I am Enlisted, opinions?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Sean786, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Sean786

    Sean786 Member

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    I am going to keep this as short as possible..

    I am currently Enlisted, I have been Active Duty for 2 years now. I just turned 20 in October and I am about to finish up my first deployment. I have been considering the USAFA for more than 6 months now and I have made a final decision to pursue a position at the Academy.

    My grades in High School were decent...I scored an overall score of 28 on the ACT and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. I didn't take as many AP/Honor classes as I wish I had. I took College Physics, AP Calc etc. and a full course load senior year.

    I have scored over a 90 on all of my PT tests so far and I am an avid weight lifter. I have volunteered constantly my entire AF career so far and have done well. I have a deployment under my belt and have done many things over here in Africa. I am in excellent standing at my current workcenter and I have always excelled. (Distinguished Graduate etc.)

    So, with that being said...I'm looking for any advice, tips, hints, suggestions or ANYTHING that I should work on to improve my eligibility. For Prior Enlisted, what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome to gain admission?
     
  2. Stevewar2

    Stevewar2 Member

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    Enlisted

    I was enlisted 2 years and then did a year enlisted at USMAPS. My biggest weakness was academics. See about taking college classes where you are and line up chain of command recommendations. You sound like a strong contender for Prep School. Don't get in trouble, don't fall in love, and don't have a dependent. Not to hard. The toughest part is completing the application and following through on the process.
     
  3. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    What's your AFSC? Looking at your stats, I'd say your biggest problem will be getting your commander's approval. Sometimes that can be hard, sometimes not.

    You sound like the model Airman for the program. Would you be willing to spend a year at the USAFA Prep School before entering the AFA?
     
  4. Sean786

    Sean786 Member

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    Thanks for the input Stevewar2, I definitely plan on taking online classes as soon as I get back from this deployment. I have a lot of catching up to do.

    AFrpaso, my AFSC is 3D1X3 Radio Frequency Transmissions Systems. It is pretty much a cross between Radio/SATCOM and deals with all other comm systems. I am in a Top Secret billet and I also have a special indicator as the Subject Matter Expert for my shop. I never personally met the Commander, so that may be a problem. However, I'm in good standing with my First Sergeant and our Chief.

    I understand I will have to go to the Prep school, that kinda sucks, but it has been a while since I graduated High School. What kind of courses do.you take in the Prep school and.are you guaranteed admission afterwards?
     
  5. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Sorry, I think I left this out, looking at your stats and hearing about you community involvement and good standing in the shop, I'd be VERY surprised if you didn't get an appointment.

    As for the Prep School, yea it does kinda suck, but I've found it to be one of the best times of my life. It's considerably smaller, about 180 graduating and everyone knows everyone. It becomes a tight knit community of support once you're on the hill. I don't go a day without seeing at least 15 good friends.

    The course load is math, english and chem based. They cover basic algebra to calculus. English covers creative, argumentative, research and some literature. Chem is comparable with your standard intro college course. If you excel in academics, you are offered the opportunity to attend classes at the AFA concurrent with your Prep School classes. There is also often a Physics course at the P which mirrors the intro physics class at the AFA (students take the department validation exam at the end and if they pass, receive credit for the course). Overall, it really isn't that much work. You'll be finished with class before lunch everyday and often have at least one free period.

    Appointments are not guaranteed, but if you perform like you did in high school and during your enlistment then they practically are.
     
  6. In-the-Know

    In-the-Know Member

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    The only way you will know is if you complete your application. Every year hundreds of our enlisted troops do not complete their application or wait until the last minute to finish. The Air Force is looking for qualified enlisted members to apply to the Academy. Check out this website:

    http://www.academyadmissions.com/admissions/advice-to-applicants/enlisted-airmen/.

    You should have already requested that your commander fill out your AF Form 1786. If you are an official candidate you only have until the 31st of January to finish.
     
  7. Sean786

    Sean786 Member

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    Appreciate the info AFrpaso. With that being said, the Prep school doesn't sound so bad. I'm more worried about the first year in the AFA. I feel like I will have a very hard time getting yelled at by other Cadets right out of high school after being enlisted for almost 4 years. I am preparing myself for a Hell on Earth type scenario.

    In-The-Know, I've been researching and talking to other Officers for over 6 months now just trying to decide if I even wanted to apply. I don't plan on applying this January, even if I wanted to, I couldn't because I am currently deployed. I am going to take this next year to prepare myself and put my application in for next year. I'm also stationed in Germany right now and I have a lot I would like to do before committing myself to the Academy.

    How do you guys think I should prepare myself physically?
    What does your schedule look like in the later class years (2nd, 3rd etc.)?
     
  8. MB 13

    MB 13 Member

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    Don't worry about basic-You'll be fine-Cadre a couple of years removed from High School at least-Academy needs candidates such as yourself-Good Luck
     
  9. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    It's really not hell-on-earth. It definitely sucks sometimes, but once you get used to it and have a solid routine life gets a lot easier or you just become numb to the grind. If there was one word to sum up freshman year at the AFA it would be "inconvenient".

    Physically? In BCT everyone breaks at some point. The CFA is pretty difficult but the PFT is even worse. I don't go by a specific workout regimen for the PFT or AFT. I'm part of the USAFA Triathlon team, which keeps me in pretty good shape.

