Fall 2011 Application Process

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by AltexPape, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. AltexPape

    AltexPape New Member

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    OK, I just want to make sure that I have everything right. I want to start off saying I have really great ACT scores, 'good' grades, my school does not rank, I have played soccer school and club, I am almost an Eagle Scout and I have a job lined up that I am going to start this summer...

    I have completed the PCQ, which now states:
    Your Status:
    Applicant* (your application is under consideration)
    Your Application is:
    Competitive

    I assume this means I need a nomination from some source. I have contacted my congressman's office and they are mailing me an application for a nomination.

    In addition I have sent my ACT scores to the Academy. I assume these will go in my file.

    Also, I am not yet an Eagle Scout, as my project will not be completed until July. So, should I wait until I get Eagle Scout to request a nomination? And should I wait until I get a job to fill out the Academy 'application package'?

    Basically, I am wondering if there is anything I can do now except wait until I get ES (which I assume will help me get Nomination/into the Academy).

    Also, is the Academy going to be sending me something over the next couple of days containing more information? I am getting this from the Instructions to Precandidates Booklet "If you meet our admissions guidelines based on this PCQ, you’ll become a tentative candidate, receive a catalog, and be sent instructions on completing candidate forms." Or will this be after the congressional nomination (if I get one).
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  2. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    There is still a lot to be done. Just to list a few...

    Send Official Transcripts
    Letters of Recommendation
    DoDMERB
    Nomination
    Interview with ALO
    CFA


    As far as your pending eagle scout status. Rule of thumb is to apply sooner rather than later. You can always update at a later point in time. Plus interviews for your nomination will be several months after July. So just update by then.
     
  3. AltexPape

    AltexPape New Member

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    @goldfarb1
    Thanks for replying...

    I am applying for nomination from my Congressman in a Texas district of 651,619 people, many who are rural though. Using some shoddy math I guess 22 people will apply for nominations, but I was wondering how competitive this really is... And how much would Eagle Scout help?

    Also, will I get a packet from the Academy in the next couple of days over-viewing what they need from me?
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  4. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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  5. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    I doubt packets will be sent anytime soon. My guess is that would come late summer. Most of the info you need is online and in the precandidate guide.

    I am not aware specifically of the competitiveness of various Texas districts, but Texas as a state is very competitive. Don't forget to apply for nominations to your senators too. You probably have a good estimate. 22 is a fair number for a rural district. Wouldn't be suprised though if it was 40-60, even more. But again, I don't know much about texas districts. Remember getting the nomination is half the fun, you still have to get the appointment. A nomination doesn't guarantee appointment. The numbers are floating around here somewhere of how many people who had nominations did not get appointments. But I think the rough statistic is about a 75 percent chance once you get the nomination.
     
  6. AltexPape

    AltexPape New Member

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    Thanks for both posts..

    @goldfarb1
    My congressman actually lives in the neighborhood next to me, and we know lots of people who are close friends with him and his family... Would having one of them put in a good word help at all? And is that considered very underhanded?

    Also, as I understand it, the congressman is allowed to give 10 nominations for every open AFA slot... So if you get a nomination does the AFA just use your WCS to differentiate you and the rest of the candidates? I am reading the information and I am getting the impression that the nomination is the toughest part. Once you have that you have a decent shot at appointment.

    From: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=12012 I am getting the following: (Pima) "Statistically 10K files are opened and 6K will make the cut to applicant. 3K will make the cut to candidate. 1600 will be given an apptmt."

    Does this mean that 4,000 people are eliminated just based on test scores or grades below the minimum? I don't have any medical disqualifications... I am getting that only 50% of people actually applied for a nomination and got one, and after that about 50% went from candidate to appointment. IS this right?
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    altex; 1st congratulations on your motivation. I truly mean that. There are a lot of people that procrastinate. Next; the official application process doesn't start until the end of June. You can't do anything towards applying until then. However, you can get things lined up.

