Leadership and Athletic Experiences

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by spolac28, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. spolac28

    spolac28 Member

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    I have heard many people say that being part of an athletic team is imperative in an application, especially being a captain. I was never part of an athletic team in high school, but instead was in band. And I know for a fact that my time in band was MUCH more athletic than most of the sports at my school. Is this bad or will band be enough. Also, because I was not in a sport, I was never a captain. Instead I have been the section leader of the drumline for 2 years and part of the band leadership team for 2 years as well. In addition to this, I am part of the national honor society and have attended 2 leadership camps for my high school. Is this an ok alternative or no?
     
  2. Buff-IP

    Buff-IP USAFA '88 Pilot

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    Everyone has different opportunities to practice leadership skills. FFA, 4-H, Scouting, etc also count...if you hold an officer position or some kind of leader position.

    But you could also volunteer at some charity and take a leadership role there.

    The goal is to find people who are not afraid to take charge and make decisions...and be able to get other folks to do tasks.

    So practical applications of leadership hold more weight than classes in leadership.

    ...anytime someone asks 'is this enough?' I wonder if the person was looking for the minimum requirements...

    The question that could come up with an application is 'why didn't this person have more leadership roles?'

    If your school and town have limited opportunities for leadership, and you accomplished as many as was feasible, then you have done all you can do.

    But guess what ...the military is like that also...you can shoot for the minimum, or apply yourself to all opportunities that arise...even in areas you have no experience in...you do that for ~20 years and they call you retired.

    However, you will do athletic things continuously for all 4 years of the Academy, so be prepared for that.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The academy understands that each applicant is unique. Each has their own unique interests. I've always said that most extra curricular activities carry the same weight. Whether its band, civil air patrol, scouts, Jr ROTC, FBLA, etc. And if you gain leadership experience in any of your activities, that will bode well for you in your application. Not everyone is expected to be a 3 year varsity letter athlete. Nor is everyone expected to be the captain of their team.

    Having said that, not having participated in any sports, ever, could affect your application. But the admissions board looks at the whole person. Maybe your other accomplishments will make up for any short coming in your lack of sports. Usually those who didn't do varsity sports did some YMCA, city league, summer programs, etc. But sports, for many reasons, is very important to the military. But you can only work with what you have. No sense discussing what you don't have. Not like you can domuch about that if you're a senior this coming year. Best of luck to you. Mike.
     
  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I've never seen a band that worked out more than a track or football team...

    That said, if you have other programs that show leadership and you are very fit, that may be enough for the admissions committee. If you are a senior now, you can't go back in time to do more. So, focus on doing well in academics, athletics, and leadership where you can.
     
  5. time2

    time2 Member

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    What matters is how the academies look at your activities, not what you consider them. Band is an extra-curricular activity, not a sport in the eyes of the academy. Roughly 90% of those attending the academy participated (and often excelled) in varsity sports while in high school.

    The reality is these are physcially demanding programs and you will be expected to keep up with your peers regardless of what you did/didn't do while in high school. Leadership in the context of your application, refers to things you did/accomplished while in high school. Attending a seminar where people talk about leadership is not what they are referring to.

    Your application is evaluated on the sum total of what you did in high school, no one item is a magical guarantee of an appointment. Since your competition are those who excelled in virtually everything they did, whether athletic, academic or leadership, your goal needs to be to make your application the best it can possibly be.
     
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    There have been people on these forums in the past who had no sports but were section leaders in their band and won an appointment. So it can be done. Certainly not common, but possible.
     
  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    As CC said above...the individual is who USAFA looks at.

    I've had candidates from marching band, drama club, and the bowling team...all three are now graduates of USAFA. And I've had 3 sport letter winners...attending other schools.

    Again, it's the individual and their record that will or will not be appointed.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  8. Se41196

    Se41196 Member

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    I disagree with you. My band day starts at 6am every morning where we are working outside in the heat till 11am. We are running, stretching, and marching for much of this time while our football team practices next to us. We watch them go in an hour earlier than we do and watch them arrive an hour later that we do. After a short lunch break at 11. We are back working from 12-300pm. Making sure out sets are perfect and our style is superb. We have gained an immense amount of respect from our football team and other school peers for the amount of work and dedication we put in. You cannot say we don't work out as much as football and track because we all have our practices, and ours happens to be one of the most rigorous and tedious of them all.
     
  9. SuaSponte

    SuaSponte Member

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    Instead of making a rebuttal to an arbitrary comment about your band, why don't you take into consideration the thought that others have put into answering your question? Seems like that would help more than making petty argument about the intensity of your band.
     
  10. Se41196

    Se41196 Member

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    No offense was intended. I have just heard a lot of "band does not work hard" and "band is nothing compared to other athletics." My intention was to illustrate how hard some bands do work and how some are neck in neck with the amount of activity other sports engage in. I am sorry if I offended you, that was not my motive.

    Sincerest regards.
     
  11. Swim4Life

    Swim4Life Member

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    I believe what their trying to say is even if your band is in very good condition it doesn't matter to the admissions office because they couldn't know that. And since band isn't considered a high school sport they don't count it as an athletic program. However if you score really really high on your CFA they might notice that your in great shape and with your band leadership they might look past the fact you didn't play any sports.
     
