Prep School Offer... Need Advise!?!?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by PossiblePreppie2015, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. PossiblePreppie2015

    PossiblePreppie2015 New Member

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    PLEASE EXCUSE SPELLING ERROR... I NEED "ADVICE"... (been a long morning)....

    Long time stalker... first time post.

    After deferral in January and month (and months) of waiting, our DD got an offer of PS in her portal this morning. She has a lot of mixed emotions that I would like to get some advise on dealing with as we can't be the first ones to face this challenge. I certainly do NOT want to come across as ungrateful for the opportunity. I have found a wealth of information from this forum already and thought I would get some honest advice for an honest concern.

    DD had a really strong application with the exception of an ACT score that just couldn't break 25. Top 5% in her class, APs, 30 college credits, great service hours, varsity letter, stellar CFA.... so we knew the ACT might an insurmountable barrier to Appointment, but we continued to hope...

    We are going to sit down tonight as a family to discuss next steps. She was accepted to her plan B school (a great institution with a great AFROTC program) so I believe the struggle is between her pride and her options. As parents we believe this is a "no brainer", and that choosing to decline this opportunity is something that she will regret later, but we also understand that she is disappointed especially with having 2 friends that were directly appointed last year and many from her Summer Seminar group already receiving Appt. That, coupled with so many posts that talk about 'blue chip athletes' (which she is not) or prep school's academics being a repeat of HS which is hard to swallow when she has a 99% average in AP Calc and has 30 college credits from dual enrollment classes.

    Her goal since 8th grade has been to be an Officer in the Air Force and her dream was to accomplish that through the Academy. Even if she had to go through ROTC at her Plan B, her goal has been unchanged.

    So I come to you in earnest, oh wise ones of the forum. I need some advice for the Pros and Cons list for the conversation tonight; as an adult it is easy to point out that pride can destroy opportunity... but when you have an amazing kid who's never let pride get in the way before it's hard not to feel guilty for pushing that point now.

    Thank you in advance for any support, advice, words of wisdom....
     
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  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    If her goal is to be an Air Force officer she has been offered the golden ticket. The prep school is a great place for her. I agree the less than 25 ACT is probably what landed her there, but the USAFA thinks she has the stuff to be a great Air Force officer, but in order to achieve that dream via the USAFA, they feel she needs an extra year of school. As much as the SA admissions processes are long, strange and unknown they do a pretty good job of knowing who will make it and who needs some prep. She needs to see it as a good thing, they see she has what it takes to be an officer. An extra year of academic prep will have her ready and more mature to take on freshman year. If she does AFROTC, which is a great option too, she will not be guaranteed active duty. What happens if she goes this path and is not selected for FT? Has she looked at the stats for rated, non-rated, non-tech selections via AFROTC? These stats vary from year to year (last year vs. this year were very different) and none of us can predict the slots of her year group. The USAFA path guarantees her active duty. The prep school will not be a repeat of high school. It will be much faster pace, a larger academic load, coupled with a totally different environment of military and being away from home. USAFA path is the more guaranteed path to active duty. Bottom line is if this is something she wants she has been offered an amazing opportunity. There are many athletes, but there are plenty who are not. There will be kids form all walks of life there. And trust when I say that there are as many former athletes at USAFA as there are athletes at the SA. Many hang it up once they realize the time demands or reality of D1 sports. She has to decide if the military regiment, 24/7 environment is the best path for her to achieve her dream.
     
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  3. Juvat

    Juvat Member

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    I will keep my personal advice short and sweet. Absolutely take the Prep School offer.
     
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  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    There is no shame in attending prep school. If she really wants to be at USFA, this is the golden ticket.
     
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  5. haleym

    haleym Member

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    I don't think that anyone other than the candidate can make a pros and cons list that really gets at what is truly important to them, to be honest.
    I think that it really depends on how you look at it. From strictly my point of view, if your DD is not stoked about spending an extra year in school in order to come to USAFA, that's an issue. An extra year isn't something you should commit to if you are not 100% sure about it. Again, this is only my opinion.
    Regardless, here are some of my objective pros/cons for the P:
    Pros:
    If you want to be a pilot, USAFA is THE BEST shot you have at doing so.
    You get E1 pay for your time at the prep school.
    You get an extra year of academic prep. While you may THINK that you have it all figured out in high school, the truth is that you don't understand the difficulty of college classes until you are in college, and a buffer is always useful.
    You get out of it what you choose.
    If it's your dream to attend USAFA, this is your shot!
    Cons:
    You will have to spend an extra year in school.

