Can I still be considered for an LOA if...

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by academania, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    Hey everyone,

    Let me preface this by saying I am very well aware of how hard it is to get an LOA and that they are the on the same level as those appointments given out in march. I am not in any way exclaiming that I will get one.

    I am currently a listed as CANDIDATE on my application. I have everything in except for my CFA. I will not submit that until I get at least the averages for most, if not all of the categories. Thus, here is the hypothetical situation: If I have my application COMPLETE by the end of next week, do you think I'll still have a chance at recieving an LOA? I am aware that LOA's start going out in October, but if I complete by September 26, am I still enough ahead of the game to be seen by the board in time for LOAs?

    Thank you all for your advice, I really appreciate it.
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    When you say complete, are you still going to be waiting on the CFA??? You application is NOT COMPLETE until EVERYTHING is 100%. That includes the CFA. The ONLY thing permitted to be PENDING, and still allow your application to be COMPLETE, (Which is required in order for the board to look at it), is your NOMINATION and you DODMRB results. All other things MUST be done and submitted, or your application isn't complete, and WON'T be looked at.

    Now; assuming you mean that you plan on having your CFA done next week and then your application will be COMPLETE; then as soon as the academy application section goes through your package to ensure it is in fact 100% complete, accurate, and eligible; you will then be eligible to be seen by the board, starting with the next board review. Which is generally weekly. And yes, the academy has the option to offer any candidate an LOA if they want to. There are no hard set rules on the appointment process. There isn't a: "Fill in these blocks and you get an appointment". It's possible for 2 people with identical scores to have one make it and one not. It's possible for someone with lower gpa/sat/act to make it, and higher to not make it. Same with LOA. There are no hard set rules that say certain people can get one and others can't. If you are eligible, qualified, competitive, etc...; the academy can offer you an LOA if they want to. There are no deadlines.

    However; realize that they aren't going to give out hundreds of LOA's. So, the earlier your application is 100% complete; including the CFA; and submitted, the sooner you have a chance of having your application in front of the board. And the better your chances are of getting an LOA or appointment. best of luck. mike.....
     
  3. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    I thought that you could still be given an LOA without a submitted CFA score
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    For the Air Force, an LOA is a letter of ASSURANCE and says that if you pass your DODMRB and have a nomination, you will be ASSURED an appointment. But they won't even look at your application if it's not 100% complete. And therefor, they can't offer you an LOA if they don't look at your application. Even athletes who receive an LOA, later in the process, had to have a completed application. Army/Navy are different. They provide LOA's prior to the application being completed.

    Now, I will say that anything is possible in life. But in all the time I've been involved with assisting those interested in the air force academy; about 6 years; my experience and understanding is that your application won't go in front of a board and be reviewed for LOA or Appointments until the application is 100% complete. Which includes the CFA. The ONLY thing that can be pending is the DODMRB and Nomination. Steve (Flieger) please correct me if I'm wrong. later.... mike.....
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with Mike, for the couple of yrs that we have been here, I know of nobody receiving an LOA from the AFA without a 100% complete packet. FYI, you could have it complete, but if your ALO rec or teachers recs aren't there you do not have a completed packet, so before you jump do you even know if your ALO has written their rec? Are your teachers recs there?


    I know you say you realize they are rare, but let's put it in real numbers. The AFA gives out about 100 - 150 LOA's, they start with close to 9,000 opening files, @6K complete their files and they end with 3K that have noms, at this point the only people that probably have noms in hand would be Presidential. So if you use that 6K number, you have approx. 1 out of 40 chance to get one. If you do not have an out the door resume ( #1 in a class of 500, 3.9 uw gpa, 33 ACT/2200SAT, Class President, President of NHS, Eagle Scout, SLS, Varsity sports, Maxed CFA, ALO ranks you as number 1 pick in their rec, etc, etc). The chances are that the LOA will not be showing up at you door.

    Although you say I know they are rare, you must admit, that you are hoping for one. Hoping is great, but reality is needed too. If you are looking around and feel that your stats are lower than somebody else, don't rush it, keep working on your packet. Once the packet is submitted, it meets the board, a WCS is given. It will never go up again until you submit an update, and only that part will...i.e. new SAT scores, than just the PAR, team captain, than just the ECS.

