Do I stand a chance getting into the Academy?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Jon_Avery, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Jon_Avery

    Jon_Avery New Member

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    I am currently a senior in high school(I know I will have to take a year of college first), with a 3.84 GPA, around a 4.00 weighted. I am number 3 in my class of 78, number 1 got accepted into the USNA. I have a 3.837 GPA as of this moment, and a 4.0 for this semester so far. I did not do amazing in my SAT's, but they were OK. I got 660 math and 610 reading. I recently took a placement exam at a CC and I got 99 and 97% in reading and writing, respectively. I think I can do better on the ACT, or even the SAT again. But for now just assume my current SAT score.

    I've been a 4 year starting varsity baseball player, and a 1 year varsity basketball player. I can prettily easy meet or exceed the physical requirments. I am about 6'3" and weigh 175 lbs.

    Since I started in Highschool I've been a member of National Honor Society, as well as in advanced math and honors/AP English. By my junior year I had passed the AP Calculus exam(Number 1 didn't feel confident enough to take the test) and the AP Lang and Comp exam. Our school only offers 5 AP classes, I took two as a junior, and am taking 2 now.

    I have not had a large community service record, mainly minor volunteering within school, but I have held leadership positions at work. In my Freshman and Sophmore year I was a Supervisor at a berry field, and now I am working as a lifeguard at a local pool, most of the time the lifeguard in charge.

    As it stands now I plan to enroll in college for the Spring and start persuing Mechanical Engineering while partaking in AFROTC(I did not apply for a scholarship). My dream is to become a pilot and the Academy is the best way to get there, ROTC second.

    Without any further changes, assuming I get a congressional nomination, what are my chances?


    What can I do to improve my resume? Here is what what I have thought of so far:

    1: Join the local CAP attachment. This will also get me volunteer hours.
    2: Retake the SAT or ACT. I do not know if I can improve my scores. I do not do well in extended testing sessions.
    3: Maintain a 4.0 for the first year in college.

    How much will this help me?


    Thanks,

    Jon Avery
     
  2. pilot2b

    pilot2b Candidate Appointee

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    Those are all good. Have you contacted your ALO and asked for their advice? You may want to consider doing that within the next month (after this admission cycle winds down a little).
     
  3. 3QConcerns

    3QConcerns Member

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    You're pretty tall, and are somewhat close to the maximum standing height of 6'5" for pilots (and this may limit what you can fly). The thing to be weary of, at your height, of is the seating height requirement of 34 to 40 inches.

    If you exceed the 40", after a quick Google, it seems that you can get a waiver to fly certain aircraft (as a silly example, I'm guessing there's more than enough room in a C-17, but not so in an F-16).

    The Air Force has all sorts of requirements and restrictions, and they're a good thing to keep in mind as you go.

    I, as you will be doing, applied to USAFA out of college (except as a sophomore) and doing extremely well in college is imperative to getting a nomination and getting an appointment (I believe you're not allowed to get any grade lower than a C). Doing well in college is what got me my principal nomination.

    You need to get your SAT/ACT up. It's not competitive enough, especially if you're applying out of college.

    Also, just as general advice, I'm guessing by the limited number of AP courses your school offers that your AP Calculus class was the AB test, not the BC. I highly advise against going into Calc II from that. The AP math exams are bull, and they do not teach proper understanding. If your school has an advanced intro calculus course, I'd definitely take that.

    Calculus takes the role that algebra took in high school--it's considered a "basic" skill that's needed all over the place. You want to be good, and to be good at it, you need a solid foundation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2012
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I'm sure you mentioned it, but I reread it and can't find it. It says you go accepted into the Naval Academy. Why aren't you going there. That should be your #1 choice, not ROTC. Nothing against ROTC, but if you don't want the naval academy, then you probably wouldn't want the air force academy. Just trying to figure out your position.
     
  5. Jon_Avery

    Jon_Avery New Member

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    Yes, it was AB Calculus, but that is the highest math our school offers. I am auditing pre-calculus so I am not off of math in college. I'll definately retake the ACT then, I'll try to schedual for the September exam(I graduate on the 9th of June, with honors, so I can't take the test then.) I'll measure my seat height in a bit.

    @Christcorp, the Number 1 in my class got into the Naval Academy, I did not even apply. My parents were not very enthusiatic when I mentioned ithe possibility to them.

    @Pilot2B, So withen a month I should contact the ALO, what about starting the application? It is open now...