    I'm a Falcon Scholar and attended MMI before coming here, so I don't know much about the prep school itself. Perhaps some former preppies can weigh in. Good luck to your DD!
     
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  6. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    If my DD had been offered prep school, she would have jumped at the offer.

    Given everything that you said about your DD, it sounds like the Academy thinks she's ready but they want to be doubly sure she can handle the load that comes with attending the Academy. It's a very heavy load & preppies have the advantage of getting some of that military training and academics ahead of time. They tend to come into their doolie year with more confidence than the directs. Also, she will make great friends with her classmates -- always an advantage.

    Once in BCT, no one cares where they came from. ... well, the priors wear a little patch that says their priors. :)

    Tell your daughter that getting appointment to the prep school is an honor. Take it.
     
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  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Couple of things. There is definitely a difference between being rejected for an appointment and being offered a prep school slot. Prep school basically says: "We WANT you as a cadet, but you didn't quite make it. If you come to the prep school and do well, you're almost GUARANTEED to get the appointment next year".

    Rejected from an appointment says: "You're a good applicant, but there were others who are BETTER candidates. Please try again next year, but there's no guarantees".

    The big difference is; if whatever was keeping your daughter's application down, is the only thing stopping her from receiving an appointment. But the academy wants to give her another (Almost guaranteed) chance for next year. The person who was 100% qualified and rejected, the academy didn't see them as the "WHOLE PERSON" applicant. It's a tricky situation because there are some that are definitely excellent candidates, but there just wasn't enough slots. But their application, grades, tests, etc.... are TOO GOOD to go to the prep school. Remember, the prep school isn't for the #1-#250 NON-selectees who didn't receive an appointment. It's for someone who would have been very high on the selectee list, if they hadn't had that one area (Usually ACT/SAT/ or individual academic class.

    So, back to the question at hand. Do you accept the prep-school or Plan "B"??? As mentioned, Plan "B" and ROTC is an excellent option, but there's no guarantee of a commission as an officer when you're done. On the other hand, while a prep-school slot isn't a 100% guarantee of an appointment next year, the odds are WAY UP THERE. Usually the one's who DON'T get the appointment, are the ones who don't really want it and pretty much change their mind and give up. If you make it through the prep-school and do well, you're almost guaranteed an appointment. The only negative to the prep-school is that the classes don't count towards college.

    Have I ever recommended that an individual NOT ACCEPT a Prep-school slot? YES!!! a few times. I won't go into the details, but all 4 that I recommended against it, had full ride offers to other schools that were too good to give up. Georgetown, Purdue, Cornell, and William & Mary. One of those individuals when they turned down the prep-school made the academy 2nd guess themselves and look again at his application. They must have realized that the prep-school offer was definitely inappropriate. This individual walked on water. They turned right around and offered the individual an appointment which he accepted.

    But in your daughter's case, you pretty much know why she wasn't offered an appointment. Her ACT score was too low. So it comes down to how bad she wants to be a commissioned air force officer. See, ROTC and the Academy are "TEMPORARY". They are only 4 years long. The military commission, can last 20-30 years. So, does it really matter in the long run how you get commissioned??? On the other hand, the odds of receiving a commission is 100% if you attend the academy vs an ROTC program. And the prep-school is probably in the 85-90% guarantee area of receiving an academy appointment the next year. best of luck. Mike.
     
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  8. afmom2020

    afmom2020 Member

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    My DD was in the same boat. She has great grades, sports, volunteer work, etc but she could never get her SAT English score up. It wasn't a bad grade but it was just below what USAFA wants. She got her LOA back in November. For her, there was no thinking. She knew that she wanted, she wanted active duty and USAFA was her only guarantee. She accepted the offer immediately.

    In the end, as a parent you can listen and even offer the pros and cons but she needs to make the decision, because she's the only one who knows what feels right. I know it's hard to expect our seventeen year olds to make decisions that will affect for the rest of their lives but it is their lives.

    I know there are plenty of young women who've recently gotten and accepted offers to USAFAPS. If she chooses to go, she will find a lot of support and make friends that will last through the academy. If she goes the AFROTC route, she will still find friends. It's what feels right to her.
     
