On Track for USAFA 2017?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by huntsj, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. huntsj

    huntsj New Member

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    Hi! This is my first post. I have started putting together my application for USAFA and becoming a bit discouraged and I'm not sure of my odds. I have not taken the SAT or ACT because I was planning to in June but instead I attended Boys State. I was just curious if I'm on track for the USAFA. Also, should I submit my application to the USAFA without my SAT/ACT scores or wait until I get my scores back to submit it? Thanks!

    Nebraska District 3 - Adrian Smith
    GPA: 3.37 Unweighted
    RANK: 7 of out 18
    PSAT: Critical Reading 51, Math 49, Writing Skills 40, Selection Index 140.
    PLAN: English 15, Math 21, Reading 18, Science 23, Composite 21.
    -I know these scores are low, but I'm studying for ACT and will be taking an online ACT/SAT Test Prep Class online.

    ACTIVITIES AND INVOLVEMENT

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    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    A 3.4GPA, low test scores and middle-of-the-road class rank aren't helping your cause. Sixty percent of your admissions score is academics...
     
  3. huntsj

    huntsj New Member

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    My counselor said the reason for my class ranking was because compared to the other kids in my class, they take easier electives that boost their GPA. (PE, Home EC, Music, Band, Weight Training, etc). While I take science labs, Sociology, Accounting, Psychology instead. Does admissions look into this? And other then my low test scores that I took over a year ago, does my file look competitive? Thanks.

    (ps. Our school even had to do away with valedictorian because students would just get requirements to graduate and then load up on easy electives. #smallschoolproblems)
     
  4. icarus

    icarus Member

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    Could you pls. pre-evaluate.
    my DD's info:
    GPA 4.30 (non-weighed 3.80)
    ACT 33
    SAT :
    Reading 740
    Writing 780
    Math 620
    Class rank 12/515
    10 AP's including 3 for coming senior year
    ASVAB 96%
    Varsity track & field
    Varsity cross country
    Concert master Orchestra 3 years
    Girl's State representative
    Red Belt Karate
    Venturing Crew
    CAP 1 year rank= Senior Airman/ Sergeant by December
    Community service:
    volunteer:
    meals on wheels
    library volunteer
    CAP recruitment

    push-ups=35
    sit-ups=95
    pull-ups=2
    basketball throw=33
    shuttle run=9.4 sec
    mile run=6.22


    any input is much appreciated.

    thanks
     
  5. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17

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    No one can say how competitive your DD is, because you are competing against other people on your MOCs slate first and foremost. We have no way of knowing who she's competing against and what their stats are. Your DD looks like a good applicant, but as long as something can be improved upon then she should work to do so. She won't know until she applies.
     
  6. haleym

    haleym Member

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    Like Fry said to icarus, there is really no way to give you an answer of whether or not you will receive an appointment. However, if your ACT is too low, you won't be considered for admission. Blow the ACT out of the water and hope for the best. You also need to pull up your GPA as much as you possibly can this coming school year as well. I believe the avg HS GPA of incoming cadets is typically around 3.8-3.9 (someone correct me if I am wrong). If you don't gain admission, you may have a shot at prep. All you can do right now is try.. the only way you can guarantee yourself a "no" is if you never apply. Good luck to you.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    huntsj,

    Have you submitted your PCQ packet to the AFA? If not you need to do it ASAP! You can't move forward to applicant until the AFA opens the portal for you. If you have, and have not yet been deemed applicant you can't really do anything until they deem you applicant.

    Why didn't you take an SAT or ACT this past spring? I ask this for two reasons.

    1. The traditional rule of thumb is add a 0 behind your PSAT score to give you your SAT score. That means they are judging you on a 510, CR, but worse yet a 490 M. AFA website anything less than a 490 CR is considered non-competitive for most cases. Median score for M SAT is close to 700, there is no non-comp for Math, but you need to understand how high those scores are if you get appointed. It means your Math foundation is not strong, take the yr and get a tutor, walk away from some of those ECs to spend more time on your academics.

    2. 99% of all MOCs will ask for SAT/ACT scores, your problem is they usually close out their submissions in October. That leaves you with only Sept to get the scores there on time.

    Had you taken the SAT/ACT in April/May and June you would have had superscores, now you will only have best sitting.

    Now that the bad news is over. When you become an applicant, your GC must submit a school profile along with the transcript. In that profile, they explain their grading system, along with weight system, curriculum rigor and rank. They will also tell them the % that go Ivy, 4 yr Private/Public, 2 yr and nothing at all. If 18 out of 18 go 4 yr and 12 out of 18 go IVY, your rank will not be an issue. If 12 go 4 yr, 4, go 2, 2 go to work and 0 go Ivy, than yes, 7 out of 18 will ding you.

