Is it too late?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by jarvin, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    Just wanted to ask if it was too late to take up any significant leadership roles in my high school. I am currently a junior in high school and the only leadership experiences I have is outside of my high school as a senior alter server for church as well as a team leader for an engineering course at my local cal state university (which was held at my school). I am absolutely in no clubs because my school doesn't offer much clubs of my interest, and neither am I in any teams. (I was in frosh/soph basketball in my freshman yr). Anyways I am planning to found two clubs with a couple friends my senior year as well as join Marine JROTC (only jrotc available but not yet offered till next year), as well as join varsity cross country and maybe swimming. But that is all till next year and may show inconsistency. I was just wondering if it would be significant in my application to the academy. Thanks for your replies. (BTW my gpa is not that hot, 3.6 gpa unweighted, top 10%, taken 4 aps my whole high school career and planning to take 3 more next year, as well as honors)
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The only answer, which you'll see posted hundreds of times if you look, is that if you DON'T apply yourself, volunteer, participate, etc... then it CAN'T have any positive affect on your application. However; if you apply yourself, volunteer, participate, etc... then it MIGHT have a positive affect. No one here knows the answer.

    However, I tend to ask something of people who are applying to any of the academies who asks about participating in these types of activities. So, I'll ask you too. Are you participating in any of the activities you speak of because you REALLY WANT to, or because you think it will HELP your application? I truly love the military. I gave close to half of my life to it. But I will be the first to say it's not for everyone. I'm not saying it's for you or not. I don't know you. But I believe that you have to be true to yourself. You need to do what you WANT to do. I've seen way too many people who've applied to one or more of the academies, and they participated in High School sports, joined clubs, joined JrROTC, joined CAP, got involved with AP/IB programs/classes, etc... all for the purpose of improving their chances of getting into the academy. If that's why you do/participate in certain activities, then you're probably not going to be happy as a cadet or as a military member. Not that you won't, but you might not be.

    Simply put; those who REALLY TRULY WANT the academy; also REALLY TRULY WANT to serve in the military. They are also the type of person that naturally is involved heavily in more advanced academics; TEAM athletics; leadership roles; volunteering; etc... And there are so many ways to do this. It could be varsity football, marching band, CAP, Boy/Girl Scouts, Meals on Wheels, and the list is endless. Basically, the question you should ask yourself is: "Would I be doing these activities, classes, clubs, etc... if I wasn't thinking about applying to a military academy"? Because that's what the vast majority of cadets in the academy have done. Those AP/IB classes; the volunteering, sports, clubs, etc... they would have done that anyway. It's their personality. It's the personality of the academy and the military. Teamwork and Service before Self. Of course there's a lot of students who do these things and have no interest in the academies. They usually wind up at a traditional college. There's obviously a difference with traditional and military schools.

    Now; are there some who apply and get accepted to one of the military academies who aren't quite as enthusiastic as many that I have described? Most certainly there are. Some realize it's not for them; either during/after BCT or some time in the first 2 years; and they leave. Some stick it out and live up to their 5 year commitment with honor. Some actually have the academy and military grow on them and they become more enthusiastic about it.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is: "Why are you asking if participating and joining certain clubs or activities is too late or not"? Do them because you really want to. Apply to the academies because you really want to. You're 17-18 years old. This is the time when you have the opportunity to be choosing the future you WANT to. Take advantage of it. There's a lot of people, because of being married, kids, debt, commitments, etc... are doing something they HAVE to do instead of what they really want to. If you want to do X-country, swimming, start a club, Navy jrRotc; then do it because you want to. Don't do it because you're trying to fill a square to get accepted into the academy. I have no idea why or what your goals or plans are. Or why you want to attend a military academy. And personally, it's none of my business. That's totally your decision. But that's what I'm trying to impress upon you. Make these decisions because it's what you want.

    As far as applying to the academy; being in clubs, sports, activities, etc.... even in your senior year and never having done it earlier; is better than not at all. Whether or not it's going to be enough with your grades and everything else in your file to get you a nomination and an appointment? I have no idea. No one does. But if you don't apply and don't try; then your chances are 0%. So, at least you have a chance if you apply. And you'll have a mathematical better chance if you get involved in the activities. Best of luck to you. Mike.....
     
  3. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Christcorp, just because you aren't involved in many things doesn't mean the academy isn't for you. What's wrong with doing things to improve your chances? I applied myself more in school and got better grades to get into a good college. I don't think it's bad motivation.

    Example: Joining a sport because you want to get into an academy doesn't mean you won't enjoy the military. I don't see how one could make the assumption.

