Asking for Feedback

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Insider, Jun 14, 2014.

  1. Insider

    Insider Member

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    I'd very much appreciate feedback on the "Appointee Kit". This is a brand-new system for us and we're looking for opinions and advice form those that have gone through the process.

    First, some background. The reason we implemented the Appointee Kit was two fold. First, it's time to fully implement the technology and move away from "snail mail" as much as possible. The second reason is financial -- USAFA (like the other academies and the military in general) is under increasing pressure to cut costs and we are operating with significantly fewer personnel (across the board) than in the past. Going 99% online eliminates a lot of printing and postage costs, and our hope is for a much higher completion rate than in the past (we were lucky to get 70-80% on many of the items). That led to considerable delays during in-processing as the forms had to be completed and data collected on I-day and really slowed the queue. This year we don't have the personnel to man the in-processing stations at the previous levels and the delays would be even worse.

    We know the primary criticism will be timing as the Appointee Kit had to be released in stages. It was literally under development as it was being released (again due to lack of funding and manpower). Fortunately that won't repeat going forward as it is now done and working. There will undoubtedly be some tweaks next year but we anticipate the entire kit being available on March 1st.

    That being said, we would really appreciate any constructive inputs on how we can make the process work better for all involved (USAFA and the appointees). Please leave your comments in this thread or PM me if you'd rather the comments not be public.

    Insider
     
  2. c.long

    c.long Member

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    I personally thought it was a great system. Something that may have helped would be e-mail alerts or even text alerts when our profile was updated with more forms to fill out, or when forms that appointees or candidates had to fill out and send send in have been received and processed. But overall I thought it was a very efficient and easy system.


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  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Considering the majority of applicants live on the application page checking their status very often; (Sometimes 3-4 times a day as the process moves on); I don't think any applicant needs to get a text or email. When the forms, applications, grades, medical, etc... are received and processed, your application will get updated. Most people would be checking their online application so often, that they'd see the update before receiving a text or email.
     
  4. Insider

    Insider Member

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    In any case that would be moot for next year as the entire kit (except for the "To-Bring" list and Authorization to Travel) will become available on March 1st.

    Insider
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014
  5. c.long

    c.long Member

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    Even then, it may be good to be able to receive an alert when forms have been processed by the Academy. That way way we can make sure it was received instead of having to check that specific form to make sure it was received. It was just a thought though. Again, I really didn't have any trouble with the kit at all. Just thinking of some things that I would've appreciated. Getting all of the forms all at once in March is actually something I would have really liked too. I could have gotten a lot of stuff done early on.


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  6. Insider

    Insider Member

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    Thanks for the input. We'll definitely be sending an alert when the kit opens. The forms process different times and in different ways (depending on who is consuming the data and how it is transferred). We're trying to improve the feedback loop for several of the agencies as a number of the forms ask for the candidate to certify that they have completed and mailed/faxed/emailed a paper copy to a particular agency (but the agency doesn't always receive the form).

    Insider
     
  7. Airforceproud95

    Airforceproud95 New Member

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    No complaints here--Appointee Kit worked well for me. Was able to stay organized and oversee all that I needed to get done. There was a lot of red text though! Sometimes confusing. Overall, the Kit was efficient and worked well.
     
  8. Jerseymom

    Jerseymom Member

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    I think the online portal was efficient and far better than waiting for and relying on mail. No texts or email needed for reminders. Cadets should be checking for updates and taking responsibility and accountability regarding inprocessing. When there were issues, emails were sent out to clarify misinformation.
     
  9. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Definitely liked the online kit vs trying to mail everything. That saved costs for us as well since we would have mailed everything express and certified.

    I suspect most of the appointees are like my DD - online everyday anyway.
     
  10. mja2014

    mja2014 Member

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    Kit was fine, but I think there should be an easier access to the portal itself. When I first started my application it took me a while to find the site to get to the app, until I later bookmarked it. Not sure if that's just me.


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  11. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    The on-line forms were great except we had a problem with filling out the PDF for the security form on the computer. I am not sure if it's because our computer is old and we are still windows xp, or if it was a problem with Adobe or what not. My son ended up killing a tree and filling it in by hand.

    The other issue we had was with the medical record of immunization. It asked for the the size of the tb results in millimeters. Ours son's was negative and when I called the doctor's office to ask for millimeter information their reaction was "You want what? They only record if it's negative or positive." So after hunting down the doctor, he said to put 0 because it was negative. Then I had to ask them for the type of meningococcal vaccination. I got another we don't track that information response. Luckily, our son just got it, so a nurse went to see if she could hunt it down. If he had gotten it a year ago, the nurse wouldn't have been able to tell me. The other issue that came up was the academy specified that he bring a record of his immunizations with him. His doctor's office wanted a form. I had no form so they used a state form. It would be good if there was an immunization form to print out that the doctor could fill out, sign and stamp.

    I realize that Microsoft is dropping support of xp, but I don't know how many people plan on a new computer or will be upgrading to a supported version. When rolling out the full version of the on-line process, some sort of message specifying the level of intent interface and o/s require would be great! We had issues with the common app because it no longer supported our level of internet explorer, and never specified what the issue was. We just kept getting a generic error message until I did a query and found out on a yahoo message board that was the problem. We down loaded another interface, and were able to access it. So providing that message up front would be a help to future applicants as the technology advances.
     
