How can I improve?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by kjc_25, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. kjc_25

    kjc_25 Member

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    Hi, I am a high school Junior girl and am wondering if anyone could give me some advice on getting into the Air Force Academy. Here are some of my stats:
    4.o weighted gpa, 3.87 unweighted. I'm taking 3 AP classes this year but I haven't taken the ACT yet.
    Varsity cross country and Track runner for 3 years, 20:18 5k. I'm pretty athletic, and am working on my upper body strength this semester.
    Around 100 hours of volunteering at my local library, summer camps at church, goodwill, etc.
    Have my own cleaning business. Worked for a start up bracelet company bagging bracelets and packaging them to send out.
    I'm planning to do: Girls state, FCA leader, Tutoring and volunteering to coach a youth sports team at the YMCA.
    Are there any other things I can do to make my application even more competitive?
    I'm studying my butt off for the ACT, so I guess we will see what happens with that.
    One of my concerns is that I don't have many leadership positions, my coach does not have cross country or track captains because of the drama it caused. I was homeschooled for up until Sophomore year in high school, and then I switched schools this year, so I haven't been able to do many clubs and establish a leadership position in them. (except for Cross Country and Track)
    Basically, I will do anything to get into the Air Force Academy, even if that means going to college with ROTC and reapplying until I get in. It is my dream to serve my country, and I will not stop until I reach it.
    Oh ya and if anyone has tips on getting a nomination or just about the application process as a whole, that would be great. I feel like I am behind compared to other applicants already, since I am kind of clueless about the whole thing.
    Thanks so much!
     
  2. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    Hi kjc,


    It looks like you have already gotten a good start. Here is some of my advice on how to improve your resume even more:

    1. Do everything you can to improve your GPA. It's already good, but it can never be too good for USAFA. Try to get the UW into the mid to high 3.9's if you can, and work on improving the weighted one one as well. Tip: look into dual enrollment (taking college courses while still in high school). I am taking all DE courses this year, and trust me, it can do wonders for your GPA. Oh, and did I mention that DE at many colleges is 100% free? :)

    2. I agree that you should look into getting even more leadership positions. Personally, I would suggest Civil Air Patrol or JROTC (ideally both, actually). These are great leadership activities that are especially helpful at a service academy.

    3. Take the SAT as many times as you can, starting now. I took mine 3 times and improved my score on each test. Practice with the SAT now will also pay dividends on the PSAT, which offers great credentials like National Merit Semifinalist/Finalist as well as scholarships.


    Keep up the good work and motivation! :thumb: I wish you the best of luck.
     
  3. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    I agree, JROTC is an amazing place to start getting leadership roles. (I may be biased because I am currently a cadet in Army JROTC but it's still true) I started JROTC as a junior but I've held more positions, earned more ribbons, and represented our batallion more than some of the kids who have been in 3 or 4 years!

    Only other thing I can think of is starting your own volunteer thing or school club and leading that but honestly you seem like you are very much ahead compared to when I started applying. I pretty much had nothing going for me as a junior other than a high GPA top 1% 9th and 10th grade and when i transferred to a bigger school I was top 7% well still am, I graduate in three months though. And I had like 6 honors classes under my belt and enrolled for AP classes. Other than that, I had nothing. No leadership, no extracurriculars, only a little volunteer work and I was chubby. By comparison you're doing great and I was appointed so I feel that you will to because you're starting much stronger than myself. I wish the best of luck and feel free to ask any questions about applying !
     
  4. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    I would recommend joining CAP or JROTC as well. Personally, I love CAP A LOT! I never had the opportunity for JROTC, but in CAP, if you work hard, you can promote fast and gain leadership.
    Also, when the application asks for leadership, think on ANY experience you had! Did you have experience leading in volunteering, as an older sibling, helping a parent in homeschooling a sibling maybe...? Even little things like that count, so don't sell yourself short. I don't really have much to add to the wonderful advice my peers have given on here except this:
    As you begin the applications process, get used to the fact that you will likely wait about a year from now or more until your hear. Get in that mindset ASAP. Because honestly, the waiting is the hardest part, and it sucks, a lot! That being said, get some back ups in place as well, so that even if you don't get in the first time, you can be confident of your future. However, from what I see, you seem pretty darn competitive already :)
     
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  5. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    That is so truee, Waiting was the absolute hardest part for me. Hands down. Shoot, I am appointed and I am still waiting! Waiting for my packing list and my orders. I'm anxious but ready. i truly hope you guys get accepted so you can feel the excitement i felt. The proudest moment I have ever had.
     
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  6. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    So jealous! I really hope I get in as well! I can't imagine how amazing it feels (although I try ;) )
    Congrats again, btw!
     
  7. kjc_25

    kjc_25 Member

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    Thanks so much everyone! I'll talk to my parents about joining JROTC or CAP, that sounds like a great idea.
    I do have 7 younger siblings so I think I can probably work that into my application about how it gave me leadership experience :)
    Also, does the Air Force like the ACT or SAT better? And should I take the ACT with writing?
    Does anyone have any advice on interviewing? I get pretty nervous when I do interviews, although I can talk to adults comfortably in normal situation.
    Congrats RogersCO'19! That sounds really exciting, hopefully I'll get to experience that someday. :)
     
  8. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    Thank you! And I have my fingers crossed for you!

    Thank You! I don't think they prefer a test over the other but I recommend you take both! Everyone says one is easier than the other but it varies by person so take both at least once so you can see which one is better for you.

