Some advice for all the "What are my chances" posters.

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Christcorp, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    1. The average applicant is competing against 2 different groups of people. a) Primary group are those in your state, and in your congressional district. b) If you don't receive an appointment from a slot against your state or congressional district, then you're going to compete nationally against all the others who didn't receive an appointment from a slot in their state or congressional district...... AS SUCH: No one here knows who your competition is. You could have a 3.70gpa and a 28ACT and RECEIVE an appointment.... OR, you could have a 3.95gpa and a 30ACT and NOT RECEIVE an appointment. It depends on who you are competing against. SUGGESTION: Compete against yourself. If you click on the link in my signature block, you can download the academy brochure. It will tell you the minimum requirements and the average of the classes receiving appointments. You want to do the best that YOU CAN DO. Don't try and MEET the minimum standards. EXCEED the standards. Do the BEST that you can do. That's all that can be expected of you. But no one here, let me repeat.... NO ONE HERE can tell you what your chances are. We don't know your competition. We can tell you if you meet the minimum or the average, but that doesn't assure you of anything. The only thing we could tell you is if you DON'T MEET the minimums. So asking; "What are my chances" is futile.

    2. If you do want to tell us all about your achievements, that's fine. But remember..... The academy wants a "WELL ROUNDED INDIVIDUAL". If you DON'T have any organized sports, preferably varsity team sports, you're at a major disadvantage. You're NOT a well rounded person. If you don't hold some type of leadership position on a team, in a club, in an activity, etc... then you're at a major disadvantage. You're NOT a well rounded person. Same goes with if you aren't doing volunteer time, clubs, activities, etc... You MUST be a WELL ROUNDED individual. Simple as that.

    3. Finally; if you want to tell us about yourself, remember, out of the 12,000 applicants each year, the majority have very good grades that would get them into many fine colleges. Most have very good test scores. What I'm getting at, is, tell us what makes YOU DIFFERENT!!! This is the "JOB INTERVIEW OF A LIFETIME". What makes you stand apart from all your competition? This year's class has been at Basic for less than a week now, and already, more than 10 individuals are no longer at the academy. There's another 24+/- that are having major second thoughts. Yet; these are people that stood out above their peers and other applicants. They received nominations and ultimately received an appointment. So, what makes you different.

    Even with these suggestions, I can emphasize enough, that there is no one here who can give you an honest opinion to your question of: "What are my chances". Anyone who tells you that you have a good chance, has good intentions, but they don't know your chances. That's because we don't know your competition. Some of us here have seen 4.0gpa students with excellent test scores, NOT RECEIVE AN APPOINTMENT. We've seen individuals with a 3.6gpa and average test scores RECEIVE AN APPOINTMENT.

    I don't write this to be discouraging. On the contrary. I write it to push you to be the BEST THAT YOU CAN BE. If you have a 3.8gpa, PUSH TO GET A 3.9. If you have the 3.9, PUSH FOR THE 3.95. If you have a 29 ACT, PUSH FOR a 29-30. When you get that, keep pushing for a 32-33. Practice being interviewed. No matter how GREAT you think you are, if your senator or representative doesn't give you a nomination, (Others available for certain other people), then you CAN'T GET AN APPOINTMENT TO THE ACADEMY. If you're in clubs and sports, then PUSH TO BE THE CAPTAIN, PRESIDENT, LEADER, etc... of that club, sport, activity, etc.... In other words, whatever you are doing NOW...... DO MORE AND DO BETTER!!!! That is the ONLY honest suggestion that anyone can give you. And remember, the academy wants a WELL ROUNDED PERSON. Don't tell me that you aren't doing sports or any clubs, because you're concentrating on your academics. That's no good enough. You aren't well rounded, and you WON'T receive an appointment.

    So, whatever you're doing NOW, DO MORE!!!
    What makes you DIFFERENT from everyone else. Especially your competition.
    Make sure you are doing EVERYTHING you possibly can. Athletics, sports, clubs, leadership, volunteering, etc.. Be well rounded.
    Remember: We don't know who your competition is. We can't tell you "What your chances are".

    Good luck. Mike....
     
  2. Delta

    Delta Member

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    Thanks Mike.
    Best comments for every candidates.
     
