Contacting my ALO

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Jordanwn, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Jordanwn

    Jordanwn Member

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    When would you all suggest that I first make contact with my ALO?
    As I've said before, I'm still a Sophomore in high school, is it too early to shoot them an e-mail?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
    Jordan
     
  2. Jusik

    Jusik Member

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    It's never too early to get started! You may even want to call your nomination sources to find out who they require recommendations from, so you can start building a rapport with those teachers.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    There's nothing wrong with dropping an email to your ALO, introducing yourself, if you know who they are. But beyond that, I wouldn't go any further. It will only make your discouraged. Remember, being an ALO is not someone's full time, normal, paid, job. They are all volunteers who are doing this because they want to. And they can be active duty or retired individuals with full time "Normal" jobs of their own. And with the number of applicants they are currently assisting; including many who are applying for ROTC scholarship; (Most ALO's also take care of this aspect also); there's not a lot of free time on their hands. So by all means, a single email introducing yourself is fine, but I wouldn't go beyond that. In other words, don't start asking them a lot of questions about the academy. They don't have the time. And if they don't respond, don't take it personal.

    And there isn't really one thing that your ALO can help your with at this stage in your "Desires", that can't be answered and found here on the forums. There are hundreds of people on the forums who are or has gone through anything and everything you might have questions about. So there isn't really anything an ALO can help you with that can't be found here. For now, let the ALO's finish helping those graduating high school this year, as well as them having their own life. As a sophomore, you will be contacting your ALO soon enough; in approximately 8-10 months; when you decide to apply for Summer Seminar. You'll have almost a year of "Getting to know each other" by the time you actually apply to the academy.

    As for your representatives and senators and their nominations; most, if not all of them explain their nomination process on their web sites. Most even have a downloadable application. You don't need to contact them either.

    THE REST OF THIS IS A NOVEL FOR THOSE INTERESTED. IT'S INTENDED FOR THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO APPLY IN THE FUTURE:

    Now, every year, (Usually between now and march), we get a lot of anxious individuals who want to be able to do stuff to increase their chances at getting into the academy. Well, I definitely have some advice. Usually, this would be for someone who is a Junior in high school, but you can hopefully take this to heart and use it.

    1. Most important: Make sure that you're taking the most difficult classes, that you can get good grades in, that your school has to offer. AP, IB, Honors, etc...
    2. Practice and Take the PSAT/SAT and practice tests as many times as you can. Your goal is a PERFECT SCORE. Don't ask what the "Average or Minimum" scores are for the academy. You aren't someone who has already applied and you're trying to gauge your chances. You have TIME. Use that time to try and reach your goal of a 2400 SAT and 36 ACT. If you're already going to say that such a goal is not practical or obtainable, then you need to readjust your perceptions, and possibly your desires.
    3. Physically; get into the best shape you can. EVERY DAY of the year, you should be involved with some physical activities. You need to be part of an athletic team. When you aren't on a team, because it's out of season or summer break, or whatever; you need to be jogging, doing pushups, doing situps, doing pullups, etc... And you need the goals to be extreme, yet realistic. Be able to run a 5 minute mile. Yes, you can. It is definitely possible. Whether you do or not isn't important. But it is possible, so you need to make that your goal. You have a lot of time. Even a Junior. Be able to do 100 pushups as fast as you can, without taking a break. 100 situps as fast as you can without taking a break. Do 15-20 pullups without stopping. These are very doable. Anyway; get physically in shape.
    4. Make sure you are getting as involved as you can in leadership roles and extra curricular activities. Volunteer time, school clubs, president/captain/etc... of the activities you're in; etc...
    FOR JUNIORS:
    5. IF YOU'RE A JUNIOR: Now til spring break, is when you really need to be talking to your teachers. They are going to be contacted by the academy to give their impressions of you. BEFORE school gets out for the summer, you need to have a good enough rapport with your teachers that you can ask them for their email address. And preferably not the school district email account, that they probably won't check during the summer. Try and have their hotmail, yahoo, gmail, etc... email account so that when you start filling out the application in June/July, you can put that info on the application immediately, and they can reply. You will spend a long time trying to find teachers during the summer. Have them lined up before summer starts.
    6. Same with your school admin. You are going to need them for school transcripts, class ranking, school profile, and other things. They aren't going to be open every day in the summer. Start talking with your guidance counselors, but MAINLY the school admin who can get you your transcripts and the info you will need. Some will say it's the guidance counselors, but it isn't. It's the school admin. Get on their good side; get lined up with them so that you can get transcripts and profiles early in the summer. Arrange these things.
    7. As a junior; know your congressman's application procedure for their nomination. It's on their website. Know the letters of recommendation and such that they will want. Contact those people now through the summer so you can have your application for nomination in as soon as your MOC allows it. Remember; your representative or senator is NOT going through these applications initially personally. They have staff to do that for them. Find out who THAT person is. Without being a PITA, get a rapport going there. Also, figure out if you're eligible for any other nominations such as presidential, vp, rotc, etc...
    8. If you haven't been selected to go to summer seminar, don't sweat it. Only approximately 700 people out of thousands get accepted for summer seminar. And it doesn't increase your odds of getting an appointment. It just helps you better understand what you're getting into. So if you don't get accepted to summer seminar, use this time to hopefully apply through your school for things like Boy's State, Girl's State, or similar VA/VFW/AL type summer programs.
    9. Be prepared to take your CFA (All that physical training you did) and your DODMRB (Medical physical by the doctor) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Do NOT wait until the fall. Do NOT wait until you've practiced another 2 months. If you've taken my advice in #3 above, then you're ready. Your ALO will definitely have contacted you a number of times by the time summer break starts. Let them know about your goals. What you have going. That you've been practicing for the CFA. That you want to take it as soon as the application process starts.
    10. And finally, by now, have your ALO realize how excited and motivated you are. That you've been preparing academically and physically for months/year. Ask for a copy of the CFA so you can practice one LAST time on your own to see that you can crush the test. Arrange to see if you can get your ALO to do their interview with you early in the summer as soon as the application process starts. Let him/her know how motivated you are. That you want to be eligible for an LOA or an early offer of appointment.

