Applying now more complicated than earlier?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by MombaBomba, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    I was having a discussion with a friend who has a daughter going through the college application process. We both agreed that applying to college now is far more complicated and detailed than when we applied (mid 1980s for both of us). The redone common app and naviance are problematic to put it nicely. High schools and colleges are frustrated - interface errors, submission errors, notification errors, etc. etc. etc.. Any parent who has had to deal with FAFSA can relate to the hair pulling involved with reporting every little financial detail and transaction. There is absolutely no way a child can fill out fafsa unless he has been privy to every financial detail, 1040, mortgage, loan, retirement savings, stocks and investments his parents have been involved with.

    From those who went through the service academy applications "back in the day", do you think it is more complicated, difficult or detailed now than when you applied?
     
  2. lillian

    lillian Candidate

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    This is one of the few reasons I'm glad I'm a foster kid. It only took a couple minutes for me to fill out the whole FAFSA. I'm independent. My income is considered zero. Done.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I believe that it all a matter of preparation. That preparation begins at the beginning of the individual's Junior year of high school. Obviously taking the right classes, being involved in sports, extra curriculum activities, etc. start years before that. But as for the application process, if you prepare yourself and know what needs to be done, the process isn't that bad.

    While I never attended the academies, being an ALO, I've seen a couple of individuals in my time go through the process. My son graduated the academy 2 years ago, so I don't mind mentioning now about his application process.

    The end of his junior year of high school was extremely busy. He got out of school a few days early because he was selected to go to Boy's State. 2 days after Boy's State he went to the Air Force Academy Summer Seminar. A week after returning from Summer Seminar he started Summer Football Camp. I only bring this up because directly after returning from Summer Seminar, his application opened up for him to begin the process. From the first day of starting the application; approximately the 14th of June, until 100% completion; including DODMRB, transcripts, CFA, ALO interview, teacher's recommendations, school profile, essay's, presidential nomination, etc. literally 100% complete; he completed the application the last week of July. Less than 45 days.

    In the next 30 days, prior to the beginning of the new school season, and still training every day at football practice, he finished his college applications and scholarship applications to 3 other universities. By the time his senior year started, (The last week of August), he was completely finished with all applications to all schools. By the end of September, he was receiving early admission offers. He received his air force academy appointment at the end of October. Physically received the BFO on November 10th.

    So I guess what I'm saying is: I don't think applying to the academy is any more difficult today than it was in the past. In my opinion, it's simply a matter of preparation. If you have your grades, ACT/SAT, fitness, school counselors, administration, etc. lined up PRIOR to starting summer vacation at the end of your junior year, then there's no reason in the world you can't have your application completed 100% in less than 60 days. But if you get out of your junior year of school and casually start the application when it opens up, you could easily be into October, November, or even December before completing the application.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    We were fortunate. We didn't fill out the FAFSA at all. The only scholarships either of my kids applied for were private scholarships and those that didn't require federal student aid.
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I don't think it is anymore complicated then when I applied. I have helped a few kids out with their applications in the last few years. Looks like just about the same paperwork. The biggest difference is the instant access to information the online application process provides. I think this is a great thing, yet also I think a bad thing. When I applied via snail mail, you followed the instructions you were given and waited for the next piece of mail. It was slow, but we weren't on portals every hour or day freaking out over every small change. The access to boards like this are great, but it also takes some of the mystery out of going to an Academy. Everyone wants to know every single detail of what to pack or what every moment of Beast or Plebe Summer is like. We just followed instructions we were mailed and made it through just fine. Having better informed applicants I think helps ensure future Cadets and Mids know what they are getting into, all positives. So pros and cons to it all.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree I don't think it is anymore complicated for our kids than it was for us, with one exception. Our generation there was none of this take the SAT/ACT 5, 6,7, etc times. Nor the writing portion.
    ~~~~ It was you had two shots out and best sitting was your score. If you took it a third time than they started averaging all of your scores. Thus, most of us would not even dare to take it a third time. Nor was there trying to convert the ACT to an SAT score. The ACT score was the ACT and that was how you were scored.

    The new system makes it more complicated because some schools use best sitting, some super score. Some use the writing portion, some don't.

    The other complication that comes about, if you call it that, is our generation did not have the amount of ECs and sports as their generation. Some of these overlap, such as TKD because it is not a high school sport, so you could be left wondering which column to place it under...after school activity or a sport. Our DD worked as a lifeguard for entire summer for Young Life, but it was volunteer, yet she had to be certified. Community service or a job or both? Lifeguard certificate, where does that go? I bet you will find different answers depending on the person you ask.
    ~~~ We put lifeguard as a job. YL hours during the yr., but not including summer as community.
     
