Freshman in Highschool (i have questions)

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by QLintz, May 17, 2011.

  1. QLintz

    QLintz Member

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    I am currently a freshman in high school and am seriously looking into joining the USAFA.
    I currently have a 11.0 (out of a 11.0 grade scale) GPA. I am also one of the Top 25 in my class. I am taking all honors for my classes, and as a senior, will take AP classes.
    My dad said that I have to balance myself out, meaning to balance my learning and physical ability.

    I was in soccer this year and am planning not to next year for a few reasons. I play trombone and guitar for the school, and got accepted to Varsity Singers for both instruments (it's a prestigious singers group, but I am accompanying them with my instruments, which I had to try out for as well) and am doing Marching Band for my school (with guitar only, so I won't be too busy, because VS and Marching overlap.). Also, I had little play time during the games because I didn't have a ton of experience with the soccer skill, since I didn't play during my middle school years. Also, I thought that the soccer team was a little too immature and discouraging, to me.
    I am thinking about doing track for my sophomore, junior, and senior year.

    Now, for my questions:
    When applying for the USAFA, will being involved in school sports make a big difference? Don't get me wrong, I'm not out of shape at all, I have a pass to my local YMCA and go there often.
    Do you suggest I do anything as a freshman to plan further for applying?

    Thank you all in advance!
    ~Quentin
     
  2. Ben014

    Ben014 Member

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    The Academy is looking for leaders, and in my experience (class of 2015 appointee) there are valedictorians with 4.0+ gpa's that get turned away because that's all that they are. Whereas people like myself, decent gpa, good ACT score, and three varsity sports get appointed because USAFA is looking for the well rounded individual.

    In my opinion, keep up the good work on academics, you're doing great! And be on at least one varsity sport, try to be on more. Be a captain on your team! The Academy loves that, as it shows leadership. Join a lot of clubs, and be active all the time. They love eagle scouts (although I myself am not one), so if you're into that it helps you a lot. And take your ACT/SAT and do well on it. School is not a measure of intelligence, it is a measure of how good you are at the school system, they want cadets who excel at both.

    Work as hard as you can, and STAY OUT OF TROUBLE! One slip up and your academy dreams could slip away. And most of all have fun, and enjoy your high school life, it's a great ride so don't be afraid to have a good time.
     
  3. Derrick

    Derrick USAFA Class of 2015

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    Lol I've never heard of an 11 point GPA scale. Not saying that there isn't, but jeez. lol

    Anyway, it's possible to take AP classes before you're a senior. I know you can if you're a junior, and I would assume it's also possible as a sophomore. Just be ready to handle the workload. If you can handle the workload do it. But if you're struggling to get C's in your AP laden coursework, it might be better for you to take some honors classes instead of AP's and get A's instead. Don't forget to take your SAT's and ACT's as well. I recommend taking an SAT early to get a feel for it and how you'll do and prepare accordingly.

    While it's not required to play sports, I think it definitely helps. Some 80% of cadets were varsity letter winners in HS. I never played any sports in middle school, but joined track the spring of my sophomore year and have been running year round since then. From my experience, just about any team and HS in general will be "immature". However, it doesn't mean that it has to rub off on you if you get what I mean. Participating in sports also gives you the opportunity to become a captain which is a valued leadership position. Besides the physical shape it puts you in, it pits you against others who want something just as bad (in races). Some of my best friends and memories are with my teammates as well.

    If your school has JROTC, that's something else you can participate in. Or you could participate in Civil Air Patrol outside of school. The only thing that seems to be lacking in your plan is extracurricular activities (outside of school). Anything in your community you're doing? Volunteering? Holding down a part time job perhaps?

    Enjoy your HS years and make the most of it, but stay out of trouble. Time will begin to move faster and faster. As I-Day approaches, I'm starting to notice things I'll miss even though they never really stuck out to me before.

    Hope I helped.
     
  4. QLintz

    QLintz Member

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    Thank you both.