    Also to understand the prep school system for the AFA, it doesn't go to candidates that have 1400 SAT out of 1600 or 30+ ACT scores. Typically it goes to the candidate that academically did well (not 4.0, valedictorian, but strong still) AND HAD the whole package (ECS, CFAs, RECs), yet for whatever reason did not test well on the SAT/ACT.

    Right or wrong, those SAT/ACT scores matter alot. Not only for plan A which is the AFA, but Plan B which should be AFROTC scholarship. Again, no SAT/ACT at this point hurts.

    hunts, I have to ask is this a public school. 18 kids seems small for a graduating class in public school. I understand rural America, but from an MOC perspective (Cong) you still will compete against a large pool.

    I would pm Flieger and Christcorp for guidance on hooking up with the ALO in your area...sorry Flieger and Mike!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Icarus,

    I agree with LFry and Haley, nobody, absolutely nobody can give you a :thumb: or :thumbdown: because not one of sits on any board.

    You 1st have to get a nom. Some states are so competitive the MOC's talk. VA, NY, CA, CO, TX all come to mind. Get's even worse because some talk and submit PRINCIPAL noms with alt. Eric Cantor in VA is one that does this. Basically you can end up on 1 list, such as Cantor's, and not be the principal, now you hope that the Prin declines, or to move to the National pool/get the VP.

    Secondly, with every yr stats are increasing. I am 1000% positive 5 yrs ago with those stats, posters would say great chances. However, 5 yrs ago the apptmt class size was over 1650, this yr it is 1350. That is almost a 20% decrease in class size.

    Don't spend time here trying to read the tea leaves. We are here to support, guide and direct, but even if any of us were on any board, we would not let you know that they are a shoe in. Mainly because the MOC boards won't meet until Sept/Oct and the AFA board will not appoint until Oct. The candidate pool from LY will not be the same for TY. It maybe lower or higher.

    That being said what you should do now is learn the system. Be proactive. Start Plan B, AFROTC scholarship. Over 4K candidates will have noms, 1350 will get appointments. There will be thousands of broken hearts come next spring, but the depth of their heartbreak will depend on if they had Plan B in place.

    I know right now the goal is AFA, or so you believe, but honestly the goal is pinning on 2nd Lt. bars 4 yrs from now. Go for AFA as the short term goal, just don't confuse it with the long term goal.

    Good luck. God Bless and God Speed. AIM HIGH, ABOVE ALL!

    PS. AFROTC does not superscore, it is best sitting, so don't be shocked if the scores AFA has on their portal does not match AFROTC's scores.
     
  9. icarus

    icarus Member

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    Thank you very much for the info. We're not looking for a thumbs up or down. Merely asking for feedback such as yours on what specific area needs more improvement between now and December. My DD has plan B,C,D,E........all the way to Z. Obviously would prefer to join the long blue line.
    Good luck to all the other candidates and re-applicants for the class of 2017.
     
  10. Packer

    Packer Member

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    You probably are aware of this but the math SAT score is on the low side and they say the math portion carries the most weight. Other than that your stats look competitive.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Please don't read my response as pompous. I have a lot of people ask me questions like how's my gpa, scores, resume, etc.. look? What do I need to work on? Here is my response to all of them.

    Would you ask "how do I look" if your gpa was 4.0 and your act was 36. Would you ask if you were a 3 sport starting varsity athlete and captain of all 3 sports? Along with that, if you were at boys state, class president, band, president of other clubs, volunteer with 200 hrs, and work in the summer. If that 4.0 gpa was in the hardest classes that your school offered like the IB program or all AP classes; if you had everything as I listed as your resume, would you ask how does it look and what do I need to work on? No you wouldnt. Why? Because that would be perfection, and there would be absolutely nothing for you to improve on.

    So what is my point? If you ask "how does me app look and what do you recommend I work on"; then that implies that you believe that there is some magic score that if you reach it, and you get your nomination, that you will receive an appointment. Generally speaking, if you have everything I listed, plus the other areas of the application Maxed out, and you have your nomination, then that's as close to the magic number of being guaranteed an appointment. And that's not even 100% guaranteed.

