PLEASE CRITICIZE AS MUCH AS YOU WANT

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by wjk905, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. wjk905

    wjk905 Member

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    Hello! I'm a senior planning to apply to USAFA. USAFA is probably the only service academy I am planning to apply for.

    I am writing this in the hopes that all of you will let me know what to improve on. I have already completed the pre-candidate questionnaire and have been promoted to a candidate status. I am working on my ACT and SAT because I believe it isn't high enough to be accepted. Now, here are my scores/accomplishments:
    • ACT super score: 30 (English: 31 Math: 35 Reading: 29 Science: 26)
    • PSAT score (since I have not taken the SAT yet): 1350 (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 610 Math: 740)
    • About 100 hours of volunteer hours (Community Action Center, eye clinic, & pharmacy)
    • High school soccer varsity captain
    • Played for a soccer national team of small island
    • Part-time job
    • Placed in various math competitions and currently in a math team
    And I don't know if this makes a difference but I moved from a small pacific island to the mainland after my sophomore year.

    Thank you so much for reading this long post!
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You did not include your academic history. PAR is not just your SAT/ACT, but also your cgpa, plus they will look at your course load curriculum compared to other students in your grade, plus the school profile. IE: class rank, how many APs you have taken compared to how many are offered and compared to how many the avg kid takes.
    ~ Let's say you are ranked top 10%, but 0% go to Ivy League college, whereas, another kid is top 10%, but 25% go to Ivy. It tells them that although from a rank perspective you are the same, but from a school profile the latter is more rigorous than the one you attend.
    ~~ They do this because there are over 2000 HSs in the nation. It is their way to try to level the playing field.

    Another reason they look at the school/transcript is due to the fact that some kids are just not good standardized test takers. It gives them another glimpse to see 2 things:
    1. Does the school hand out As like Halloween Candy?
    ~ If you have a 3.89 uwcgpa out of 4.0, but your ACT superscore is 26, is that because you are not a good test taker, or is it because the school has lower standards? Now when they look at your school profile where 25% go Ivy and you are top 15%, the bigger picture leans to you are just not a strong standardized test taker. Whereas, if 0% go Ivy and you are top 10% and the same score it looks more like Halloween Candy As to them.
    2. High ACT/SAT, but low grades.
    ~ IE you have a 34 ACT, but your cgpa and rank are low. Again, where does the school profile fit in. Perfectly fine to be 10% if 25% go Ivy. It just says the school is extremely competitive. ...no Halloween candy here. However, if you are 10%, and 0% go, they than have to ask...is the candidate applying themselves at school because that ACT is high? Are you just showing up and doing the bare minimum to be in NHS or Honor Roll and not academically driven to do better?

    OBTW...since they superscore, I would spend time studying the science portion of the exam. Typically someone that excels in Math like you with a 35, should be able to match or come near to matching in the science section. IF you can get a 35 there and pump up reading to a 30 than you are looking at a 33.

    FYI, as everyone will always tell you:
    1. Keep taking the SAT/ACT as often as you can afford. The score you want is 36 or 1600.
    2. Apply for the AFROTC scholarship.
    ~ HQ AFROTC and USAFA do not talk. AFROTC is a national board, whereas, USAFA starts from a geo-centric aspect than goes to the national level. Some states are competitive. IE: MOCs spread the wealth. That means out of the 3 MOCs, you will land up with only 1 nomination.
    ~ AFROTC does not superscore ACT or SAT. It is best sitting only.

    Good luck
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Pima is spot on. One change to help emphasize. Pima is correct that there are more than 2000 high schools in the country. But that's an under statement. There are actually more than 26,000 public secondary schools and more than 10,000 private secondary schools in the country.

    That's why it's so important to not only do well in the sat and act tests, but why your gpa and class rank has to show that you challenged yourself with the most rigorous classes available to you. You won't be penalized if certain AP classes or the IB program isn't available to you; however you will be penalized if such classes are available and you aren't taking them. The academy has to compare applicants from every possible public and private high school, as well as home school. If you truly want to be competitive, you need to show you are doing the most and best with what you have offered to work with.
     
  4. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    Why are you only considering applying to USAFA? Your chances of getting in to at least one academy increase by a lot if you apply to all three. Plus, applying to all 3 just looks good on a nomination application or similar applications/interviews.
     
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  5. wjk905

    wjk905 Member

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    Thank you so much for the detail!
    I'll take all of what you @Pima and @Christcorp said in mind.
    BTW I have a unweighted GPA of 4.0 and have taken 2AP english class and a bunch of hard classes (physics, honors chem, human anatomy, biology, psychology, etc)

    THANK YOU SO MUCH
     
  6. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    That's not at all how it works. Your chance of getting into the USMA is independent of your chances of getting into USNA or AFA, just as applying to all 8 Ivy League schools does not increase your odds of gaining acceptance to any of them.

    Apply to the schools/ROTC programs you're interested in.
     
