Last year for USAFAPS?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by LFry94, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17

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    There are rumors going around here that the prep school class of 2014 will be the last to graduate the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School. Excuses I've heard include both sequestration and high attrition rates of preppies who make it to the Academy. I can only hope the rumor isn't true, because I would really like to go down to the prep school within the next two years and speak/answer questions for them, much like the cadets did for us when I was there. Does anyone have any information regarding the matter?
     
  2. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    If it is true that the attrition rate is much higher for preppies, then as a taxpayer, I think it is a good place to cut.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Not saying the rumors are true or false. I really don't know. But if its true, the air force would most like revamp instead of totally get rid of. One of the main reasons for the prep school is so that enlisted folks who are applying to the academy and have been out of school for up to 5 years, had a way to get back into the academic mode before trying to take such a school like the academy head on. Most enlisted applying to the academy go to the prep school first. They'd have to find an alternative. Or, eliminate the chance of most enlisted from going to the academy. Which I doubt they'll do.
     
  4. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    I hate to say it, but I really don't think the Preparatory School's main mission is to send prior enlisted Airmen up to the Academy. It may be a small part, but now it just seems like a red shirt program for athletes dominates.

    Spending last year there definitely opened my eyes to some trends but I'd rather not speak of them publicly. If anyone is curious, please don't hesitate to shoot me a PM.
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Not saying what its turned into. Simply saying one of the reasons it was established. And while they can definitely forego their diversity requirements and athletic recruiting without the prep school, I was simply saying that themlitary would have to find a way to prep enlisted who haven't been in school for 4 years for the academic challenge of the academy. And yes, prior enlisted applying to the academy is important to the air force.
     
  6. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17

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    This is a key thing I've been considering. Closing the prep school would definitely put a dent in enlisted service member's opportunities for academic success at the Academy. While I too felt that the prep school was more centered around recruiting ICs, I think it was incredibly beneficial to the priors that were there, and I think the Academy needs that diversity. One of my best friends and roommates here is a prior that was in my squad at the prep school, and he's probably taught me the majority of my military knowledge.
     
  7. icarus

    icarus Member

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    Just from my very limited experience, last year a couple of enlisted priors were the top cadets of BCT. After the first semester one out-processed for lackluster GPA and the other decided they missed their old assignment(pay and didn't want to mingle with younger cadets). All that extra training gone to waste! Why would you need extra military training before getting in the academy? The majority of high school kids that get accepted hardly had any and yet they make it through and learn.
    As long as there's more qualified applicants being turned away, it's harder to make a case for keeping it open. It should be a clear case of: Are you qualified to get in or not? If you are-then you get accepted. If you're not given a direct appointment then reapply the next cycle. There should be no consolation prize of an extra year that's footed by the taxpayers.
     
  8. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    I completely disagree. The Prep School is not designed to be an extra year at the AFA. While military training is mentioned in its mission, it is not the most important aspect. The Prep School's number one priority is to stabilize the academic discipline of applicants who have exhibited every other positive quality that the Academy is looking for.

    The goal of the military is to provide leadership which resembles the enlisted corp. If only the absolute smartest or brightest or upper-class (assuming that upper-class candidates generally have more opportunities to show leadership) applicants were accepted and graduated from the AFA, then it would undermine the mission of the United States Air Force. Diversity is key. According to the Prep School's mission, it is expressly designed to enhance diversity at the Academy and eventually in the officer corp. Certainly 100% efficiency isn't expected. Those prior enlisted excelled at Basic Training because they had already experienced 11 weeks (if they went to the Prep School) of that environment. As I'm sure you know, basic training is really quite simple. Practically everyone can hack it. The priors already had it hacked from day 1.

    I'm sure you're also aware of the rampant cynicism that plagues the cadets. It is much easier for a prior enlisted cadet to leave because they have something to go back to. There's already a plan in place, not necessarily and easier life but certainly one which doesn't involve the supposedly unnecessary stresses of the AFA.

    Anyways, while I feel like the Prep School has deviated from its true purpose, I do not think it should be closed for the reasons you stated.
     
