Slightly above-average student: chances?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by xanig565, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. xanig565

    xanig565 New Member

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    Hello, I am a high-school senior from Hawaii and I've only recently become interested in the service academies, but I'm very interested and have completed the PCQ and am in the process of filling out forms now.

    Some info about me:
    -GPA: 3.5; I've taken 3 AP classes over 3 years with A/B averages, other than that my school does not offer honors.
    -ACT composite: 29 (35 english, 25 math, 26 science, 31 reading) ** these results are from my junior year, I have been studying and am retaking the test next week, shooting for 30's all around.
    -Class rank: roughly #90/680 students; also from junior year (my lowest-performing year, previously was #50).
    -Extra-curricular: wrestling and judo in my 11th and 12th grades, lettered varsity for judo (there is no jv team); USSF soccer referee since 2007 (this has taken up almost every Saturday of my school year since I was 10, which explains my lack of involvement with other activities); Band since 6th grade (marching band, jazz band, concert band -- all of it, also taking up most of my free time).
    -Physical fitness: being on the judo and wrestling teams, I'm physically fit and consistently score average and above for the CFA, so I am not worried about that.
    -Medical: no long-term sickness or injuries since I've been alive, allergies included.
    -Community service: I've always considered refereeing soccer as my community service, which is apprx. 270 hours/year.
    -Class schedule now: AP Literature, Calculus I, Physics I, social studies, AVID, and French I.

    I may be missing information, but the only reason I joined this forum was to get some sort of collective answer on whether or not I should even try for military school. I am 100% set on a law enforcement career after a military career, so I believe I am of good moral character, and I've never had issues with work in school or outside of school, esp. law-related issues. My fear is that, though I may be above average for my school and area, I am not even close to qualified compared to everyone with stellar high-school records. I am comforted by the fact that, though I don't have as many extra-curriculars as others may have, I have focused and excelled at a smaller amount of them.

    Bottom line is: I'd like to have some advice on whether or not I should continue the application process. I am very intent on attending an academy, but I am worried that I am too late and too under-qualified to be accepted.
     
  2. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Should you apply if you're interested? Of course you should! There's only one thing that's certain throughout this entire process and that is, if you don't apply, you won't be accepted.

    There are just too many variables, including the competition in your state, to determine if you'll get an appointment or not. All you can do, is do your very best and work hard. ... oh! And run. Lots and lots of running. :thumb:


    -- Proud Mom to USAFA 2018 cadet
     
  3. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    I Agree with USAFA83GradWife. Most people here will tell you that to have any chance of being accepted, you have to apply. One thing I will add, if you haven't already started, I would put primary focus on your nomination packages from your congressional representative and the 2 US Senators from your state. Their applications are lengthy and most require letters of recommendation. Some are due as early as September 15th. I don't know where you are, but where we live, the deadlines are September 19th and October 1st.
     
  4. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    You will certainly never get the appointment or nomination... if you don't apply.
     
  5. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    Xanig565 -- Please feel free to PM me. I have some experience with the HI process and competition through my daughter's journey and know the ALOs pretty well. Would be happy to discuss in more detail offline.
     
  6. Daddy_12

    Daddy_12 Member

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    If you get paid to ref soccer it doesn't count as service.
     
  7. xanig565

    xanig565 New Member

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    Thank you Melinda -- Unfortunately I can't send a pm as my post count is less than 5, and I'm not sure if you can contact me either.
     
  8. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    This isn't exactly true. It does not count as "volunteer hours" but officiating youth soccer is still community service/Community Involvement. It can even be looked at as leadership, not to mention work experience. So its a positive on an app.

    Our men and women in uniform get paid for what they do, but they are still "serving" our country. :thumb:
     
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    If *all* the "community service" our OP is doing is reffing soccer, for which he is paid, I'm not sure the ad board wouldn't be saying, "My, there seems to be a page missing here."

    Doesn't quite compare with the person who has hundreds of hours serving the poor, the illiterate, the ill, the lonely, etc.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with fencer, either he lists as community service or as a job, but not both unless he can break it down Into two categories.

    I.E. He is a ref for the local Y, every season the Y does some type of charity work, or open house. During those days he volunteers to man the soccer booth that raises money for equipment.
    ~ Those to me are volunteer hours/community service.

    Good luck.

    PS falcon, I really would not consider our service members as doing community service. It is a career that involves defending the country, which sometimes has a community mission. I kind of get what you are saying, but in the OPs situation this is a paycheck and I would think that is in the intention of the AFA when asking to list these two separately. My DS was a lifeguard with 23 saves, in your scenario that would be community service, but in reality it was his job. If he failed to report to work they could have fired him. That is the fine line I see with community service compared to a job. Community service is volunteer IMPO. No paycheck, only the ability to feel that you have done something for others without expectations of repayment in any monetary form.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  11. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Hi Xanig,

    Most certainly apply! Remember that finding just the right mix of cadet/officer candidates for an incoming class still has a bit of "making soup" aspect to it; various factors can influence the final decision.

