Questions About Freshman Year?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Cayden Sparks, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Cayden Sparks

    Cayden Sparks Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    19
    I'm currently a freshman at USAFA and I would be happy to answer questions.
     
    Eaglescoutmom2020 likes this.
  2. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    319
    Congrats on making it this far in your academic journey!

    Questions:

    -Have you found any classes challenging? If so, which ones and why?

    -In what sports and extracurricular activities are you involved? Have you been able to juggle your time?

    -Has the AFA met your expectations so far?

    -Can you give us a brief description of your high school background and activities?

    Thank you for your service and dedication to our Nation.
     
  3. Cayden Sparks

    Cayden Sparks Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    19
    1. Yes, I tested into Calc II and Chem 110 which are both higher level classes.....Calc II was hard for me Chem 110 was not that bad.

    2. I do power lifting and yes I have been able to manage my time well enough to get to bed at a reasonable time.....Sometimes late nights are unavoidable though.

    3. It has exceeded them! The place is simply fantastic!

    4. I was in the top 10% of my class, my ACT was a 30, My GPA was 3.86 unweighted, I took 7 AP courses,I was captain of our football team, group commander of our JROTC unit, and a leadership representative of our track team.

    5. Thanks for the support and please keep the 6 airmen who lost their lives this past week in Afghanistan in your thoughts as they have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
     
  4. Cayden Sparks

    Cayden Sparks Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    19
    Oh also Calc II is difficult simply because the class is very fast-paced.
     
  5. cezme

    cezme Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    12
    Hello thank you for your time. My daughter received a Letter of Appointment from the USAFA for the class of 2020. When you have a chance, some questions;

    1) Besides the physical training, what other preparation do you recommend before Day 1 to help her prepare for Freshman year?
    2) We are thinking of suspending her cell phone service during her Freshman year, since you are not allowed to have a cell phone, is this true?
    3) How are the professors do they offer support after class if needed and also do you declare your major on your Sophomore year?

    Thanks again.

    Prayers for the 6 airmen and their families.
     
  6. afmom2020

    afmom2020 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    102
    1) Run, run, run and possibly go there a few days early. I thought people were exaggerating but when we visited even walking left you out of breath because of the altitude.

    2) Most squadrons were allowed cell phones after basics. You won't know whether she can use it until she's there. I would suggest leaving the cell on. My DD talks to me more now through FaceTime then when she was home.

    3) There is extra help if needed. I believe that they declare second semester freshman year but I'm not sure.
     
    cezme likes this.
  7. A299

    A299 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    11
    Did you attend the summer seminar? & where are you from?
     
  8. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    380
    (Cayden, good to see you back on the forums. I just thought I'd add my $0.02019 as well for a different perspective, and want to make sure you know I'm not trying to take over your thread. :rockon:)

    cezme, congrats to your daughter. She and you should both be very proud. :)

    Regarding your questions:

    1. I would suggest brushing up on subjects such as calculus (if she's taken it), chemistry, physics, history, and whatever foreign language she has experience with (if it's Spanish, review is probably not necessary since USAFA will most likely place her in a different language regardless). We took tests in these subjects during/shortly after BCT (physics and history were optional), and were placed in advanced courses depending on our results. It's definitely best to try to do well on these tests in order to avoid taking unnecessary extra classes.

    2. I am pretty sure all freshmen received their phones back with no restrictions following the conclusion of BCT. I could be wrong on this, but so far I can't recall meeting anyone who has restrictions on their cell phone usage.

    3. Professors are generally available for EI during the school day when they aren't teaching or occupied with other duties. Even though some of my professors had busy schedules this past semester, they did a great job of making themselves available whenever I needed help. Also, most cadets declare a major in the first semester of their sophomore year, although freshmen are also allowed to declare if they so desire.

    One more thing--I suspect you meant that your daughter received an LOA when you said "Letter of Appointment". An LOA (Letter of Assurance) is not the same thing as an appointment, although it's close. She still needs a nomination before her appointment becomes official. Of course, you may also have meant that your daughter indeed received a letter from the Air Force congratulating her on her USAFA appointment. If this latter option is the case, then may I be among the first to congratulate her. :)

    Hope this helps! Good luck to you and your daughter! ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2015
    cezme likes this.
  9. cezme

    cezme Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    12
    Thank you for your replies, much appreciated.

    @wildblueyonder, yes daughter got a letter of appointment and she accepted it, she also applied for AFROTC as plan B, we are thankful since USAFA is her first choice.

    Now a roller coaster of emotions (mostly mine), as she finish her senior year and get ready as a cadet in the USAFA.

    Wishing you all a safe and happy holidays, Merry Christmas.
     
  10. Cayden Sparks

    Cayden Sparks Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    19

    Wildblueyonder has given excellent advice! I would just emphasize how great the instructors are with EI. Almost all of the professors will know you by name so getting help from them is super easy!
     
  11. cezme

    cezme Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    12
    Thank you Cayden, that is great!