    Your ALO will be highly motivated to help you. They USUALLY have to fight for months trying to get applicants to turn in stuff so that they are committed to applying; and the ALO doesn't feel they are wasting their time. If S/He sees that you have kick butt grades, great physically, medically, EC, etc... and you've ready to complete your application, S/He will definitely want you to be their "Poster Child" for applications.

    And ALL of this is to lead up to something very important. Being able to start your academy appointment application as soon as enrollment opens, and to be able to complete it as soon as possible. I WON'T get into a debate about this, there are plenty of posts about the subject, but I will tell you that if you are PREPARED (As in all the steps above); then there is absolutely no reason in the world that you can't have your entire application to the academy completed; 100%; just waiting for a nomination and the results of your medical physical; all BEFORE July 31st. And yes, that is VERY DOABLE. Even the application says that they RECOMMEND you complete it within 45 days. My son was able to have his 100% complete; including the medical physical results returned; all by July 19th.

    If you can't have your application completed because you are "WAITING" on something from the school, teachers, transcripts, CFA, medical, interview, etc...; it means you didn't prepare properly. It means you waited to coordinate with all the people you needed to. And yes, there are definite advantages to having your application completed 100% in the summer. Including how it looks to your representative and senator when you are making contact with their staff member and you've mentioned how you are 100% complete. Or better yet, you are preparing for their nomination interview, and you've got an LOA (Letter of Assurance) in hand that GUARANTEES you an appointment if the rep or senator simply will nominate you. They will definitely be impressed. Yes, many people get appointments who waited until November/December to finish their application. Some even longer. And if that's the person you are, then that's fine. But you are asking 1-2 years out, so I assume you're motivated. Assuming an applicant knows they want the academy, and it isn't some last minute decision, there is absolutely no reason that an application by a traditional applicant can't be completed 100% by july. (With students overseas and other situations, that's different). So, here's your chance to see how motivated you truly are. Doesn't matter if you're a junior today who has decided they want the academy, or a sophomore like the OP asking. If you are truly motivated, you can successfully complete your application by july of the appropriate year. best of luck. mike.....
     
  4. Jordanwn

    Jordanwn Member

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    I tell you what Mike, your posts are always an amazing wealth of information and encouragement.
    Thank you very much! It's quite helpful!

    Jordan
     

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