  12. Insider

    Insider Member

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    Unfortunately there is nothing we can do about the SF86 (security form) as that is provided by another government agency. I'm glad your DS was able to complete it, even if it was manual. The purpose of doing the SF86 before arrival is so the appointee can solicit his/her parent's help with many of the questions. It is a HUGE time-saver when the actual security clearance paperwork is prepared.

    This is great feedback and will be helpful during our hot-wash following in-processing. We had numerous issues with the TB test (for instance, for had several appointees say their test was "positive" but the reaction size was zero... that simply doesn't make sense). Next year I expect we will only ask for reaction size if the test is positive. Most will be negative, but we do have 20 or so positives. A positive test is not an issue, however (unless the appointee has actually developed TB which would be extremely rare) but the Clinic does need to make sure that therapy has been completed (or we'll do it for the appointee after he/she arrives). I'm sure we'll discuss the meningococcal vaccine as well (perhaps add a "don't know" to the drop-down for type), and we will discuss adding a form (but the state form should be fine).

    Insider
     
  13. afacademychic

    afacademychic Member

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    I really liked the online portal and I found it really easy to stay organized. I had some trouble with the boot sizing. I know they are just estimates but I found the boot sizing to be very confusing in how to report it (width, male vs female, etc). Other than that and the timing of items opening (which will be changed next year) I didn't have any major issues with it.


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  14. PJ Allen

    PJ Allen Member

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    Having gone through both processes (BFE Package with oldest DS, and the Online Portal with Middle DS), I can tell you that the online portal was a FAR superior process.

    The old process required many mailings (which had to be tracked, signed for at USAFA, us verifying that it was received, etc. etc. The portal was instant feedback, no tracking required, and well organized. Also far less confusing...

    I think the few bumps in the road were minimal, and absolutely understandable given the new development.

    Kudos to the staff for building a system on the run and still getting 1,200 appointees processed!
     
  15. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::
     
  16. NargleSlayer

    NargleSlayer Member

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    Even though the forms were released one after the other and some people may find this inconvenient, I found it to be helpful and exciting when a new form came out. I think there should be a reorganization of the priority list of what forms should come out sooner than the others (immunizations should come sooner, for example, as it's a challenge to find a physician that will administer the polio vaccine for appointees over 18. Getting a shot record together becomes a delay too). I think releasing the forms as you guys did is best because if all forms are released at once, it could be a disaster near crunch time, June 15.

    I love the idea of getting text and/or email alerts to see if your paperwork has been received and processed as well as new paperwork being added. I didn't check my portal 3-4 times a day like I know some have, and the text alerts would've been fun and convenient.

    I don't think it is irresponsible to not be checking your portal 3-4 times a day, as we are all well rounded kids, we get pretty busy. As much as I love staring at a computer screen, the good feeling of a "USAFA ADMIN" text notification (which you should DECIDE if you want or not) coming in would keep me peppy through the day!

    There needs to be a warning to get the specific type of meningitis vaccine on record because that caught me by surprise.

    I'd like to thank all that have administered our appointee paperwork, as I'm sure a lot of us type A people were quite persistent to see how our paperwork was doing. The new online portal was organized, helpful, and punctual for the situation the military is facing. Keep up the good work and keep updating!
     
  17. XRavensCymbalMom

    XRavensCymbalMom New Member

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    DD doesn't have an account here, so I am recording her thoughts. We agree about what was said about about immunizations. DD said that she actually liked that the paperwork was released over time instead of in bulk, but the release time could have begun earlier, which won't be a problem next year. The security clearance PDF was a challenge for her as well; it kept freezing up. She was definitely happy that most things were able to be submitted electronically.

    Feedback:
    1. The Instructions to Appointees book wasn't in alignment with the information on the portal.
    2. More specificity on the measurements would be helpful. Even the professionals measured differently, creating more confusion.
    3. Information by email was difficult. Who received which emails seemed kind of random. Some appointees would get certain announcements by email and others didn't.
    4. The May 22 text, saying that the appointee kit was incomplete, send panic through the group because it was stated that their appointment was in danger. However, not everything was even available at that point on the portal, so there was nothing that could be done to complete the appointee kit at that time.
     
  18. Rdelahunr

    Rdelahunr Member

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    I was able to fill out the security form on Adobe after downloading just fine and then printing later. Tried one other computer before it that didn't support filling it out electronically. As for accessibility, it was initially a pain to navigate to the portal (so was accessing the application the very first time (precandidate questionaire)). After a while the portal link was the first thing to come up when googling "USAFA portal," which was handy. Also, the changing over from name, birthdate, and social security to a username and password was a breath of fresh air. Other than those things, I thought it was great. I wasn't a fan of waiting for items to come out, but that evidently won't be a problem in the future.
     
  19. afa18

    afa18 Member

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    Pretty much what's been said. Worked fine, minus the waiting for processing and forms coming out later, but that's not a huge issue.
     
  20. Rocko

    Rocko Member

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    Insider,

    I had a question regarding the Travel orders. According to my DS he received notice on the portal that he needed to bring 3 copies of the travel orders. He also said the last form on the portal was an authorization to travel.

    Is the travel order the same as the Authorization to travel?

    Does he need to bring 3 copies as originally stated? I don't believe it is listed on the Checklist.

    Rocko
     

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