Late Starter

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Mikeandcris, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot

    Jul 6, 2009
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    I've been asked to give advice to a young man who is interested in the Academy; however, I'm at a loss as to suggesting his best options. He is graduating from high school this month. He has never applied to the Academy and figured he was too late until he learned that the cut off age for freshman is 23. Unfortunately this young man has zero parental guidance and apparently even less school counselor help. My initial recommendation is to fill out a pre application questionaire to get on the Academy's radar for the class of 2016. What would you recommend that he do in the meantime or in addition? I can't believe he doesn't have other plans in place (eg. going to a jc or state college) but that's the way it is. His high school resume makes him competitive in my humble opinion. I'm so accustomed to telling soph and juniors in high school to get an early start on the application process; however, I'm not sure what to tell someone who is already out of high school.
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    May 21, 2008
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    Definitely advise to fill out the pre-app. Have him enroll in college this fall. JC or 4year is fine. No different than if it was his 2nd time applying. His ALO, once assigned, will be his greatest resource. S/He will definitely gauge his motivation. If he's really motivated, the ALO will be too. He's going to need a very good application. He's still going to need all the things your son went through. Nominations, recommendations, SAT/ACT, high school transcripts, and college if he attends this fall. First thing is for him to become a prospect. Then, once the application process opens up the end of this month, become an applicant. You can give him advice based on what you saw. It's not much different for high schoolers compared to a college student.
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Nov 28, 2007
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    Am I understanding you correctly; he will be graduating any day now, but has no plans for what to do the day after graduation?

    In other words, even CC or FT work is not on his radar?

    Obviously, going through the process yourself for your own child, you know how complicated it is. I would personally contact the ALO your child had, and ask them if they would mind mentoring this child.

    As you know ALO's are busy, some have big pools, so this may not be an option. If this is the case, I would invite him over for dinner, and talk.

    It is important to understand not only academic goals, career goals, but where they are mentally now. Not everyone is going to make it, and everyone has their own path to find. For some it is the AFA. For others it is AFROTC or OCS. For even more it can be enlisted to officer via AFA, AFROTC or OCS. It has more to do with finding the best fit, than trying to shape or mold them to fit.

    There are so many options out there.

    My 1st thing I would do is be brutally honest and explain this is at least 9 yrs of your life 24/7/365 days a yr. If that seems off putting, maybe he is an ideal candidate to do CC, and transfer over to a 4 yr. Try ROTC or OCS.

    If he feels he wants to serve, but not sure he is ready for 4 more yrs of academia, talk about enlisting and using the GI Bill later on to pay for college, or using TA as an AD and going OCS.

    There are a ton of options, but right now the best guidance would be there and to listen to what he is saying. Whatever he says is going to give direction for the current time being in the route he should choose.

    Don't blow smoke up his arse, and make it sound like moonbeams and rainbows. Those who enter on that premise tend not to achieve their goal due to an unrealistic premise.

    I would also suggest that you have him join this site. He will be able to see very quickly everyone has a different goal, everyone has walked a different path, everyone has had boulders placed in front of them on their way. You saying it is like any parent telling a 17 yo after their heart was broken it will pass. They think it is just words of kindness and love. Strangers or people removed from them sometimes have a greater impact in how they will perceive their life.

    Look at how many here are going to re-apply. I bet if you did a statistical study between the % from this site that re-apply and those who don't belong to a support system and re-apply the numbers would vary greatly. Why? Because here, they hear/read that it isn't just somebody knew somebody who knew somebody that heard from somebody who got it. Here it is the somebody who got it. It is truly hope that it does happen, and not gossip.

    Good luck to him.

    PM Flieger, he is the one to really help.

    OBTW, I would also suggest him to think about AFROTC. If you have a college close by that is a host for AFROTC, tell him to go and talk to them. They maybe able to help him. I would say that is a better option than going to the local AF recruiter. Main reason why, is they have more knowledge on how the commissioning system works than an enlisted recruiter in the town. Their goals are completely different. Don't know your area you are living, but in our area, depending on traffic you could hit 3 colleges that host AFROTC dets within 50-75 mins. You could also contact the nearest AFB, and ask their advice...I would call the education office. Every AFB has one.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  4. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

    Sep 23, 2010
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    And to go along with PIMA’s line of advice have him look at ALL of the Academies that way he can pick the military life he would prefer. Just from what you posted it looks like a lack of information/guidance in the young man’s life and if you can fill him with enough information he can decided properly on what he truly wants. As you know each one has its own culture and roles in combat and he may come to find he wants one of the others branches. Remember becoming a military officer is the goal and the Academies are just one to the stepping stone to get there.
  5. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    It does concern me that a young person, even one with bad parents and worse guidance counselor, who has the grades to even consider an Academy, has nothing on his radar! But, kids are odd critters so...

    I agree: enroll IMMEDIATELY in CC/JC or similar (not proprietary or vocational), and maybe sign up for ROTC too. A p/t job is also a good idea.

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