Jumping the Gun?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by alparent, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. alparent

    alparent Member

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    We've been reading the forums for a while, but it's my first time posting. It has been invaluable! Thank you all!! My DS is currently a sophomore in high school, and we are getting confused as to what he should be doing form-wise now, and as a jr. I know SS is for the summer after jr. year, but other than the academics, leadership, physical stuff - which he is diligently working on.... is there paperwork, applications, etc. he should be filling out? A lot of people take about "the portal", and I'm not too sure what that is. He did fill out a pre-junior app online, but nothing where he can start listing his accomplishments, etc. I don't want to jump the gun since he is just a sophomore, but also don't want to overlook something he should be filling out. Thanks for any insight!
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    There is nothing he can do now paperwork wise until next yr when they open up the SLS.

    The portal that posters are discussing is for the candidates of this yr.

    The only suggestion I would give besides getting good grades, taking rigorous course load, multiple SAT/ACT and being active in ECs is to make sure your medical is good to go. Many times candidates get caught in the DodMERB process for a waiver especially if they have allergies or vision issues. The medical exam is intense, it is not like a sports physical, everything from their nose to their toes is examined. So, if they have taken meds for a long duration for a specific reason, start getting that together.

    Waivers can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months and it will tie up the apptmt.

    Good luck
     
  3. alparent

    alparent Member

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    Thank you Pima! We haven't even considered the medical...too much other stuff to focus on. We will certainly take your advice. How soon can someone get the medical done? I'm guessing some have had medical issues pop up they they didn't even know they had.? Can people go somewhere to get a "preliminary" exam done before the "real" one, just to cover all bases? Since he does wear glasses, is there something we should be doing now?
     
  4. Dad

    Dad Member

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    SAME camp

    If your future cadet is interested in engineering, there are construction/enginneering camps available they can go to soph or junior year in High school. DS went last year and had a blast. Cost is only $275 and a SAME post will sponsor you for the rest. Check out: http://samecamps.org/ for more info.
     
  5. USAFAHopefulMom

    USAFAHopefulMom Member

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    alparent, I'm pretty sure that DoDMERB won't give your son a "preliminary" exam but one thing you could do is look through the Instructions to Precandidates Booklet at this site:

    https://admissions.usafa.edu/secure/online/WebPCQ2014.pdf

    It talks about medical issues on pg. 18 (I think?). Don't assume the worst, though, on some of the disqualifiers--every issue is looked at individually, based on severity of issue etc. and a decision rendered. Sometimes additional testing is requested, but none of this can be done until your son would become a candidate. If there are things that your son went through as a young child (for example, my son had surgery the day he was born and the academy wanted all the documentation before saying OK), then you may want to start gathering paperwork from doctors/hospitals/etc. if you feel it may be hard to locate. Since my son's surgery was 17+ years ago, it was a pain. But you still have plenty of time so don't feel you have to start immediately. If its a current issue the AFA will want the most up to date info anyway, so you'll have to wait until then to get the most recent medical evaluations etc.

    The other thing to look at in the instructions booklet is the Candidate Fitness Assessment that your son will have to take as part of the application process. Again, he has plenty of time to get ready, but at some point he will want to start practicing the events--the basketball throw and pullups come to mind--and in the order and way that the academy requires. Its not an easy thing to prepare for in just a few days or weeks even.

    Best advice is like Pima said--concentrate on academics, take the ACT/SAT when the time comes (and more than once), make sure to get leadership roles in whatever activities he's involved in, and just enjoy his high school years. The process is stressful enough when you're in the middle of it so don't begin it any earlier than you have to!
     
  6. alparent

    alparent Member

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    Dad, the camp idea is a great one. Will start on that immediately. Thank you!

    usafahopefulmom, thank you for your advice. I get what you mean with the medical and hospital stays when they were infants. I will start looking into that. Since the CFA can only be sent in once, and the admissions are rolling... do most kids get to the "average" on the scores and send them in, or hold out trying for the max? Is there a magic number that you would have to score above the minimun on any given event for the SAs to add points to your composite...does even a little above count.....or is is an average score vs a max score they look at? He has started practicing already, and thankfully has time on his side.
     
  7. jwalsh1

    jwalsh1 Member

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    With the CFA, you get points per event. The academy accepts people on a "Whole Person" concept. The points from the CFA get factored into the points with the rest of your package. When I took my CFA, I got a failing score in one event with no points awarded with the rest of the events I did fairly well. I still received my Prep school appointment. (This is what my admissions counselor told me at least. =P)

    I know for sure that they award different amounts of points for different scores on the same events. When I called in with my scores, my counselor pulled out his little sheet and told me how many points I got on each event. Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly how many points I got in each event (other than a 0 in the basketball toss =P) but it is a score. You still get some points even if you don't make the average. The average is just for reference. My pull-ups didn't make the average, but I still got points for them.

    Hope this answers your question!
     
  8. vamom

    vamom Member

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    Hi Jwalsh1,

    I'm curious....you indicate that you called in your CFA scores and spoke with your counselor. DS entered them into the online app and submitted the scores in that manner/he never spoke with anyone. May I ask why you phoned yours in? Also, I was under the impression that one is never given information on the points that they would be assigned for the individual events. I'm confused! Can you provide any clarity on the discrepancy?
     
