How competitive?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by jarvin, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    I was just wondering how competitive California was. I live in the 27th district, in the San Fernando Valley and my congressman is Hon. Brad Sherman. I don't know anyone else in my school that is applying to any serviceacademy (though I did know someone from my school last year who got into westpoint). Anyways, generally how competitive is my area?
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    As stated before CA is competitive, what is more important is how competitive you are. Just because you know nobody in your hs, you'd be surprised to find out somebody else is applying, unless you go to an ultra small school where you know every classmates plans, than don't take that leap. The real person to ask is your ALO. A hint would be is how many kids does he/she have. Most ALO's carry only 1 school district, however, there maybe many ALO's that cover the one MOC district. Thus, if your ALO has 20 kids, I would say that is a competitive area, since they will not be the only ALO for that MOC.

    Our ALO had 11-12 kids, DS throughout his entire sr yr did not think anybody else in his hs was applying. Low and behold when senior awards were announced, he found out that he was the only one that received noms and ROTC scholarship, and there were 7 others in his school that received nothing. He never knew of them because he did not hang with AFJROTC or take AFJROTC, and they were all AFJROTC. His grad class was 300, which I consider small. The point is dual, you do not know for sure unless, your ALO has told you so, and it is the strength of the packet that matters most, not just how many people you go against.

    Remember, also there are people who will apply for the second time or as enlisted, both of these candidates will also be going for the same nom if that is their HOR(home of record). You would never be aware of them since they are no longer in hs.
     
  3. Gleasons84

    Gleasons84 Member

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    So I have a question then. We know that the academies are competitive, how do they base their decision? Do so many get picked from each state? Do they look to see what each cadet wants to major in and see how many of each they may need? Engineers, pilots, etc? If they have 5 pilot slots they need filled but 20 candidates for that position, do they only take the top 5? Or do they just take the best top 10% of the applicants and go from there? Just curious on how the process works? I keep hearing if one state is more competitive than another, we live in a small town in Maine and my son only has 40 in his graduation class, so I'm wondering where we would fall???
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Okay here's how the system works.

    You get a nom on a slate of 10 for each MOC, sometimes an MOC will be able to have 2 slates of 10. Let me make this clear, these are 2 separate slates of 10. They don't take the top 2 out of 20, they take the top WCS off each slate.
    The MOC with 2 slates can place it in whatever way they want.

    It is based on a board review with a point system. Your WCS is scored with 60% PAR (gpa and SAT/ACT), 20% EC, 20% recs and other (this includes not only teacher, but your ALO). The candidate with the highest point score wins the nom on the slate

    NOPE...HIGHEST SCORE WINS

    NOPE...HIGHEST SCORE WINS...FYI, the AF does 5 yr planning, but there is no guarantee that the pipeline will not close

    NOPE...HIGHEST SCORE ON THE INDIVIDUAL SLATE WINS...CAVEAT

    Now here's the CAVEAT, there are other sources such as Supe, VP and Presidential, but the fact is that the highest WCS on those lists, which are National, wins.

    In the end, your WCS is the determining factor...caveat, recruited athletes. This is why candidates are asking how competitive is their area? The less competitive, in their mind the higher chance of appointment from their MOC. For example the MOC from Terre Haute had only 1 nominee on their slate, thus they got an appointment.
     
  5. fruitytooties

    fruitytooties Member

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    thats so depressing knowing that only 1 out of the 10 kids nominated will get an appointment...:frown:
     
  6. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    Thank you for the reply. I had another question and considering that it's in the context of my other (sort off) I might as well ask on this thread than make a new one. I was wondering if the board was going to meet exactly on October 1st? I am nearly done with my application, just polishing my essay. I wanted it to be the best it could be before I send it in, and I don't want to miss another board considering they are supposedly supposed to meet tomorrow and my application isn't even done yet. Thanks
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    It's not that "Black&White". Most states have no problem with getting multiple nominations. So; while you may be 1 of 10 on the slate from your representative; you could also be on the slate of 1 or 10 for each of your senators. And depending, you could be on other nomination lists. So, it's not a flat: 10% chance of getting an appointment.