  9. NavyMom19

    NavyMom19 Member

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    I have to agree with Christcorp and add while Plan B may be an excellent school with an excellent ROTC program, there will be distractions that make it harder for the student to focus---the Prep School offers minimal distractions where a student can focus on their purpose of doing their utmost best so that they can get the appointment to the AFA.
     
  10. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    PP2,

    First... Kudos to you for being so open and obviously an engaged parent; and for raising such an outstanding young woman.

    Second... In the spirit of transparency, I will tell you that DW and I honestly wished our son had gotten a Prep appointment instead of direct. Things came too easy for him in HS and he was a great test taker. But the rigor and pacing of the USAFA courses (1 semester = 1 year of HS Calc for example), along with all of the competing time priorities hit him pretty hard.

    Here's my guess (and it's only that), your DD sounds like the kind of awesome young person that sees the "long game" more than most her age. She's willing to work crazy hard to get ahead, even if she's not a natural-test taker and everything doesn't come easy. In other words.... once she wraps her head around it and let's her pride recover a bit she will totally appreciate the opportunity Prep provides. It is the golden ticket to her dreams.

    Finally remind her that no one from Prep ever succeeds in the Air Force or beyond.... just ask the dozen+ Generals that attended Prep. :)
     
  11. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    Ahh this one brings back memories and this is one post that I can answer parent to parent advice! WOOT ME!


    To start my DS was in a similar situation last year and had similar worries. Did not get a nomination and was stuck without an acceptance. He had set his mind and goals to attend his Plan B option and moved on. That is until the offer for Prep came in. He called me truly not knowing what to do.


    To keep a long story short I told him in the grand scheme of things what does one year really matter. Let’s say you’re lucky and you live to 80, does one year really matter in all that? I also asked him if you chose not to go to Prep will you always wonder if you would have tried? If the answer is yes then go to Prep, plan b will always be there and if for some wired reason plan b isn’t there you have a plan c. He was even so desperate that he asked me what he should do and this is the kid that is so stubborn and dead set against taking my advice just on principle. I said no way I’m falling into that trap this is your decision not mine or anyone else’s for that matter.


    Also for full disclosure my son did not receive an ROTC scholarship either. He was going to attended ROTC classes and try for an in-school scholarship (I think that’s the term) later. That may and should play a factor in your DD choice.


    He ended up choosing Prep (which is a story in and of itself how he made that choice that I’ve posted in the past about). And he loves it, his academics were good going in already like your DD but don’t worry about that. At first you’ll take the same classes as everyone else but if you excel in certain classes they take you out of the “normal” track, for example my son is taking the Physics class they take on The Hill. He’s also one of the academic officer in his squad and love helping and tutoring people. Don’t get me wrong there are parts that suck. You’ll see good leadership, you’ll see bad. You’ll see stupid decisions as underage drinking and you’ll see people who struggle with class but bust their backsides to succeed.
     
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  12. PossiblePreppie2015

    PossiblePreppie2015 New Member

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    Wow... I knew I stalked these forums for hours on end for a reason!! You are all awesome and your words of wisdom are just that... very wise. People (friends and family) are confused enough about this whole process to begin with.... so trying to find a sounding board for PS outside of this forum is... well...:bang:.

    After reading NavyHoops reply I did a little research on non-rated POC selection for AFROTC programs (geeeez.... a whole new set of acronyms- especially for a non military family). Needless to say I was shocked at the low numbers, even for "Tech" non rated slots! (Unless she has a growth spurt I'm afraid she won't make the height requirement to fly, thus, engineering is her goal).

    All of your advice is greatly appreciated! And thank you for for allowing me to be candid without being judged. I think she's a pretty amazing kid and I am glad it didn't come across that she was being selfish... I will update the thread once the decision is made. You have certainly made it easier to go into this conversation with some sound and thoughtful advice and not just "because I said so" or "its your decision, make it".

    Whew... and we thought potty training was hard! :biglaugh:
     
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  13. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Pros:
    - The extra classes in Math, Chemistry and English do an excellent job of strengthening the foundation from high school.
    - Good transition into the military lifestyle.
    - Better preparation for the rigors of that little engineering school in the mountains.
    - Lifelong friendships.
    - Enlisted E1 pay along with basic allowance for food.
    - Opportunity for leadership experiences right off the bat.
    - A chance to really decide if the AFA is right for her before I-Day.
    - More time to grow and mature before taking on the challenges of freshman year.

