Interesting Interview Experience

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by ZoomingFalcon, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    I just got home from Mt Pleasant where I had my interview with my congressman's academy panel.

    There was a retired USAF, two Board of Education members, and the academy coordinator.

    The first part of the interview went quite routinely, but interestingly, the retired USAF asked me if I would take a nomination to Annapolis or West Point (I intend on going to USAFA). I said I probably would not take a nom to anywhere else but USAFA since Air Force has been my dream for 5 years.

    He kind of grilled me on that.

    He said I should complete the apps for USNA and USMA by Monday, and call the coordinator (who was in the room) to let him know.

    At the end of the interview when he walked me out of the room, we talked about the engineering at USAFA. He said Army and Navy beat out Air Force (at 7th place). Then he went back into the room and retrieved a paper and gave it to me, thanked me, and I left.

    The paper is a response to the Daily Report on US News and World Report's 2010 rankings of best colleges. The article was written by the USAFA chief scientist. The article pretty much explained why USAFA was ranked below Navy/Army. There is a section of the article which says "Comparison to West Point/Annapolis and impact on the US Air Force Academy engineering programs:"
    A notable line: "...cadet learning is our most important metric of our success...we do not typically base either our pedagogy or curriculum on those numbers...we focus on the knowledge of the needs of our constituency and current state-of-the-art engineering education pedagogy."

    I don't understand his reasoning for giving me this paper while suggesting that I apply to USMA/USNA.

    I'm not trying to beat-down the other service academies, but honestly, I don't want to go to USNA/USMA. They're not my dream academy. He said it's a $200,000 education. I don't care about the value of the education in dollars. I only care about going to a service academy that I want to go to.

    Although he suggested I apply to the others, I do not intend to. Is this a bad choice?
     
  2. Fuji

    Fuji Member

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    Zooming Falcon,

    First point - and most important one - do not read too much into that incident.

    That being said, our Congressional Nomination Team has a standard question "Would you like to be considered for nimination to all service academies?" The rationale behind doing this - sometimes students are not aware of the wonderful opportunities available at service academies - other than the one that they are initially focused on (in fact many - too many - are not aware of all of the service academies - particularly the USMMA.)

    Asking that question allows students to be considered for nomination for all service academies. How this could be a good thing: We have had several times in our congressional district - when less than 10 students requested to be considered for a nomination to the USAFA. Understandable - our congressional district has a lot of coastline, so USNA, USMMA and ISCGA a lot more popular than USAFA. Because so many students request USNA nomination - the vast majority do not get selected. If they stated that would like to be considered for all service academies - they just might get a nomination to USMMA or USAFA - and although they ultimately would not be interested in attending either of those institutions - they would have a nice nomination from a congressman - that they could then add to their bragging file to support their candidacy for other programs.

    It looks like you have a serious focus on USAFA. That is a good thing - and the interviewer would either ultimately respect that - or - the people he was interviewing with - as well as the coordinator - will call him on that.

    I recommend the following; once the process is completed - and you either get a nomination/appointment - or you do not - contact directly the interview coordinator and share the info you already have shared on this forum. I work with several congressional aides/nomination interview coordicators - and I know all of them youd be VERY interested in one of their interviewers did what you said that interviewer had done to you...and, I have no doubt, that person would be addressed on that subject.

    I wiash you well through the process - and am glad you are so focused on serving our great country!

    Fuji
     
  3. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    Fuji

    Thanks for the response. This is probably going to throw you for a little loop, but the academy coordinator was sitting in the room when the interviewer made the suggestion that I send my apps out by Monday. The interview even looked at the coordinator and said I need to contact him by Monday to let him know.

    I'm not sure if the coordinator accepts this kind of behavior, but I would think that if someone wanted to go to all three, that's fine, but don't push someone to make a decision to go to a service academy that they don't want.

    Do you think I should call the coordinator and let him know that I did not submit my apps to USMA/USNA (like the interview suggested), and that I only want to be considered for USAFA? Or should I ask to be considered for all service academies even though I didn't fill out the apps for USMA/USNA. But then I take a nom away from someone who may really want to go to USMA or USNA.

    Either way I decide, it's going to feel wrong.
    On one side, I don't follow-through with the recommendations of the interviewer. And the coordinator knows that.

    On the second side, I may get a nom to USMA/USNA thereby "stealing" one away from someone who wants it more than me.

    Or the third side, I don't get a nom to USAFA which puts me down to relying on my Senators/Vice President.

    It feels like a lose-lose-lose situation.
     
  4. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    If you absolutely do not want to go to USMA or USNA or any other place, then do not apply. This is a mom talking to her son....that's where I'm coming from. If you are open to the others then go for it....but it doesn't sound like you are.

    If you can call the coordinator, do so. Let her know that the man asked you to consider the other Academies and you thought about it seriously, but your decision is made. You want to attend USAFA.


    Look at it this way....if you could not get into USAFA, would you want to go to the other academies? Yes? maybe you should apply. No? then don't apply.

    You have to do what feels right for you.
     
