More questions about letters of recommendation.

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Peggy in Ks, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Peggy in Ks

    Peggy in Ks New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,
    I have been a lurker here for a while, and this website has been very helpful!
    My son is a senior and applying to the USAFA.
    He has received the packets from our senators and congressman and they wanted two letters of recommendation in addition to the school counselors. Does he have the people writing the letters give him three copies or can he make copies of it?
    Thanks,
    Peggy
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    I would hope that they would be "Personalized". E.g. To the Honorable John Smith. Thereby, you'd get 3 from them. One for each senator and one for your representative. I think it would be pretty crass to have it read. "To whom it may concern"; or similar.
     
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Messages:
    900
    Likes Received:
    40
    Interesting Mike. I guess we took the crass way. Last year DS requested letters of reference from about 10 different sources. He hand delivered a packet to each source. The packet contained the following:
    1. Cover letter thanking them and briefly explaining the SA process and the purpose of the reference letter.
    2. His resume highlighting work, sports, leadership, and academic accomplishments
    3. Copy of his transcripts
    4. Return large envelope (Pre-addressed back to him with postage)
    DS requested that each source provide him with I think 6 copies of the reference letter (3 MOC's, USAFA, and 2 extras). Many letters were on letterhead but they were all addressed with something like "To whom it may concern". DS then picked the ones to be included in the MOC and USAFA application packets. Crass perhaps but at the time it seemed effective. He received 2 nominations and no negative feedback.
     
  4. firmament

    firmament Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Christcorp didn't say you couldn't get a nomination, just that it would be crass not to include the personal salutations in the letter seeking a nomination. I agree with Christcorp, it is in good form, good business, and a great lesson in life. When you can - personalize. Use that very small sign of respect for whoever you are corresponding with and it will go far. Just like using the simple words "Thank you" when you mean it after you receive the nomination.
     
  5. scraper

    scraper Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Agreed.
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    The NUMBER 1: Thing that I emphasize with every "How do I get an appointment" type question. Make yourself stand out. That includes the nomination sources that you are hoping to receive a nomination from.

    Do you have to make yourself "UNIQUE"? No. Not at all. You can look JUST LIKE the other 12,715 applicants. You can look just like the 6,500 others with a 3.9+ gpa. Who have also played varsity sports and have taken AP classes and got a 2000 on the SAT or 31+ on their ACT.

    You see a LOT of discussion here about "DIVERSITY". We've tried to explain to you that diversity is not just race, gender, color, etc... It's EVERYTHING that makes you unique or different. Single parent family; you worked to help pay the bills; you raised your brothers/sisters; you're the first in your family to graduate high school and attempt college; you speak 4 languages because you lived overseas most of your life; you're 1st generation American; etc... etc... etc...

    Well; the diversity traits make you "Stand Out". They make you unique. What else can you do? What about the other 10, 20, 40, 100+ in your district or state that are competing with you for a nomination? What makes YOU DIFFERENT THAN THEM??? I've had a lot of applicants ask me the traditional "How do I get an appointment" type question. Some on these forums; some in my state; some official candidates; some who had a different ALO but preferred asking me questions instead of them.

    This is the "JOB INTERVIEW" of your life!!! Stand out. Be unique. Dress the part. Act the part. You are not competing with an abstract available slot. You ARE COMPETING with other red blooded, breathing, individuals. And they want that nomination and appointment just as bad as you do. Best of luck.... Mike....
     
  7. Peggy in Ks

    Peggy in Ks New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for your advice!
     
  8. kfacademy

    kfacademy USMA Appointee 2017

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow is that the actually statistic. 6500 who have 3.9 gpa, 2000 sat, and varsity sports all in one package? :O

    What if we really dont have any of these? Those od us with an average family and average life who have worked very hard but not with any of these great adversities. I wish I have done something extraordinary but I have not. :frown: Then how do you stand out? Is it just personality or your ambitions (because that I have a lot of :biggrin: )?
     
  9. firmament

    firmament Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is true. The applicants all look alike in the beginning, just like they all look alike by the end of I-Day. The competition is fierce. And most everyone who is competing for the slot is worthy. The numbers staggering. And the numbers being allowed in are smaller than in the past.

    So a few ways you can stand out? Make the most of your appointed interview with your ALO. A good first impression goes a long way. If you are afraid for some reason you did NOT make a good impression with the ALO, by all means call them back. They are not your enemy, but they are there to weed out the ones that fall in the gray zone.

    Call up your congressman's office after submission of your application to make sure they received it. Ask a few questions - ie Do you suggest I add anything to my package. Your congressman should contact you for your interview. Be prepared for that interview. You want to stand out, but don't over sell yourself. Dress for success.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    KF: Those were simply examples. I can tell you that when the dust settles, and the academy has chosen their 1100+/- appointees, that there's around another 2000 that were also 100% qualified that didn't receive an appointment. There's also another couple thousand that weren't qualified, but it isn't always academics that disqualified them. There's some even with an LOA (Letter of Assurance) who for whatever reason, couldn't get a nomination. Therefor; even though the academy wanted them..... NO APPOINTMENT.

    Remember; there are basically a minimum of 3 groups that you are competing against. 1) Your congressional district. 2) Your State. 3) The national pool. Some are fortunate and have some other categories they can compete in also; such as for presidential slots, ROTC slots, etc...

    The AVERAGE GPA of the entering class, almost every year, has been a 3.86. They average a 29 composite ACT. And there are plenty of people with those gpa and test scores that DON'T RECEIVE an appointment. That's the average. What makes you any better than them?

    You said that you come from the average family with average lifestyles. That you didn't have any major adversities growing up. How do you compete? You compete with BETTER than average scores. You have BETTER than average CFT. You give BETTER than average interviews. You stand out in front of your congressman/senator with a better interview.

    The problem is: Too many people ask what are the AVERAGE SCORES? What is the average for getting an appointment. NEVER strive for the average. Strive for the 4.0gpa; for the 2400 SAT; for the 36ACT; to max the CFA; to be the BEST of the BEST of the BEST. Then; whether you receive an appointment or not, you can be proud of your accomplishments, and you'll succeed no matter what. There WILL be someone from a different district or state that receives an appointment, that has LOWER scores overall than someone from a different district or state who didn't receive an appointment. This might not sound fair, but it is. Just like the electoral college, the academy is made up of equal representation from all states. All taxpayers. 60%+/- of all appointments are given to a nominee from each nomination source. 453 representative and 100 senators. That's 553 appointments. Plus; another 150 for military representation. Presidential nominees, ROTC, etc...

    You don't have to do exceptional things to stand out. I've interviewed so many people for jobs and such. You can tell the ones who really give it 100%. They stand out. They may not even seem to be the best on paper of all the applicants. But there are intangibles that can't be measured, but they count. The whole "First Impression" thing. It's attitude. It's the words you use in your essays. Some people LOVE to read. What makes one writer more interesting and captivating than another? It's the passion in which they write. You don't have to come from a life full of adversity that you overcame to stand out. Just let your passion shine through. Best of luck. mike....
     
  11. kfacademy

    kfacademy USMA Appointee 2017

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK thanks that makes me feel a bit better! :) My motto in taking the CFA so far has been, just that, that I will not even allow myself to look at what average is because I am working for max! :thumb: I am going to send you a pm, if that is ok, with my one other question/dilema. Thanks!
     

Share This Page