Applicant seeking some advice.

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Monochromebird, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. Monochromebird

    Monochromebird New Member

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    I'm a hopeful applicant to USAFA class of 2021. I'm going to do the obligatory statistics on me paragraph and then I have some questions for those of you with more experience here than me. Thanks for reading.
    Academics- I go to an extremely competitive college preparatory school. I am a junior. My class rank is 112/186. I have a 3.5 GPA and participate in Concurrent Credit classes. I am in my third of four years of Arabic and I will graduate with an Associate's degree from my local state university. I took the PSAT and scored in the 95th percentile overall. I also took and destroyed the ASVAB, obtaining a composite score of 92. This test supposedly has no bearing on admissions, but I thought I'd include the score.
    Athletics- Freshman year I played football, and beginning June 2014 I have trained Tae Kwon Do. I am currently a brown belt, with plans to earn my black belt before I start college. I also lift weights for fun. I need to lose weight- 220 at 5'9". Dead/bench/squat- 290/205/275. I'm pretty bad at running, which I am working on right now, and I can barely do 4 pull ups in a row.
    Community Involvement- This is my weakest section of admission criteria. I am a member of my school's Leo club (community service). I am going to apply to Boys' state this summer. I also participate in professional education during school for firefighting. I was a battalion chief (in charge of a class of 30 during drills) for a few months. I've applied for summer seminar at USAFA and SLE at USMA.
    My questions for you- I'm looking for some ways to improve my leadership criteria. I also need to work on physical fitness for the CFA. In particular, pull ups, running, and shuttle run. How can I best improve my leadership? Any tips for pull-ups? Thank you for taking the time to get through this wall of text.
     
  2. md403

    md403 Member

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    First, welcome to the forums! Just my .02, a lot of the information that you are asking for is available via the "stickies" and by using the search button. These forums have a LOT of extremely knowledgeable people that help a lot people trying to find answers to their questions. Get comfortable reading and searching the various threads. Good luck.
     
  3. imflyingsolo

    imflyingsolo Member

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    Pull ups? Install a pull bar in your room. I made one with a pvc pipe, cupboard supports, and screws. Bought these items for less than $10 at Home Depot. Works great!
     
  4. Monochromebird

    Monochromebird New Member

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    Thanks :)
     
  5. Monochromebird

    Monochromebird New Member

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    Thanks for the advice- I saw the thread about the basketball throw somewhere.
     
  6. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Mono, everything you have asked is answered here, in the stickies especially, and throughout this forum. Briefly: your class rank is not going to be of any help to you. Your rank is not in the top half - a definite problem. Work to change what you can (STUDY STUDY STUDY) and see if you can't get your rank up. And fencersmother does not tolerate any excuses so don't bother with that.

    At 5'9" and 220, you've got some work ahead of you there. As you drop some weight, your run score will improve. Cut out a lot of carbs and do a bunch of cardio. Get the chin up bar going and get moving. I believe your weight/height ratio would disqualify you now. Luckily, you have plenty of time to work on that. Stick with the TKD -

    Yes, you need some leadership. Other than this Leo club, are you in nothing else? I agree, you are in need of some leadership, and not just boys state. What holds your interest?
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    If you go to Walmart they sell pull up bars for the doorframe @15-20 bucks, you don't need to make one, unless you really want to do that.
    ~ I am not sure at your weight how sturdy PVC piping would be. The one they sell for a few more bucks is metal and include the brackets, that are also metal to screw into the wall.

    What we did with DS was a slow increase. Everytime he exited or entered his room he had to do X number of pull ups, every few days the number increased. Of course his siblings and friends knew this so they would scream at him if he didn't do it.
    ~ You'd be amazed how often you enter and exit your room on a daily basis. Think about it...wake up in the a.m. to take your shower, you enter and exit, leave the room after you are dressed to start your day...another set. Come home from school and enter your room, another set. Come down for dinner, another set, go back after dinner....another set. 1 more trip to the bathroom, another set for both entering and exit.

    DS was able to go from 3 pull ups to 13 within a month.

    I agree with fencer that weight probably has to drop because right now I would think they will tape you for the DoDMERB exam because you are over the max. weight by alot. I don't know the max weight, but my guess for your height it is under 200, and probably close to 190.
    ~ Understand there are many over the max weight, and that is why they will tape you, but if you are not in the allowable parameters for taping than it is going to be an issue.

    Shocking...I know, but I agree with fencer regarding your class rank. Unless you say to me that 70% of your graduating class goes to Ivies, than not only will the SA, and the MoCs see the contrast between your PSAT and class rank, but so will your plan B( ROTC and the colleges you apply to next year).
    ~ The PSAT is saying that you have the brains, your class rank with a 3.5 begs the question...how competitive your school is academically? Your school profile will be part of the equation for USAFA and ROTC scholarships. JMPO, but to say that you have a 3.5, and you are in the bottom 35% of the class, means either you go to a school where 70% go Ivy (ie competitive), or they give out As like candy on Halloween. The latter will hurt you because when placing the PSAT into the equation, especially being an NMSF, and with such a low ranking, it begs the question if you really applied yourself academically in school, or just did what you needed to to pull a good enough grade. If it is the 1st situation(Ivies), than it just says to them that the school is insanely competitive and you are pulling your weight.