    Just my opinion, don't get wrapped up in the whole LOA thing, submitting a weaker packet will hurt you more than you could imagine.

    Let me give you an ex:

    You get a nom, your packet is scored, you are not the highest in pts. You retake your SAT and score 100 pts higher. You re-submit those scores, however, at this point everybody submitted their completed packet a month ago, and due to the WCS that person was already awarded the apptmt. You now are high enough to go into the NWL, or hope that the decline the apptmt.

    A few yrs ago, I could not understand why people were waiting until Feb to do their CFA...now I get it. Not submitting it earlier allowed them to give the best packet that was possible without risking being placed into the NWL. It might be selfish of them, while others sit and wait, but you will start seeing appts without LOAs showing up in late Oct.

    Finally, before you freak on the process I just laid out, typically only about 300-400 appts go out before the mass mailing, so when people say mass mailing it is a mass mailing of about 75% of the incoming cadets.
     
  6. mdanderson

    mdanderson Member

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    S (class of 2013) received his LOA in Jan.........prior to his nomination. In addition, his CFA was mediocre, and we have spoken to multiple cadets who cannot believe how much they worried about their less than stellar score at the time of application. I would NOT stress about the CFA. He maxed his AFT two weeks ago!
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Although this may be true for your son. I think it is wrong to tell any candidate not to be concerned over the CFA. What is mediocre to you and what it is to me can be 2 different things. Also, from very competitive states that CFA might be your make or break on your WCS. As I have stated before the CFA is one thing you have true control over, and you should take advantage of that opportunity.

    Everyone is able to find the max scores and this allows them the ability to max it. Do not misconstrue this as that is the reason you will be accepted to the AFA, because we all know that is not true, but if your package is middle of the road regarding your PAR and EC's than it does not hurt to knock the CFA out of the ball park. For example, many cadets don't realize that SLS or Eagle Scout is important to the AFA and that helps when your SAT is a little below the mean. It is the whole package and you want to give the best whole package you can to overcome any shortfalls that you may have. For the AFA they do care about the CFA since they have an altitude issue. They know you will eventually acclimate to it, but that will not help in the first few days of BCT if you had poor CFAs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    With all the discussion about the CFA, applications, when to submit, etc... Pima mentions a very important factor. The applicant who is middle of the road or average on scores and such. This takes introspect by each candidate. No one really wants to admit that they may not be as stellar as they'd like to believe. But each individual applicant really needs to sit down and figure out the best way to maximize their application and odds. Yes, while eagle scout, CAP, JrROTC, etc... are very good on a person's application, they are normally "Life Long" endeavors. (As much of a Life-Long a 17-18 year old person can have). In other words, a 16 year old can't just decide to improve their chances at getting accepted to the academy by all of a sudden trying to become an eagle scout. That's impossible. It takes years to go from 2nd, 1st, star, life, eagle. Same with many other EC's. If you've never done fresh/jv/varsity sports, and choose to start doing track in the spring of your junior year, so you can put it on your application; that's better than none at all, but it isn't going to count for as much as a person who played sports since jr high. 1 year in a club, just so it can go on the application/resume isn't nearly the same as 4 years and working your way to an officer in that club.

    So follow the advice that many have given. Be involved; take advanced classes; get physically fit; etc... But then at the end of the day, you and only you (the candidate) has to decide how best to maximize your application. If you've got killer GPA/SAT/ACT/Class rank; and you've been practicing the CFA for 4 months; and you have achieved "X" score in all areas; you have to determine if you think you can significantly improve on those scores. If you feel you've reached your max potential, (Assuming you're within the average or above scores); then it's time to submit your application. You may gain an advantage having the application available and reviewed by the board. Remember, the board doesn't review all packages and wait until March to give out appointments. They give out LOA/appointments along the way. And you can be considered for either if your application isn't available to the board. Which means 100% complete. However; if you honestly know that your application is average and middle of the road; and while good, there's nothing spectacular about it; and based on the type of people (Non-Athletic recruits) who have received LOA/Early Appointments, how yours compare; you may be better off seeing if you can get that one or two more pullups. But there is not one person here that can advise you on that decision. So PLEASE DON'T ASK. Telling us that you can do 11 pullups, and asking if you should submit or try to increase the number, is not something anyone here can answer. That's like asking: "What are my chances".