    I remember I did some things to boost my application. I didn't enjoy them much but I knew they were good for me and beneficial in many ways to my future.
     
  4. SemperExcelsius

    SemperExcelsius USAFA Cadet

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    I think its best to do things you enjoy because you won't want your work to be in vain. There is ALWAYS a possibility of you not getting into the academy.

    It's a delicate balance of doing what you want to do, and what you may need to do. Don't let arrogance prevent you from doing things that may be out of your comfort zone, but don't also become just another "I'm-just-doing-this-even-though-I-hate-it-because-I-have-to-because-it's-suppose-to-look-good-on-my-college resume" person. Do what you love, and do it well.

    But like so many have said, you just have to try your hardest and hope for the best. Good luck!
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Finest; don't read into my post too much. I tried to be clear, but apparently I wasn't. That is my fault. There is an imaginary list of requirements; also known as a list; for extra curriculum, sports, clubs, etc... that people look at, believing it is what they need to get them into the academy. That list doesn't really exist. In other words, because your score is based on the "Total Package"; football doesn't count any higher than lacrosse, tennis, gold, etc... Neither does band count any more than the stamp club, choir, young republicans, etc... Same with CAP, Scouting, Boy/Girl's state, etc... In other words, asking if you SHOULD participate in certain activities is a question in futility. It can't be answered.

    What CAN be answered is that you need to participate in athletics, leadership, community service, difficult academics, etc... These are explained pretty clearly in the academy websites. Therefor, this moves on to my comments and/or suggestions. I was telling the individual that s/he should be participating in what they like. Not trying to pick from an imaginary list that doesn't exist. I mentioned that participating in activities that you DON'T like for the sole purpose of "Filling a square" on the application would be counter productive. Would the academy be for you??? I already mentioned, if you read my entire post, that there are those who do such things and when they get to the academy/military come to a realization. Some people realize it's not for them. Some "Put up" with it and serve their country admirably and with honor; as a means of paying the government back for an education. And some have the academy/military actually grow on them and they wind up staying in and loving it. I've already said this, so to be honest, I don't understand what you're questioning me about????????

    But I will say, and stand by the opinion, that if TEAM activities such as sports don't appeal to you; if activities where there are authority figures controlling your activity, e.g. coach, leader, hierarchy, etc...; if being involved in leadership positions where you control the activity of others, doesn't appeal to you; then there's a really good chance that the academy/military probably won't appeal to you either. Because that is exactly the concept of the academy and military. Being part of a team; you leading others and others leading you. There are a lot of people who aren't into this style. They prefer a more laissez-faire lifestyle. But to say again; and I'll quote from my previous post:
    People apply to the academies for numerous reasons. Patriotic, financial, family tradition, lack of other options, etc.... And there will be people in EACH of these categories that find the academy/military isn't for them; and there will be those in EACH category who find out the military lifestyle is the greatest thing in the world.

    But I will emphasize that at 17-18 years old, the individual really needs to be doing what it is they like and want to do. Obviously, if the academy has been a dream since say junior high; then you've probably looked into what they expect of future cadets. You may have then started participating in the classes and activities that fall in line with the academy expectations. If you find that you really like these activities and classes, there's a good chance you'll probably really like the academy/military. Some find that parts of this isn't what they like, but they find a compromise by going the ROTC route. They still get the commission and career they want, but they don't have to go through the academy. But even these people PROBABLY had a similar life experience in high school as those who attended the academy. But the person who is becoming interested in the academy their junior/senior year, needs to find the activities and classes that they WANT. Remember, the requirements for the academy are not that much different than most high end universities. They too are looking for leadership, challenging academics, athletics/clubs, etc... The only real difference is the commissioning and serving requirements.

    As for your question of "What's wrong with doing things to improve your chances"? There's nothing wrong with that. But there's plenty of ways to do that without doing things you don't like. This individual mentioned not being in clubs, leadership, or athletics. I won't lie and say they have just as good a chance as those who have done those things. But I'm also not going to pretend that there is some "Checklist" that they can fill squares and get an appointment. If a person wanted the academy/military for any period of time, they would have been involved with sports, leadership, clubs, activities, etc... because it's part of their nature. Same with many people; even those not interested in the academy. So as I told this individual, definitely apply; definitely get involved with activities; etc...; but get involved with the activities you like; not to try and fill a square. Put it this way; NEVER doing ANY sports and doing a sport your senior year, isn't that impressive. However; if you received a varsity letter, were a team captain, won some sort of accolade, etc... those do mean something. It's easier to get these letters, accolades, etc... of a sport, club, activity, etc... if it's something you like.
     

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