    When should I talk to the congressmen in my state about getting a nomination? Is the acceptance rate of USAFA based on people who got nominations from congressmen? If so, under 10% acceptance is pretty daunting.
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Gotcha. Thanks. I thought it said "I" got into the USNA. My bad.
     
  7. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    You'll need a nomination to be legally qualified for admission. There is no single "XX%" stage, but nominations are one of the bigger factors in reducing the number of candidates.

    I think you are in decent shape, although your SAT could be a little better. I don't know how much SAT/ACT scores factor for college students applying. Do well in your classes, continue to participate in athletics, and keep going for leadership positions.
     
  8. Jon_Avery

    Jon_Avery New Member

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    I have been looking at the Congressional nominations, is it best if I apply to each Senator/Rep in my state? I can not take the ACT before September 8, and so I am going to have to submit my 610 and 660 SAT scores. How plausible is getting a nomination going to be? Is it best to submit the request as soon as possible, or wait until September 8th when I take the ACT? Or should I re-attempt the SAT on June 2?
     
  9. usafa2012mom

    usafa2012mom Member

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    Jon Avery, Last year my DS received and took the advice to take the SAT and ACT as many times as possible. So he did, every time the test was available. The SA's superscore and will mix and match your scores. His best scores came on his last SAT and ACT tests, and he took 5 of each. So consider taking these tests as many times as you can afford to do so. Good Luck. :smile:
     
  10. profsparrow

    profsparrow Member

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    You will need to ask for nominations from every possible source, your Congress persons, Senators, as well as Vice Pres. If one of you parents retired from AD military, or are currently serving you'll need to get a Presidential nom. Your GPA and everything else you've shared looks pretty good. I would say that, as Ramius said, you might need to work on leadership more. Also start now getting prepared for the CFA. Pull-ups seems to be an issue for some folks (like my DS). As far as running goes I would suggest that you need to be able to run at least 3 miles at a 6:15 minute per mile pace. That's Navy's suggestion for incoming Plebes and it's probably close to USAFA too. GOOD LUCK! :thumb:
    BTW...the nominating sources ARE very interested in great SAT/ACT scores. If you aren't happy with your results and know you can do better, then late night studies are in your future. You are applying to an Ivy League college that is far more choosy than Harvard, Yale, or Duke...and harder to get accepted to.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  11. Packer

    Packer Member

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    ??
    Is this supposed to be 6:15 mile pace? 6 1/4 mile per minute will get you a heck of a ticket.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    2 things to clarify:

    1. The academy does superscore your SAT/ACT. Realize however, when they "Mix and Match" the best scores, they are doing it for that particular test. In other words, they'll take the BEST Math from the SAT however many times you took the test, and use it with the BEST Reading from the SAT however many times you took the test, and use it with the BEST Writing from the SAT however many times you took the test. You'll then have a SINGLE SAT Set of scores; made up of the BEST scores. Same for the ACT. They DON'T mix SAT and ACT scores. If your ACT Math was perfect, and your SAT Writing was perfect, they aren't putting those 2 together into one score.

    2. "DO I STAND A CHANCE"? I, and many others, get this question a lot. There is absolutely no way anyone can say whether you WILL receive an appointment with any scores, gpa, rank, EC, Sports, etc... that you list. Why? Simple.... We have no idea who your competition is, so we can't say if your scores are good enough or not. But we can tell you with 100% accuracy; if you DON'T APPLY, then you are 100% guaranteed to NOT RECEIVE an appointment.

    Some applicants have actually told me: "If I don't really stand a chance, I don't want to waste my time applying". This attitude in my opinion is the real "Waste of Time". Not trying is the "Waste". You should never be looking for the "Easy Way".

    Not saying that the original poster has this attitude. Not saying this at all. You all know that when I write, I write ALSO to those just reading or lurking through the forum. I want them to learn too. All you can do, and be expected to do, is "YOUR BEST". If you do your best in school; in your SAT/ACT; in your Sports, EC, Volunteering, applications, etc...; and you KNOW you did your best; then apply and be proud of your accomplishments. And also apply to at least 4 other colleges/universities. You apply to the academies and particular universities because you WANT to go there. You don't apply because it's where others want you to go, or because it's prestigious. Also; you don't NOT apply to a particular academy or university because you think you CAN'T get into it or CAN'T AFFORD it.