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  7. CaliNavyMom

    CaliNavyMom Member

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    Yes especially when some MOC's and Senators only allow you to mark one SA option on a nomination request. DS only applied to NA because he's interested in serving Navy only. When I read the requirements for our CA senators, I know at least one said Mark only one option. May have been both but can't recall.
     
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  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You are correct, that no application to any one academy has any independent affect of increasing the odds of receiving any other appointment. But applying to more than one does increase your odds of attending one of them.

    Each person can only accept one appointment. Therefor, not knowing what academies your in state competition has applied to, should one of those competitors accept one appointment, they are no longer competition for another academy. Thus, your odds on one of the other academies does go up. Definitely more than if you didn't apply.

    One must also realize, there are some academies much more popular than others, based on where you live. Example. If you are in the Colorado area, there will be a lot less competition for the naval academy vs the Air Force academy. Just like some places the competition for West Point is greater than Air Force. If you're from wyoming, and you applied to coast guard or merchant marines, you'd practically have zero in state competition.

    Now, having said that, I agree that you should ONLY APPLY to the academies that you truly want. This isn't a free college scholarship or jobs program you're applying to. This is a minimum 9 year commitment to a lifestyle of service to your country. The fact that you're getting a college education out of the deal is simply an added benefit. Are there some that simply want to serve as a commissioned officer and they don't care which branch of service? Yes, but those are rare. Most who say so, I take with a grain of salt. Most who want to serve and get commissioned have a definite preference. I believe they should apply for their preference. If they aren't appointed, have backup plans such as ROTC or OTS after they get their degree.

    Unless you're totally honest with yourself and the college degree is the most important thing to you. Or, if you can honestly say that you want to serve a minimum of 9 years and you don't care how you serve. Then by all means apply to all.
     
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  9. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    I apologize, I was not very clear in my original comment. I don't mean that your chances are increased in the sense that the academies will look more favorably on you when assessing your application.

    Rather, your chances of getting an appointment to at least one academy increase when you apply to all three as a simple matter of probability. You can't get a nomination to an academy that you don't apply to, and you certainly can't get an appointment. This is especially true when you live in a state in which senators and MOCs communicate in order to maximize the number of unique nominations given out.

    Suppose for a moment that an applicant exists that has been deemed "not good enough" to make the nomination slate for their academy of choice. If that applicant is also applying to the other academies, he/she still has a chance at getting a nom to their second or third choice. If not, well then they are out of luck.
     
  10. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    Actually, no. I see why it's easy to think so, but that's just not how statistics works. Applying to more than one does not change your level of competitiveness. If I have a 19 ACT and a 2.9 weighted, I could apply to 1,000 service academies and it still would not matter. What influences your admission odds are the applicant pool and your own statistics, not the number of applications submitted. Applying to all the academies allows you to be considered for admission to more than one, but it will not increase your odds.
     
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  11. wjk905

    wjk905 Member

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    I thank everyone for replying and arguing for me, but I am only interested in the USAFA. I do not want to go to any of the other service academies even if I did get appointed to every other service academies.

    I would actually like more criticisms on my chances of getting into the USAFA so that I can improve my chances of getting in more.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!
     
  12. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    That actually IS how probability works: [probability of event 1] + [probability of event 2] + ... = probability that at least one event occurs.

    If you roll a dice three times in a row, there is a 1/2 (50%) chance that you will roll any given number. 1/6 + 1/6 + 1/6 = 3/6

    Though it is impossible to know exactly what one's chances of admission to an academy are, you do have a certain percentage chance of admission. Not a single person in the world knows it, but it exists. It depends on many perceptibly random or actually random events and things that are out of your control and fluctuate from year to year (e.g. competition in your area). But as a simple property of probability, you do have a certain chance at getting an appointment if you apply.

    And that is the biggest stipulation - IF you apply. If you don't apply to a certain academy, you have 0 chance of getting in no matter what. If you apply to all three, congrats, you are being evaluated by all three. Your chances of being chosen by at least one of those admissions boards just increased.
     
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  13. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    Good. As long as you have it figured out for yourself, that's all you need to know. As Christcorp said, don't apply if you wouldn't accept the appointment.
     
  14. Alaskan

    Alaskan Member

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    Why are you "only interested in the USAFA"? You're joining the military and the other academies are on par with the USAFA. I think it reflects poorly on you regardless of your reasons to the admissions board.
     
  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    It's perfectly fine by me if the OP, presumably, has done his or her research on the AF mission and officer communities and has found things there that to be liked or preferred over other services and academies. That's OP's prerogative to focus on one path and rule out others.

    Other candidates may be undecided or totally open to which academy, service and officer community they land in, so may choose to apply to more than one or all.

    If you know the idea of going to sea is never going to appeal, then the Navy is not for you, regardless of path. If you know you want to be a Marine infantry officer, and nothing else, then you go for that full-bore, by any path available, turning away from others, understanding you may not get there. If more of what the AF does feels right for you than what other services offer, and you feel right in not pursuing them, then that is the right solution for you.