    I have tried to talk my dad into CAP, but the nearest base is about 20 miles away... I am getting into volunteering, through my church.

    Do you think participating in track will help me? I don't think they have captains in track. Do you think the just-1-year of soccer will be bad for my application? Possibly showing lack of commitment? Also, will being in Varsity Singers help me much?
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Sounds like you're on the right path. You don't need CAP. You do CAP if you want to. Same with scouting and JrROTC. You don't get any extra points for CAP compared to your music. Do the extra curricular that you like. Excel in them. Find leadership opportunities in those areas.

    Now; having said that, there are a few recommendations.

    1. As suggested; don't wait until senior year to take AP type classes. Take them whenever possible. But make sure you're doing well in your classes. Keep the GPA very high.
    2. FIND TIME FOR SPORTS!!!! It doesn't matter what your reasons are, or your rational. You MUST HAVE SPORTS!!! Preferably Varsity level. Which means that you had Junior Varsity prior, and worked your way up. Other than sacrificing grades, FIND TIME FOR SPORTS!!! This is NOT NEGOTIABLE!!! That should definitely answer your question. Sports alone won't get you an appointment, but no sports is almost a guarantee that you won't get an appointment. While varsity sports is preferred; even summer city baseball or winter YMCA basketball is something. YOU MUST FIND TIME FOR SPORTS!!!
    3. Find activities that you can VOLUNTEER at. Reading to little children; food drives; helping the needy; toys for tots; etc...

    The academy wants a well rounded individual. As mentioned, there are 4.0gpa students who don't receive an appointment; while 3.75gpa students do. They had sports, clubs, extra curricular, boy's state, volunteer time, leadership, etc... Best of luck to you. mike.....
     
  6. QLintz

    QLintz Member

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    Would karate count as a sport, as you advance the same, just through belts.
    Still though, would Track be good? Though they don't have jv and v (from my knowledge)

    Also, the AP classes thing, I was wrong, I am taking them soon.

    ALSO, I am taking spanish all 4 years, I believe that would help, right?
     
  7. Ben014

    Ben014 Member

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    I'm not sure about karate, but I don't see why not. And if there is no Junior Varsity or Varsity distinction for your track team, it is most likely just Varsity track (that's how our school is), and so it would be a great sport to have on your resume.

    A good idea for the karate thing: If you could maybe Volunteer to Lead younger kids, that would be a great community service and it would show strong leadership qualities at the same time. Just an idea.

    And I think the academy recommends 3 years of foreign language at least. I'm sure another year helps.
     
  8. Envy01

    Envy01 Member

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    Track and Cross Country are both amazing sports for a military academy. It helps you get in shape really quickly.
     
  9. USAF52

    USAF52 Member

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    Track will be fine as a sport--it has aspects of a team sport as well as one with individual goals (PR's etc.). The team aspect is impt. to the academy, showing you can work with others, work to a common goal, etc. Teamwork is impt. Also, I bet when you join the team you'll find that there are captains on your track team. My son's team had tri-captains--a runner, a jumper, a thrower. The coaches use them to lead warmups, cool downs, make sure the younger kids are doing what they need to do, etc. Put yourself in a position to be considered for one as a senior.

    Karate is good too, but in a different way since its a more individual activity. But it shows discipline, persistence as you work towards the next belt, etc. When the time comes, make sure you list them track and karate both on your academy applications. (And stick with them through HS--consistency and growth in an activity/sport is good).

    Volunteering is important--shows service. Choose an activity that interests you, and not just something to fill your resume. (True with any activity). How about a summer job? Even if its just mowing lawns for 3 or 4 neighbors, it shows you've had to deal with bosses (your clients), be reliable, do a good job, etc.


    Like others have said, be involved, do well academically, but enjoy your HS years. Its a long process to apply for an academy, don't start stressing about it now.
     
  10. Derrick

    Derrick USAFA Class of 2015

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    Yes Karate will count as a sport, although it's not quite the same as an in school sport. It's important that you did it for a while or still are doing it though. Consistency is always a good thing. If you could be a junior instructor or find yourself in some leadership position, that would be a good thing too.