    All the best to you at the USAFA.
     
  12. rkv

    rkv Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    21
    Cayden thank you for offering to answer questions.

    My son is a cycling enthusiast, road, mountain, and track. I have a few questions relating to cycling during ones first year at the Academy

    1) Under intramural sports the USAFA lists mountain biking. Also in the list of clubs they list Cycling/Mountain Biking. We were of the impression that he would not be able to bring any of his bicycles his first year. If not, does the USAFA provide bicycles for those activities?

    2) If bicycles are not allowed on campus, can you store them off campus?

    3) The USAFA states that the Colorado Springs municipal bus service does not run to the Academy. How do freshman students get into Colorado Springs? Is there a convenient way that one could get to the Olympic training velodrome? The Velodrome seems to have public training sessions on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Is it feasible that one could plan on training at the velodrome on most Saturdays and Sundays? Or are USAFA activities more likely to limit ones ability to regularly train on Saturday and Sunday mornings? He understands he needs a pass and may not have one every weekend. Actually, his current impression is that during his first year very few Saturdays and Sundays will actually be free for activities of his choosing. Is he correct in that regard? Is there casual hitchhiking/carpooling points for cadets looking for a ride into town?

    4) Similar to cycling, there is a ski racing club, can one bring ones own equipment (primarily, clothes, helmet and boots) or store conveniently off campus?
     
  13. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    169
    My son is a cycling enthusiast, road, mountain, and track. I have a few questions relating to cycling during ones first year at the Academy

    1) Under intramural sports the USAFA lists mountain biking. Also in the list of clubs they list Cycling/Mountain Biking. We were of the impression that he would not be able to bring any of his bicycles his first year. If not, does the USAFA provide bicycles for those activities?

    Mountain biking is not currently (nor has it been the last 3-4 years) an intramural sport at the Academy. There is however, a club cycling team which competes in road, mountain and track racing like you mentioned. USAFA does not provide any bicycles for the activities of the cycling club. The club does have their own bicycle storage and training room (you can ride the stationary trainers if the weather is bad outside). Otherwise, bicycles may be stored outside beneath the dorms but I would not advise this for any expensive rides.

    In terms of getting the bikes to the Academy, certainly do not send them with your son to I-Day. I'd bring them out over parent's weekend or have them shipped to a sponsor's house where you're son would later pick them up and bring them back to the Academy.


    2) If bicycles are not allowed on campus, can you store them off campus?

    They could be stored with your cadet's sponsor family but access would probably be more limited than your son would like.

    3) The USAFA states that the Colorado Springs municipal bus service does not run to the Academy. How do freshman students get into Colorado Springs? Is there a convenient way that one could get to the Olympic training velodrome? The Velodrome seems to have public training sessions on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Is it feasible that one could plan on training at the velodrome on most Saturdays and Sundays? Or are USAFA activities more likely to limit ones ability to regularly train on Saturday and Sunday mornings? He understands he needs a pass and may not have one every weekend. Actually, his current impression is that during his first year very few Saturdays and Sundays will actually be free for activities of his choosing. Is he correct in that regard? Is there casual hitchhiking/carpooling points for cadets looking for a ride into town?

    Freshman cadets borrow cars from upperclassmen. Naturally this means there is no guaranteed regular transportation into town. I would not plan on training at the Velodrome most Saturdays. First, it would need to be a weekend with no military training scheduled, second your son would need to be unrestricted, and third you son would need to be able to find a car from an upperclassmen. Usually when there's no military training it can be hard to find a car since most upperclassmen also want to go out. There might be some better luck on Sundays since there's never any training. So, yes your son is correct that there won't be many Sat/Sun free for activities.

    There aren't casual carpooling/hitchhiking points where cadets wait around for a ride. That stuff is usually handled in squadron. Freshman looking to borrow a car on a weekend would generally ask 3-5 days in advance.


    4) Similar to cycling, there is a ski racing club, can one bring ones own equipment (primarily, clothes, helmet and boots) or store conveniently off campus?

    There is a ski club but I don't know much about it. Freshman are allowed to have ski/snowboard gear on campus.
     
  14. rkv

    rkv Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    21
    Thank you
     
  15. Cayden Sparks

    Cayden Sparks Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    19




    1. I know a couple of cadets who are in the triathlon club that have their own bikes as freshmen. I would imagine they would allow the mountain bike club to do the same thing. I'll do some investigating and confirm that.

    2. Yes, you probably could store them with your host family if they are ok with that.

    3. Most upperclassmen allow freshmen to use their cars to get to Colorado springs. I wouldn't plan on going off base every Saturday due to homework and or possible restrictions from wing staff.

    4. I know we have a skiing club, but i'm not sure of the specific details. I would imagine storing your skis with your host family would be a valid option.
     
  16. brovol

    brovol Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2015
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    556
    My kid has a few questions.

    Can a plebe bring a guitar? Is there room to keep it?

    When do you get all the different uniforms? All the first day?