    So, u want to know what to work on? Real simple. Get a 36 on all of the act tests. Get an 800 on each of the SAT tests. Get an "A" on every class remaining. Play numerous sports. Have leadership positions in those sports. Be a member of more than one club or organization and have leadership roles in them. Volunteer and have a lot of hours. Now, do i expect you to do all that? No. But that should be your goal. Not a score or level that is "good enough". Are there some who have the perfect resume and application. Yes. Each year, the academies have a number of them. I've been helping kids get into college, enlist, and apply to the academies and Rotc for about 13 years. Ive met maybe 10 or 12 with the perfect resume; or as perfect as humanly possible. Point is, that should be the goal. If you havent reached that in any area, then that is what needs to be worked on. In other words, as close to perfection as you can get. you dont need someone to tell you what needs to be worked on or improved. Best of luck. mike.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  12. icarus

    icarus Member

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    There's just so many opinions to sort through and it's difficult to ascertain what is correct advice. We trust that experienced and knowledgeable sources would be generous in sharing information to those that simply don't know and that is why we turn to this forum.
    Thank you very much to those who willingly express their perspective and wise counsel to aid us in navigating our way through this process.



    "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it."
    Margaret Fuller
     
  13. TrackStarFalcon

    TrackStarFalcon Member

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    hey huntsj,

    I am also applying for the USAFA class of 2018. I guess you are on track even though your GPA is a 3.3. Do you want to play football for the falcons? if you do you should probably watch this AFA academy video from 2010.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhebX6N4lF0

    Skip to 5:05. Hear what Charlton Warren the football coach says. Hope you make it! :) GOD BLESS !
     
  14. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Standardized test scores should not matter as much as they do. There are many blue collar families that simply cannot afford to take the test multiple times. Then there are additional fees to buy the test, send off test scores after the fact, etc. I bet we dropped $500 or more directly with the ACT company. My DD took the test multiple times a year starting in 9th grade.

    Additionally, there are extremely good classes that aid and boost your test scores like Kaplan and others. Those are also expensive. We bought the best program at Kaplan for a Grand. You can hire tutors if you have the $$'s. We didn't go there. Tutors can cost up to $4500. Don't think for a moment that parents who are wealthy won't plunk down $4500 to get their DD or DS into their school of choice. After all, many parents self esteem are riding on how their CHILD does.:frown:

    My son wrote a paper on the topic back in high school how the system is skewed towards people with a buck in their pocket. It opened my eyes.

    MY DD benefited from having the family resources to take his score up 5 points. The 10 week course had him take the test 8 times. His score went up 5 points because he learned to game the system. The system they teach talks about the statistics of guessing, why you should not take tests as you normally do (by reading the long passage 1st), solve by plugging in a middle answer and see it is higher or lower, etc. These methods are counter intuitive. That is because they have been taught to take tests by SOLVING each problem and reading the passage 1st.

    There are some kids that simply test faster. A smart kid that takes a test fast will score much higher than a genius or even a perfectionist that takes a test slower. If you are an average student that tests slow, get ready for an ACT score of 18.

    My point is the overwhelming majority of the Kid's don't have that resource or knowledge to understand how to boost the scores. So when you hear an impressive ACT score from a family that has a buck in their pocket to drop a Grand on a program, potentially be less impressed with that score. My DD finished 1st out of 650 kids in his class. But I predict he would not have gotten into the USAFA if we didn't have the $$'s to send him off to the classes that teaches the counter intuitive methods to pick up a lot of speed. I don't think an ACT of 27 would have cut it. He didn't get the nod till the end of March. Before the prep test and a score of 27, my DD thinks he could have received a perfect ACT score if they gave him enough time.

    Additionally ACT allows you to buy some of your tests. You can see the pattern of the errors on the last X amount of questions in every section. I predict most parents / students don't know that you can buy the actual tests showing what you got wrong. Make no mistake, this whole procedure is a money making enterprise. If they wanted it to be truly "standardized", every kid would be given the answers back, you would not have to pay for it, you could only take it so many times or not charge for it.

    So for those of you who are smart slower test takers, invest the $$'s and learn how to game the ACT system. I predict you will pick up at least 3 points with a basic class and even higher if you dig into it deep like the class my DD took.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Mm-dad. I understand your concern with standardized tests and how they shouldn't count as much, but you have to see this.from the academy's and every other university's position. There are more than 28,000 high schools in the country. This doesn't count home schooling or the new online schools like Connections Academy. All of these schools and school districts have their own standards. Some students are fortunate and have the IB program and/or AP classes. Some student in small 500 person towns in Wyoming, Montana. And Mississippi, don't have any advanced classes. Many dont have a local community college nearby to take advanced classes.

