Attn: Plan "B" ers

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Romad, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. Romad

    Romad Member

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    This probably belongs below, but I'm putting it here because we've all agreed that we need plan B's this year for the USAFA. One great plan "B" is/are the one year Service Academy Prep (SAP) Programs scattered around the country at different institutions. We happen to have one of those about 30 min from our home - Marion Military Institute.

    We visited it yesterday and my son met with the head of the SAP program there - LTC Lewis - It was a very nice visit with the Admissions Counselor, a young Lt and Alum, showing us around. We met with the financial aid folks too, there are more merit based scholarships available than you can shake a stick at and the program (which is separate from the 2 year commissioning program there - it's technically an AL Community College -) has a placement rate of 85% in the SA's.

    They currently have over 200 former SAP students at the different SA's and the acceptance rate at the USAFA for those with a Falcon Foundation scholarship is in the 98% range. LTC Lewis stated that although program participants without a FF scholarship had to compete in the national pool, they still had a very high success rate placing them.

    After taking a look at my son's stats and score (he brought his entire academy app package), he was immediately offered a position in the program with the admonishment to get the ball rolling on getting a FF scholarship (beginning with informing his USAFA Counselor he was interested). Being local was an even bigger plus because this area has special funding available just for living and graduating from here (we're VERY economically depressed). However, even out of state students receive significant financial aid and there are many of them in the 400+ Corps of Cadets. The town is a small one one in the middle of nowhere, however, it's only about 30 mins to Tuscaloosa and major entertainment.

    While it may not be the first choice of most of you to go there (it's small and the area is boring), I think my son put it rather well when he told the counselor that if he can't get in the front door of the USAFA this year, he'd much rather wait a year in the SAP at MI and get in the back door next year than go to any of his other choices because the USAFA is his hard goal. If it's also yours, then this program might be for you!

    Here's a link.

    http://www.marionmilitary.edu/

    Best Regards

    Romad
     
  2. Packer

    Packer Member

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    If one does not have a Falcon Scholarship, do you think the odds of getting an appointment are better at the prep programs than attending State U and doing ROTC for a year?
     
  3. debcst

    debcst Member

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    Good question- what is the precise acceptance rate for non-sponsored students?
     
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Couldn't agree more Romad. DS is made lots of new friends and is working hard at Northwestern Prep in California. He received the dreaded QNV (Qualified No Vacancy) letter last year. However, before we received the letter, we were already exploring Plan B's just like Romad and his DS are doing now.

    Here is our timeline from last year:
    1. January - Suspected DS might not receive appointment even though he was 3Qed with two nominations.
    2. January/February - Spoke in length with Mrs. Durbeck the Director at NWP. Mrs D. is great!
    3. February - DS applied and was accepted as a Free Agent - Paid deposit
    4. April - Received QNV letter
    5. May - Received Falcon Foundation scholarship
    6. August - Started at NWP
    DW and I are so glad that DS has the opportunity to strengthen his skills at NWP. NWP has a great track record for Falcons receiving appointments (100% last year and 98% overall).

    Other reasons (in no particular order) DS selected NWP:
    • We are originally from California and DS wanted to spend some time there.
    • We really liked many aspects of the program that Mr. and Mrs. D run at NWP. Based on what other NWP grads say, we believe that the skills he is receiving will benefit him for the rest of his life, no matter where he goes.
    • DS wasn't crazy about going through another Doolie type of year at a military prep school.
    • NWP consistently has the highest number of Falcons of any of the prep schools (50 Falcons this year).
    • The small size of the program (a total of only 95 prepsters this year).
    • NWP is a semester long program and then DS will attend a local college the second semester giving him a bit of a traditional college experience as well.
    Northwestern Prep website and Facebook wall.
     
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    I don't think that you will find this number published anywhere. I do know that there are NWP free agents that do not get an appointment each year. You might be able to figure this out for last year by contacting each prep school and getting the number of free agents accepted from their school.

    I dimly remember reading a post from either Flieger or CC where they generically ranked the different strategies to reapply to USAFA. From memory, in the order of effectiveness in getting an appointment the following year:
    1. Falcon (as sure of a thing as is possible-the appointment is the candidate's to lose)
    2. AFROTC
    3. Prep school free agent
    We chose the prep school route even before he became a Falcon because after researching we thought it would be most effective in addressing DS's weaknesses (from a USAFA admissions perspective). PM me if you want details.
     
  6. Romad

    Romad Member

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    The USAF SAP Director stated plainly that those with an FF scholarship were almost guaranteed a slot, those who didn't have one had to be more competitive being in the national pool. However, the stated success rate for the whole program - all five SA's - is 85%. Those are far better odds than the direct appointment process I believe.

    It really looks like a tremendous opportunity for an individual who is hard set on an SA appointment - my son tells me that he's leaning towards this as his hard plan B - that's saying a lot if you knew what an Auburn fan he is... :biggrin:

    Best
     
  7. Romad

    Romad Member

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    Here's MMI's appointment stats link.

    http://www.marionmilitary.edu/about-mmi/sap assessment.da

    Keep in mind the MMI SAP program is very small in size relative to other programs. There were 17 Air Force Academy SAP 2010/11 enrollees, 16 were appointed. Pretty good!

    Best
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  8. Packer

    Packer Member

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    The scholarship kids are almost a lock. If offered a scholarship it is a tremendous opportunity and I would strongly urge anyone to take it. The 15% who do not get an appointment come almost exclusively from the non-scholarship kids, making their success rate much lower. How this lower sucess rate compares is an unknown for us. We have asked this question of two admission counselors and an ALO and have not been given an answer other than "both are good options".
     
  9. Romad

    Romad Member

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    Heck, won't know unless you try, but I'd suspect that by just being enrolled in one of these programs as a back-up might give you an advantage when the A of G's are making their offers since they are very heavily stacked with sponsored preppies to begin with and some back-door communication must exist between them. Marion began breaking down their acceptance categories since their programs began having some good success with nonspon candidates - could just be the wars though...

    Best
     
  10. Packer

    Packer Member

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    This from NMMI

     
  11. Romad

    Romad Member

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    I'll bet that's the key - are you competitive as a candidate - I exchanged emails with the son's USAFA counselor earlier to update her and mentioned the Falcon program, she wrote back that it was first come first served and if you got a letter, get it back quick!

    Best
     

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