    Also; in many cases, the actual representative for your district, ranks their slate of 10. In which case, if you are the #1 name on that slate, then you are guaranteed a slot; assuming your representative still has open slots and you qualify for the academy all the way around.

    Also; if you get an LOA; then it doesn't matter WHERE on ANY of the slates you are on. As long as you are SOME PLACE on the list, you've met the requirement for a nomination with an LOA and you get the appointment. Also; that won't take away from that representative's #1 slot. That's why many reps and senators, if they find out one of their constituents has an LOA, they will make them #10 on their list. They get the appointment, but it doesn't affect the others on the list.

    And finally, if you aren't fortunate to be selected for an appointment out of the 50% +/- that are given appointments for being #1 on the representative's list, (453 slots); presidential nominations, (100 slots); prior enlisted, ROTC, LOA's, etc...; and you are then in the "General Pool" of applicants trying to get one of the remaining 700 appointments; then as long as you have a nomination, then you are competing based solely on your scores. It doesn't matter if you were #5 on your senator's list compared to a #3 on someone else's list.

    Basically, there's a lot more to it than saying you only have a 10% chance. Considering that the academy has a selection rate of 14-15%; that alone shows there's more to it. For what it's worth; my state is the LEAST POPULATED STATE. We ONLY have 1 U.S. Representative for the House. (1 district in the entire state). Yet, the year that my son received his appointment; the class of 2012; there are 9 students from Wyoming. I believe 2 were in the Prep-School the year before (NON-ATHLETES). 1 Was a presidential (My Son); and the other 6 were selected. Obviously, with only 1 representative, that's only 1 somewhat guarantee. So, 5 more got appointments from the pool and based on their scores. Best of luck. Mike.....

    P.S. Once the boards start meeting, generally they meet weekly. However, they are free to change their schedule as they see fit.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Mike is correct, it is not a 1 in 10 chance. Statistically, it is much higher. Think about it, approximately 3000 candidates have noms, so it is more like 50% chance once you get the nom. For example our DS had 4 noms (all MOCs + Presidential.

    Look at it this way: MOC slate
    1. Cand Jones has 4 MOCs...assigned to Sen A
    2. Cand. Smith has 4 too...assigned to Sen B.
    3. Cand. Tom has 3, 1 MOC, 1 pres, 1 ROTC...assigned to ROTC
    4. Cand. Sue has 2, 1 MOC and 1 pres...assigned to Pres
    5. Cand. Spot, has 1 MOC...wins the nom.
    6. Cand. Grover has 1 MOC...placed on NWL...wins nom from Supe
    7. Cand. XYZ...1 MOC...gets appt because Cand. Spot declined apptmt.

    That basically leaves 8, 9 and 10 being brought in or left out in the cold depending how they rank on the NWL with their WCS compared to evryone else nationally.

    SO don't believe that is a 1 in 10 chance. It is statistically higher than that. If you even look at their acceptance rate it is 17%, and that is from start to finish.

    Approx. 10K kids open files, 6k+ complete files, 3K get noms, 1600 are offered apptmts, and 1200 is the typical class size at I-day. Not to make anybody nervous, but the real hump to clear is from the 6K to 3K nom marker.
    Remember all you need is one nom, you don't need 4 or 5. The more noms you have does give you an edge, because it allows the SA to bring you in multiple ways, but it does not mean that if you have 4 or 5 to rest on your laurels and believe that must be a sign that you are the leading candidate and will win the apptmt.

    The only thing I disagree with Mike about is that being number 1 on the list is not a guarantee. For NC, all of the lists were ranked alphabetically. In other words, they told the SA, you choose who you want. I believe they say statistically only 30% of MOCs will do principal. Your nom letter will tell you how they submitted their slate to the SA...i.e. CONGRATULATIONS we have submitted your name for nomination. Our list was submitted using XYZ method. If it says you are a principal than wrap yourself in bubble wrap...AFA here you come. If it says, alphabetical, than hold onto your seat you have to wait it out until everyone on the slate has submitted their packet and been awarded a WCS.
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Pima; I agree with you. The part you "Disagree" with me on, you must have "Mis-read". I said:

    MEANING; IF the representative RANKS their slate, like many representatives do; they determine their #1. And if they do, then that is a somewhat automatic. You are correct however, that if they DON'T RANK their slate, and allows the academy to choose, then #1 doesn't mean anything. But there are a lot of reps who do rank their slate. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I guess I was doing the Evelyn Woods speed reading when I read that line.