    I just posted this and it has tons of advice

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com...to-those-applying-for-co2019-or-co2020.41784/

    As far as interviews go, I did one with my liaison officer and one with my congressional nomination.

    Just remember these things:
    Be yourself
    Don't get so nervous you can't answer questions
    Be professional
    Do not be a robot
    Be prepared for questions based on your packet and some random questions.
    My liaison officer told me that there is no right or wrong answer so don't say something to please your interviewer, be honest but also keep in mind that if they ask you something like "who do you see as a role model" and you say "Adolf Hitler" that very well may be frowned upon. Also, if they ask about something related to the president. DO NOT BASH YOUR PRESIDENT. Whether you agree with him or not. Your president is the commander in chief and it will be your job to carry out his lawful orders as an officer.

    During my liaison officer interview I got asked a question that I didn't have an answer to so I wung it. I don't think I answered it well. When I went for my congressional Interview, my liaison officer was one of the interviewers and asked me the very same question! Lucky for me I knew I bombed the question the first time so I studied and came up with a brilliant answer. The look on my liaison officer's face was a look of surprise and also of being impressed. He knew that I knew I goofed and that I fixed my mistake.

    It defeats the purpose of telling you what questions to prepare to be asked because One it is based by individual and two, part of not knowing the questions shows your trueness in each answer you give because it is off the top of the head. You can attempt to study, and as you see I did but raw answers show who you are and how you think. I only studied my answer because I messed it up so badly and figured there was a chance it would be asked again. Hope that helps.
     
  9. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    I'm going to add couple more things to the interview advice: Look the interviewer in the eye! Don't stare at your hands or the table while you answer questions. Practice if this is a habit you have. You can look away while you think about the answer (and I recommend that you DO think about your answer instead of spouting something off the top of your head).

    My DD had trouble with 1 question, thought about it, then said "Can we come back to that? I've never been asked that and I need to think about it some more." The question was, "What is your greatest weakness?" She got a principal nomination from that interview.
     
  10. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    Wow, USAFA83GradWife. It takes guts to say something like that! No wonder your daughter got the principal nom--sounds like she absolutely nailed the interview. :thumb:
     
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  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I won't speak for all alo's interviewing, nor for all MOC interviews. But I will say that for many, there is no right or wrong answer to the questions. The intent for many asking the questions is to find out who "You" are. What you think. If you have a position on a topic. I can usually tell if you're trying to tell me an answer you think I want to here. I can usually tell if the answer is one someone told you to say. I also want to see how well you can communicate live vs a resume or writing sample that you had hours, days, or weeks to refine. I want to see how confident you are. And after asking many traditional questions, I'll probably ask some opinionated questions that are quite controversial. Again, I care about how you answer more than what you answer. I care if the answer is your own or someone else's.

    Caveat. As always with my explanations and advice, there is a caveat. I said there were no right or wrong answers to the questions I and many ask. But if I ask how you would confront a controversy such as you have a neighbor who's dog is always barking,; if you seriously believe you'd answer by saying you'd vandalize your neighbor's property or harm the dog, that's obviously a bad answer. But keeping it real, we understand that you're 17-18 years old and you might not have the experience or knowledge to give a more educated answer to many subjective or hypothetical questions. We simply want to know who your are and what you believe. Not a bunch of memorized answers or that's the way I was taught type answers. Your old enough to analyze draw your own opinions and make your own decisions. Not that many of your answers aren't formulated by how you were raised. But we can usually tell if you actually believe what you're saying.
     
  12. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Well, there's a funny story that goes with that. When DD walked in, there were 8-9 people sitting across the table (yes, a committee interview!) She went to shake their hands and slightly tripped over her chair. At the end of the interview, she did it AGAIN! She looked at the chair, pointed and said, "There's a chair there." One of the retired Generals looked at her and said, "Don't do that." That made everyone chuckle. And she still got the principle nom. Just goes to show that even if you think you completely screwed up, it's how you handle that screw up that matters. Poise under pressure is the key.
     
  13. RogersCO'19

    RogersCO'19 Member

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    I didn't mean to spit out random answers, I apologize of that's how it comes out. I meant like christcorp said, interviewers will notice if these are preprepped questions and they want to know your true impressions. My comittee interview was intense. There was a prison of war purple heart recipient on my board and it was intimidating because his questions were really in depth. They will pick your brains, they're weeding out good and and not quite ready leaders. 40 kids showed up that day and only 10 got it. It was scary but I just told myself I can do it. I was confident. Confidence is key!
     
  14. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    Here's my small bit on interviews:
    For myself, I noticed that when I was particularly nervous, I did rather well, and when I thought I had it in the bag, I failed royally. I think that it's okay to be nervous in your interviews; just do our best to maintain confidence throughout. For my congressional interview, I thought I was doing terribly. The questions were very deep and morally based; quite difficult to answer. And it it was my first nomination interview, so I was extremely nervous. Te whole time I thought "I am failing terribly!". Then at the interview, my interviewer said I was the best he had had so far! I got the nomination on Nov 4. In contrast, I thought one of my senatorial interviews went particularly well. I connected well with all three of the people interviewing me. I could tell they were impressed, and at the end of the interview, I even heard one lady say as he door was closing "I LIKE her!" I did not get a nomination from them, however (it may be because in Colorado, a highly competitive state, they don't double-nominate).
    Moral of the story: DON'T go with your gut on how an interview went. You may feel it's going poorly when in fact it is going well. Truly, be yourself, and don't worry if you're nervous. Be confident in who you are and answer honestly. You'll do great!
     
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