    As for your nomination, that actually isn't the hardest part. FWIW; most representatives/senators don't actually do interviews and give out nominations until around November. When you get the application from your representative, you'll know exactly their requirements and process. As far as how many nominations, that too is not exactly how you think. Nominators; in this case your congressman, is allowed 10 nominations. S/He is also only allowed 5 cadets at the academy at any one time. So, assuming S/He has one accepted every year, with a 2nd thrown in there one year, there's a good chance that S/He only has 1 slot available. And whether S/He had just the one slot or all 5 available, S/He can only nominate 10 people max. As far as the nomination getting you an appointment, what you described as the academy ranking your WCS is 1 possibility. It's also possible that your congressman does the ranking. Many do. It's called their "Principle Nomination". If your congressman goes this route, then the academy has no say so; assuming the congressman's principle nominee is qualified. If they're qualified; they get the appointment. The other 9 have nominations, but it doesn't mean they get an appointment. You won't know if you get the nomination from your congressman until they have done ALL their interviews with applicants. And that is NOT going to happen probably until around November.

    So definitely apply to your congressman if the application says you can. MOST won't accept an application until AFTER your junior year in school so they can get your most recent grades. And you're probably not going to get anything from the academy any time soon. They are still working on the appointments for the class of 2014. (This year's applicants). They are busy. If you have filled out the Pre-Candidate, then you will get an email or mailing stating when the REAL-Application (Online) opens up and how to access it. Other than that, the academy isn't really going to look at your stuff yet.

    But there are plenty of things you can do starting now to get ready. If you do a little search, including the link CadCandMateus linked to, there are informal checklists that we have posted on how to get ready for a good application. These things include contacting your teachers now and getting their email addresses (You'll need them), working out, SAT/ACT, and many other things. Search our forum. You'll find some good checklists. And if you stay as motivated as you are now, there is no reason that you can't be 100% completed with your application by the end of July. Then, you'll simply wait for the nomination and the academy to review your application starting in September. And if you're really qualified, you might get an LOA (Letter of Assurance) which ASSURES you that as long as you get the nomination (ANY OF THE 10 SLOTS); you are ASSURED an APPOINTMENT.

    So good luck to you. Stay motivated. Spend your time doing some searches here. Look for the pre-application checklists that we've posted. There's a lot of good suggestions. I and others; including some appointees for this coming up class; have many posts on this exact subject. Let us know if you have any questions. Mike.....
     
  8. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You might be correct, I'm not 100% sure, but you are probably correct; but it is rare to not have at least 4 at the academy at one time. But even if it is 10 for every available slot, and the congressman had say 2 slots available, they are more likely to NOT nominate the same people for different slots. Especially if they don't list PRINCIPLE NOMINEES and let the academy choose based on WCS. They would want as many individuals with a nomination as possible. (This way they can be appointed in the general pool). My point was that getting a nomination isn't that hard if you have good grades, leadership, scores, etc... Getting the appointment is. (How many people have we seen on this forum alone who got the TWE and said that they had multiple nominations?) mike.....
     
  10. shadow88

    shadow88 New Member

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    If one person has an LOA and ranked #10 while the principal nominee doesn’t have an LOA (and the congressman only has one spot available), does the LOA person take the 5th spot and the principal nominee doesn't get an appointment? So I guess what I'm trying to say is that under any given scenario on how the MOC ranks/doesn’t rank, does the LOA override everyone else and count as the 5th slot? That’s a bummer for the principal if so.

    By the way Christcorp, thank you for all your posts; they’re extremely helpful. I see your son went to the IB program. I was just wondering if the Academy weights your Higher Levels differently than Standard Levels, because I take HL math, physics, and history, along with SL chemistry. HL math, no joke, is hard, and that would be so disappointing if someone who takes math studies or SL math get the same credit.

    Thank You

    Andre
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Hey shadow. Glad to have you on-board. It's one hell of a journey, but in the end, it's definitely worth it. Good luck to you.

    As for the principle vs loa, that's a non-issue. If your congressman ranks their nominees, then their principle nominee gets the appointment no matter what. (Assuming they are 100% qualified academically, physically, medically, etc...). The person offered an LOA won't be charged against that nominator's slate. They still NEED a nomination; ALL appointees have to have a nomination. Just that the one with the LOA will come out of the academy's pool of appointments and won't be charged against the congressman. So in your scenario, BOTH would get an appointment.