    The bigger point for you kids, is the letter will tell you exactly how they submitted their slate. SO this is basically all moot until the letters start coming out. Also, it is not hard to determine their method, they write it in black and white.

    Typically,
    1. Principal, no alt: That means we want cand Jones, if he declines your choice. If you are cand Jones, it will say it on the letter. If not it will just say we submit with principal...hint hint you're not the prin.
    2. Principal, alt: We want cand Jones, if he declines, we want you to give it to number 2. Same as above, but will not say who number 2 is, even if its you
    3. Ranked: However, no principal, this means it is their 1st choice, but will allow the SA to make the final call
    4. No rank: Here's our list, you choose. For NC the letter stated our slate was submitted in alphabetical order.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Forgot to add, the board will not meet on the 1st. The 1st board is today. Then it will meet every Monday, except during Xmas break. Appts get mailed on Wed., so you could hear as early as Thurs, Fri or Sat,

    Remember you can have a complete packet, but unless there is a nom, you will not meet the board. This goes back to the fact that they have 6k+ competed files, but traditionally only 3K get noms. No need to waste the boards time, if you don't have a nom.

    Also, don't immediately think you will be notified that you went up to the board, some ALO's will tell you that you are going up and some won't.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Pima; I have to disagree with something you said here. You said;

    That is not true. Matter of fact, MOST reps/senators don't do their nominations and submitting their slates until November/December. They wouldn't even be able to offer an LOA if they didn't review your records in front of the board. And an LOA is specifically saying IF YOU RECEIVE a nomination. So, unless I am experiencing incorrectly; which this is the way I've been involved with it for 6 years; your application when 100% complete (Minus a nomination and/or DODMRB) does meet the board. And thus, one of the reasons I recommend getting your application done early. Again; MOST nominations aren't done until Nov/Dec. And LOA's don't require a nom to get an LOA; so your records are being reviewed by the board.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    That is interesting, because from what our ALO told us, unless, you are highly, highly competitive, i..e. that LOA line, you do not go up without a nom.

    Example, the RD processes your file, and sees it as competitive, with the thought that in the end of the day they would win the apptmt, they place it up for the board. Our RD, had told us this back in Oct of 07. At least that is how they explained it. They told us that LOA's are a recruiting tool used against other SAs and ROTC scholarships. I recall, being caught off guard with a phone call from the RD looking for DS while he was at school. He had a presidential, so I schluffed it off as no biggie and they were checking to see when his CFA would be completed, I went on my merry way.

    I agree that LOA's exist without noms, but I believe there is some type of review process among the RDs prior to the board. In essence, they do the weeding. I cannot see 6K+ apps going up to a board. Let's place this in physical ability. That means the board that meets weekly for about 20 weeks, would have to vote on avg 300 apps per week in an 8 hr period if they reviewed all 6K without noms. The board members have other jobs, besides sitting there. Now, when the RDs weed during the process before noms the board is looking at candidates the the RD believes is the top.

    I am more than happy to be wrong on this, but I just believe that it is physically impossible to go through 6K apps, knowing that 50% will not get a nom and can never receive an apptmt. That is a lot of spinning wheels for nothing.

    I do agree Mike is right, noms will not show up until Nov, except Pres. If you are highly competitive get the file done for hopes of an LOA. Just remember that only about 10% of the class will get one. If you ALO says submit, than submit, if they say wait and keep updating than do that. None of us are your ALO, it is important to place trust among them, since they know a heck of lot more regarding your competitiveness than any one here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  14. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    We were at our local Service Academy Day on Saturday and our regional ALO rep (not sure of their title - the supervisor of all of the ALO's for the area) said that the boards were starting this week and as of the last time she knew, there were only 90 completed applications in to AF so far. My understanding is they start reviewing them (for LOA's) now and then set them aside for a nom if they don't get the LOA. You mention 6,000 applications, but how many of them are actually in and complete before those noms are known in a month or two?