  9. jwalsh1

    jwalsh1 Member

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    When I took my CFA, I was worried about my scores, SO I called the admissions office and asked to speak with one of the 2Lt that I had spoken with in the past. I didn't speak with a normal counselor. He listened to my scores and after each score I gave him, he spoke kinda to himself about the ammount of points I earned on each event. I don't think he meant for me to hear it or anything, but I do know I got 0 points in the basketball toss, and I only did 4 pull-ups, and yet I did earn some points for that.

    At one point, a different 2Lt told me how many points my academic portion of my package earned. (I forget all these numbers too, so please don't ask. This conversation seems like it took place AGES ago =P ) She told me that I had X points and that Y points where what the academy deemed as a minimum for being successful at the prep school and Z points were the minimum for being successful as a direct appointment. I was like 50 points away from Z. Or something like that.
     
  10. vamom

    vamom Member

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    Thank you! I was more curious about the "phoning in" part since DS did everything online and never spoke to anyone other than his ALO "in person". Congratulations to you and I'm sure that next year you will be well above the points that you need for "Z". Nice use of algebra-like analogy! :) Now, back to waiting for an "E", hopefully the BF one!
     
  11. alparent

    alparent Member

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    Thanks jwalsh1! This is all foreign to us. Do you remember what you threw to get a "0" in basketball? Since they gave you a "0", did that mean you failed the entire test..and are not allowed to retake it? Or was the "0" a score..just not below the minimum they require? And, way to go on the Prep School appointment!!!
     
  12. jwalsh1

    jwalsh1 Member

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    @vamom: I wish you the best with the BFE! Keep stalking that mailbox! =P

    @alparent: I don't remember off the top of my head the exact score. When I get off of work, I can check in my folders. Just because I did poorly in one area, doesn't mean that I am completely disqualified. I was not asked to retake the test, but I have my appointment. It may be a little different because I am currently enlisted; however, one bad score doesn't necessarily disqualify you for the academy. It is the overall package that they look at. =D
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I do believe since you are enlisted the CFA would be viewed differently from a board perspective since AD members must take their annual PFT, assuming you passed the AD PT.

    I am only saying that because traditionally it is you fail one part and you fail the CFA. Again it is a WHOLE PIC aspect. In other words you can be a great runner(maxing it), but if you don't have the upper body strength it can be a big problem.
     
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Active duty members applying to the academy, are looked at totally differently. I won't go into the details; but I will say that what an enlisted person does in the application process is not necessarily done or looked at the same.

    As for applying to the academy for a high school student, the best preparation you can do, is to ensure you are taking the most challenging academics that you are capable of excelling in. Also; be involved in athletics and other activities that promote team work and leadership experience. Work out as much as possible with running, doing pullups, and situps. You do that, and you'll be fine.

    I always recommend that individuals get their application completed as soon as possible. That includes the CFA. Even the application paperwork "Suggests" trying to complete it in 45 days. "Yes, it it very possible". The only individuals I recommend hold out on the CFA, and those their application, are those who have an "Average" application. This way they can try and get "More Points" in the CFA. But the individual who is the 3.9+ gpa; kick butt SAT/ACT, plays and letters in varsity sports, is involved with a lot of volunteer and leadership activities, etc... Get your application done as soon as possible. Even with an "Average" CFA. Remember: Until your application is 100% COMPLETE: minus a nomination and your DODMRB physical, the academy will NOT EVEN LOOK AT IT. So for those with an outstanding application; getting it submitted early is a benefit. You will be adding new ACT/SAT scores and accomplishments to it, and it will be looked at more often. Especially for an early LOA or appointment if you have a military related / non-moc related nomination. Best of luck. mike....
     
  15. Gleason84

    Gleason84 Member

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    GREAT camp! My DS also attended last year and had a lot of fun and was even able to see the Academy, which was a plus for him. I would recommend it to anyone who isnt eligible for SS. I know the deadline to attend this camp at the AFA is Apr 15th, so GOOD LUCK!
     
  16. alparent

    alparent Member

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    Thank you Gleason84. My DS is very interested in engineering, so this sounds perfect for him.

    CC, thank you as well! I know "most challenging" is so important, and high schools differ vastly in courses offered....does the academy take into account that some schools (like my DS's) require a study hall if 2 or more AP classes are taken? He attends a college prep school, and that is their rule. I wouldn't want admissions to think he is taking the easy way out, but it's required.
     
  17. jwalsh1

    jwalsh1 Member

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    If anything, I'm sure they would look at it and think that he is willing to ask for help when needed. Won't stay quiet when he doesn't understand a topic and will take a proactive action to make sure he doesn't fall behind.

    That's how I'd look at it myself. =P When I was in high school, I didn't have time in my schedule for a study hall. There were so many electives I wanted to take. Haha.
     
  18. alparent

    alparent Member

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    I know. Competing for a spot at a SA and taking a mandatory study hall seem counter productive.
     
  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The first part of the academy application is that besides your transcripts, that your high school provide a "School Profile". They use this to compare your school with the thousands of other schools in the country. This way they can accurately compare apples to oranges and somehow come up with a common denominator. Some schools have every AP class possible. Some only offer 3-4 classes. Some don't offer any. Some kids are home schooled. Some high schools have the full IB program. And the list goes on. Don't worry; the academy will accurately access your high school; determine what classes are available; bounce that off of what classes your son is taking; then look at how well he has done in them. Anything that you consider Unique about your school is not unique. The academy has seen it before. best of luck. Mike....
     
  20. alparent

    alparent Member

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    Christcorp - You are the voice of calm and reason...and my hero:redface: Thank you!
     

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