    As for IB in high school, yes most definitely it weighs higher than standard classes in the eyes of the academy. Just like AP and honors classes weigh higher than standard classes. Is IB, AP, Honors, etc... higher than each other? There's really no answer to that. This is why the academy requests that you send them a "School Profile". In it's simplest terms, the academy looks at the classes that are available to you at your high school. (That WON'T PENALIZE you for classes that aren't available to you). Then, after seeing what's available to you, they see what you took. The more challenging your schedule, the more points you get. Then, the score you on how well you did in each class. They recognize that the IB program is a "Program"; and therefor your classes are pretty much laid out for you. So, the IB program would definitely be ranked higher than if say you only took 1-2 AP classes. But if you took all AP classes, it would rank probably about equal with the IB program or if you took an honors program with all upper level classes. I guess the HIGHEST Kudos you could get would be the IB programs, and your 2 electives you are allowed each semester, was filled with AP classes. In theory, that would probably be the hardest schedule possible. Then again, that's a schedule I wouldn't wish on any student. Remember, you also have to have a life and some free time. The academy DOESN'T WANT just a brainiac who ONLY does academics.

    There have been applicants turned away from the academy with 4.0 gpa's because that's all they had. They had no athletics, no volunteer time, no clubs, no leadership, no work, nothing else. Yes, they had a 4.0 unweighted gpa and uber high SAT/ACT scores; but that's not what the academy wants. They want a well rounded person.

    Anyway, hope that explains it. The nomination part is probably the most difficult part of the application process to understand. That's mainly because there are so many facets to it. Many different types of nomination. (Not just congressional). Each nominator is free to rank their nominees anyway they want to. On average, each member of congress has one slot available per year. (Yes, some have more than one available, but there are some that have NONE available). So on average, there's about 550 appointments for congressman each year. That still leaves about 800 other appointments. These other 800 appointments still need nominations however. If you take out the presidential nominations, VP, prior enlisted, ROTC, and many other nomination categories; there's still quite a few that the academy chooses from their "POOL". These are ones that don't count towards the member of congresses slate. You still need to be nominated, but these are chosen by the academy.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, if the congressman doesn't rank their slate and provide a Principle Nominee (Many congressman don't rank and let the academy do it); then the academy chooses their available slot from that list. In other words, even though the academy is doing the choosing, you are still only competing against those on that list of 10 from your district or state. If you aren't selected for that slot, you are put into the general pool, where you will compete nationally for those remaining 500+ slots. Unless you received an LOA, (Usually done before the nomination process), in which case any nomination gets you the appointment and you get one of the 500+ slots. It's complicated, but hope it sort of explains it. Best of luck to you. Prepare hard. Work hard on your application, grades, scores, physically, etc... I always recommend applicants try and get their application 100% complete by the end of July. If you're in good shape and can do the CFA, and have your application completed early, you have the advantage of having your application looked at EARLIER than everyone else, and more often. That can definitely help. Especially for an LOA. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  12. AltexPape

    AltexPape New Member

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    Thanks for everbody for posting, especially christcorp... It has been very informative, I actually understand what is going on now. I still have just a few more questions though...

    I have a job lined up that I am going to start working on in August, and I will not be finishing Eagle Scout until July. So, if I turn in my nomination closer to the deadline it should not hurt my chances of getting a nomination, right?

    Is there anything else I can do to maximize my chances of appointment? I have started working out for the CFA already.
    - I am also in School and Club Soccer (and have been).
    - I am going to finish Eagle by the deadline. I am also in Order of the Arrow and served as Assistant and Senior Patrol Leader for 18 months.
    - I have about 80 general service hours.
    - I took hard classes, 5 AP this year, but didn't do great freshman year. My grades have consistently improved though. My school doesn't rank, and our grades are in the 100 scale.
    - The GPA my school gives me is a 90.78 UW, and a 100.48 weighted. I have calculated mine out of 4.0 and found a 3.92 weighted and a 3.51 unweighted.
    - My school is characterized as very competitive. We send 98% of kids to college and many to top colleges. Ranked 73 on newsweek (WOOT).
    - My ACT is Math - 36, English - 35, Science - 35, Reading - 34.
    - Some clubs, nothing major.
    - I'm going to send in 3 recs, 2 from teacers (Math and Science) and 1 from Scoutmaster. Possibly another from counselor.

    Rough chance of getting a nomination or appt.?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Hey Altex. Definitely looks like you're doing all you can. Great ACT scores by the way. Sorry, but I can't give you a number on what your chances are. That's an impossible question to answer. I can say however that if you don't apply, I guarantee your chances are 0%.

