How does sports affect my nomination?

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by Farm Kid, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Farm Kid

    Farm Kid Member

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    Hello, I'm a 17 year old guy working on my application to the USAFA. I know playing in high school sports and being in clubs is a big part of getting accepted to the USAFA, but I was wondering if it hurts my chances that I never played sports in High School?

    You see, I played football all the way from kindergarten through 8th grade, and I loved it. I also played baseball and soccer from kindergarten through 4th grade, but my main sport was football. Then when I got older, I started to work for my dad a lot more on our farm. Then by the end of 8th grade I started competitively racing motocross. That is when I realized I was much better at and had more fun with motocross. With that combination of motocross, farm work, and school work, I decided it would be best to not play football starting freshman year. And I think it was a good choice, considering I have been able to keep all of my grades up at the A and B level, and I have gained (and still learning) a ton of valuable experience working with my dad, all while having the time of my life with racing.

    The other thing is that I'm not part of any clubs or other organizations at school. Its not that I'm lazy, just the fact that the only thing my school has to offer other than sports is band and National Honor Society. I tried joining the Jazz Band, me being a guitarist, but apparently the only way I could be accepted was if I had been in regular band since 6th grade. And for NHS, I simply dropped the ball on that one, and couldn't get my application in on time.

    Now that I am a senior in high school and I'm working on the application process for the USAFA, I am worried that the Academy and my application for a Congressional nomination won't take into consideration what I have done with my time without playing team sports or clubs in high school.

    Thoughts???
     
  2. JettAirliner

    JettAirliner USNA Appointee 2016

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    It might be tougher, but showing a lot of work experience will be good. And you competitively raced, kept up good grades, that shows quite a bit. Hopefully the folks you apply for nominations from will do interviews, and you could probably really state your case there.

    So, will it hurt your chances? Yes, yes it will. You'll just have to make up for it everywhere else, which you appear to be doing a fine job of.
     
  3. USAF52

    USAF52 Member

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    The academies all look for well-rounded applicants, meaning not just someone who has studied for 4 years and gotten all A's--they want to see activities, volunteering, sports, clubs, etc. Not having a traditional sport will be something you'll have to overcome, since team sports can help you show leadership (captain), teamwork, hard work, physical fitness, working towards a common goal, etc. You'll need to explain how things like motocross racing and farming take discipline, physical fitness, perseverance, etc.--all things that are probably more apparent in traditional sports/activities like football, baseball, etc. Not every activitiy has to be school-related. Are you in Scouts, do you belong to a youth group at your church, do you volunteer for the Red Cross, etc.? Even if its a one-time activity (coordinating a food drive for the local shelter for example) list it on your resume--anything that can show leadership, organization, that you can handle a variety of things. You have a job--farming for your dad--that should be on your resume. Look at everything you do so you are presenting an accurate picture of all that you have been involved in. And be prepared to talk in depth during your ALO and MOC interviews about what you have done and why, the skills you have learned and what you can bring to the table. Maybe one of your essays can be about the decision to give up football for motocross. I'm not saying this will be easy, but just don't sell short what things you have done. Keep your grades up, get involved now in things that interest you. You can always update your file with the AFA through the fall and winter as you do different things, get awards or recognition for something etc. Good luck.
     
  4. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Just a dad with a plebe at USMA... but here's some input:

    Some MOC's do factor in CFA & sports into their evaluations for NOM's. It will depend on how competitive your district/state is, and their process.

    It also clearly does factor in the admissions decisions, in at least three areas:
    1) Can the applicant keep up with the physical demands of the cadets? without a clear sports record you'll need a strong CFA. Consistent input from liaison's & admissions.

    2) what else have you been doing with your time? If your leadership & academics are stellar, then as long as you can answer question 1 to their satisfaction you may be OK. Especially if your EC's make it clear you are active & healthy. (outdoor hobbies, etc)

    3) All other things being equal, team sports participation at JV & Varsity HS level is a strong indicator of how well the cadet will do. (Consistent input from admissions briefings & liaisons) Yep, not fair, but both Navy & Army briefings indicated that statistically, there is a very strong correlation between success at sports and success at the academies. Does not mean that not having it you will be unsuccessful. But they do factor that in the evaluation.

    In DS's case, it was something he chose to develop, as it was a consistent question from liaison's. "Why are you not in sports?". I'd sure be planning ahead to really rock the CFA!
     
  5. Farm Kid

    Farm Kid Member

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    Thanks! That is all I needed, just an actual honest answer. :thumb:
     
  6. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Just don't psych yourself out.... just be aware of the unanswered questions and work to provide answers.

    If you are active & fit, then find ways to demonstrate that in your EC's, etc. For DS it meant fighting to get on a team as a junior. (Hint: most running sports will take walk on's even if just at JV level). And it's great training for the CFA. Tell the coach what you are trying to do.

    If you are not active & fit, then immediately initiate a plan to change that. If you don't, you will be very unhappy at any of the academies!

    Though we had less experience with USAFA, I suspect they also love to see improvement like USNA & USMA. IE: Sometimes coming from behind, fighting for and achieving improvement counts more than a slam dunk the first time. Direct feedback- this counts in both CFA & SAT's.
     

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