Junior Year HS students applying to the academy CHECKLIST

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Christcorp, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    This time of year, there are a lot of Juniors in high-school who are wanting to apply to the air force academy. Some applied to summer seminar. Some didn't. Some got accepted. Some didn't. There are many questions about: "WHAT CAN I DO NOW"? I wrote a thread a couple years back answering that exact question. I cut and pasted it here. Maybe a MOD can make this a sticky for Juniors wanting to apply. hope it helps.
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    1. Junior Year of high school: About the first of the year: Find out who your son's ALO will be. Besides saying Hi; you want to apply for Summer Seminar. The NLT date for applying for Summer Seminar is approximately the 1st/2nd week of march of their Junior Year. But you'd LIKE to apply for summer seminar earlier.

    2. Assuming you get accepted for Summer Seminar, your application will automatically be started there. If you don't get to go to summer seminar, you will start the survey/pre-application prior to the end of Junior Year. This way the academy can prepare the candidate kit for your son.

    3. Somewhere between now and spring, read over you representative's and senator's web sites. They almost always have information/instructions on applying for a nomination to the military academies. They will even provide a phone number to one of their staff members who is in charge of the military academy nomination requests. Feel free to call this person with any questions the web site didn't clarify.

    4. While the academy site mentions the candidate package (Which is online) being available in August (Prior to the applicant's senior year); it's actually usually available in July or late June. Part of the application is to have your teacher's email address so the academy can email them for an online letter of recommendation. The application will also require transcripts. So PRIOR to ending your Junior year, ask each teach for their email address. Preferably an email they will check at home, because it will be summer and they won't be in school very often. Having all the email addresses makes it easier to get that portion of the application done. Also, coordinate with the school's admin section to determine when they will be open during the summer, so you can take the paperwork in the online application to request transcripts, school profile, class ranking, etc.... to your school admin. Again, it's summer. The school isn't going to have the best hours when someone can help you. Contact them before school lets out.

    5. Being you'll know who the ALO is; stay in constant contact with them. Spend from now until the end of this school year doing running, pushups, pullups, situps, etc... Be ready to take the CFA immediately.

    6. Also; as soon as the application is available, schedule the medical review. Have your physical done.

    7. Now that you're familiar with the representative's and senator's requirements for a nomination, contact their point of contact around May/June (Right after finishing Junior Year). Ask them when the soonest is they will start accepting nomination packets. Most will accept them early, but want at least your final grades from your Junior Year. Either way, contact them. At the same time, if you are eligible for any other nominations such as presidential, vp, etc... contact the academy counseling office AFTER the start of the application process; mid/end July. They will help you with the other nominations. If it's just your senator/representative, then you already will know that process.

    8. Now; if you have all these ducks lined up, there is absolutely no reason in the world that you can't have your application completely done before 1 September. It's totally possible. I've known people who have had them done towards the end of July. If you have your teacher's lined up, school admin lined up, SAT/ACT sent automatically, and lined up with the ALO; it is totally feasible.

    My son went to summer seminar around the 14th of June; in 2007. When he came back, the online application was available about a week later. He did the essays over the weekend, had the teacher's email addresses inputted, had his transcripts ready for mailing through the school the following week. He already scheduled with the ALO to take the CFA that same week. (He took it twice to see if the 2nd time would have better scores). He then submitted those scores. He had the DODMRB physical scheduled as soon as it was available. His physical was about 2 weeks later. He had his entire application 100% completed on his half, by July 19th. Within a week, the teacher's recommendations were done, transcripts in place, and because he was authorized to apply for a presidential nomination, it was completed. By 27 July; everything; including DODMRB was complete, CFA, All online, Nomination, etc... He then just started the waiting. The board starts reviewing records, the end of September or first of October.

    The online application even recommends trying to have your application completed within 45 days. We took that to heart. And that was the goal. Finish it by 1 September. He had about 60 days to work with, and finished it entirely in 30 days on his part; 45 days to solidify the teachers, transcripts, medical, etc... This is definitely doable. Not only does it get you into the system sooner; (The Board WILL NOT REVIEW YOUR APPLICATION until it is 100% complete); but it also freed up my son's fall for school work, sports, having fun, and finishing his applications to other backup schools.

    He STILL scheduled interviews with the state representative and senators in case the presidential fell through. They don't do their interviews until November. They make their list of nominees by December. (Each state is different). My son was fortunate because the presidential did come through for him in August, and he received his actual appointment the 1st of November. But had he not, he then would have continued with the nomination interviews for the rep and senator. They would have given names by December, and the academy would then take it from there.