    As for your timeline, you'll find out from your congressman exactly when they'll start accepting applications. Put your application in as soon as they open up accepting them. By the time you have your interview with him/her, you'll have your eagle scout accomplished, and can tell them that at that time. They won't make any decisions until AFTER they have interviewed ALL APPLICANTS. Which is usually in Oct-Nov. So that isn't going to hurt you. But don't wait until the end to put in your application for nomination. You WANT THEM to know who you are. You WANT THEM to see how motivated you are. You WANT THEM to remember your name when the time comes. You WANT THEM to hear from people they know/trust who also know you. Start that process on the first available day.

    You have teacher recommendations lined up, that's good. But the academy will have certain teachers that THEY WILL WANT TO CONTACT. So get all your teacher's email addresses (Civilian email addresses that they will check during the summer. Not their school email that they probably WON'T check). This way, when the application process opens up at the end of june, you'll be able to provide the email addresses and the academy can contact these teachers and have them fill out an on-line assessment form on you. Also, contact your school admin and find out what their summer hours are so you can go there once the application process opens up. Then you can have them fill out the form to send in your transcripts, class ranking, school profile, etc...

    If you have this all lined up prior to school ending in May/June, you'll be able to have your application to the academy finish very fast. Then, make sure you are in contact with your ALO. Find out if S/He can/will do your CFA assessment or if they will require you to have a PE teacher/coach do it for you. If it's the later, then you'll want to have that person lined up. Remember, it's going to be summer vacation. You might not be able to find some of these people until school starts in September again. You want to be able to have all your application completed as soon as possible. It gives you the edge. (Assuming your application is good, which yours looks to be).

    I think I've mentioned all the possible things you can do to be ready for opening day of the application process. I and others have listed the checklist of things to prepare for prior to school getting out in May/June. Search for it. If you don't have all this lined up prior, you may have to wait until September before being able to complete your application. That doesn't put you at a disadvantage, because most people don't do theirs until much later, but it doesn't allow you the advantage that a couple hundred applicants will have in September when theirs is 100% completed and already being looked at by the academy. REMEMBER: Until your application is 100% complete, the academy WON'T EVEN LOOK AT IT. You'll have a counselor who you can contact who will tell you what you are missing, if you don't understand the online stuff. But she/he has no say so in the selection process. And those that do review and grade your application, won't look at it until it's 100% complete.

    Best of luck to you. This is a good time to do a lot of searching on this forum to find out all the things you'll need. In just a few hours of searching, you'll be able to find all the things you'll want to have lined up PRIOR to school recessing for the summer. That is the most important thing you can do right now. That, and continuing your physical fitness. ALSO; contact your ALO. S/He can get you lined up for their interview, CFA, and help you with the process. Good luck. Mike.....
     
  14. falconeer

    falconeer Member

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    So all of this must be completed before you are deemed a candidate? Or do you wait to get confirmation before beginning this?
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    OK; heres the different levels of application status.

    1. Prospect: This is when you first open up the application process.
    2. Applicant: Just like the name sounds. You are actively applying and filling out the application.
    3. Candidate: When the academy deems you COMPETITIVE; OR; you have a nomination. (You can have a nomination, be called a CANDIDATE, NOT be competitive in the eyes of the academy because of something they find disqualifying or undesirable, (Maybe discovered in your ALO interview), and not be considered for an appointment.
    4. Appointee: What it sounds like. You received an appointment.

    Now, falconeer. You can have EVERYTHING on the application process 100% completed, and NOT BE CONSIDERED a Candidate. On the other hand, some applicants like my son were listed as CANDIDATE, and they were only about half way completed with their application. (That's because he received his Nomination (Presidential), the first of July. And you become a Candidate when the academy deems you competitive, OR you receive a nomination. Hope this explains it. Mike....
     
  16. falconeer

    falconeer Member

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    So you can still fail everything because of a lack of poise during your ALO interview? Any tips for the average high schooler to use during that interview? Is it better to talk about your accomplishments or to discuss how you will help the country, bring about world peace, stop world hunger, etc. like at scholarship interviews? I apologize for sounding so unimformed, but my father never went to the academy so I'm a tad behind on this.

