forum NOT TO ANSWER it. You SHOULD be trying for a 4.0 gpa. You SHOULD be trying for a 36 ACT and an 800 SAT on each test. Minimum standards will not get you into the academy. They have to set minimums; however, the competition is so great, that you'll rarely see someone with minimums get in. Of course, it depends on their competition. I.e. Congressional District in an extremely liberal state/district; has almost no applicants to a military academy, (Yes, they do exist), and the couple applicants that do apply, if ANY of them meet the minimum standards, the academy MUST appoint at least one of them. So yes, it is possible to get in barely making the minimum standards. But that is not normal. Average gpa is 3.86. Average act is 30. These are much higher than the minimums.

    So, don't look if one part of an application is MORE important than another. Or worry if one area you do great in, can offset an area you suck at. Remember the "Serenity Prayer". Just worry about the things you can control and change. Do your BEST in ALL areas. Your goal in all classes, tests, interviews, etc. is to be "THE BEST". Do the best you can. Then, no matter if you receive an appointment or not, you'll be able to go to sleep at night and know you did your best. If you can honestly say that, you'll be fine. If you think you COULD have studied more; or COULD have prepared better for the CFA or an interview, etc. Then that's something you'll have to live with.

    This is not like so many things in life where "Everyone" gets a "Participation Award". The academy is looking for the best WELL ROUNDED applicants. There have been plenty of 4.0gpa or people with 36ACT's who have NOT received an appointment. There's also been some who had better all around and well rounded applications who DID receive an appointment. Just do your best in everything that you do, and you'll be fine. If you don't have time to do your best and do it right the first time; what makes you think you'll have time to do it "Over Again". Best of luck.
     
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  6. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    No one knows how much weight the ALO interview carries. I am very surprised he has required 3 of them. Sometimes they matter and sometimes they don't - regardless it should not matter on how you prepare for and execute the interview. A bad one can certainly ruin your chances.

    There is not a simple formula that calculates a score that simply determines who does and who doesn't get appointed. If there were, people would know it and simply do the math.

    In the end it comes down to who you are competing against. If you 'win' the nomination slate, good for you. If not, you go into the national pool and the competition inside that one is really challenging.

    The minimums are simply that. Hitting those might guarantee you entry into State U, but certainly won't carry you through the Appointment process. If you are weak (relatively speaking), you better have something somewhere else that makes you stand out.

    Do your best, make good grades (but that process is largely over if you are applying to 2021, ACT/SAT - work on improving unless you have maxed them out. And be a leader in sports and extra curriculars.
     
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  7. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I think it depends on the branch of the service as well as the ALO's relationship with admissions. Our DS impressed a long time Minnesotan ALO from West Point. Within a week after his interview, he had a LOA (Letter of Assurance). His WP application was barely started. I do realize that the LOA's are not given out so easily in the AFA. That said, I'd assume it is a safe bet that if any ALO was blown away by a candidate and made phone call(s) into admissions that brags up a candidate, those calls could round that individual up even more than the stated percentages than Mike gave above. Especially if an ALO had years of relationships with admissions.

    An ALO who mandates 3 interviews is going to be very active in his or her recommendations. I'd assume that ALO has every intention of trying to influence the final outcome.;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
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  8. ElSib

    ElSib Member

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    I have no idea if it's across the board or not but an ALO interview can affect the AFROTC application process as well. In the case of our DD, the local AFROTC detachment saw she had interviewed with the ALO and decided they didn't need a separate interview. She received an appointment and the ROTC scholarship off based on the ALO interview. She ultimately chose the USAFA route.
     
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  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    It is not uncommon for an ALO to do an interview for the local ROTC attachment and application. Or to use the same interview that the ALO used.

    Also, when speaking of LOA's, that is definitely service academy dependent. The army has for many years offered LOA's to individuals before they've even started their application. The air force by contrast, almost always requires that an individual's application be complete; minus the ALO interview and the DODMRB Medical review, before even considering an LOA. Of course, each year, and each application has exceptions built in.