    Hope this explains some. The time line on the web site is pretty good. You don't put in for nominations or even talk to your representative/senators until after school lets out at the end of junior year. But you need to have it through the process before the end of December. By then, the academy is going full force looking at who has nominations and who will get an appointment. Please ask more questions if I didn't answer fully. And definitely surf this forum. There's a lot of great info here by a lot of candidates, cadets, alumni, parents, etc..... Best of luck. Mike...
     
  2. McCoy

    McCoy Member

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    Thanks :thumb:
     
  3. Spanky58ggpt

    Spanky58ggpt Member

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    Small add on

    CC's advice is spot on as usual. We have been mindful of previous helpful insights. The one thing I think I would add is for candidates to place real thought, effort, and emphasis on alternate plans. This application process is tough for a reason, and a lot of very qualified folks will end the first run at it with the disappointing result of not being appointed. That does not have to be the end of your dream to serve. If you have a good, solid backup plan, you may be successful second time around...or you may find that a good backup plan gets you where you want to be by a different route. Have a realistic Plan B-Z if necessary. Some may seem like a reach, and some may be pure safety nets. Either way, if you plan ahead, you can enjoy your senior year and find yourself in a great place afterwards. Best of luck to all. Welcome to the roller coaster ride.:biggrin:
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Spanky; I have a WHOLE OTHER thread dedicated to the academy being just 1 of at least 5 colleges that I recommend everyone applies to. If the Mods sticky this one as a Junior Year Checklist, I'll go find the thread that has a lot of good suggestions by so many people on what your FULL PLAN should be when applying to COLLEGE. (Including the academies). Including how to go about finding the money for many of these schools.
     
  5. MikeR

    MikeR Member

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    Sir, do you know of a thread that advises TWE recipients starting their first year of college and who would like to apply for 2016? For instance, what classes to take to be most competitive, sports opportunities, ROTC (yeas/no) etc. I'd appreciate any advice
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    College students are in a totally different category than High School students.

    1. You already know your ALO. Work close(r) with him/her.
    2. Take MATH and SCIENCE classes. Remember: The Air Force Academy is known as the "Little Engineering School in the Rockies". They want to see MATH and SCIENCE.
    3. Any and all extra-curricular is good.
    4. Definitely get into ROTC. It will give you experience, motivation, leadership, and some understanding.

    But for what it's worth, you will be treated totally differently. And FWIW: The academy looks highly on individuals who REAPPLY. You don't need to know your WCS score for the academy. You know what your GPA was and your SAT/ACT. If they weren't great, then here's your chance in a year of college (Doesn't matter if it's Junior or 4 year university) for you to kick but in college classes. Best of luck to you. Mike....
     
  7. Strike Eagle

    Strike Eagle USAFA Cadet 2015

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    YES DO ROTC!!!!!

    Also, call your admissions counselor and he/she can give you the list of what the Academy wants to see you take in college. This is an e-mail from my counselor regarding this:

    1. Differential Calculus (or pre-calculus/college algebra if this was not taken in high school)
    2. College Chemistry
    3. Physics
    4. Freshman composition (English)
    5. History (either U.S. History or the History of Western Civilization)
    6. ROTC if available at the school
    7. The student should strive for the best possible performance in each class. Course work along with college performance will be evaluated.
    8. The candidate should take at least 15 semester hours each semester (fall and spring) to demonstrate their ability to handle a normal college academic load.
     
  8. equestriangrl93

    equestriangrl93 Member

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    I have a few questions:

    1. Since I'm a home-schooled student, where/how do I get a recomendation letter from a math or science teacher? I plan on taking courses at a community college next year (senior year), but I think the fall semester may be too late to get a letter from them. I compete in horse bowl and hippology competions (senior level tests and questions are veterinary science questions), should I ask for a recomendation letter from my coach?

    2. Who can give you congressional nomination? Does it have to come from your U.S. senator, vice president, president, or can I request a nomination from a State Rep or State Senator? Can one elected official grant you a nomination for two Service Academies? I am interested in applying to USNA, USAFA and USMA. Also, when I apply for a Army ROTC scholarship, if I check the box that reads "I desire to compete for admissions to USMA", does mean I don't need a congressional nomination for USMA?

    3. If I don't take the SAT or if I don't receive a great score in May or June, is it too late to take/retake them in Sept? Is it possible to send updated SAT scores as I continue to retake the test in the fall?
     