    Thanks,
    Ben
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    If you are honest and sincere in the interview, you CAN'T FAIL IT. That's not possible. Having said that, let me be totally honest here. No ALO can GET you an appointment; HOWEVER, an ALO can definitely make it so you DON'T get an appointment.

    ......... OK, let me qualify. I know I'm confusing at least one person here. When I say that an ALO can definitely make it so you DON'T get an appointment, I really mean that YOU CAN MAKE IT SO YOU DON'T GET AN APPOINTMENT. You can have the best interview in the world, and your ALO can write up the best assessment in the world. And while it definitely pulls some weight, you are still going to be judge on the "Whole Person Concept". Meaning, your grades, SAT/ACT, Ranking, course difficulty, extra curricular, sports, leadership, bla bla bla bla bla..... So the ALO's impression is important, but they can't get you an appointment on their own. However, if you walk in there and say things like: "I really don't like the military, but I can't afford college and it seems like an easy way to get a degree". That can DEFINITELY kill your chances. (Don't Laugh, some people say things like that). Or; you say stuff like: "I really want to be in the military because I want to kill people". That will kill your chances. So, in other words, your ALO can write a great report on you, and that is important. But that alone won't get you an appointment. But if your ALO writes that you are definitely not Air Force material and that you aren't meant to be in the military; that can almost single handedly kill your chances. It's totally up to you as the applicant being interviewed.

    So, as to your question for tips on the interview. That's really simple. "BE YOURSELF". "BE CONFIDENT" (But not arrogant or cocky). "BE SINCERE". "BE HONEST". Let your ALO see that this really what you want. Not by WHAT you say, but by HOW you say it. As long as it's sincere and that you're not doing this for your parents, or the free college, or any other reason than because it's what you really want; you'll do fine.

    Don't worry about what to talk about. Your ALO will ask you questions. (Don't ask me what type of questions. They aren't set in a list) Each ALO can freelance, and the questions aren't important. Matter of fact, the ANSWERS AREN'T IMPORTANT. What IS important, is HOW you answer the questions. So as long as you are yourself, confident, sincere, and honest; then the questions can be about world peace, military activities in the middle east, religious freedoms, gays in the military, politics, or anything else, and you'll be fine. Even if you don't know much about the topic, you'll do fine if you follow what I've written.

    Your ALO will give you the opportunity to ask questions or comment at the end of the interview. Usually this is a time for you to ask questions about the academy, what you're getting yourself into, or any other concerns. Can you talk about your accomplishments? Sure, but Why? Your accomplishments are already on your application. Hopefully, you and your ALO have had numerous chats prior to the interview. They should know a little bit about you by then. If the two of you haven't built a rapport or relationship up by that time, it's ok to mention some of your general accomplishments. But try and make them relative to applying to the air force academy. I.e. It's good to talk about being a football, basketball, track, gymnastic, etc... star. But mention how you enjoy the teamwork, rules, conditioning, growing, etc... and how you are excited about the similarities in the military through their training and the military teamwork concept. Of course, only if you really believe it. But basically, if you're going to talk about accomplishments, make them relevant to the academy.

    Best of luck, relax, enjoy yourself, and follow your dream. You'll be fine. Mike....
     
  18. falconeer

    falconeer Member

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    Thanks a lot, your posts have been very informative. I'll be certain to apply your advice to my interview.

    Ben
     
  19. Drew_22

    Drew_22 USAFA Cadet

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    How exactley do you apply for a presidential? Because I know I'am qualified for one. I have never really got a good answer. Hope you can help.
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    If you're SURE you can apply for one, then you do it as soon as you start your application online. It's handled through the academy. There will be info if your parent(s) are active duty (More than 8 years) or retired. If so, the academy will accept the form that you fill out and will process it for you.

    Realize however that just because you got a presidential nomination, doesn't mean you shouldn't apply for your representative/senator (MOC) nominations. Just like your rep/senators have a maximum that they can nominate, and only so many are guaranteed an appointment using that nomination, same with the presidential. They can have 500 presidential nominations, (That's about average), but only 100 are guaranteed an appointment using that nomination. So in case you aren't one of the 100, you want to have other nominations applied for. You'll learn that contacting your counselor and ALO often, will become part of your routine.

    Hope that explains it. If not, ask more questions. Mike...
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010

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