    I'll try to elaborate on track. JV and Varsity for track is much more blurred than other sports. We all share the same facilities and are doing the same things (within our subdivisions such as distance, sprints, throwing, etc). We all get a chance to compete too. Like my coach says, that's one of the beautiful things about our sport. There really are no "benchwarmers". Everyone will get a chance to race and test themselves in dual meets. However, varsity still receives letters and they'll be the ones that will be expected to compete at county, and state meets. Because everybody gets to compete, there are plenty of chances to move up the ladder in terms of time, ranking, etc. Individual aspect- your own mind is your greatest challenger and the majority of running is mental. Getting that new PR is one of the best feelings ever. Team aspect- If you're on a relay and you mess up, you just messed it up for your whole relay. Better carry your weight. You'll also be responsible for trying to score for the overall team's score.

    As far as captains go, I was a captain for XC. I got left responsible for warm ups, advice, "leading by example", attendance, etc. Definitely a good leadership experience.

    Besides the numbers and letters on paper, it got me into the best shape I've ever been. Definitely helped me out with the CFA mile. lol
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  11. usafahopeful1

    usafahopeful1 Prospective Cadet 2017

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    You mentioned a base for CAP, is it right to take that to mean that you don't live in the US at the moment? Just wondering, also because of the varsity sports. I would try to keep your GPA where it is, take hard classes and get into something physical. Also, since you obviously seem to love playing instruments/music and want to keep doing that, see if you can get some leadership through that.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    He said the nearest CAP unit was about 20 miles away. So I assume he's in the USA. Probably a transportation issue trying to commute to the unit for activities. He also said that sports were available, but it was that he didn't have enough time to participate, because of being in music and singing organizations. The OP's issue doesn't seem to be location, but rather time.

    As i said previously; your existing activities are fine. You don't need to get into any more if you don't have the time or want to. I.e. Don't look into CAP or JrROTC because you think it's going to help your application. Look into it only if it's something you really want to do. But without discussion or debate, you MUST FIND TIME for a sport. Track is fine. While karate does count, TEAM SPORTS are looked upon more favorably. You need to find time for this. The military revolves around "TEAM WORK". Hence, why TEAM SPORTS are so important.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    CC is right, don't do it for the sake of doing it.

    DS was not in JROTC or CAP. AFJROTC was at his hs. He was the only sr to get a nom, let alone he got all 3 MOC's, plus, AFROTC scholarship. AFJROTC cadets didn't get anything. It was his profile/packet that mattered. They thought AFJROTC would be the golden ticket, and didn't understand it is the WHOLE CANDIDATE.

    Our DS was in TKD, competed in: State, National and Jr Olympic medalist. He had no "school" sports, but the AFA recognized it, all we did was submit a letter from his Master stating the rigor of competing in the sport. He was very succinct, even detailing that it was a yr round sport, requiring 20 hrs a week to train for competitions, plus he was required to test for belts during the yr. AFA gets that TKD, Karate are yr round, not just fall for FB.

    DS also was a lifeguard, with 23 saves over 3 yrs. The AFA asked for him to submit a letter describing the athleticism needed for his job. His boss stated he had to dive into the pool and exit, no ladder, within 60 seconds while retrieving a 10 lb wt from the 10 foot section. He also had to retrieve a 160 lb body using the same tactics in the same time frame while placing them on a body board. That this was a certification test done monthly. He eventually was certified to conduct the certifications.

    Boards get that today there are many sports that are not at every school. Not every school has a swim team, but towns do. Not every school has Lacross, but communities do. So on and so forth. You just need to be prepared to illustrate and defend your choice.

    Karate will be seen as athletic, but it will help you immensely if you are competing. Example, you can be in NHS, but holding a leadership position will garner you more points than just a member.

    Point is you can have unique sports that are seen as uncommon, you just need to be ready to defend the level of athleticism compared to the traditional sport.
     

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