  9. USAF52

    USAF52 Member

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    equestriangrl--

    1. Since you are home schooled, you can ask other people to do your online evaluations. Here is the official wording from the AFA application:

    "If you are Home-Schooled you will have the option of selecting civic leaders, coaches, etc. in lieu of teachers."

    2. Congressional nominations can come from U.S. Senator or U.S. Rep. only. State Reps or Senators can not nominate. Its totally up to your nominating source (Senator, VP, etc.) whether they give you a nom for just one academy or more than that. Some like to spread the wealth and only give one to a candidate. And yes, you will need a nomination to the USMA.

    3. You can retake the SAT or ACT through the fall and submit scores. I believe the last day this year for submitting updated scores, other info for files, etc. was technically Feb. 15 (assuming application had been started before Jan. 31).

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Most people don't read signature blocks, but in mine, is a link to the 2010-2011 air force academy official brochure. It will answer many questions that applicants and parents have. Please click on it. it's a PDF file. You can even save a copy of it. It will explain a lot of questions.
     
  11. Zeke

    Zeke Member

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    Wow, this a very handy checklist. Thank you sir!

    I just did my online application for the US Air Force Academy Class of 2016, and I actually did not have to put a lot of information in. I guess a lot of the information from my Summer Seminar application automatically transferred to the online application.

    Sir, is the candidate kit the paperwork where the real bulk of my application goes to?
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  12. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    YES!
    Shortly after SS, you will be able to access the full application on line
     
  13. Zeke

    Zeke Member

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    Thank you very much!!!
     
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    That's why it's so important to get all your ducks lined up now. Especially from your teacher's personal email addresses and knowing when the school admin will be available in the summer. If you keep physically fit; run a lot; situps; etc... and have the school lined up; there's no reason that you can't complete the application in a couple of weeks. At least as much as you can do. Including the CFA, DODMRB Physical, and ALO interview. If you don't plan; you won't see your teachers or admin probably until September. You won't be able to have their part done, or arrange time with your phys-ed teacher if needed for your CFA. If you wait until September; everyone will be busy. You'll be lucky to have your application completed by November. Best of luck to you. mike....
     
  15. 1993A10

    1993A10 Member

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    I agree completely with the latest CC post. Our DS only decided in mid-July that he wanted to apply. Late July/early August was a good time to get teacher recommendations and other letters from people. Don't waste those summer months. DS had everything done that he could do before September (it took his ALO almost 6 weeks to write his recommendation.) We visited USAFA in late September and met with his AFA admissions counselor. They can tell you a lot. Do not hesitate to call or email them with a question; they know what they are talking about. In our case, the counselor looked at the app package and said that a good score (WCS) is X and your son has Y--she gave us actual numbers but we didn't know what that meant--his file will go before the first board and you should get a letter the following week. The LOA arrived just as the counselor said. The counselors know what's going on. Use them and your ALO to help you prepare the best application package you can!
     
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Good information 1993. Only thing is that "Letter". The LOA. Those are extremely rare. Maybe 10% will receive one. They are for highly competitive individuals. Sort of like "Early Admissions" from a traditional college/university. It's the academy's way of trying to motivate you and entice you to commit. But the overwhelming majority of applicants; even some with higher scores; won't receive an LOA. That doesn't mean anything towards getting or not getting an appointment. But like discussed in other threads, there's going to be at least 600 appointments that are guaranteed to Nominators like MOC, presidential, ROTC, etc... The academy has the other 500+ to work with from all the other applicants. An LOA is given to highly competitive; highly motivated; most likely going to receive an appointment anyway; type of applicant. They are rare, but do happen. But one thing is for sure. The hopes of an LOA, which turns into an appointment IF you get a nomination and pass your physical, WON'T be offered unless your application has been reviewed by the board. And the board won't look at your application if it isn't 100% complete. That means if you're still waiting to take the CFA, or get a teacher's recommendation, or anything like that; your application isn't looked at.

    Now; only YOU know if your application is "GOOD". If you click on the Brochure link after my signature, you can look at the "Average" scores for gpa, cfa, SAT/ACT, etc... If you think you have a GOOD application, but it's not one of the highest percentage of average scores, then it is sometimes better to hold off on the CFA until you think you're able to give the best scores you are capable of doing. Because the "Average" type application isn't going to receive an LOA. But if you're the 3.86+gpa; top 10 (Not 10%) of your class; have around a 30ACT/2000+SAT; play varsity sports/letter; a lot of volunteer work; leadership experience; etc... Then it would Behoove you to get your application completed as SOON as possible.