  12. SuaSponte

    SuaSponte Member

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    None taken, I'm just another applicant trying to wade through the whole process as well. I just wanted you to regard the advice the people in the thread gave you because AFA really has no idea what your band is like. Good luck!
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Very well stated. I will not argue that Band can be a very intense and physical activity. I was in every band our school had. Marching, Jass, Concert, etc... I understand. However; the qualities, beyond just "sweat", is different between band and sports. As such; the academy doesn't recognize band as a "Sport". And not to start an argument, but to defend the academy's perspective, while I was involved in all the different bands and their requirements from 3rd grade until graduation my senior year; I was also very involved in sports. Football, Soccer, and baseball. I did "BOTH" Band and sports "Full Time". And I have to say that they are indeed different. One thing is for sure. Band never made me feel as worn out, hurt, sore, or down right as "DEAD" as 2-a-days in football and many of the other sports I did. Again; not arguing that band isn't physical and also has leadership and other qualities. Simply stating; as someone who did BOTH Full Time for more than 10 years; they are different.
     
  14. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Like CC said, I am not sure one can compare a couple weeks of band camp to working all year to compete in two or three sports.

    Like CC, I was in band from the 3rd grade through graduation, AND played hockey, and ran track. It's year round conditioning for sports and the intensity can be daunting. Plus, one doesn't normally get cut from marching band because one isn't in shape.

    Yes, band is a great EC activity; let's just hope you have more than the drum line!
     
  15. spolac28

    spolac28 Member

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    So say I was able to compete in cross country this year on the varsity team. I want to and how much would this effect my overall application. Also, I have been playing ultimate frisbee for the past 4 years at my school and there is no frisbee in the athletics section of the application. Where do I put this?
     
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I'm not going to say what you should or shouldn't do. Each applicant has to make up their own mind what they want to and will participate in. There is no magic list of check boxes that if you complete all the boxes, you automatically receive an appointment. It doesn't work that way.

    But I will say that the "AVERAGE" cadet who is currently at the academy, and thus received an appointment, were not the type of applicant who was weak in certain areas. The average cadet had a very extensive resume. It starts with taking the most difficult classes their school offers. AP, IB Program, Honors, etc... Many, especially those who didn't have AP/IB available, took classes at their local community college on their own. The average cadet, WITH these high level classes, had a 3.86 or above GPA. Most of them weren't just the top-10% of their class. Many were in the ACTUAL Top-10 numerically. ACT scores were averaging 29-30. SAT were averaging above 650-675 each test.

    Besides this, the overwhelming majority, were also in 1 or usually MORE varsity level sports. I say "Varsity level" because some did non school athletics like STING which is soccer at a higher caliber than high school; martial arts; etc... These individuals were ALSO class officers or officers in 1 or MORE clubs. They had 200+ hours of volunteering. They attended boy/girl state. They also had leadership positions in their athletics. Most of these cadets didn't have JUST sports, or JUST band, or JUST CAP, or JUST JrROTC, or JUST FBLA, etc... Many of these cadets had a plate that was so full, if it was food, you'd PUKE just thinking about it. And I'm not talking about the UBER Student like Hornet and others who kicked butt in high school and also kicked butt at the academy and now are in grad school. I'm talking about the AVERAGE cadet who made it to the academy.

    I know one who was in the IB program for all 4 years of high school. Was in the top 3 of his class. Played 2 varsity sports and a summer sports program. Elected to all state and all conference teams. Was a Class Officer. Had more than 300 hrs of volunteer time. Who attended boy's state. Was also in the band. (Try marching a half time show in band, while in a football uniform). Yes, I've seen this. This individual was also involved in 2 other school clubs. They also had their personal life where they were involved with local community theater and church. (And no, I'm not talking about my own son).

    Point is; the academies do in fact have "Minimum Standards". But for all intent and purpose, you might as well say that those standards are moot and not even looked at. Why? Because the lowest individual receiving an appointment, is STILL above the minimum standards. The person I just described is NOT the uber ultimate candidate either. I've seen those type of applicants too. Take what I wrote, and add a 4.0 gpa (Unweighted) in the IB program. Add more volunteer hours. Add valedictorian. Add 1 or 2 more clubs or organizations to their resume.

    You need to be involved in what you WANT TO BE involved in. There's no special checklist for an appointment. You asked if adding track your senior year would help your application. Well of course it will. Just like adding CAP, Young Dems/Reps, or any other activitiy. Everything adds to your resume and application. But only you can determine how involved and how well rounded you are.

    It's not a numbers game. It's an "All Around Quality Game". The academy would rather see you in 3 activities, where you became a leader in each of those activities, than to be involved in 6 activities simply as a participant.

    So, evaluate yourself, compared to what everyone else has done. Realize, we don't know who YOUR competition is. We don't know who in your district and state are applying to the academies. Only you know if you've done your "BEST" and "MOST" in everything you've done. There are no magic answers or formulas to anything at the academy. Some, who have wanted the academy their whole life, won't receive an appointment. Some, who just thought about applying for the first time a week ago, will receive an appointment. Some, who wanted it their whole life and DO receive an appointment, WILL QUIT the academy in the first 6 weeks, and definitely many more that first 2 years. Some, who never really thought the military was for them, and they applied and accepted the appointment because of the pseudo-free college education, will find that it's totally what they are into, and they'll stay 20+ years and retire. And for some, all the stars align. it's what they ALWAYS WANTED, they get the appointment, they stay in 20+ years, they get great assignments and advance very high, and they become excellent officers.

    best of luck to you. mike....
     
  17. spolac28

    spolac28 Member

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    Thank you very much for those explanations. Now should I just put ultimate frisbee on my resume and say I was a co captian because there is no option for it under sports?
     
  18. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Of you want to emphasize co-captain, and you significantly helped in the growth and development of your teammates, then put it under leadership.
     
  19. spolac28

    spolac28 Member

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    Great, thanks.
     

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