    Standardized test have the word standard emphasised. They are the only common denominator academically among all applicants. Applicants every year ask about their grades and schedule difficulty and if the academy will take those harder classes into consideration. They do. But what about the millions of students who don't have that opportunity? ACT and SAT tests are what helps bring all these students to a more equal playing field we evaluate them. Its not perfect, but u have to have some common ground to help compare. If not, then only the fortunate students who come from large schools with IB program and full AP course book to choose from would have a chance.

    Even with that, the academy can't always determine if your school really was.that good or were they easier in giving grades than another school. Again, this is where act and sat tests helps level the field. Every year, we have 3.9 or 4.0 gpa students at the academy who struggle academically. Some even fail out of the academy. So while using act and sat scores isn't perfect, its one of the best tools for leveling the field and helping us pick stellar students academically.

    While understand the cost issue, I have a hard time having too much sympathy. The average parent had approximately 16 years to prepare for their kids to apply to college. ACT and SAT tests are well known as being required. Saving $1 a week for 10 years would cover all this. Plus, even the cheapest colleges out the still require parents to pay something. $500 is such a small amount to invest in your child's future. Especially if they get into a school like the academy where in theory is beyond a full ride. They get paid to attend and they are guaranteed a good starting pay job. ACT and SAT tests are required by all schools and there's a reason for that. They r the only real standard to compare students from over 28000 high schools. Parents need to better prepare themselves for this minor expense. And when they have more than 15 years to prepare for it, this expense is minor.
     
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    P.S. most kids don't take any type of special ACT or SAT prep classes. They just take the test or the go online and use free practice study tests. The are many who got 30+ ACT scores who didn't spend hundreds on special classes or programs.
     
  17. bandad

    bandad Member

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    Second what CC had to say. We bought some ACT books from the thrift store, and DS used those and his old ACT tests. Also, you can pay ACT $10 (?) for the test booklet for half of the tests during the year when you register. DS used his old tests and test booklet to identify areas of weakness. Also, not to advertize, but the real act test book can be purchased new or used, and this is a great source of real act practice tests. DS took ACT this June after finishing his Jr year, rasied his ACT score, and no plans to take again. BTW, DS never took ACT prep class. My 2 cents is to identify areas of weakness, e.g., trig on the math portion, and study those areas. Secondly, take old ACT tests. Sharing what worked for us and we are done! Best of luck and hope this info is helpful...
     
  18. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17

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    I don't have outstanding ACT scores, (27 best sitting) but I found the $15 book my parents got me to be very helpful.
     
  19. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I firmly believe that a $1000 Kaplan prep course will show you the ins and outs. That will prove to be invaluable. My DS went up 5 points after taking a total of 8 prep tests during a 10 week course. A God given 30 will turn into an even higher score. The reality is those prep classes work. It is why the average ACT scores are rising every year. People are not getting "smarter", they are getting their check book out.:wink: It is why an ACT score doesn't correlate very well to college performance.

    See http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPorta...&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED361342 . This is one of many studies that show that an ACT score doesn't correlate strongly with college performance.
     
  20. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    We have the wear-with-all to game the system. I got my check book out and had my DS's ACT score boosted by 5 points. Nearly every parent I know in my sons high school didn't "invest" in an ACT course. The reality is a Grand is real money to many people. They inaccurately assumed that a book will be good enough to do their best. Not so. As a parent, I did my homework. My DD was the guinea pig 2 years prior. You might squeak out a point or two by learning the information better (a.k.a studying a book). That was my DD's approach and we learned on the 2nd child.

    I realize that there are some kids that are smart and take tests efficiently. They don't need the ACT prep courses. That's not to say that they are smarter than the kid who takes their test slower and gets a 30. I know better. Two equally smart kids might get an ACT score of 30 and 35 simply based off of test taking speed. But an ACT score doesn't test true subject intelligence. That's because the ACT material isn't challenging for smart kids.

    I'm glad they have the prep school. I predict there are brilliant 2nd lieutenants that come from that path. There is probably plenty of kids that didn't have research oriented parents coaching their kids on the ins and outs.:wink:

    A true standardized test would not be set-up to charge for returned tests, charge late fees, offer unlimited tests, etc. The fact is this is a money making enterprise. I'm just admitting that a thicker checkbook pays off. I'm not taking anything away from my DS. He took 2 years of college in HS and was a college tutor for Chemistry, Calc, and biology. But if I didn't send him to that class he would of scored well under 30 and equally smart even with a 5 point higher score. It's a game and I am admitting it even though we benefited from learning the "system".:redface: If he practiced this counter intuitive test taking technique some more, he said he could have boosted his score some more. No matter what his final score, he is the same kid and his college grades would be equal independent of a 27 or a 34 score. That's the reality for him but I cannot speak for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012

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