Gap Year

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Helm, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Helm

    Helm New Member

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    How does the AFA feel about a gap year? I talked with a councilor at Harvard and they look favorable upon a gap year if you're not just goofing off but actually contributing to the world they allow you to attend the following year. If one was accepted for the class of 2017 could that person take a gap year and still keep his/her appointment.
     
  2. pilot2b

    pilot2b Candidate Appointee

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    The only people I've heard of who are typically (with some special exceptions) allowed a gap year are Mormons, because of their 2 year missions obligation. You'd have to ask someone who knows more than me though to get a more detailed response. Why would you want a gap year though?
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I highly doubt they would allow it for one main reason, you would not commission in 2017, but 2018. That takes up the spot for a 2018 cadet. The AFA unlike Harvard has a finite number by law that they cannot surpass. They also have manpower needs for ADAF, and if they allowed everyone to do a gap yr just because they want to can you imagine the strain it would cause trying to figure out who's coming and going.

    The other issue is your MOC is allotted only 5 charges at any given time, that means if you get the appt. for 17 that charge is used not for 4 yrs, but 5 yrs. since you will not commission until 18. It plays havoc with them too. So if this is your intention or thought, I would discuss this with the MOC too since you 1st need a nom to attend any SA. They might say come back next yr. They might say no problem. Either way, you don't want to worry about this issue when you are interviewing without knowing the answer to that question prior to the interview.

    Caveat: I do agree with pilot2b regarding religious reasons why they would allow a gap yr.

    Just out of curiosity if you want to do a Gap yr., why don't you just apply the following yr? Is it because you want to have your schooling in place for the next yr before you start or is it because you are not sure what you want to do your Gap yr and feel that it could hurt your packet?
     
  4. Helm

    Helm New Member

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    Thanks for the great responses. I hadn't considered the MOC charges. The reasons I may want to do a GAP year are just to grow up a bit on my own, outside of college life or the military. I just feel that I now survive because of what my parents do for me and if I went right into an SA then they would become my surrogate parents. I want to experience life totally on my own while at the same time doing some service work somewhere in the world. I feel I would become a much better officer after this experience. I'm a very strong candidate at this point (3.93 GPA, 32 ACT, top 3% in class, varsity letters, band captain, 200+ service hours) but if I wait a year, my strong package becomes tainted and less attractive. Would my ALO be a good person to discuss this with?
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Yes your ALO is a good person to talk to regarding this situation.

    I am sorry, but I chuckled a bit at the fact that you think the AFA will become your surrogate parents. I don't know what your folks are like, but unless they make you put on the big boy pants everyday, and never coddle you at all, than you are right they will be your surrogates.

    Honestly, even a traditional college won't coddle you. They don't want to be your parents. They expect that as an 18 yo HS graduate you are an adult in charge of your life. They don't expect Mommy and Daddy to be living in the dorms with you, washing your clothes weekly, and reminding you to go to sleep or make your bed. Granted the AFA will be doing something like that, but again, the reason why they do it is much different than your folks, thus it is not coddling.

    There is truth in the fact that the AFA and colleges will become your family, but more like siblings, not parent/child.

    There is truth that you will have mentors that you look up to, but mentors are there to guide and motivate like parents, but they are not your parents, thus the relationship is different.

    Back to your GAP yr., if you are serious about this, I would get on the ball now and find a program that you want to do. Again, let's say they allow it, however, how do you think it will look when you reply to the question what will you be doing and your answer is I am not sure yet, I have checked into a few things, but I am still looking.

    It won't look good, because it will leave them with the idea that you have not planned this out yet, and how do they know after giving you the slot that you won't just stay at home and work at Applebee's for a yr? Where is the guarantee for them? That's JMPO if I was sitting on a nom board and didn't have a direct answer regarding any GAP yr program.
     
  6. kfacademy

    kfacademy USMA Appointee 2017

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    I graduated HS in 2012 but didnt meet the age cutoff to enter with the class of 2016 so I am taking a gap year this year and applying now for 2017. There is no way to apply and then defer the acceptance. In all the asking around that I did about how the academy would view a gap year (at admissions events, at SS etc.) I got the sense that they don't encounter it much. Most people who wait a year do so because they were not accepted, usually for academics, and they tell those people to spend their gap year taking college classes to improve. No one knew what to tell me, so I am just working on improving my overall package with work, volunteering, leadership, etc. If you do choose to take one make sure the academy understands that you took one with a purpose.
     

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