    One of our senators was extremely impressed that 2 of the applicants had their applications completed early. One at the end of July and the other in August. To the senator, it showed someone who was really determined to get into the air force academy. The academy also sees this. Not that getting it in uber early is any guarantee. But if you have a very strong/high application score; the "Determination" factor of having it in so soon could in fact play a part in the board's review of your application and scores. Does the 4.0 gpa, high sat/act, high class rank, high EC/Sports/etc... applicant who submits their application in July/August completed have an advantage of a 100% equal applicant who submits their application in October? MOST DEFINITELY!!!! But equally defined, the weak package that probably has no chance of getting an appointment, will probably have no advantage at all submitting it early. The CFA really only has 3 basic significance. a) You really suck and can barely do 1 or 2 pullups. b) You are are at or above average with 90% of everyone else. (Basically, these are the pass and fail categories). Then there's c) which comes into play for the very last few appointments that will fill in the final 1400 that accept the appointment. That one or two extra pullups (Might) have an impact. The problem is however; so could a state that is more under represented compared to other states have an impact on choosing someone from that state instead of someone with a higher CFA score. Or maybe other diversity factors such as gender, race, part of the country, etc...

    I know many people would like the entire appointment process to be strictly a numbers game. But it can't be. You can not just take 10,000 applicants; score them on all the criteria; and then choose the top 1400 scores.The academies are funded by tax dollars. That means that all 50 states expect to be equally represented with appointments. That's why 453 of the appointments will be from the #1 choice on the representative's slate. That's why there will be 100 presidential appointments. And throw in another group of misc. nominees, prior enlisted, ROTC, etc... Basically; HALF of all appointments are committed for already. So, the remaining 700 is going to be based on a lot of diversity factors. Will you allow a representative to have 10 cadets in the academy? No, the rule says 5. If by chance, the remaining 700 scores happen to be all White Men, do you take them. (I know, touchy subject; sorry, deal with reality). If the remaining 700 happen to come from all the private well to do and affluent areas of the north-east USA, do you take only them and none from Louisiana, Mississippi, or Idaho? And, is it fair that some are going to be recruited athletes who might not have the highest scores of the remaining thousands of applicants???? That's a hard one. They will meet the minimum standards, but obviously some might have lower gpa's than someone who didn't get accepted. But honestly, the academy doesn't get all it's money from taxes. Athletics brings in a lot of money, publicity, recruiting, etc... Both to the academy, ROTC, and with enlisted personnel. So, those activities are also important. And remember, there's quite a few of the athletes that are also on the dean's list; so don't think all jocks have lower GPAs. MOST going to the academy have the same or above gpa's as the rest of those accepted.

    So, everyone needs to do the best they can with their grades, EC, Sports, CFA, etc... Then, you need to be honest with yourself. If you've maxed what you can max, then submit your application. You're actually reducing your odds by holding out. If you have average scores but think you can do a little better on the CFA, but you have a killer application in all other areas, you have to think how much you lose not having your application reviewed, compared to what another 1 or 2 pullups will get you. Or, you have to be honest with yourself and look at the past year's class profile and compare your application. If you are below the average, and honestly not stellar in any one area, maybe you should hang out for a little longer and try to grab every extra point you can from a kick-butt CFA. (But if you can only do 5-7 pullups now; it's unlikely you will ever be able to do 18-20 any time soon). Best of luck. Mike....
     
  9. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    That's probably the biggest reason they look for high CFAs. Someone with a low CFA is going to have a heck of a time in the first few weeks. I can imagine a few quitting in that short time period.
     
  10. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    Thanks for that post Christcorp, that really clarified some things for me. I am kind of in that position myself and am trying to decide how to make my app look better without sacrificing much time. But anyway, thanks for the useful info for us all.

    Later,

    Brian
     

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