No Brainer?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by lotsofquestions, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. lotsofquestions

    lotsofquestions New Member

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    What would a "no brainer" candidate look like? Also how much does having a sibling currently there or a graduated parent affect your chances?
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You're asking two unrelated questions. But to answer the first, I think most people would think it's pretty obvious. In most of the "Standards" mentioned for applying to the academy, people discuss being the "Top 10%" in the categories. Top 10% of your class; ACT score, leadership, etc. To be in the no brainer category, you'd have to be the best of the best. Of the 10 nominees on your MOC's slate, you'd have to be the "Best". The #1 nominee. Out of the 10,000-12,000 applying to the academy, where approximately 10% receive an appointment, you'd need to be the top 1%.

    1. 4.0gpa unweighted. ACT Scores each subject in the 30's+ SAT scores in the 750+
    2. ALL AP classes; the IB "Program"; ALL Honor's classes
    3. Ranked #1 in your class
    4. National Honor Society and school representative
    5. Play in 2-3 varsity sports for 2-3 years
    6. Captain of 1 or more of those teams
    7. Class officer
    8. Boy/Girl's state
    9. 2 or more additional extra curricular activities; whereby you're a "Leader" in those activities
    10. 200+ Volunteer hours
    11. CFA scores at or near the max
    12. Diversity experience via work or social activities
    13. Public Validation of achievements such as All State/Conference, elected official at Boy/Girl's state, school academic awards, community recognition, etc.
    14. Stands out above all others in their ALO and MOC interviews. Is mature beyond their years. Is their "OWN PERSON". 100% confident without crossing the line to arrogant.
    15. Generalized; this is the individual who (Money aside), can and will usually get accepted to ANY SCHOOL that they would apply to. If they applied to 10 universities from STATE U to Harvard and Stanford, they'd most likely get accepted.

    This isn't an all inclusive list. Each individual has different opportunities available to them. There's no guarantee of anyone receiving an appointment. However; there are some, that when you look at their application, class schedule, grades, tests, activities, leadership, etc. they aren't just "Good". They aren't even "Great". They are the "BEST". All applications are SCORED with points. Each area gets points based on their level. The No Brainer isn't a "TOP PERCENTAGE". They are the "TOP INDIVIDUALS". They're the ones that you have a difficult time looking through all the scores to find someone with a higher score. If the maximum score is 1000 points; and the AVERAGE of the 1200 appointees had 850 points; the bell curve will have some roll lower than 850 and some roll higher. The no brainer is probably sitting with 950+ (Assuming it's impossible to get a perfect score).

    There isn't anyone on this forum who looks at your actual application and file. Therefor, no one can say if a person is a "No Brainer". Even if you list all your grades and activities, that isn't enough to know. The No Brainer can also change based on the competition. But it's the ENTIRE PACKAGE. I've personally seen 4.0gpa students, with 30+ ACT scores, be rejected from the academy. I've also seen 3.2gpa with 28ACT scores receive appointments. But those aren't the No Brainer packages. They are part of "EVERYONE ELSE". The no brainer is pretty obvious to the academy when they are reviewing applications. But please don't start listing yours or someone else's accomplishments and want someone to say "Yes, you're part of the No-Brainer club". It's the WHOLE PACKAGE. I've been helping applicants to the academies and ROTC for about 10 years. People like Flieger has been doing it twice as long if not more. In my time, not just in my state, I have personally met 5 applicants I considered in the No-Brainer club. All 5 received appointments. 2 accepted the appointments. The 3 others chose civilian schools. But half of the package is what you don't see directly on scores. It's what's written in the ESSAYS. It's what the ALO Writes. (ALO's CAN'T get you an appointment, but they most definitely can PREVENT you from getting one.) It's what your teachers write in their online recommendations.

