Reality Check

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Maplerock, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Contributors to these forums tend to be very encouraging and upbeat. That's a good thing.

    Recently the numbers came out for the class of 2020, and it she'd a little light on what USAFA is looking for.

    If you are a white male, coming directly out of high school, your chance of admission is quite low. By my calculation, about 30% of this year's incoming class is female, and about 30% is minority. Add to that the recruited athletes, enlisted personal that earn slots, the prep school kids, the turnbacks, and the repeat applicants coming from college, and the chance of a white male graduating from HS in May and entering BCT in June would be pretty small.

    Does it happen? Yes. Should it discourage you from applying? No. It is just a reminder to have a good plan B,C,D, etc. Your chances of a direct admission from high school have never been smaller. I'd suspect the same is true for USMA, USNA, and USCGA too.

    Not good news, not bad news, just information... and a reality check for the great students out there that think their grades and ECAs make them a shoe in. It doesn't work that way anymore.

    Good luck to all the applicants for the class of 2021.
     
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  2. tex2021

    tex2021 Member

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    Good observations.
     
  3. jag3

    jag3 Member

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    Those numbers are pretty scary but as stated, dont ever let that discourage you from applying.

    Our "white male" non recruited athlete is currently lined up and waiting for the A Day ceremony to begin!

    Target In Sight!
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Well, as with any stats, these can be a little misleading.

    1. Whites make up approximately 65% of the US population.
    2. Women make up approximately 51% of the US population.
    3. That means, White "MEN" make up approximately 31% of the US population. Acceptance of white men to the air force academy is higher than 31%

    Add to this, the question of:

    Of all the recruited athletes, enlisted personal that earn slots, the prep school kids, the turnbacks, and the repeat applicants coming from college, that you mentioned; HOW MANY of them are "White Men"?

    And for what it's worth, almost ALL Enlisted personnel receiving an appointment to the academy, WAS AT the prep school. That was one of the main reasons for the prep school. For enlisted personnel who have been out of an academic environment for a few years.

    Also, you have to realize that we aren't looking at ALL of the data. You don't have all the data available. Only the stats they WANT you to see.
    EXAMPLE: If the stats shown said:
    74% White
    13% Black
    8% Asian
    4% Other

    25% Female

    Does that mean you can deduce that if 1000 were appointed, and 740 are White, that 25% of that means there are 185 White Females??? And there are 32 Black Females? 20 Asian Female? 10 Other Female?

    Not enough data. What if ALL of the 13% black, 8% Asian and 4% other were ALL female. That would mean that the 74% whites were ALL MEN. Obviously, this scenario is quite unlikely. I'm simply pointing out, that unless you have all of the raw data and metrics in which is being used, you can't always come up with an accurate assumption based on "SOME" data. That same list of data, could easily have of the 740 whites, that 250 of them are female. Thus, leaving ZERO females in the black, asian, and other categories. Yet, the numbers presented are still accurate.

    I think you get my point.
     
  5. brovol

    brovol Member

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    The reality is that if you are a candidate, and want to assess where you need to be in terms of test scores, class rank, leadership position, CFA numbers, etc., you shouldn't compare your numbers against the overall average, because the demographic you fall within matters. If you are a white male non-recruited athlete, coming from a medium or highly competitive district, your application will likely need to be far better than average. Set your goals higher, and achieve them. That is what my son did, as we were told by admissions people at USMA, USAFA, and USNA that this was the case, and to get his ACT to at least a 31 (he got to 32+), class rank in at least top 20% (he got to top 15%), a very strong CFA (which he got), and boost leadership as much as possible (he was already quite strong there with athletics and other things). The key was knowing what he needed to do, and not just compare himself to averages. Frankly, women and minorities should do the same thing. You never know what the competition will bring.

    Take nothing for granted. In the end, my son, like many who present a good application package, had choices of academies. He was certainly not a "walk on water" applicant by any stretch, but he was solidly above averages, based on a commitment to reach the reasonable goals that were set. He picked USMA, and is happy with his choice, but he would have likewise been delighted with either of the other school.

    Make a plan and work hard to get there. It can be done, and it is not a pie in the sky. My son was never a superstar athlete or student, but he was very good in both areas, and was well rounded. Then, motivated by a strong desire to attend one of these incredible academies, and become an officer to lead men and women, he pushed himself to do what he needed to get there. And the Lord tends to help those who help themselves.
     
  6. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    The other thing to remember is that none of these population-level metrics predict the outcome for any single candidate - male, female, white, brown, or black. It is really easy to forget this. Example: we all know smoking causes cancer. But we can probably all think of an individual who smoked two packs a day and lived to a ripe old age. That person is still in the population of smokers, and the population overall has a lower average life span - but there will always outliers. And every year, the demographics of admitted classes will change a little. But those are not predictive of next year's class composition except in very broad ways.