    Also, I had another ALO tell me that it's more done by the numbers so they may have a minimum for both an LOA and to even to go the board. TOTALLY MY INTERPRETATION - but I'm thinking maybe they have a minimum WCS score you need for an LOA. Anyone with that score may get on LOA automatically (obviously a very high cut-off). But then I'm thinking there may be a grey area - maybe another cutoff that the board looks at ones above that number as a possible LOA - looking for those certain things - recruited athletes, targeted minorities or locations, etc. Things that may not have a number assigned to them, but are important.

    So that would make sense with what you're saying as well. Maybe if this week there are 100 completed apps, 10 may get automatic LOA's, another 25 may get looked at and they may hand out another 5, and the majority may get set aside. At the boards a couple months from now (before noms still), there may be 1000 apps, but still they'd be only looking at a percentage of them, minus the ones they'd already seen until that point.

    I don't know - just speculating here from the various folks we talked to around here, on the boards, and when my son and husband visited the academy. Since it's evidently a top secret - we may never know! :wink:
     
  15. 2011's Mom

    2011's Mom Parent

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    The board reviews every completed application regardless of if they have a nomination, as they are completed. The nomination process is totally different and the MOCs do not have to submit their nomination slate until January 31st. The board reviews every completed file as soon as it is complete. So if your file is complete - it is in front of the review board today. Does not matter if you have a nomination. Your file will get reviewed and either set aside for further review later (if the board does not feel an LOA is in order) or you will be mailed an LOA. LOAs are rare - do not stress if you do not get an LOA in the next week or two. If you do not get an LOA with this first review board, a board meets every week and you will be reviewed again next week. After that you may not be reviewed again until a) you update your file b) the nomination slate is submitted c) some other event occurs to "trigger" your file for another review. By reviewing them as they are completed it is a much more manageable process. Later in the year, when the nomination slates are complete, they then begin to review them by slate (so no more than 10 at one time). Once the slates are finished, the then move on to the National Pool. Before noms, they are evaluating for potential LOAs and giving the completed files their WCS. It is pretty complicated - they have to select the student from each slate (unless there is a principal listed by the MOC).

    Also, not all MOCs will tell you how they submitted the slate. Some may notify you that it is a competitive slate or whatever, but not all. You can ask them but they may or may not choose to answer you. Some MOCs submit it the same way every year, others change it up depending on the situation in that given year. Many MOCs don't even tell you how many slots they have available. The reason they may choose not to tell how many is available is because they are managing the slots to ensure future years have at least one opening per SA each year. If the staffer does not manage it correctly, they may end up with no slots to a given SA in a future year. Just because they have two slots this year does not mean they will fill two slots. If a MOC district has no students right now in the class of 2011, and they have two charged in 2010, they could submit two slates for 2014 but then they would have zero spots open for 2015. The better move would be to leave one unused slate for the following year. Hope that makes sense.

    Also, it is inaccurate to state that all LOA from a board would be mailed to a candidate on Wednesday following the board on Monday (two days). Each SA notifies the MOC of the LOA and allows about a week before mailing to the candidate so that the MOC can notify the candidate if they so choose. The bottom line is that a candidate may be selected for an LOA this week and not find out about it until two weeks from now. Yes, some LOAs may be mailed earlier but that is not the norm. As a courtesy to the MOC, each SA notifies them of the LOA before notifying the candidate. Many MOC staffers choose to notify the candidate themselves, others just note their file and let the Academy send the letter. There is no need to stalk the mailman quite yet.

    Good luck everyone - this is an exciting time of year :shake:
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Yes, what 2011mom and marciemi's ALO said, is correct. Once your application is 100% complete; nomination and DODMRB not required at this point; your application is then available at the very next board that convenes. (Mondays usually).