    Normally I say I hope this helps. But this is a question that is looking for definitive points. Basically; fill in these blocks and you're guaranteed an appointment. (Hence: the No-Brainer Club). Well, it's not that simple. There is no magic list. It's like asking kids if their parents love them. They say; "Yes, of course". You say; "Prove it". ...... How do you prove it? Because they feed you, clothe you, house you? Sometimes, you "JUST KNOW" that they do. Same with the no brainer applicant. When the board looks at the application, they say: "THIS is the application that all others are measured by". Not just because of the scores, but because of all of the other aspects of it. Remember, the military and the academy are NOT just looking for the brainiac. They aren't just looking for the Super Jock. They aren't looking for the kid who "Says" they've wanted the academy their whole life. They are are looking for the whole package that they believe they can train into being military leaders that don't "Believe" in a certain lifestyle, but "ARE" the ingredients OF that lifestyle.
     
  3. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    @Christcorp, very well said...in other words, they have to walk on water while juggling bowling pins and not even get their feet wet!!:yllol:
     
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  4. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    Also, as a current applicant, I would stress that you don't try to be a "NO BRAINER". Try to do your best. I tried for a long time to be the perfect candidate, and didn't even come close, and I wore myself out! Only take on what you can manage; USAFA would rather see someone take on 5-6 really good activities, and excel, than if they were to take on 10+ activities, and barely slide by. If you personally are able to have a part time job, volunteer, and do a sport while keeping your grades up, that's great. That's YOUR best. Someone else's best may be work, volunteer, 2-3 sports, NHS, JROTC, team captain, Eagle Scout...that is THEIR best. All you can do is give it YOUR 100% and make sure not to waste your HS experience trying to measure up to others.
    For myself, I am still waiting to hear from USAFA. Even if I don't get in, I will still be okay, knowing that I gave MY best. And that's all any of us can do!
     
  5. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    As far as your question about having parent grads giving you a boost, I don't think it helps much at USAFA. My oldest two applied to USAFA and USNA. Both were appointed to USNA in October (Presidential) but given the "Highly Qualified, no vacancy" letter in April of their senior years from USAFA. One was offered Falcon Foundation Scholarship, the other was offered 4yr AFROTC scholarship instead. They had the following USAFA grads in family: Both parents, Grandfather, Uncle, and 2 cousins.
     
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  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    It's possible that being a "Legacy" to the academy has some influence, but it's extremely low. Pretty insignificant.

    On the other hands, there's some families like "Fencermother", who BOTH of her "Twin Boys" received appointments. They graduated the academy in the class of 2012.

    The academy works hard at trying to truly "Balance" the incoming class. They recognize that they must give at least 1 appointment from each MOC slate. That in and of itself creates a good diversity of individuals geographically. With the majority of the MOC slates going to the National Pool, it's a difficult job to say who gets an appointment and who doesn't. Everyone in the national pool is 100% qualified. Everyone meets all standards. Everyone of them could receive an appointment. So determining WHO will receive the appointment can be a difficult choice.

    Having family members as alumni of the academy doesn't offer any significant contribution. You, "The applicant", aren't you mom, dad, grandfather, older brother/sister, etc.... You..... are "You". It's not like in a traditional school where a legacy may be able to bring donation and booster type money. The academy doesn't have those concerns. So while the academy may look at a legacy as someone who "Probably" has a better chance of succeeding at the academy; because they probably have a clearer idea of what they are getting into........ that's about it on any advantage towards your application.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Principal helps more than legacy, but sometimes a child gets an edge because of their parent, especially if they are eligible for a Presidential. Not for any other reason, but the fact they have a 4th nomination before hitting the NWL

    Let's be honest, even John McCain would probably say his Dad being an Admiral, and his grandfather too probably gave him an edge, but I would think the edge was from the MOC side.
     
  8. Invisibility

    Invisibility Member

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    Parent / sibling grads don't make a difference. They track it because it's a stat people are interested in, not necessarily because they actually care about making USAFA a "family affair." It's not like they're giving 2nd student discounts!
     

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