orientation questions

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by lga, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. lga

    lga Member

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    (1) what is the objective of the orientation? Is it just to convince the appointees to accept the appointments?
    (2) for students that have been to one summer seminar, is there any extra value to attend an orientation?

    I am guessing the orientation is not mandatory.

    Tx
     
  2. Gasdoc

    Gasdoc Member

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    It's an opportunity to see the Academy when in session (unlike summer seminar) though it'll be post-recognition. There are a lot of briefings - some good, some okay with opportunity to have questions answered or hear others ask questions you would never dare to. You can also get your your boots ahead of time.

    The kid who is at highest risk to wash out of BCT is one who didn't attend either summer seminar or orientation and shows up "cold turkey." Those who attend both tend to do best (as a cohort) early on.
     
  3. 2011's Mom

    2011's Mom Parent

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    Orientation is intended to give the candidate (and parents) a more complete view of what being a cadet at USAFA is all about. There are numerous briefings for both the candidate as well as for the parents. The candidate gets lots of time with cadets in the cadet environment. They go to classes with the cadets. It is certainly not intended to convince appointees to accept an appointment. I know of candidates that elected to turn down an appointment as a result of orientation (which is a good thing - it's much better that they find out now as opposed to leaving during BCT). Many appointees that attend orientation have already accepted their appointment. It might be more appropriate to say that orientation is an effort to show the Academy in as accurate a light as possible so that the rose colored glasses that candidates/appointees wear are at least partially removed and appointees can make a better informed decision.

    I can speak as the parent of a cadet- I went to orientation with my D a few years ago and found it to be very beneficial to both of us. My D had attended classes on a prior visit so the class phase of orientation was not new to her. However, there was value to me (and I believe to her as well) in many of the briefings as well as the parent tour where I was able to see the cadet area, the dorms, class rooms etc.

    To my knowledge, orientation is not mandatory.
     
  4. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Our son attended both Summer Seminar and orientation, and I think he got a different experience from each one. He has always had positive things to say about both.

    One thing that he has commented to me about both of the trips was that each one gave him another set of connections with other cadets who would be going with him on I-Day. He said it was a huge boost during BCT to walk past another cadet, and they would recognize each other from orientation or SS, and he would remember that everyone else was going through the same thing as he was. After the CC orientation dinner a bunch of the kids went to the Academy Hotel and spent the evening in the pool and hot tub and made some friendships with their fellow appointees. (Gasdoc's son was one of the ones in my son's group). These connections will last at the Academy and hopefully into their careers.

    Along those same lines, the parents will have a chance at orientation to meet other parents, and hopefully make some connections there. Once your son or daughter is at BCT, many of your friends at home will not have any idea what you are going through as a parent. These other cadet parents will become your best friends as you go through the process of letting your kid go. I have made friends with other parents from North Carolina to California, and it is really nice to always have someone else who understands. In fact, we have gotten together with 2011's Mom every Parents Weekend so far, and we keep in touch all year.

    Stealth_81
     
  5. 2011's Mom

    2011's Mom Parent

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    And we have incriminating photo's to prove it too :yllol:

    Seriously though, Stealth has a very good point. Having other parents that "get it" is really helpful. I cannot think of a single friend of mine that really fully understands (with one exception - a friend who's D went to WP a few years ahead of my D at USAFA). The effort needed to bring them "up to speed" so that I can actually share part of my D's experience is huge - developing friendships with other SA parents is great. Like Stealth, I have developed some very good friendships with other USAFA parents from all over the country. Funny thing is that some of my closest USAFA Parent friends have cadet kids that my cadet has never even met!!
     
  6. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    For us, Orientation was very important as parents, and it was also very beneficial for our sons as well. Since they were IC's, they got to meet a number of the other fencers, watched part of a practice, etc. Attending classes was also a boon to them since just by chance they were both put into a Physics class & Lab, similar to what they were taking here at the local U. Meeting other soon-to-be basics was a boon to them as well for reasons stated above.

    As parents, we had never been there and were able to relax, knowing we were not sending our children "off to the gulag" as an acquaintance put it. We learned a lot too, and my husband was finally sure of how to handle their tax situation (and ours regarding them).

    We brought along 'little sister' (who was a high school junior at the time) and she was so impressed by what she saw that she later opted to apply both to AFA and to USMA. She later chose a civilian college but the bug was in her ear for a year.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Many above have mentioned the many positives of orientation and summer seminar. But realize; the academy doesn't have to convince ANYONE of accepting appointments. With approximately 10,000 applicants; they will always have more than enough people to fill the slots. And the vast majority of applicants; with or without an appointment; meet the requirements to get in. So, whether you accept the appointment or not, is not of importance to the academy.

    What is important, is that they don't WASTE your time, their time, or their money; training you and having you drop out after 1 semester. The biggest reason that individuals have problems with/at the academy, is because of stress. Many times, that stress is simply because: "THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE GETTING INTO". More than half of those with appointments and attending orientation, did NOT go to summer seminar. This will be the first time they've even seen the academy, colorado, or the military environment. Same with parents. Many students get stressed out because their parents are stressed out. When my son went to Summer Seminar, and they had their "Doolie for a day" and the cadets started ragging on the attendies; one noticed that my son didn't have that glazed over look that many have when in a new environment. And they simply asked if any of this environment bother my son. He simply said no; you've never met my dad. And that he was use to this environment. He'd been around it for 18 years.

    So the whole purpose of summer seminar and orientation is to make the applicants and their families aware of what they are getting into. They will definitely talk all about the good things and advantages of the air force academy. But they will also talk about the negatives. They want you to choose what is right for you. If you change your mind; no problem. They can get a replacement. But they'd rather you choose your mind in April; than to do it after the first semester. Also, they explain all the financial issues and other concerns that parents have.

    All schools have orientation, and the academy is no different. But it's definitely not to convince you to accept the appointment. It's to make sure you know what you're getting into. At least as much as possible in that position. This way neither you nor they waste time, energy, or money on something you might not really want. Best of luck. mike....
     

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