  7. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Well I agree with you and your friend. It seems more complex now than it did for me in the '80's. I am referring to college not the SA's as I didn't apply to the SA's in the 80's. In the 80's you filled out a paper application out, dropped it in the mail and waited for the college to send you something in the mail. There was essentially zero feedback. Today there are all kinds of information available, we see who else is being accepted/rejected from all over the country, we expect instantaneous feedback. I think the source of this "more complicated" looks back at us in the mirror every morning.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 Packer. I think we created the problem. In our day I remember there was no rolling or ED, it was EA and RD. Either you found out in Nov. the answer to one college which you would have to attend or it was April 15th. There was none of this stalking the mailbox for 6 months.

    I also think it was easier for us because we didn't apply to as many colleges as kids are now because of common apps. We might have applied to 4, maybe 5 colleges at tops. Go on college confidential.com and some of these kids are applying to 10 schools+ :eek:
    ~~~~ My kids applied to 5 and that was it. Thus, I didn't find it more complicated, but if your kid is doing 7 or more and if some are not on common app than you are going to find it more complicated.

    I would say the biggest complicated issues to me comes from FAFSA and how colleges have different deadline dates for financial/merit awards. Trying to keep track of those individual drop dates was what drove me crazy. One school would be Nov 1st, another Dec.1st, another Dec. 31st, and FAFSA after Jan. 1st.
    ~~~ Our generation we applied, submitted the folks tax return to the school and the school got back to us. There was no FAFSA, nor submit by x date to be eligible for financial aid.

    I guess the more I think about it from an in depth perspective, I have to now agree it is more complicated.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    ^^^^^
    Good god Pima! You're making me feel terribly old. There was no ACT in my day. Just the SAT without writing. Took it a few times. Also only applied to one in-state public school as it was the only one with the major that I wanted, so things were easier in that sense too. Since college was on my dime the was no other alternative with OOS or privates. Of course, back in the stone age you actually had to get to the college to do an interview. I felt like everything was riding on that at the time; although in retrospect, considering my SAT scores and grades there was no way I wouldn't get accepted... even if I was THAT guy! Especially at that college where, during two weeks each winter, during the day the temp might warm UP to 30 below. Makes me wonder how ClarksonArmy deals with it now.

    Way easier back in the day. Costs we way lower too. They were even considered affordable!
     
  10. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    I doubt you are that old. A form of the ACT has been around since 1959. However, I get what you are saying. I grew up in California and had never heard of the ACT when I took the SAT in 1981. Even today, the ACT is more popular in some regions of the country than others.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I also only applied to one school, the only engineering school that I could afford. I grew up in Idaho and took the SAT and ACT each one time in 1984. I think I took the ACT first but a scholarship that I applied for required the SAT so I had to travel to Oregon to take the test. My kids have asked me what my scores were and I honestly don't have a clue. All I know was they were good enough to get into college and earn a little scholarship money.

    It was pretty simple.

    Yes, costs were much more affordable. I had a summer job in the logging industry and could make enough money during summer break to afford a year of college. Kids can't come close to being able to do that today.
     
  12. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    So, from what I gather, the process for applying to the academy is not much different from "back in the day." Its just the notification and application interface that has changed.

    Thanks for the feed back!
     
  13. batmom

    batmom Member

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    Yes...it is more complicated today!!!

    I graduated from high school in 1971 and from U.C. Berkeley in 1974-(yes- in 3 1/2 years) and I can assure you that my son's (a C3C) application process was far more complex than mine... I took the SAT once (as did the majority of my classmates) and the highest grade in my high school was a 4.0, so there were no A.P. classes that inflated our grades. I do not look at today's high school graduates as smarter (although they may have a 4.4 GPA) but I do look at their application process as being more complex. We simply submitted our grades (from our high schools) and our SAT scores, and an application, and then we heard (via U.S. mail) whether we were rejected or accepted. The process for my son (who wanted to attend a service academy) was infinitely more complex than the application process to a University of Calif. and definitely more time-consuming. However, in my son's case, (I believe) that his congressional interview (which took place before a board of Air Force officers) is what enabled him to attend this amazing school. He did very well in his interview (receiving the Principal Nomination from our congressional district) and my son is now happily (very happily) attending USAFA. His process however, was definitely more complex and time-consuming than my process to attend U.C. Berkeley which is still ranked as one of the top public universities in this nation. I thank God that my process was not as complex as his was...or I might not be a graduate of U.C. Berkeley today... nearly 40 years later.:smile:
     
  14. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    I lived in Arizona in the late 70's early 80's and all my high school had was the ACT. We had no choice, and I recall getting only one shot at it. I applied to only one university; at that time (or at least in Arizona) it seemed if you applied you always got in. The biggest difference today has to be the expense! Total cost for EVERYTHING in the early 80's in Arizona was well under $5000/year (that's including "good time" money as well!)
    Today in California I will have paid out close to $100,000 by the time my DD has a degree from a local cal-state university--that is absurd!
     

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