  9. icarus

    icarus Member

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    If the numbers of commissioned graduates all needed that extra year of prep, then your argument would convince me otherwise. Unfortunately the attrition/washout rate is so high that I couldn't help but agree that it is unnecessary and a waste of tax dollars. If they shut it down today, next year's class wouldn't be any less qualified. Sequestration has identified areas that are non essential. An extra year before going for another four is a waste!
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Whether we're talking about the prep school. Or diversity. Or recruited athletes. Or enlisted (LEAD). It seems that there's always some people who feel that there are so many applicants who don't receive appointments that are "More Qualified". And in the case of the prep-school, the same feeling seems to be there. That's there's "More Qualified" applicants being turned away.

    I truly believe in my heart, that there are a lot of people who really don't know what "Qualified" means. They see the world in black and white scores. If someone has a higher GPA, then they're "More Qualified". If their SAT/ACT scores are 1 point higher, then they're "More Qualified". Well, the truth is; that doesn't make them "More Qualified".

    The prep school isn't just about "Military Training". It's mainly to help candidates with potential, to academically succeed in a college environment as intense as the air force academy.

    I don't want a class of 1000 cadets to all be 4.0gpa/2400SAT/36ACT students coming out of high school. I don't want the class of 2018 to all be cadets who were fortunate enough to grow up in an environment that allowed them to go to great schools that offered every AP class and/or the entire IB program. I want a class of cadets who are made up of military brats; parents who work in retail; parent's who work for Fortune 500 companies; come from a single parent household; family who is on welfare and food stamps; cadets who grew up on a farm in Ohio, a ranch in Wyoming, and the streets of Camden New Jersey. I want kids who were on their football team. Kids who were in the band. Kids who were international exchange students. I want cadets who know HOW to compete. Know how to play as a team. KNOW HOW TO WIN!!!

    Each cadet who comes to the academy and becomes part of the graduating class, contributes experiences and perspectives that make the entire graduating class better leaders, managers, and officers. And in turn, they make their enlisted corp better airmen/NCO/Soldiers/Sailors/etc...

    Is the selection process perfect? No. Nothing in life is. But because of the built in checks and balances of having 435 districts, in 50 state, along with territories and international students; and supplemental influx from the prep schools; our cadet WING "Is Perfect". It is the perfect combination of experiences and perspectives that in turn make our future officers the best that we can make. Will some cadets drop out or be let go for various reasons? Most certainly yes. But guess what??? They aren't all from the prep school. They aren't all because of academic deficiencies. There's plenty of 4.0gpa high school kids that won't stay at the academy. There's also plenty of cadets who have said that they wanted the academy their entire life...... who will also quit or be let go.

    So when people start comparing the appointees that do make it into the academy; and those who go to the prep school first; and you want to talk about those that are "More Qualified" who have been turned down; know what you mean by "More Qualified". A 4.0gpa and 36ACT doesn't make a person "More Qualified". On this forum and throughout the academy application process, the term: "Whole Person" is mentioned. I really believe that there's a lot of people who don't understand quite what that means. Especially when it comes to the prep school; diversity; and even with athletes.

    I don't blame anyone personally. Our country has gotten away from teaching our kids how to compete and how to win. As if it's a bad thing. Unfortunately, too many people live in a make believe world. Elementary school kids aren't allowed to keep score at recess when playing kick ball because the school doesn't want anyone to feel like a loser. Many athletic events give out trophies just for participating. All of this is bad and puts our children at a disadvantage and makes our way of thinking wrong. In the real world, when you apply for a job, the employer is going to take the person they think is "Best Qualified" for the position. I didn't say "MORE QUALIFIED". I said "BEST QUALIFIED". That means, the person who fits best into their organization and they employer feels will contribute the best to enhancing the company. I've actually spoken with college grads who were upset because they didn't get a job they applied to. They actually believed that because of their college education, that they were somehow "ENTITLED" to a job. They had no idea what "QUALIFIED" means. And the military is no different. "MORE QUALIFIED" doesn't necessarily mean "BEST QUALIFIED". And in the military, we have to be trained to WIN. In my 21 years in the Air Force, having spent time in places like Panama, Honduras, and numerous middle east countries, all during conflicts; we weren't playing for a trophy. We weren't simply "Trying our best". We had to WIN. Lives depend on that in battle.