    I also agree that it is time to read the stickies or the search function.
    ~Start looking through things like the nomination threads to see what the stats are like for your state in the past. It will allow you also to see if the MoCs share their wealth...aka they talk and you will get only 1 nomination in total. CA, VA, TX, FL, NY all quickly come to mind regarding MoCs talking.
    ~ Get your medical records in order. There are so many candidates that get tripped up because of DoDMERB. IE they never thought that the inhaler their doc gave them when they were 13 because the doc did it as a safety measure, and the folks have continued to refill it until now, even though they never used it would cause a red flag. Than of course there are kids that have eye sight issues.

    We all get the nerves, and the desire for direct answers to your questions, but the stickies and search tab exist for a reason. Not trying to be rude or harsh, just saying as a long time poster for every 69 questions that an applicant or candidate posts, I would say maybe 6-9 of them have never been answered before, the rest is just repetition that you can set your calendar to yearly.
    ~ IE what does it mean competitive vs principal?
     
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  8. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    My DH made a pull up bar out of heavy metal plumbing pipes, two short and one long with two elbows. Make sure you screw it into the ceiling joists, not just studs!

    They sell rubber bands that can help when you're first learning also. My DD could barely do one and within a few months she was up to almost a dozen (more since then too). She eventually stopped using the rubber band.

    The key is to practice every single day. Good luck!
     
  9. MABlue

    MABlue Member

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    i think right now, dropping weight would be the biggest concern, seeing as as the max for someone who is 6' 0 is only 201 pounds.
     
  10. Monochromebird

    Monochromebird New Member

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    My school is a college prep school so its pretty competitive/ advanced. About three quarters of students here go through concurrent credit (basically do the first two years of college in high school) and the other quarter are IB students. A's are definitely not handed out like candy (I go to a public school, yeah, but we work hard). I know my class rank isn't that good- my gpa last semester was a 3.82, had a b in calculus. I was lazy my first two years of school, and did not get very many good grades, had a few c's and mostly got b's. I've been improving. So I guess it falls midway between your two situations- Ivies and not competitive. Another thing about the CC program is that it does not weight gpa's at all, so I don't get the advantage there from AP/IB classes.
    I agree I need to be better at using the search function. Thanks for helping me out anyway
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Believe it or not it is becoming very common for kids to do the CC program in some variation. For my kids the program was called jump start. 1/2 of the day they would go to the HS, the other 1/2 of the day would be at the HS. You could be in the AICE (Cambridge program), AP or IB path. My kids went to 2 different HS in 2 different states. I would never ever say that my DSs school in NC would have been considered a competitive school. I would say that because my DD went to HS in NoVA, where the top 15-20% of the graduating classes typically go to Ivies, and the avg best sitting is 1300 out of 1600. Note that this is best sitting, not superscore, her HS is more competitive than my DSs in NC.

    The point I am making is that don't assume that just because the school offers jumpstart and the majority of students take them up on it that means the school is seen by admissions boards, be it SAs or colleges as competitive. Competitive actually comes more from whole class perspective, and that means not only if they offer AICE/AP/IB and jumpstart, but also the ACT/SAT scores, plus, the % that go Ivy compared to 4 yr private/Public OOS compared to 4 yr IS, compared to 2 yr CC, and straight into the workforce.

    When you go through the process next year you will keep hearing/reading about PAR (Prior Academic Record). In your sealed transcript there will be a school profile. That profile will include a lot of things to equalize the playing field.
    ~ % that go Ivy, 4yr, 2 yr and workforce
    ~ How many AP/IB classes are offered and % of students that take these courses
    ~ Pre-reqs to take the AP/IB/ Jump start
    ~~~ They want to know this because for example. My DS in NC HS could not take AP Bio/Chem/Physics until he took the Honors Bio, Chem or Physics. IOWS, for his school, very few kids had more than 1 or 2 AP sciences. My DD in VA could take standard, honors or AP, there was no pre-req. it was common that college bound students had all AP sciences. It would be unfair to ding the kid from NC for having fewer AP classes because their HS had different requirements than the kid from VA.
    ~ Grading scale.
    ~~ 7 point or 10 point. Again, if the kid that goes to a HS where it is a 7 point scale, than for them a B starts at a 92, a C is an 84. For the 10 point scale student they were a low A and a solid B. Depending on how the school than does their cgpa, it could lower their score. IE...school says a B weight is 3.2 no matter whether it is a high or low B. The only way it does equal out is if they do the exact grade %. For DS his cgpa was a 7 pt scale, but they used the exact grade %, so the 7 pt scale didn't matter really. For DD, her school did a flat system tied to their 7 pt scale. A 93 for her was a 3.6. Now in her situation it did matter because her true cgpa using the multiplier of 4.0, she would have had a 3.72, not a 3.6
    ~ Weight scale.
    ~~ What is the tippy top of the scale...4.5, 5.0, 6.0? Do they weight honors or is it still 4.0?