    As for the 6000 applications, you have to realize that not all 6000 of the 10,000 +/- that started, are necessarily going to be reviewed by the board immediately or at the same time. This part is a little sketchy. Not sure if it is something not said publicly, or something I just don't know the answer to. Here's the deal. The 10,000 all start off as "PROSPECTS". The 6000 that Pima refers to, is what the academy will call "APPLICANTS". The 4000 that aren't included is because they either a) Don't ever complete the application; b) Are not qualified and can't be waivered; c) Or simply became "Uninterested". Of these 6000 remaining, the academy is looking for about half of those to become "CANDIDATES". To become a candidate, the academy has to decide that you are "Competitive" or you've received a "Nomination". Could be presidential, MOC, etc... This is the sketchy part that I've never gotten a direct answer on. The ones marked as "CANDIDATE" most definitely go in front of the board the very first time available after their application is 100% complete; and it's been reviewed to make sure there is nothing missing, incorrect, or irregular. No problem. However; those still considered "Applicant" and NOT considered competitive enough to be considered "Candidates" will be looked at; but I'm not sure if it's right away or if it simply goes to the general pool and reviewed all at one time.

    When it came time to do my son's application, it was already my 4th year helping interested applicants. But until my son, I didn't pay that much attention to time lines. While telling my son of what he needed to do; the academy counselor, ALO, District ALO, and some other academy folks explained the board review and application process to me. (Just call and ask, they will explain it.... Just don't do it this time of year. They are busy). And what 2011mom mentioned above is quite accurate. These folks also impressed upon me the IMPORTANCE of having your application done early; the advantages; etc... As marciemi's ALO accurately said, only about 90 completed applications will see that first review board. There are a LOT OF ADVANTAGES being in that first bunch. (Board members aren't brain dead having read thousands of applications; Board members tend to be IMPRESSED more with determination and timely completion; less applications to compare you to; etc...) And the academy decides WHEN to start the boards, because every week; starting in June; the academy counselors meet weekly to discuss those applicants interested and more importantly WHEN THEY HAVE A COMPLETED APPLICATION. I remember my son's counselor being quite excited, because my son took the "45 day" recommendation to heart; and she contacted him and said he was the 1st 100% complete application in the country. She was excited because she was the first to say she had a 100% complete application.

    So that is why you all need to get your applications completed and turned in. The board WILL LOOK at them as soon as you complete it. (Add a few days to verify all info before going to the board). If you CFA is AT or ABOVE the average, then submit your application. Unless you're hoping you can improve the CFA enough to offset a not so stellar academic application. Best of luck everyone. Mike.,....
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  17. aggie83

    aggie83 Member

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    Son's LOA came mid-Oct. of last year and nomination application wasn't even completed. Deadline for one of our Senators was not until the later part of Oct. The way it was explained to us, and I don't mean this to have anything to do specific to our son, is that an LOA pretty much guaranteed a nomination (assuming everything else was completed and passed). If the AFA selection committee wants you, then your MOC will nominate you. Don't mean to sound stuck up or anything b/c I am not like that at all, but just they way we were told it works. And we are in a very competive state. There are alot of Texans at the USAFA.

    As far as notification, I can only post what actually happened to us. Son's LOA was dated like the 13th which was a Monday if I recall correctly, and he got the letter on Sat. and noone had called us and let us know. He was actually at home by himself because my husband and I were at the hospital with my Dad. He went to the mailbox & called and we could hardly understand, "I got an LOA!".

    We knew they were looking at his file at the first selection board meeting b/c first they had asked us to have his sitting height remeasured (doctor had recorded it wrong) and then asked for his depth perception test to be redone (that too had been failed incorrectly). But the date on the LOA was before we had even been for the second depth perception test (although we did not know it was in the mail so we had the second depth perception test done). I think that was why our son was so surprised because we did not expect his file to go back for review until the Monday after that passed depth perception test got there.

    But as others have said, the LOA makes no difference once you start the USAFA. However, I have to say it was nice to know early.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  18. packermatt7

    packermatt7 USAFA Cadet

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    If I may add...

    I got my LOA (best day of my life at the time) in October. I did not see myself as an Uber-competitive candidate either. I had no nomination, either.
     

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