    The corollary to this is, if a {white male ACT composite 32} doesn't get in, there is no way to say whether "his spot" went to a {brown female, ACT composite 29} or {white male from Podunkville, ACT 30} or any other candidate. All any candidate can do is make him- or herself the best candidate he or she can be. This is also why "chance me" threads are pretty much exercises in futility.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Remember too; when you're trying to figure out who your COMPETITION IS; that it's not as simple as it appears.

    1. Your competition is everyone who is applying for the same nomination as you. E.g Your representative only gives 10 nominations. So you are competing with 10, 20, 50, etc. people trying for one of those ten slots.
    2. Once you are on that slate of 10 names, those other 9 become your competition for ONE APPOINTMENT.
    3. Same applies to one or both senators. Your competition is to get ON that slate of 10 names; then compete with the other 9 on that slate for ONE APPOINTMENT.
    4. If you are fortunate enough, you may also be on a Slate for a presidential nomination; maybe an ROTC nomination; or possibly a number of other military related nominations. Where once on that slate, your competition is all the others on that slate trying for a limited number of appointments from each of those slates.
    5. And assuming you were on one or more of the nomination slates I just mentioned, but your competition beat you out for that limited number of appointments, your name will be thrown into the national pool. (No, you only get one ticket in the national pool. I.e. You don't get 3 spots in the national pool because you had 3 nominations. Now your competition is approximately 2500 others and you're trying for one of 500 appointments.

    (For you math geeks, you'll see that depending on how you play with statistics, you actually have a BETTER CHANCE in the national pool; 1 in 5 of receiving an appointment; vs on your MOC slate where you only have a 1 in 10 chance.) See how stats can be misleading.

    Of course, if you aren't on a nomination list, you have no competition, because you have no chance of an appointment. But an applicant on the MOC slate in Wyoming, is NOT COMPETING with a kid in Texas. Only the other 9 kids on that Wyoming MOC Slate. That's FEDERAL LAW. Each Representative/Senator is allowed so many CADETS at the academy. That's why it's possible for a 3.5 gpa 28 ACT on one slate to receive an appointment, and a 3.9gpa 32 ACT on another slate to NOT RECEIVE an appointment. Then, after all the SLATES have received their mandatory appointments, whatever is still needed to FILL THE CLASS is done by putting ALL of the Non-Appointed candidates with nominations, into the National Pool; where the academy racks and stacks the packages and chooses the remaining 500 +/- appointees.
     
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  8. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Interesting!

    When I read the original post, my question was: HOW MANY of them are "Minorities and Women"? As presented, Maple's stats seemed to suggest that the recruited athletes, enlisted personal that earn slots, the prep school kids, the turnbacks, and the repeat applicants coming from college, were in addition to Minorities and Women.

    Good work Christcorp!
     
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  9. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything. ~Gregg Easterbrook


    98% of all statistics are made up. ~Author Unknown


    Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. ~Aaron Levenstein


    Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you should be perfectly comfortable. ~Bobby Bragan, 1963


    Statistics can be made to prove anything - even the truth. ~Author Unknown


    Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off. ~Paul Brodeur, Outrageous Misconduct


    Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable. ~Author Unknown


    Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math. ~Author Unknown


    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts — for support rather than for illumination. ~Andrew Lang


    One more fagot of these adamantine bandages is the new science of Statistics. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


    Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases. ~Theodor Billroth


    Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say. ~William W. Watt


    Then there is the man who drowned crossing a stream with an average depth of six inches. ~W.I.E. Gates


    There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up. ~Rex Stout, Death of a Doxy


    I always find that statistics are hard to swallow and impossible to digest. The only one I can ever remember is that if all the people who go to sleep in church were laid end to end they would be a lot more comfortable. ~Mrs. Robert A. Taft


    It has been said that figures rule the world; maybe. I am quite sure that it is figures which show us whether it is being ruled well or badly. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


    Satan delights equally in statistics and in quoting Scripture. ~H.G. Wells, The Undying Fire, "Chapter the First: The Prologue in Heaven," 1919


    The average human has one breast and one testicle. ~Des McHale


    The plural of anecdote is data. ~Raymond Wolfinger


    While the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will be up to, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician. ~Arthur Conan Doyle


    A statistical analysis, properly conducted, is a delicate dissection of uncertainties, a surgery of suppositions. ~M.J. Moroney


    Statistics may be defined as "a body of methods for making wise decisions in the face of uncertainty." ~W.A. Wallis


    After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one to another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman, "Lies - damned lies - and statistics," still there are some easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest cannot wriggle out of. ~Leonard Courtney, speech, August 1895, New York, "To My Fellow-Disciples at Saratoga Springs," printed in The National Review (London, 1895) (Thanks, Mark)


    Statistics are just a way for the mathematician to evangelize his faith. ~Hunter Brinkmeier


    Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." ~Mark Twain, autobiography, 1904 (but, as yet no actual record of this under Disraeli's authorship)


    The theory of probabilities is at bottom nothing but common sense reduced to calculus. ~Laplace, Théorie analytique des probabilités, 1820


    I abhor averages. I like the individual case. A man may have six meals one day and none the next, making an average of three meals per day, but that is not a good way to live. ~Louis D. Brandeis