    If the sealed transcript does not contain this info, I know at least for the SAs, the GCs will be required to electronically submit info where that info will be released.

    There are so many new posters that don't get why older posters do not place a lot of weight into the cgpa, class rank or how many AP/IBs that is posted by the candidate because we know that the PAR is not that simple since part of it will include the school profile. Many are like you, no offense intended, but you live in a bubble for your school district, county, state, and not realize that a large % of you will go to the National Pool.
    ~ 535 MoC charges, 100 Pres., add in the Supe, and ROTC noms. and you still have about 500 appointments from the National list. Hence, when they start looking at the PAR, which is 60% of the WCS, your school that you believe is competitive, may not be by them.
    ~~ Plus, you need to add in the homeschoolers.

    I am not trying to be a downer. I am trying to be realistic so that you understand how it works for Plan A, B, C through Z.

    You have a great PSAT, being 95% means you are an NMSF. You should be able to translate that into a strong SAT.
    ~ Be smart, take the SAT as often as you can this spring. Also try the ACT. They will take which ever superscore test is the highest.
    ~~ FYI, if plan B is AFROTC scholarship, it is different. AFROTC does not superscore, it is best sitting. Nor do they take into the equation anything after your junior year, except for a new ACT/SAT score.

    Good luck.
     
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  12. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    EOD/SEALmom, how did your DD use the rubber bands while doing pull ups?
     
  13. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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  14. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    Thank you! That looks perfect. She has been using a chair, but these look much better.
     
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  15. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    PIMA is right on Mono.

    My homeschoolers took classes at two different local universities, plus had a full high school curriculum - lots of people take advantage of local college offerings. Don't get me wrong - the positives are most excellent.

    Some of us old-timey posters here are often unimpressed when kids tell us how competitive their high schools are. A kid taking a correspondence course from U of North Dakota (lots of them) may not go to a school where everyone goes to an Ivy, but they get into USAFA too.
     
  16. Sam2018

    Sam2018 Member

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    Just to clarify, a PSAT in the 95% will not be NMSF, and most likely not even commended. Commended is usually right around 97% and this year maybe higher because the new test is different and so is the grading. For one thing CB changed the % definition and now it is you scored the same as or better than as opposed the previous years it was better than. So depending on the state you might make NMSF at 97% if you are from a lower cut off state but the higher states, NJ, CA, MA, VA, TX and DC you will need to be well into the 99%. And if you are basing the % off total score instead of the NM selection index that can change even more. Two kids with equal total scores but with different math or reading sub scores, one may make NMSF (stronger verbal) and the other (math kid) will not. DS will probably just miss NM and he is 99+% but we are in Texas and he scored perfect in math.

    Sorry to hijack the thread but we are knee deep in trying to figure the new test out so I felt the need to clear that up :)
     
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  17. Monochromebird

    Monochromebird New Member

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    IB students at my school can get a 4.5 gpa. CC students are stuck on a 4.0 scale. I guess my school may not be competitive on a national level, but it's the best I can do in my state. Did I make a mistake by choosing concurrent credit and not IB? Honors classes do not get weighted at all. How does a 200 level science class compare to an AP one? On a whole class perspective, my school only offers CC (you're calling it jump start) or IB. Students don't have to go for a full AA degree, but most CC students do. In 2015, the graduating class had 33 full IB diplomas, 18 certificates, and 36 AA degrees. 78% went to a four year college, 12 to a two year college, and 10% to military or work or other. We had a single national merit scholar. Does that change anything you think about my school or is it still uncompetitive? Not trying to be confrontational, just a little worried about my chances of admission. Thanks for the help.
     
  18. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

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    My only concern is your class ranking/GPA, think ranking goes up when you take more APs or IB? If you are 95% PSAT than you should & can have better ranking at your school. Regarding your weight? Out DS is 5 9 & weights 195 & did 4 pull ups, he needed a BMI done by Dr. before appointment to USNA. DS is a wrestler & golfer but he will try to lose weight by I-Day. Try to get your weight down cuz weight/BMI etc will hold up your application process?
     
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    mono,

    Time to use the search tab. Appointments are geocentric at 1st...congressional/state. IOWS. you can't compare it from a national perspective. Look on the nomination threads to see what the stats look like coming out of your state.

    Have you used Naviance for your college selections? That should give you insight from your school perspective, much more than this forum where posters are from almost every state.
     
  20. Monochromebird

    Monochromebird New Member

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    No I haven't. Ive never even heard of it. Time to do some research.
    Edit: My school is not registered on Naviance.
    Other edit: Would it be remiss of me for me to post a link to my school's profile on USnews? That's about the only online source I can find describing it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016

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