    Anyway; sorry for writing a book. (Or some may even think "Diatribe". I don't mean anything personal by it. But way too often, I see responses by people who think that "Less Qualified" individuals are being appointed to the academy, and "More Qualified" individuals are being turned away. And if this was an "Academic Triathlon" or similar, I'd probably agree. But this isn't. This is the military. This is where LESS than 1% of the entire population of our country is willing to put their country before themselves; and to put their life on the line and die if necessary. All so the other 99.3% of the population can live as peaceful as possible, and even able to express their right to argue, complain, and disagree. In MY MILITARY, I want the "Best Qualified". Not the "Most Qualified". I want what's best for the military as a whole. And the prep-school helps to fill some of the holes that the regular appointment process can't.
     
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  11. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Disclaimer: I am but an Army ROTC cadet at an SMC. Very far from USAFA turf. However, I do have what I think is a relevant contribution to this discussion. I apologize if I am way out of the ballpark.

    Christcorp, I agree with you 100%. That being said, there is a purpose for SA prep schools.

    But I would like to throw this out there: why does the prep school focus on candidates that aren't quite there academically? If one were to take the "3 pillars" of being an SA candidate: academics, athletics, and leadership, why can't the prep school also offer a chance to succeed to other candidates that may be fine academically, but struggle in other areas. Some schools don't have a single club. Some may not have a single sport. Maybe the kid for whatever reason had a hard time with leadership n high school, just never quite grasped it from 9th to 12th grade. Maybe his worst fear is a PT test, and his lowest grade in high school was in PE.
    That doesn't mean a candidate can't commission at 22 and be a PT stud or possessing of an outstanding aura of leadership. The prep schools serve a noble purpose in my opinion. But I think right now, it's only focusing on a third of what it could to maximize it's full potential. A candidate could be lacking in one area. Have the prep school be divided into academic, physical, and leadership preparatory sections.

    Imagine an organization where all of it's leadership never had experience with, bluntly, sucking at something. That is the purpose of the prep schools. Rant over.
     
  12. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    I think the most difficult part of that, particularly leadership, is the development of a curriculum that will foster an honorable style of leadership, that also has the ability to be qualitatively measured, in one year. Not to mention the fact that logistically giving Prep Students the chance to lead for a long enough time to internalize traits and values in on year is not pragmatic.

    Yes, USAFA and USAFAPS are leadership labs designed to do exactly what I just explained. However, USAFAPS does so with the knowledge that the cadet candidates will hopefully follow on to a four year leadership program at USAFA. While USAFA has a curriculum in place for character development, it is used to strengthen the resolve and character that the cadets already have (as evidenced in their resumes) and to prepare the students for the challenges of military leadership (an environment most of them do not know).
     
  13. toms663

    toms663 Member

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    christcorp......... Oh how I agree with you tonight. On competition in schools today is so bad. seven years ago I received an invite to a awards breakfast for my dd at middle school, I went and every kid in her class was there. She had gotten straight A's but everyone in the class got A's or B's. It was insane, everyone did well? Move ahead to my sons award breakfast, and again the same. difference my son just learned english 2 years earlier he was born and raised in China and we adopted him, and he got all A's also. He busted his butt for two years and worked very hard to make it, but he is lost in no child left behind. Here is a kid now through 3 years of middle school with nothing less than a A who struggles everyday to learn more, all kids need to learn to struggle some more. My DD read 29,000 pages of books during her summer in 7th grade, why..... she felt she needed better understanding of the language. when she only made 59feet in the basketball throw for the cf test, she was pissed and kept practicing to get further, even after she was done with the cf test. Its called competition. I know this topic was on the prep school, and I know either of my dd or ds would take prep school in a fleas heart beat if offered. I asked my DD who is in the application process about prep school, he answer was something I could print here. Lets hope it around for my DD and if my DS wants to go to the academy for him, its hard coming from China and learning english.
     
  14. icarus

    icarus Member

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    It's only rumors and you raise strong points on the merits but what do you think would it take to convince the "powers that be" to spare it from the chopping block ?
    Certainly not the reasons below:
    [Full Metal Dog]
    "Imagine an organization where all of it's leadership never had experience with, bluntly, sucking at something. That is the purpose of the prep schools"
    [toms663]
    "I know either of my dd or ds would take prep school in a fleas heart beat if offered. I asked my DD who is in the application process about prep school, he answer was something I could print here. Lets hope it around for my DD and if my DS wants to go to the academy for him, its hard coming from China and learning english."
     