    When do plebes decide what sports they will play if not on an NCAA team?

    How much free time is available on a typical weekend? What percentage is spent studying as compared to hanging with Friends? Could a group of plebes get a pickup basketball game together on a Sunday for example?
     
  17. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    169
    Sorry to hijack your thread, Cayden.

    Can a plebe bring a guitar? Is there room to keep it?

    Yes. It would be kept in your cadet's dorm room. Do not bring the guitar on I-Day. Bring it over parents weekend or have it shipped if that's something you're comfortable with.

    When do you get all the different uniforms? All the first day?

    Airman Battle Uniforms (ABUs) are issued on the first day. The cadets go to the tailor to be fitted for Blues and Service Dress soon after and receive the tailored uniforms near the end of BCT. Flight Duty Uniforms are issued before the school year starts. Cadets are fitted for Mess Dress during their Junior year and active duty Service Dress during their senior year.

    When do plebes decide what sports they will play if not on an NCAA team?

    If you are not on an NCAA team then you must either participate in intramurals or as a LOS (Limited On Season) athlete for an Academy Club team. Intramural teams are determined the squadron athletic officer, a senior. How they choose the teams is completing up to them. Some might leave sign up sheets out for the members of the squadron, some might give first pick of sports to seniors first, then juniors, sophomores, and finally freshman. The intramural sports for any given semester fluctuate but usually there's ultimate frisbee, soccer, flag football, boxing and basketball (there's probably a few I'm forgetting). Intramurals take place every other day. There's a minimum of 8 days total of 'pool play' among squadrons and then tournament play for squadrons who had the best win-loss record. So intramurals really don't last that long.

    LOS is a status given to some cadets in competitive clubs. Typically a club must be nationally competitive before it is given LOS slots by the Academy. The process which a club grants LOS to its members is up to the club captain. There are only so many LOS slots given to each club. LOS excuses a cadet from intramurals but also makes club practice a military duty whereas a regular club member is not necessarily required to show up to club practice every day.


    How much free time is available on a typical weekend? What percentage is spent studying as compared to hanging with Friends? Could a group of plebes get a pickup basketball game together on a Sunday for example?

    I couldn't give you a percentage. The amount of time spent in various activities changes from weekend to weekend. For me, I take Saturday off from any academic related things and handle other stuff on Sundays. The freshman should definitely have time to set up a pickup game of basketball.

    Also, we don't use the word 'plebe' at USAFA. The USAFA equivalent would be 'doolie' but that isn't as popular as it used to be. Now it's usually '4 degs' or 'frosh'.
     
  18. brovol

    brovol Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2015
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    556
    Thanks a lot! Very helpful.

    I know you only have a perspective from USAFA, but by chance do you know how different, if at all, it would be at USNA or USMA? Is life much different at USAFA than it is at the other two? Would your answers have been different?

    My son is seeking an appointment to all three, and he really likes the idea of serving in each service. So far he has at least one nomination for each Academy. He would like to fly fixed wing, and likes what he has read about service in the AF, but the other services have advantages too. Did you consider attending one of the other academies? Any thoughts on the distinctions between the academies or services?
     
  19. Longliverockthewho

    Longliverockthewho Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    22
    I have a son at USAFA right now who is on the pilot track. If your son wants to fly fixed wing USAFA is the way to go...perhaps USNA as well although I believe they they have quite a good number that go helos. If he is set on fixed wing then USMA would not be the place to be. The three "larger" academies' missions are similar in that they are training officers for the military. As he makes his choice he needs to look 3-5 years out after graduation and ask " what job do I want to have?" Good luck to your son.
     
  20. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    169
    I know you only have a perspective from USAFA, but by chance do you know how different, if at all, it would be at USNA or USMA? Is life much different at USAFA than it is at the other two? Would your answers have been different?

    I'm not sure how they handle the athletics at USNA or USMA but I would expect the other things to be generally the same. I have some friends who have gone on exchange to the other Service Academies and I've talked to USMA cadets and USNA midshipmen who have visited USAFA. The general consensus is that freshman year is easier at USMA and USNA but there is much less freedom as upperclassmen (fewer passes etc.). I haven't personally experienced both, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

    My son is seeking an appointment to all three, and he really likes the idea of serving in each service. So far he has at least one nomination for each Academy. He would like to fly fixed wing, and likes what he has read about service in the AF, but the other services have advantages too. Did you consider attending one of the other academies? Any thoughts on the distinctions between the academies or services?

    As said earlier, if your son wants to fly fixed wing then USAFA is definitely the way to go. I did not consider the other Service Academies because I was already enlisted in the USAF when I applied for USAFA. I chose the USAF because it is generally regarded as the more technological service. There's also generally a better quality of life for enlisted and officers (better housing/assignments etc.). The key word is 'generally' as there are tough jobs and assignments in every service. There were some influences from my parents as well. When I first announced my plans to enlist my father pushed for me to avoid the Army and Marines and instead join the Air Force or Navy.
     

Share This Page