Does age/time spent in college make a difference?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by michaelgoulet, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. michaelgoulet

    michaelgoulet New Member

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    Hey all,

    I submitted my PCQ a few days ago, but in the mean time, I had a few questions. I know that legally, cadets must not have passed their 23rd birthday by July of their entry year. If I get in for next year's class, I will start off as a 22 year old. Do admissions officers look unfavorably on someone who is that much older than the average applicant? Also, I'm a college junior. Would it be detrimental to my application that I would only have one more year of college left to complete?

    I really hope to get in. I'm pretty worried, though, because this year would be my only shot due to the age restriction.
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Actually, college applicants are looked at differently from high school applicants. If you have the "requisite" GPA...and solid all else...you'll be in a different "pool" of candidates.

    Depending upon your package, you might have a small advantage...or not.

    Depends upon "the package." But if you've pulled 3.0 or better in college...that helps!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. michaelgoulet

    michaelgoulet New Member

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    Thanks Steve! That's definitely good to know. I think that based on everything I've done, I should be sitting in a relatively good position. Now I'm just waiting to see if my PCQ gets updated to Applicant status.

    Is there any way to get started on the application before they are sent out in August?
     
  4. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Just curious, if you have one year to go in college, why do you want to go to USAFA and do another 4 years instead of waiting to graduate and going to OTS?
     
  5. michaelgoulet

    michaelgoulet New Member

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    A lot of my friends have actually been asking me the same question. As of now, it looks like I might have more than one year to go. I was supposed to leave for a semester abroad in Japan next week. It sounds like it would be a summer program (because it starts so late), but it's just that their semester starts about 3 months later than most US schools. Due to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear concerns, my school canceled the program. Anyway, that's just a small thing.

    Also, I have been trying out courses in several academic areas in order to find what I liked. Now I know I'm more interested in a math/engineering field. The problem is that Georgetown doesn't offer anything in engineering.

    I know it seems crazy to spend four more years in school, but I have actually always liked school. Plus, it seems as if you can't beat the leadership and personal growth training that's offered through 4 years at the AFA. Those are just some of the reasons, but this is getting kinda long...haha
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree why not go the OTS route?

    Since you are in college, do you have an AFROTC det? Have you discussed this path with them compared to OTS? ROTC commanders traditionally will also try to guide you through the entire system. They are like ALO's a valuable source of information that are AF first and foremost regarding getting the best officers possible in the pipeline.
     
  7. michaelgoulet

    michaelgoulet New Member

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    We don't have an AFROTC det, but Howard University, which is not too far away, does. I did speak with them a while ago, but we determined that due to my study abroad schedule as well as other things, AFROTC probably wouldn't work. We didn't discuss OTS, though.

    Would it be possible to get training as an engineer or mathematician if my degree is in something completely different?
     
  8. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    What is your major? You could always consider mastering in a technical field.

    Why the change of heart in majors now? If you are pursuing a non-technical major, why do you want a technical one? How do you know it is a better choice for you?

    I know you're more concerned about USAFA, but, honestly, I would really assess your real reasons. At this point, you're not going to suddenly become a great leader through USAFA. In all honesty, USAFA simply amplifies your character. If you have leadership strength, USAFA simply hones it, not make it. If you plan on going into a rated field (in planes) or an engineering/scientist field, then having impeccable leadership skill is not really necessary as a junior CGO. I feel as though your first assignments really leading people as a CGO are how you learn to lead, not through cadets.

    Again, could you clarify what your USAF goals are? USAFA probably won't be any value added over your current position.
     
  9. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    My son, currently a C4C, has a roommate that graduated from college.
     
  10. michaelgoulet

    michaelgoulet New Member

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    I absolutely know what you mean about the AFA not being able to create leadership qualities, and that's not what I'm looking for. I think I already have those qualities. For example, in high school, I worked with my French teacher to start a chapter of the French National Honor Society. I am an RA at my university, and I'm a brother in a community service fraternity..APO! Those are just few examples, but just as you said, I'm looking to hone these qualities.

    I'm a Psychology major. I wouldn't say that my interest in changing to a technical field is really a change of heart. It's really what I should have been doing all along. I've always been excellent in math and science, without ever having to try that much. They were fun, but familiar. I chose Psychology, because it was mysterious and interesting. Now that I have matured a bit, I realize that was an incredibly stupid reason for declaring a major.