    I met too many mids at USNA who were ambivalent about being there because they applied for several Academies, didn't get the one they really wanted and "settled," and were apprehensive and not too excited about Navy or Marine career paths. Several noted they focused so narrowly on getting into a service academy and the thrill of the appointment hunt, they didn't take the time in thinking through the choice of service.

    IMPO I do not believe focusing on one academy reflects poorly. It's a choice, one of many, and reflects a different perspective.
     
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  16. wjk905

    wjk905 Member

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    @Alaskan I have no idea why it would reflect poorly on me if they don't even know my reasons. Plus, I have never said anything about how USAFA is better than any of the other service academies. Stop interpreting the wrong way. I also believe that the other academies are on par with the USAFA. Thanks for the feedback though.
     
  17. trackandfield08

    trackandfield08 USCGA 2014

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    I disagree. Yes, OP is joining the military but it looks to me like he has decided that the Air Force is the branch he wishes to be a part of. To be honest, I find it more admirable of him to focus on the branch he truly desires to join rather than throw out applications to every SA. I only applied to USCGA because I knew that the Coast Guard was the branch I wanted to be a part of. Had I not been accepted, I would have attended college elsewhere and pursued OCS. I don't think the military needs another ambivalent member serving in a branch they have no interest in.

    :rockon::rockon:
     
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  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I also think it is perfectly fine to apply to only 1 SA. My DS only wanted the AF. He did his due diligence and decided he had absolutely no desire to serve in any other branch. His Dad served 21 yrs in the AF and for himself when he was 18 he decided that it was AF or nothing. You can choose which college you want to attend, what your major is, and remember college is not 24/7/365 days a year. Military life is.! In the military you will live where they say you will live and your job will be what they say it will be for at least 5 years.

    My DS entered wanting to become a pilot, but knew he might land up flying a desk. He said he would rather fly a desk than be in a tank or on a boat. He had no desire to fly helos, just wanted fix wing and that really left him one true option...the AF. He just pinned on Capt. and is a pilot for USAF.
     
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  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Ya'all are correct. It does NOT REFLECT POORLY on someone who only wants to apply to one military academy. Like Pima's son, my son only wanted the Air Force. It's what he's know his who life. (As much as 17 years can be of a Whole Life". His plan was: 1) Apply to Air Force Academy. 2) If that didn't work, Apply to Air Force ROTC. 3) If that didn't work, Apply to Air Force OTS after getting his degree on his own.

    As someone who's been involved in the process; as well as close with many members of congress (Not just my state), it doesn't look poorly on an applicant. Of course, there are those few MOC who might think differently. Most states have such a large pool of applicants, that most MOC's prefer you only apply to one. They want as many individuals accepted as possible. Some states with a low population of applicants wants you to apply to all of them. Again; they want as many people accepted as possible. But they don't hold it against you if you only applied to one.

    Alaskan; without going to back to your first ever post, I can't remember your back ground. I would say however, "IF" you are active duty or retired military, then you would know that you can't make the statement that "You are joining the military" as a collective statement meaning they are all the same. That they all have the same mission. As for all the academies being "ON PAR" with each other; that only applies if getting a college education is your prime purpose for applying to the academy(ies). But that goes against you own post about "Joining the military". Each branch of the military has their own mission, and their own unique way in accomplishing that mission. Most people's personality, goals, traits, desires, dreams, etc. are not such where they can simply join any branch of the military and be equally happy or successful. Same with enlisted. Do you simply go to the recruiter station in the mall and apply to every branch in the military, and decide you'll go into whichever branch happens to get the paperwork done the soonest?

    I commend WJK905 for knowing what s/he wants and equally what they DON'T WANT. I wish MORE individuals applying to the academies knew what they wanted.
     
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  20. 2018DAD

    2018DAD Member

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    Now to really foul up this conversation, there might another reason to apply to multiple SAs!
    My 2016 USAFA sponsor DS is enjoying life as a 2nd LT in Quantico with an Eagle,Globe & Anchor on his uniform!
    Funny side note, his roomie from exchange semester at USNA is now a USAFA 2lt !
    Also have local kid that went MMA then into Marine Corps!
    So maybe one slate is full and another slate has an opening, stranger things have happened!
    Now, to be true, this is not an easy shift, and can be emotionally confusing... To live 4 years in one service and then switch to another...
    My Sponsor DS, (and he was like a son, sponsoring is GREAT!) had a change of heart once at USAFA, and felt that the USMC would 'fit' him better.. For a young man to remove his USAFA graduation uniform and then commission as a USMC officer was tough, an emotional roller coaster, yet he had earned that uniform and knew in the end it was a better 'fit' for him!! (I believe there are 8-10 in the queue at USAFA for a similar cross commissioning!)
    Be advised this is not an easy journey, I will let others on here with a ton more experience in these matters speak to the 'Chances' of this route!!
     
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