How important are the Letters of Recommendation and the Summer Seminar Assessment?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by DevilDog, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    I was just wondering how important these items are in the decision process.
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Well, considering that only about 10% of all applicants go to summer seminar, it's not really that important. However, if the summer assessment made some very specific comments about the individual, it could be of more significance. E.g. Mentions that you are argumentative the entire time; or that you fought with 3 other people while you were there. Those things could be significant. Other than that, they know you just finished your junior year, and probably don't know what you're getting into.

    As for the teacher's recommendations on the application, that can have a significance. Again, it depends. If 2 of the 3 teachers give you a "Walk on Water" recommendation, but the 3rd is neutral or mentions certain faults you have; the academy can see through this. Could be just that one teacher has a problem with the applicant. Could be the teacher doesn't like the military. (My son's teacher was actually upset that he wanted the academy. He said my son was wasting his talent and time. That he should be at MIT or Caltech studying physics. He made it clear that is where my son should be and didn't like the idea of him in the military. It was apparent in the recommendation. But again, this was just one teacher. Compared to the other two, it was obviously an individual issue. Plus, you add in the ALO interview and the academy gets a much more accurate picture.

    Which brings up one other issue. If you are referring or including the ALO's interview and recommendations; that's another story all together. Read into it any way you want, but while I don't believe that an ALO can GET a person an appointment to the academy; I believe that they can most definitely STOP a person from getting an appointment. So you don't want to blow off your ALO or consider them insignificant in the final process. later... mike...
     
  3. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    I was not referring to the ALO or Teacher recommendations. I was referring to the three outside source (non-teachers) recommendations. My son has one from a close family friend that has known him for 10 years, the 2nd highest in command of our police force, and one of his teammates father, that graduate from USNA.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Same concept applies. The academy is use to; and expecting; letters that are either "Rosie and Shiny" or "Very bland and neutral". That's just how people tend to write. What the academy is looking for with letters such as these is consistency and/or irregularities.

    I.e. "Kevin is a dedicated individual who takes pride in doing the best job he can. He is always willing to help others on his team, in the classroom, and in the community..........." This is a very typical sort of meat and potatoes. It is skimmed over and not really looked at.

    However; I.e. "Kevin is a dedicated individual who takes pride in doing the best job he can. His perfectionism in doing the best job is recognized by team mates when trying to accomplish common goals. And he prefers taking on the lead role......" This is CODE for, he doesn't play well with others. He prefers to work by himself. He doesn't like to take orders from other people.

    These are just examples. 95% of all letter are of the "Rosie" nature. That say what a nice boy/girl they are. That they care so much for their friends, school, peers, and those in need. It's all pretty and happy. But every once in a while, you get one that just doesn't sound right. It doesn't sound bad, just different. You can take my 2nd scenario above, and depending on how you word it, it could be very good. What a natural born leader the person is. How they motivate others in a positive way. Or, it can sound like an arrogant loner who has a problem with authority and working as a team. So, if there's no inconsistencies in the letters, then there is very little importance on the letters. If there are code words and triggers, it could be very important. But these too are combined with the teachers and the ALO to determine consistency or if it's an individual writer and the way they are expressing. hope this helps. Mike.....
     
  5. homewith4

    homewith4 Member

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    My son went to summer seminar...are the assesments made availabe to the candidate, or are they private files not able to be viewed? I didn't even know such assesment existed.
     
  6. aggie83

    aggie83 Member

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    All I can add, is that when we went to Keystone last August (my husband had a business conference there) we came back through Colorado Springs and visited the Academy and met with our son's admissions officer. The admissions officer made a comment about him having a really good review from Summer Seminar in his file so I guess they do do reviews. However, our cadet suspected they were all pretty much the same unless you really stood out as someone that would not do well in the academy environment.
     
  7. dtkdarnoc

    dtkdarnoc Member

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    Rec Letters

    We were uncomfortable with the recommendations AFA asked us for. Son's calculus teacher was great, son did well in the class, but it was 50 people and I don't know that he showed alot of leadership skills and made his "character" apparent in math class.

    He happened to have some references with nice titles. The key thing, though, was that those references had exposure to the characters in him which would be important to the academy - leadership, perseverance, etc. One of his references was a school board member who had known him for 8 years competing in triathlons - he said, "I'd write for any kid, but it is only significant if I actually know the kid".

    I don't know the significance to admissions, but I certainly think these were important factors in securing Congressional/Senate nominations.

    Best of luck!

    D

    (c4c parent)
     

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