    Cons:
    - An extra year of school.
    - Less time to spend with her friends who have are already there.
    - Possible pride issue.

    When I was offered a Prep appointment I was a little disappointed but now I think attending was one of the best decisions I've made.
     
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  14. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    If her goal is Tech Non-rated I think you are seeing her chances are much better at USAFA purely from a numbers perspective. Even if she majors in Engineering at another university it may take her 4.5-5 years to graduate anyways. If that is the case, Prep school and the extra year isn't an extra year from that perspective. She can go to USAFA with much more confidence based on her prep year, be guaranteed Active Duty and walk away with no debt. I was a direct admit and had actually asked to go to Prep School. Academically I had good grades and 32 ACT and was still very worried. I was a basketball recruit and was very worried about the work load. I ended up with a Principle Nom and was told no prep. I was excited to go, but nearly flunked out Plebe Year. I have never met a preppie who thought it was a waste of a year in the long run.
     
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  15. PossiblePreppie2015

    PossiblePreppie2015 New Member

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    @Boozebin, I actually tried to go back and find your post... can you send me the link or PM me? and yes, definitely a WOOT WOOT to you!
     
  16. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    Wow didn't realize how much I post here!!!! I couldn't even find it but since you've asked.

    The same day he and I had our conversation above, was his awards night at his HS. There was one award that was the top 10% of the school and while they were making their way up to the stage one of the teachers has the bright idea to have each student say their name and where they were going after HS. My son was the second person in line and was already standing there when the teacher said this. I could literally see his face turn white, my wfie (his step-mom) and I just looked at each other with our mouths open and we both scooted up in our chairs to see what he would say. I was ok with whatever he decided but the little devil in me kept saying Prep, Prep, Prep over and over in my mind.

    First person in line was one of his friends that got accepted to AFA then my DS went. Said his name and with all the confidence in the world he said AFA Prep and you see the tension just flow out of him as he relaxed. I saw him a bit later and I smiled and said I guess you decided and he had the biggest grin he could manage and said I guess I did.

    Just like AFrpaso (the best resource on here for Prep info) said he's loved it and hasn't had a single regret. Don't get me wrong doubt has crept in a couple of time seeing his friend go to a "normal" college and seeing how easy it is but Everytime I ask him if he's going to switch he ask me if I'm out of mind where else can he hang out with 80 other people in his squad that are just like him and get paid for doing it?
     
  17. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Really, really good point about Engineering. My BS was in Comp Eng -- a 5 year program.
     
  18. Breizh

    Breizh New Member

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    My son is top 6% in the largest high school in the state, will have taken 10 AP's (in which he earned straight A's) by the end of the year, scored 32 ACT/ 2090 SAT, has earned varsity letters, has plenty of work and volunteer experience, and even two nominations. Yet, he has not heard a single word from the Academy; thus, we're preparing for the worst as his district already has several kids (who received LOA's before my son was even granted a pass out of DoDMERB limbo...) going to the AFA . Nevertheless, I can tell you this: if a Prep School offer came his way, he'd accept it sooner than you can possibly imagine: his goal for as long as he can remember is to be an officer and pilot in the military. The point is that while there is an admitted sting to spending an extra year in the PS, your daughter should remember the honor and the opportunity she has before her. I'm sure she'll do great there and be quickly on her way to achieving her goals and aspirations. Best of luck!
     
  19. shellz

    shellz Parent

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    Count us among those who had hoped for prep! Time towards retirement, brushing up on those tough math/sci classes, E-1 pay, an extra year of physical
    and emotional growth...no downside from our perspective. However, he got a direct appointment. Let the hard work begin!
     
  20. 2ndgenerationusaf

    2ndgenerationusaf New Member

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    This question is a little off course. What happens after prep school, and you do not get an LOA. I was told that you took could go USAF enlisted and go in as a SSgt.(E-5). Does anyone know the truth about this? As I said a little off course, just curious. Thanks
     
  21. mroberts5102

    mroberts5102 Member

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    Don't take this the wrong way, but if you go over and look at all of us non-selects, we would all kill for a prep school offer for the academy next year. Take it and run!
     

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