    Also... In some soccer programs/federations, moving up the ranks as a ref includes doing a fair amount of mentoring and teaching of younger refs. This includes formal class time as well as higher (Grade +1 or +2) refs taking lesser games and showing the young refs what to do and why they made certain calls etc. Don't discount this aspect of your "job" as not being important service! If it applies to you, call that out separately and detail the time you've put in around that.

    Hope this helps and good luck!
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    No reason not to apply, so certainly do it.

    In the process, be reasonable. If you're telling us you are slightly above average, it's helpful to remember that the folks you're competing with for spots are mostly above average. The more "above average" the better off you are. Have back-up options, but certainly don't let things out of your control influence your decision to apply to any school.
     
  13. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    Xanig565 -- Then my best advice to you is to get in touch with the ALO assigned to your school immediately. He will consult with you about your grades, scores and current level of competitiveness vis a vis others from your district. He will likely advise you to retake the ACT and take the SATs as many times as you can. He will delve into the nature of all of your activities to determine how USAFA may view them. Apply to all 3 nominating sources and think about what is motivating you to attend a service academy. It is a bit late in the game to do much in the way of course corrections, but as others have said, you should apply if you are truly interested! My kid didn't become seriously interested until the fall of her junior year and it didn't hinder her ability to be successful thus far. Good luck!
     
  14. xanig565

    xanig565 New Member

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    Thank you everyone, these are all very helpful replies.

    Concerning soccer, I do get paid, and I put in about 270 hours a year for the past 7 years into it, and that includes tournaments, mentoring younger referees, and helping out wherever I can.

    Apart from that the only other leadership position I've held was section leader in the marching band last year where I put in about 6 hours a week leading the percussion and helping the band.

    I realize I am behind and not the most competitive applicant, so my next question is this: would it be a better idea to attend a civilian college, excel in sports and clubs, and apply to the academy after one or two years? I'm not certain, but I believe I've heard of applicants taking that route if their high school achievements weren't the best.
     
  15. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Better? Well, why not apply anyway? You may be offered the prep school or similar route, which is a golden ticket. USAFA will decide if they think you just need a little nudge in a certain direction.

    Of course, you can go to civ college, but then why not choose one with a great AFROTC?

    Is your goal to go to an academy or to become an officer?
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Posters here will drill into your cranium that you should always have a plan B which is applying for ROTC scholarship and civilian college.

    If you follow that golden rule than you would be applying to both anyways.

    You can't start throwing in the towel now because posters have highlighted some weaknesses.

    You need to understand how appointments are charged. Yoiu will first go up against everyone on your MOC slate. This is why posters will tell you to apply for all possible nominations. The more slates you are on, the more chances of getting appointed prior to going to the National Pool and vying for an appointment that way.
     
  17. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    As to how soccer referee should be listed on your application and resume, contact academy admissions and ask.

    Here in CT, the local town clubs, the cjsa and the referee organization tell the kids that it is considered community service.

    When my eldest applied for college (traditional college, not academy), refereeing soccer considered community service even though they are paid. Volunteer work was defined as unpaid.

    So I can't emphasize this enough, contact admissions and ask them how to list or refer to it. Also, ask your high school counselor how it is to be treatd on the common application. Back in the day, on the common app, it was considered community service. However, they may have changed the criteria on the common app.
     
  18. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    I NEVER said those in the military were doing community service. How many times has your husband and son been thanked for their "service"? They are serving our country even though they are getting a pay check. OP is serving his community by reffing youth soccer even tho he is getting a pay check.

    Also, I was merely replying to the post that stated OP couldn't include his ref time on his application because he was paid so it didn't count as service. I specifically said it did not count toward "volunteer" service hours. However, it is an important part of an application. A youth soccer ref for a community soccer program does more than just officiate a game. Depending on the level, they are also teaching young players the rules of the game. And as mentioned previously, they work with a ref crew/team, and as a center ref you are basically the captain of that crew, so aside from community service job experience it also shows leadership. The AFA knows there are different ways of using your skills and passions to improve your community, it doesn't have to be feeding the poor or comforting those that suffer. Not to mention the fact that many "service hours" aren't done just for "the ability to know you are doing something for others". I see many high school kids only doing community service to get credit for "mandatory" hours for NHS or BETA, etc.
     
  19. Buff-IP

    Buff-IP USAFA '88 Pilot

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    The Academy wants to know about activities to get an idea about motivation , the ability to handle workload, and leadership opportunities.

    If you play soccer then list it as playing soccer. If you have a job, and that job is to ref soccer, then list it as your job. If sometimes you ref for free, and other times you are paid, then list them both and explain.

    Big picture, if a candidate has perfect grades, but doesn't do anything other than schoolwork, he will not be more competitive than a student with above average grades and a heavy schedule during and after school.
     
  20. isticht

    isticht Member

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    Definitely apply

    Seek advice on application process, not whether to or not. You never know if you don't try. Definitely apply ROTC scholorship as back up. There is always the enlisted route to the academy or prep school too!
     

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