You know what my perception of this crazy competitive world of service academy applications is? Well, if you read these forums you/yours are going to quickly feel inferior and unworthy. But let me tell you that perception isn't reality and it isn't the truth. So don't let it dampen your dreams and aspirations. I have been browsing these forums for several years as my son has continued to express a strong desire to attend a service academy. More recently I have been posting some questions and inquiries. What I have concluded is that all it takes is HEART AND DETERMINATION! It appears that the key to gaining admission to the USNA/USAFA/USMA/USCGA is to not get yourself disqualified and to persist on with the onerous application process! I was able to piece together various sources and the true acceptance rates to all the academies isn't as bad as it first appears... Of course, you need to be a good student, have leadership experience, team sports skills, pass the medical exam and pass the CFA, but if you do those things... your odds are pretty dang good! Here is what I mean, I will use USAFA 2017 numbers as my example, however USNA, USCGA and USMA percentages are similar: The first cut comes from those that start the application inquiry process, and then for whatever reason they just stop. Maybe it just seems too hard to complete the application (this group definitely wouldn't make it), perhaps it is because they look at the "average admitted cadet profile" and think they can't compete either academically or physically, perhaps they realize they have a medical condition that will DQ them... Whatever the cause, the number drops significantly: 12,917 Inquiries 9,706 Applicants 6967 Candidate Pool So if you simply fill out the application and get yourself listed in the academy system, you are likely going to be labeled as a "Candidate" (there are some minimum caveats to this) And here is the kicker, the number drops even more: 2277 Qualified Candidates. 1475 Offers of Admission 1168 Admitted That's right, so of all the huge numbers you see talked about regarding how many applicants there are and how tough it is to gain acceptance, the reality is, if you (the candidate) or your son/daughter (if you are the parent reading this) gets the stuff done that is reasonable to get done, the odds of acceptance is 1475/2277 = 65%!! Now to further increase your odds, how many of those qualified candidates apply to more than 1 service academy? Of course, I don't have that number, but I would be willing to guess that nearly all apply to at least 2, and many will apply to 3! So what does this all mean to you and yours? It means get your part done and you have a good shot at getting accepted!! Of course, gaining admission to a Service Academy is based upon getting everything done, but it doesn't mean you have to be a Rockstar like everyone seems to think and openly express on these forums. You have to be well rounded and DILIGENT! Look, there are only so many "key positions" in your life. How many people can be ASB President or Team Captain of their football team or Valedictorian of their class? Well the simple answer is not that many, and you don't have to be that golden child in order to be an outstanding cadet and military officer and leader. Be a good student with good academics, this doesn't mean you have to be 3.8gpa or score 32 or 34 composite on your ACT! Be an athlete, compete in team sports, this doesn't mean you have to be the "best player" on the team or the "Team Captain". You should be involved in leadership activities in your school or community, this doesn't mean you have to be "ASB President". What surprises me is how many kids with great numbers and great background post on here "what are my chances" and they continually get told "Do better" when you all know dang well they are going to get accepted. Many of these kids that post on here are simply amazing and yet they don't get the ATTA BOY encouragement they deserve. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with pushing to "do better" but for crying out loud these kids are amazing and we all know it. How many times have I seen an ACT composite of 32 and people say "take it again, try to increase your Math".... Really?!! These are great candidates! I say keep encouraging them, but give them the real numbers, and encourage them to simply get all the parts of the application done so they fall in that "Qualified Candidate" pool. If they get there and they are applying to several academies, they are going to find a home!! Enough of my rant, don't read too much into it, I just think these kids are amazing and the numbers are deceiving if not more carefully broken down.