  15. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    One thing that is often overlooked is the influence the Prep School students can bring to Basic Cadet Training or even the entire first year at the Academy. Around 180 preppies graduate from USAFAPS and step off the bus on I-Day. I can say that without a doubt the presence of myself and two other prep school students and two other prior service direct entries made the transition into BCT noticeably easier.

    The prep school students/prior enlisted were immediately assigned the position of flight chief responsible for that particular group of basic cadets. The ones who were not in leadership positions led by example and explained the philosophies of training used by the upper-class cadre. The prep/prior influence settled discourse throughout the flight and expedited the entire training process.

    Reason enough to keep the Prep School open? Maybe not However, in conjunction with what's already been said, I think closing the institution would have quite an impact on the Academy itself.
     
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Now, you're asking the right question. But the answer to that question lies in politics. And unfortunately, there is nothing anyone can say that can take care of that. Our enlisted might take orders from officers; and officers take orders from Generals; and if the military could stay at that level with all their decisions, things would be much better. But they aren't. The generals take orders from appointed and elected officials. And those politicians care about votes and maintaining power.

    When you take all the active duty and reserve and add all the retired military, you still only come up with about 4 million members. That's a little over 1% of the population. Unfortunately, even with all the military supporters, we aren't a major voting block. The politicians will always go after military spending whenever they can. They claim it's such a large part of the federal budget. It is; but not more than the money spent on social programs. But there's a lot more voters receiving public assistance and entitlements than the military. And politicians aren't going to pi$$ them off.

    The military definitely has some waste in it and can afford to be cut back. But so can many of the social spending in the country. Unfortunately, this is something that we can't control. Many of us here have seen the military cut back on numerous occasions. And in time, the government realizes that they totally screwed up, and they have to try and rebuild again. We saw it in the 70's with a rebuild in the 80's. Then another big cut in the 90's; with another rebuild after 9-11. Well, it's happening again. Politicians won't go after the social programs, so the military gets hit. The only good thing about the sequester, is that most government agencies have to do some cutting.

    So whether it's rumors or not. Whether the academy prep school stays open or closes. None of us has any say so over it. If it stays open, it won't be because of the great service it provides in contributing to a fine officer corp. And if it's shut down, it won't be because some people think it's a waste. The reason it stays open or closes will be because the military will have to prioritize the funds they do have, and they'll choose things like the prep-school accordingly. Remember; there's a lot of people who don't believe the military should get a pension. They don't care that for 20+ years, a military member and their family had to sacrifice everything. Including building a career that could be much more lucrative. They don't care about any of the sacrifices. There's basically 99% of the population who aren't military affiliated; with the majority of them having no true understanding of the importance the military has on their lives or the country.

    So again; whether the prep-school remains open or is shut down, it will have absolutely nothing to do with whether it's a benefit or not to the military. That has nothing to do with the final decision. Only politics and priority of the funds the politicians give the military.
     
  17. icarus

    icarus Member

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    crystal
    Thanks:thumb:
     
  18. DHinNH

    DHinNH USMA 1989

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    Oh my goodness, no.

    ------------------

    Now can anyone deny or confirm the rumor? (Deny listed first because I highlybdoubtbthat USAFAPS is going to disappear.)
     
  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I understand the need for checks and balance between the military and civilian leadership. And I agree with it. My point was; there's a lot of decisions about the military, when left to the military, do much better. Sometimes politicians get "Too involved". E.g. Vietnam, Iraq. They also get too involved with the military's budget. When it comes to budget, they should approve the dollar amount for the budget, but allow the military to spend that budget as they see fit. Just like with the sequester. If they cut back and say "This is your new limit", they shouldn't tell the military what they can and can't cut back on. Basically, the political side needs to not micro-manage as much. But I'm definitely in favor of a civilian chain being part of the military.
     
  20. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Politicians pay close attention to every block of voters including the military. That's because those 4 million people usually vote. They also have family members who are like minded. 4 million soon turns into 20 million. Heck, the top 1% of wage earners seem to politically get their way. Follow the money. The government contractors have deep pockets too. They garner plenty of political power. :wink:

    The military gets cut because it is a massive percentage of the budget. Anytime the government spends money, there is plenty of waste. So there is no surprise that the military is targeted when the country "feels" secure.
     

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