    Best of luck to you all. Mike....
     
  17. captaintexas

    captaintexas Member

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    Thanks! This is the most helpful stuff I've come across in my search on the web.
     
  18. OBXmom

    OBXmom Member

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    SAT/ACT

    Two suggestions:

    1. Plan on taking both the SAT and the ACT, and take each at least twice before the Academy application deadline.

    2. Strategically plan your test dates.

    Example 1: In high school my son played football and lacrosse. Games were always on Friday nights, and on many away game nights the bus would not get back to school until after midnight. SATs (in our remote area) were only given on Saturday mornings...early! So imagine senior year, when you're trying to max out your scores, getting tackled 37 times, traveling on a bus, sleeping, then sitting down to take your SATs all within 12 hours. Not a good recipe. One of his lacrosse teammates actually fell asleep during his SAT exam! Look at your game schedules early. Most school districts make them available before the school year even starts. See if there are any test dates for which you dont have a game the day before and sign up for that one...even if it means traveling to the next city. Trust me, I was broke at the time, but I spent the money for a hotel room, drove up the night before the test so he could get good rest and be ready for the morning...and it was probably the best money I ever spent. (The money spent buying the guidance counselor a boquet of flowers when the whole application proces started was pretty well spent too!)

    Example 2: My son took his SAT once junior year and twice senior year. He took the ACT only once senior year. He did the equivalent of 200 points higher on the ACT. In retrospect, it would have been better if he had taken the ACT more than once too.

    The SAT flip flops between math and english repeatedly about 4-6 times. The ACT does all math sections together and then all english together. Because of the way our brains work, one or the other will feel more natural and tends to produce better results. The Academy only uses the best score.
     
  19. alparent

    alparent Member

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    CC, are you saying a 30 ACT is "good enough " to be competitive? ... or do the individual scores matter more than the total composite. For example... if you get a 30 composite, but your highest score is in Reading, then they go down from there...but your composite is 30..would that be considered compeitiive? Of course, that ACT score, in conjunction with everything else you just mentioned...
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I was giving an example. If you have a composite score on your ACT of 30; and somehow, you math score is a 24; then you're basically SOOL. "Beep Out Of Luck".

    You don't need a 30ACT composite to be competitive. I was giving an example of an individual who KNOWS they have a good application. Everyone here knows DEEP DOWN INSIDE how good their application really is. Most who ask questions like: "What are my chances?"; are simply looking for validation to offset their insecurity. But deep down, you all know how good your applications are. You can click on the link in my signature block and see what the average Math, Science, etc... scores are in SAT/ACT. You can see the average gpa. You can see the average CFA scores. You know your class rank. That should tell you how good you are.

    If you have a very good application, you should get it completed as soon as possible and finish the CFA and submit it. If it's an average application, then spend more time trying to increase areas like your CFA which you only get to submit once.

    You have to realize, while some here have read no less than 100 "What are my chances" threads, we get over it. We understand the anxiety with applying to the academy. But there are 2 "What are my chances thread" that I have to bite my lip on.
    1. Person lists a 2 page resume; with a 3.95-4.25 gpa (Weighted or unweighted); every activity, sports, leadership, etc... imaginable. Basically; they know darn well it's a great application. They're just pretending not to brag.
    2. Then there's the person who lists the 3.2gpa and 25-26ACT, 1 year of varsity sports, etc... This person too knows that their application is really BAD. Not bad for many colleges, but pretty bad for the academy. They know it. Why they ask? Who knows.

    Bottom line is, neither I nor anyone here is your ALO or counselor. We don't have a copy of your transcripts. We really don't want to see a copy of your transcripts. We want you to decide if the application you are getting ready to put forth, is the best that you can put forth. If you look at the averages across the board that's in the brochure (link in my signature block); and you've done some research to see the averages for the last couple of classes of cadets. (Class profile). If you are ABOVE those averages; then you should consider submitting your application as soon as you possibly can. If yours are equal to the average, work extra hard on the CFA and your leadership section of your resume. Then submit the application. If your application is below the average, then hold off until you can kick the CFA in the butt. Then turn around and retake the ACT/SAT as many times as you can. "Your score can't go down. The academy superscores. They keep the highest from each test".

    Anyway; hope that explains it. best of luck to you. mike....
     

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