    People get accepted to one academy, turned down by another academy, turned down by ROTC, and/or accepted to an Ivy/Prestigious university all the time. So no, there's no way to tell if you have a chance. You'd wonder how someone could be turned down by the academy and get accepted to Yale. Well, it happens all the time. Without mentioning names, there's one individual who frequents this forum, who was Disqualified from 1 academy and ACCEPTED by another one. Bottom line: If you apply, your chances are ASTRONOMICALLY greater than if you don't apply at all. And if you do your best, the odds go up even more. Best of luck. Mike..
     
  13. profsparrow

    profsparrow Member

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    OOOOPS! :yllol:
     
  14. usaffanatic

    usaffanatic Member

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    Jon Avery.
    I agree with what everyone else has said. In regards to what you said you should work on you mentioned joining CAP. I have been in CAP for 4 years and it has been the best HS experience ever. Hands down.

    That being said you can't join after you are 18 as a cadet. If you are reapplying for next year you will really get about 9 monthes of time in that will go towards you app. This is not enough time to get any good leadership exp or an rank. you will probably be a C/Staff Sergeant by then.

    Having said that It seems to me like it would be more prudent to spend your time focusing on your GPA and ROTC in college rather than try to start CAP. But if you have time it certainly cant hurt.

    Hope this helps that bit of your question.
     
  15. Jon_Avery

    Jon_Avery New Member

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    Here is the general idea I have gotten combined as to what I need to do:
    1: Take the SAT and focus on the reading portion, hopefully get it at or above my math score.
    2:Forget CAP? Not enough time for a good resume and leadership to build.
    3: Work on nominations. After I retake the SAT's in May(hopefully, maybe June) I'll try to send in 8 applications. Each require 3 letters of recommendation. Here is what I am thinking:
    1: Head baseball coach.
    2: Principal or counselor
    3: The USNA appointee who I've known since 2nd grade, she got two nominations and a lower SAT than me, so perhaps my SAT is OK in worst case.
    Are these good, or should I try to get one from a coworker?
    4: Once in college take AFROTC(no scholarship) I am currently thinking about University of Portland. I got my FAFSA results back and I can afford it. They seem to have a well established AFROTC.
    5:Work on running endurance. I can get under 6 minutes in a mile, but I can't maintain that pace. A friend and I are going to start running after baseball practice when the weather picks up. I can do 10+ pull ups right now and the number is only going up. I feel confident in everything else. I can bench 185, hopefully 200 within a month, squat 335, going for 350, and I can almost cling 200.


    How would you guys recommend getting leadership experience this summer? I am planning on leaving the pool I work at and getting full time work(employees can't work over 40 hours a week there).

    Also my Volunteer record isn't very large, not large at all. Should I volunteer this summer?

    Anything I am missing?
     
  16. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Remember, when taking the CFA there are only a few minutes of prescribed break time between each event. That mile ends up being a lot tougher after only just completing the other events.

    I suggest getting into some anaerobic exercises, maybe check out crossfit workouts or just run unofficial tests.
     
  17. Jon_Avery

    Jon_Avery New Member

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    @Afrpaso,

    I am currently enrolled in Strength and Conditioning at my school, and the teacher loves cross fit training, although right now we are doing heavy weights.

    Where do you go to take the physical tests? I am also not very sure about the application process, do you need to take additional tests? Such as the ASVAB?
     
  18. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    The CFA doesn't require too much equipment. Here are the CFA instructions. I did mine in an indoor basketball court and ran the mile out on a track.

    The ASVAB is for people trying to enlist, not commission as an officer. You shouldn't have to worry about that. Have you visited the Air Force Academy application page? Check it out here.
     
  19. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I am not sure where the eight applications is coming from? 2 senators, 1 representative, VP, presidential if you qualify, USAFA. Six is all I am thinking of.

    There aren't any other tests other than SAT/ACT and CFA.
     
  20. Jon_Avery

    Jon_Avery New Member

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    I was under the impression that I could spot to all Represenatives in my state. Is it worthwhile to apply to the VP? What about asking the USNA accepted person to write me a letter of recommendation just for the nomination section? Also I worked as a Superviser a year back at a local farm, in which I worked under the owner whose son went to the USNA and is currently flying. I also have a former teacher(now substitute) who was a navigator in a c-130 hercules , in the Airforce, would he be a good one for the Academy?


    Who did you guys get your reccomendations from? You obviously can't tell me which person in my life would make a good choice as you don't know them, but hopefully I can glean information off of your selections.

    Also, what is a good way to build leadership experience?
     

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