    As for my AFA goals, well that is a bit harder to describe, and I will think on how to best clarify those. However, I will say that I believe how you get somewhere is just as important as where you end up. (I think my courses in Personality theory are rubbing off on me a bit...) I could graduate and go to OTS to become an officer, but I don't think that would train me nearly as well or a thoroughly as 4 years at the AFA. As far as academics go, I just don't think I'm done learning what I have to learn. I could try to go to grad school with what I have done so far, but truthfully, I'm not well prepared enough.

    I forgot to mention that I have taken some math, science, and computer science while in college. So I'm not just jumping into something I haven't ever had experience with.

    I will try to figure out how to best describe my overall goals for the AFA soon.
     
  11. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    The question is what are your goals for the USAF. How does the USAFA help achieve those goals better than OTS/ROTC?
     
  12. michaelgoulet

    michaelgoulet New Member

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    Ah, sorry I misread that. One of the biggest reasons is that I plan to make the USAF a lifelong career. I think that going through 4 years at the AFA will help open doors as I advance in my career (but I could be completely wrong about that).
     
  13. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    The biggest door openers will be doing your job well. USAFA grads, despite the notion of the good ole boy network, will not show preferential treatment over another commissioning source. They, like any other good officer, will only care about your track record, not where you commissioned.

    I'm not trying to say stay away from USAFA, but I'm puzzled as to why USAFA and another four years when you're already a junior with (likely) quite an investment in money and time at a respected university.

    An officer is an officer is an officer, no matter USAFA, ROTC, or OTS.
     
  14. michaelgoulet

    michaelgoulet New Member

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    I know it sounds weird, and I know I'm doing a terrible job of explaining. I will spend some time figuring out how to put it into words.

    Also, I know another four academic years seems terrible, but for me, if it means that I am getting the good foundation I need for graduate school, then I'm not opposed to it. I have spent a lot of time in school, and I even expected to spend at least another 4-5 years pursuing a Masters/Ph.D. With such a long way to go, four more years is really nothing, as long as it means I'm one of the best at what I do, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that I am.
     
  15. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Are you planning on doing that 4-5 year master's out of USAFA or on your own? And I'm still puzzled, a graduate degree out of GEORGETOWN doesn't seem to be as difficult. In fact, I'd say the chances and the ability to do an advanced degree are far better out of GU than USAFA, especially with the budget slashing.

    I can tell you I'm in the only direct PhD program out of USAFA and it's a 3 year program. All the Master's programs are around 18 months, give or take about 6 months. But, by the time you'd finish USAFA, you'd be hitting 27. Another 1.5-3 years and you're pushing age 30 and just finishing school. I wonder if flieger or Pima have anything to note on that piece.

    The only piece that Pima might also pick up on (and CC for that matter). Are you just trying to go to USAFA for the prestige factor or to serve the country as an officer? Your posts all indicate that prestige seems to be the number one factor. And I'm still wondering, you want to be a career AF officer, but you haven't indicated what you actually want to do in the AF that makes USAFA so important?
     
  16. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Ok, so I'm going to put out some personal opinion here...

    If you want to go to USAFA for the cadet experience, OK, but let me tell you that is not always the most enjoyable thing...

    If you want to be a pilot, and cannot get a rated slot from OTS, and don't have great grades for ROTC, USAFA would give you a better chance at a pilot slot. Realize, that is a HUGE investment to increase the odds...aka, things change and nothing is guaranteed.

    I don't know your personal details, but if USAFA was the best chance to get into and active duty officer slot, and that's what you want, then it might also be a good idea. (Although, I don't think that is the case for the VAST majority.)

    Personally, I would not take an extra 3 years to go to USAFA, if I was only a year away from my degree. As happy as I am to be a grad, I don't think it would be worth it to basically start from scratch just to be a USAFA grad.
     
  17. evilleramsfan

    evilleramsfan Member

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    So, from what I've gathered here and from other posts around the site, there is not a chance at AFA to work on a Masters, correct? I know that I read that NA has a program available to work on a Masters if you have the credit built to receive a Bachelors. If I remember right, that might have been a program they have with the University of Maryland, but I don't recall the details. If this is the case, then what does one do as far as classes later on? A second degree?
     
  18. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    USAFA only grants Bachelor's of Science degrees.
     
  19. evilleramsfan

    evilleramsfan Member

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