    Every semester you are required to take at least 15 units, so five classes. It is common to have six and possible to have seven classes a semester. Freshman year is all general ed and sophomore year mostly is as well. Once you hit junior and senior year your majors classes begin in earnest, but there are usually a few core classes still mixed in. If you look up the USAFA Academic Catalog there is tons of information on the different majors and core classes.
     
  10. Sean786

    Sean786 Member

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    Haha, that sounds exactly like this deployment I'm on right now. Good to know you don't think it's all that bad.

    I honestly don't see BCT being any worse than the 8 weeks of BMT I already went through, but I could be mistaken. The CFA seems pretty easy compared to the amount of physical activity I am used to already. I had no idea there was a PFT/AFT, I looked up the PFT/AFT standards and they both look pretty difficult. They are definitely more stringent than the operational PT standards. Good to know what to prepare for!

    I've already researched Majors. I am mostly interested in Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, I have always had a desire to learn one of the two. Electrical Engineering has A LOT to do with my current job. Any insight on these Majors from current students?
     
  11. JMS

    JMS Member

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    Are you applying for the class entering July 2014 or 2015? If for 2015, and assuming a year of the prep school, I'd double check the age prerequisite. If 2014, well, you need to get on that application, unless you are far along in getting it in.
    It appears you are focused solely on the AFA. I'm interested to know why the other academies are not of interest.
    Lastly, regards getting your CO's recommendation, while I'm sure there is a official request, etc that you can send up; I suggest talking with your 1st and Chief about an opportunity to meet the CO to make your request in person, too. I think you will find them (your 1st, Chief, and CO) more interested in helping you than you may imagine. Just be prepared to make your request to the CO in a business-like manner... no stammering around.. and prepared to answer any questions. You get 3 minutes to say what you need to say... practice a lot! If there is a deadline to get this recommendation in, mention it.
    You may assume the 1st or chief will have told the CO why you wish to meet and that you are a quality guy/gal.... That is a good thing. It will give the CO time to look up how to get this done.
     
  12. Sean786

    Sean786 Member

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    JMS,

    I plan on applying for the class entering July 2015. I have checked the age requirements, I will be 21 in July of 2015, this will make it pretty close for me, but I will still be cleared.

    I choose the AFA because I am currently enlisted in the Air Force. I come from an AF family, my dad is retired and both of my brothers are active duty alongside myself. Also, I spent almost my entire life in Colorado. My parents live 30 minutes from the Academy and I have been to the Academy many times. I couldn't see myself doing anything outside of the AF and the AFA seems like the perfect fit. Are you suggesting that there is another Academy that could suit my goals?

    I will definitely take your advice and speak to my 1st Sgt and Chief. I have a lot of time and I will make sure I have everything ready to go. Is it a rule that I only get 3 minutes with my Commander or is it the Commander's preference?
     
  13. Buff-IP

    Buff-IP USAFA '88 Pilot

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    First of all if you are interested then apply...let the zoo decide if they want you or not.

    Second, I guarantee there are grads where you are stationed, maybe even some prior E ones. Talk to them, use your chain of command of course.

    If you do your app, eventually an ALO will be assigned etc...if you can't get answers any other way, and you don't have an ALO yet, PM Flieger83 or one of the other current ALOs (I assume Flieger still has connections) and get in contact with an ALO near you for some mentoring.

    There are also other paths to commissioning and your commanders should support your decision to pursue the move to officer.

    Just do it.
     
  14. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Sean,

    That 3 minutes thing isn't a rule, but it'd be good if you knew how to articulate yourself succinctly during your meeting.

    As for the majors that you mentioned, I unfortunately do not know of any upperclassmen in my squad involved. I'll see if I can find someone for you.
     
  15. JMS

    JMS Member

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    The 3 min thing is not a rule. It is simply getting your thoughts organized and articulated in a succinct manner well before the meeting. In other words, cutting through the 'fluff.' It is also being respectful of the superior's time. If the CO wants to engage in a longer conversation, then he/she will ask questions.
     
  16. JMS

    JMS Member

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    I do think you will be given serious consideration by the other academies, but if your heart is set on AF and you don't want to consider Annapolis or West Point or CGA or KP, then go for it.
    I'd be interested to read a follow up note from you regards how you are doing in your process.
     
  17. Sean786

    Sean786 Member

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    Great advice, I will absolutely start moving up my chain of command ASAP. Appreciate the motivation and support!

    If you can find someone, I am VERY interested in what they have to say! I'm sure there aren't that many with those two majors, but those are the only two I am really interested in.

    I've honestly never really read much about the other Academies, I will do my research and explore my options. I arrive back to my home base in less than one week. When I start the process for my application I will post updates on here!
     
  18. JMS

    JMS Member

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    So, how is it going Sean786? I think your experience with your chain of command, their thoughts,etc would be valuable to others here.
     
  19. NimikAF

    NimikAF Member

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    Hey Sean, I'm a little late on the reply but wanted to put in my two cents about the application. I am prior enlisted and currently awaiting the decision on whether or not I will be going to the Academy. First off, no matter what anybody tells you about your chances, apply! The application wasn't too bad. As long as your commander supports you on going to the Academy you will be fine. Even though you may have not met your commander, I am sure he will be supportive on your decision on becoming an officer. Also, talk to your supervisor and senior enlisted leadership, they will help you out a lot. I wouldn't have been able to finish my application if I didn't have as much as help and support as I did. The main advice I would give you right now is start now! It took me all year to finish my application due to work, getting ready for a deployment, and perfecting the application. Good luck!
     

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