    As for an ALO "Bragging up" a candidate, that's kind of an iffy statement. There are many hundreds of ALO's in the country/world. Almost none/never does the ALO speak with members of the selection board. We/They do speak with the admissions office, but they (The admissions office) doesn't decide who receives an appointment. They ensure that the application/package is complete, qualified and accurate. If it's not, the package won't even get reviewed by the selection board. We/They ALO's do on our interviews, have a form that is filled out. It covers many areas of the individual. Leadership, values, morals, judgement, motivation, initiative, relationships, etc. We fill this information out, in a limited number of words/sentences; and we also give each area a numerical score. This is what the review selection board sees. This is the only place that an ALO can really "Brag Up" an applicant. The review/selection board also knows that every ALO wants THEIR applicants to get an appointment. Therefor, they know that we're going to "Brag Up" most of our applicants that we interview and submit.

    Not saying that an ALO can't help get some extra points in the overall application score. But considering, that an ALO let's say has 10 applicants that they are reviewing and scoring. All ten might have numerical scores spanning 20 points. There might be a few low scores and keeps the individuals from being competitive; but those that the ALO believes to be competitive and should be considered for an appointment, are probably all pretty close to each other in scores. That's why the percentage isn't what you'd imagine it to be. Another way of saying this is; when you consider that the average GPA of the 1200+/- appointees is a 3.86, and the ranges is all close to each other; imagine the same for all the appointees ALO reviews and scores. They all probably are within a few points of each other.

    That's why I say, that an ALO really can't help much on getting an individual an appointment; but they definitely can make it so an individual DOESN'T get an appointment.
     
  10. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    ++++^
     
  11. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Good Morning Mike. Here is what I said: "I'd assume it is a safe bet that if any ALO was blown away by a candidate and made phone call(s) into admissions that brags up a candidate, those calls could round that individual up even more than the stated percentages than Mike gave above."

    Here in MN, our parents club had a banquet where the appointees and family were recognized. This year we combined this meeting with a MN AOG meeting. The ALO was discussing how the next year's process was already underway. He told the group that they were meeting with Representative Emmer's selection board (6th District). I cannot speak of how all representatives and senators interact with ALO's. But some may have a more powerful voice with selections and members of congress. Obviously some members of congress are heavily involved with the service academies and some not so much. Representative Emmer (6th District MN) for instance spoke on the house floor announcing that our son got a USAFA award in Washington DC because he wants to be involved. Heck, I could email him saying "take a look out for this incredible candidate" and he would answer just as he did when I commended him on his selection of a #2 ranked rising C2C. He responded back. I digress.

    Considering some coaches have a say in who admissions picks with a nomination in hand, I'd hope a seasoned ALO who is well respected could round someone up when it is well deserved. If they are special on paper and in person, I'd predict they would get in anyways. ALO influence is how West Point works (with the metrics that back up their point of view). One phone call by the ALO and a LOA was in my sons hand. While USAFA LOA's are few and far between, I would expect the ALO (in those situations) had a hand in granting these. Or maybe a USAFA coach!(??) That doesn't mean they can control the process but rather more influence than some people realized based off of a formula of x%.

    That said, you are infinitely closer to this process and I yield you your expertise. :) In life, I have never underestimated the power of relationships. And that includes the admission process for SA's including USAFA. I could be dead wrong. Maybe coaches (for instance) don't have any influence with admissions. But I predict some do. ALO's and coaches with relationships are probably the exception to the rule.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    MN-Dad. Let me clarify. When you mention an ALO's rapport with "admissions", that isn't the same thing as the selection board. Admissions pretty much takes care of the administrative side of the process. ALO's, many of them, do have contact and relations with MOC's. That can definitely help. At least for a nomination. And depending on the MOC, they also have the ability to give a "Principal" nomination with gives an automatic appointment.

    I was simply stating that the ALO's aren't talking to the selection board who is scoring the candidate's package. But an ALO can definitely talk with admissions to make sure certain facets of an individual's application is accurate and emphasized. So that when the selection board does review the application, they will be aware of those things. But that's not the same as the ALO speaking with the selection board and talking up an applicant. But you are correct that a representative or senator could be convinced that a particular applicant is the best of the best. But again, a MOC already has that option with a principal nomination. Although most don't use it.
     

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