    I could prove God statistically. Take the human body alone - the chances that all the functions of an individual would just happen is a statistical monstrosity. ~George Gallup
     
  10. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Still, if you exclude all of those who are admitted, and who happen to fall within one of the "specially desired" (for lack of a better term) classifications, which will on average have statistics which are below the curve, the remaining majority of candidates will have a higher statistical average on things like test scores, class standing, and other application figures. There are two reasons. First, the numbers comparison is as against the "specially desired" admitted candidates, some of whom may be well below the curve because they are very desired in order to fulfill a particular statistical or perhaps athletic need of the academy. Second, the applicant pool for the non "specially desired" candidates is extremely large, and so if you only have say 750 spots for non "specially desired" kids, but there are 11,000 applicants, the academies will naturally take the 750 best from that lot, which means they will have very impressive applications.

    This is not to say that athletes or minorities or women are below average. They are not. In fact, a good argument can, and perhaps should, me made that those candidates, for one of several reasons, have more to overcome in general, and thus their scores are deflated due to barriers which exist. Recruited type athletes, for example, have almost necessarily had to put far more time into athletics than what the average candidate does; therefore limiting time for academics. Having said that, there simply aren't the same amount of applicants for "specially desired" categories as there are non "specially desired", and therefore, because the applicant pool is much more competitive, you better have that much better an application if you expect an appointment.
     
  11. haleym

    haleym Member

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    There are many things I could say in response to this post. After thoughtful consideration, I find it wise to only say this:
    My advice to candidates, regardless of your walk of life, is to keep your head up and work hard. No matter where you end up, you will be successful. Do not be lazy, and do not expect to be handed something simply because you want it badly. Earn it, and be humble when you do...
     
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  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The break down of applicants is more interesting than the breakdown of the entire population.
     
  13. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    Like haleym I too could say many things here and need to be careful.

    This is similar to the discussion going on on the class of 2020 stats thread but I wanted to reiterate a point made over there. While the percent of minorities (particularly women from 21 to nearly 30 %) has increased, the average GPA, test scores etc HAVE NOT decreased. If anything, they have gone up. Unless the academy is somehow balancing by only accepting non-minorities with nearly perfect test scores and GPAs (highly unlikely...) this suggests that these candidates are just as qualified and likely to get accepted (regardless of diversity factors) as the non-minorities. If the academy were lowering standards for minorities, we would see it in the data with groups this large.
     
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    2 things many don't see, or they don't correlate.

    1. The stats presented aren't ALL of the data. Thus, you don't have the complete break down of the metrics to determine complete understanding. The stats given, are the stats you are suppose to see.

    2. Given that the minimum standards in all areas is much lower than the average, and the average gpa is 3.87 and the average act is 30-31, there must not be too many people receiving appointments that some might seem questionable. I.e. If the academy appointed the mean average based on minimums and their demographic desire, then the average gpa would be closer to 3.5 and the average act score would be closer to 28.

    But because the averages in all categories is much higher than the minim scores required, that shows that the academy CAN balance diversity with quality. In our society, too many rank or score based on numerical data and can't see the abstract. If you believe that the academy should only appoint the very best 1200, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, etc. then how do you determine which 1200 are the best? Only academic scores like gpa and act/sat scores? That's not a well rounded individual, necessarily. Remember, we are developing future leaders. We need and want a lot more from an applicant than just their academic achievements.

    Our enlisted Corp is very diverse. They represent every background of our society. High school grad, college grad, rich, poor, traditional family, single parent, urban, ranchers, white, black, male, female, etc. That diversity is partially what makes our military so strong. That diversity is what makes our country strong. It is only logical that our officer Corp equally be diverse. It's not like only men lead and supervise men, women only lead and supervise women, black leads black, white leads white, etc. diversity in a society or culture, makes the individual more diverse. As such, they become better leaders because they learn to think outside the box. Differently than how they were raised. More understanding of what motivated different people in different scenarios.

    Excellent thread. As is the demographics thread. But people need to know that little Johnny or Mary aren't going off to college. They are joining the military. It just happens to be, that their "job" for the first 4 years in the military is "Student". The military and developing leaders is the primary purpose. A college education is secondary.
     
  15. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    This thread makes me so sad. I pray that someday, maybe, we won't need stats and won't have to worry about gender, race, etc. Everyone will feel like they have a fair shot.
    Right now, the pendulum *appears* to be swinging all over the place. :(

    Regardless, work hard and do your best. No matter the outcome, that hard work will pay off one way or the other.
     
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  16. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    The things people are worried about re: USAFA will never cease to amaze me.
     
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  17. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Life is so much better when we experience amazing things.
     
  18. ProudDad98

    ProudDad98 Member

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    jag3, Congratulations to your son.
     
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  19. jag3

    jag3 Member

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    Thank you. My head almost exploded from this thread. Interesting but way too much thinking.
     
  20. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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    The candidate should consider, but not dwell on the statistics of the majority. Then strive to become the exceptional outlier.
     

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