  5. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    I agree that this seems to be the best way to get a "win" out of the situation. I've heard of MOC's doing similar things - and usually, it was a subtle way of them telling you that you weren't going to get the AF nom, but that you'd have a good chance of one of the other ones. If this is the case, would you rather do ROTC, wait a year and try again, or try for one of the other academies? If your answer is one of the first two, then I strongly recommend taking singaporemom's advice.

    That way it sounds like you're not just ignoring the interviewer. Let the staffer/coordinator know that you have seriously looked into all three academies in the past and that you reexamined them again this weekend. But that you are set on your decision.

    Interesting because around here they don't like you to list more than one academy and only if you have a reason. Seems a bit strange to push the ones you don't want on you!
     
  6. jscam87

    jscam87 Member

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    The points made have been excellent. You will notice that nobody is bashing the Air Force guy, and for good reason. Everything has been positive.
    The AF guy took extra time to chat with you and encouraged you to apply to other Academies. Seems like he liked you and would endorse you for another Academy. VERY positive. So on the outset, nobody is questioning your dedication, academic and physical toughness, or moral outlook. In fact, his comments can only be seen as a ringing endorsement of your positive qualities.
    Now nobody knows what was said in the interview and even YOU may not understand the implication of the questions. But if you can step back and not get your feelings hurt, I think you can see that AF Guy is trying to help.
    Now this is not supposed to be YOU, but an example.
    Let's say a candidate was interviewed and among the the responses we learned that ACADEMICS were very important. That sailing and spending your life near the water was important to your growth and independance. That aviation was very important. That you only interviewed at very small civilian schools (less than 1,000). Make up more examples. The punchline is when this candidate says that USAFA is the goal, everyone else thinks you are perfect for USMMA and USCGA.
    Now the interviewers are there for a reason. They make no money for their efforts. No rewards for getting 10 candidates this year or 0 candidates next year. They do it as a service. At least one motivation, in my opinion, is to avoid recommending a candidate who quits in the first 6 hours of the first day. Better to have 0 nominations than 1 of those.
    So what is going on?
    It may be he KNOWS that there are no more spots for USAFA. It may be many things. I hope what you take away from this is you KNOW he is trying to do what is best for you. In his opinion, and apparently others on that board, you would do well to apply to ther Academies.
    Now, you won't do well at an Academy where you hate being there every day. At the same time, you probably won't do well where the Academy is a poor fit.
    I have a very good friend and classmate, a BGO, who took a USNA applicant and got her into USCGA (actually NAPS, then CG since it was late in the process). He went as far as driving to USCGA and pleading her case. He tells the story freely. It was a great fit. He did the right thing. I know it SOUNDS like the AF guy is against the Air Force. When I hear it, it sounds like he is really cheering for you, but you don't like what you hear.
    In the end you are going do what you feel, and that is fine. But against this, keep in mind, you are probably 16,17,18 years old and don't have much experience in all this (nobody does at your age).
    So take a deep breath and good luck. When you send any correspondence, whatever you think, AF guy deserves some thanks for the extra time he spent with you. Everyone there at that board and here on the forum hope the best for you.
    Good Luck.
     
  7. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    Thanks everyone for the response. I know that they [the boards] aren't out to get me.

    I would rather wait a year than go to an academy that doesn't work with me.
     
  8. BeatNavy

    BeatNavy USMA Cadet

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    I get the impression that you are more interested in the branch of service rather than attending a service academy, and I feel exactly the same way. I was asked if I was applying to any academy other than USMA at my interview, and I told them No because I would rather pursue Army ROTC because being an Army officer was more important than attending an SA, and it seemed that the board they liked this answer (two of the three were USMA grads), and I'm sure if you explained that, there would be no problems.
     
  9. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    That's a good point. I specifically stated my desire to be an Air Force officer.

    They suggested a cross-commission.

    I thought that strange, since only a VERY small percentage decide to cross-commission. It all boils down to where you want to be, whether its as an officer or as a cadet.
     
  10. TX_2014

    TX_2014 Member

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    Wow..! I haven't been on the forums long, but it really amazes me about the quality advice given here.

    So many great individuals are involved in admissions process, from ALO's, interviewers, boards, and otherwise, and they are appreciated greatly.

    ...and thanks to all the members that have shared their great experiences and advice with us! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and learned so much from all.

    ZoomingFalcon: I wish you the best of luck on your endeavors for the USAFA or other SA's. I know you'll be successful in whatever you pursue...
     
  11. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    I had an interview with my second senator today.

    Went MUCH better than yesterday. There were two people, one female and one male who was a retired Air Force.

    They asked pretty much the same questions, but the environment was a LOT better. I didn't feel as pressured as I did at my congressman's.

    Maybe senators are just more laid-back.
     
  12. jscam87

    jscam87 Member

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    The Senators may be more laid back, but most candidates remark that the later interviews go better and feel better (and I don't think the first interview went badly, it sounded like they really liked you).
    Sounds like another good one. You've obviously put in the work so nobody reading this is very surprised at your success.
    Congrats and good luck!
     

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