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Mike, how many years have you posted the same/similar great set of instructions? And I'm curious, has it always been this way or do you know of some point in time that the USAFA appointment process was substantively redesigned?

    Thanks
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The appointment process has been the current way for a very long time. Actually, most of the appointment process is set up by "FEDERAL LAW". If you look at Title 10 of the US Code, it describes how nominations are handled. I believe Title 14 deals with the coast guard. In an over-simplified explanation:

    1. Except for the coast guard, NO ONE can receive an appointment unless they receive a nomination. That nomination can come from a member of congress or various military related sources such as the President, for applicants of a military parent(s). (There are specific requirements for the military related ones)
    2. Each senator/representative is allowed to present a list (Slate) to the academy with up to 10 names, for EACH available slot that they have at the academy, charged to them. No senator/representative can have more than 5 individuals at an academy at one time that the appointment has been charged to them.
    3. The senator/representative, by law, is allowed to prioritize their list. So even if the academy thinks #5 on the list is "More Qualified" than #1, IF the senator/representative PRIORITIZES their list, then the #1 name on that list is GUARANTEED that appointment if they meet the MINIMUM requirements. The senator/representative also has two other options for their list. A) Name their Principal #1 nomination, and let the academy rank #2-#10 any way they want; or B) Let the academy rank the entire list of 10 any way the academy wants to. "This is called the Competitive method".
    4. The other 9 individuals who didn't receive the appointment for the #1 slot, however that was done, is put into a national pool. They will compete with each other for remaining slots after the 535+/- slots filled by all the senators/representative; plus another 175+/- military related nomination/appointments. So, the remaining individuals who have a nomination, but didn't get one of these 700+/- appointments, will compete with each other for the remaining 400-500+/- appointments.

    That's why there's no way we can tell anyone what their chances are. We don't know what the applications of the other 9 on your senator/representative's list look like. Are they better or worse than you??? If you go to the national pool because you didn't get the appointment for your senator/representative, what does the application for the other THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of applicants in the same national pool??? Are they better or worse than you???

    There is federal law that dictates all of this. The academy, basically only has control over the 400-500 slots that they need to fill to bring the entering class up to the 1100-1200 cadets. Of course, if most of the senators/representative ALLOW the academy to prioritize their list. "Option 3 above", then the academy has a lot more say so. Remember; part of the NATURAL DIVERSITY of the academy, is to have EQUAL REPRESENTATION from all states, and all congressional districts. That's why the initial 535 are guaranteed. "Again, it's not 535 a year, but a total of 5 at the academy at any one time, PER senator/representative".

    Hope this gives an oversimplified explanation to some on how the appointment process works. And why it is 99.9% impossible to say what your chances are for receiving an appointment. I leave the 0.1% open, because there have been some individuals on BOTH ENDS of the spectrum, that I could almost guarantee an appointment, or almost guarantee no way in hell. E.g. If they don't meet ALL of the minimum standards, then there's NO WAY they can receive an appointment. CAVEAT: They could receive a slot at the prep-school. Then, the following year, meet the minimum standards. On the PRO-SIDE, I have seen some individuals who had the unweighted 4.0gpa; ranked #1 in their class; 33+ACT; 2100+SAT; 3 varsity sports for 4 years; captain of those varsity sports; 200+ hours of volunteer time; class officer: Pres/VP/Sec/Treas; boy/girl state; + 10-15 more activities; kicked butt on the CFA and DODMRB; plus 3+ nominations such as senator, representative, and presidential. I would probably bet a pay check on this individual. And even that isn't 100% guaranteed. But ANYONE ELSE short of that, and meets the minimum standards, then there's absolutely no way to determine your "Chances". Sorry; that's how it works.
     
  5. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Case in point Christcorp: my twin sons had almost identical scores in everything. Fenced at the same national level, etc. One got an LOA on his birthday in October, and the one with slightly higher scores waited till the mass mailing.

    It's good to remind both the kids here, AND their concerned parents.
     
  6. nick0094

    nick0094 Member

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    THANK YOU!! :thumb: I've been thinking this ever since the first one of those posts popped up in my inbox a few months ago. I think most of the people who post those want a direct "yes, you will get in" or "no, you won't get in". Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are a lot of factors that go into who does or doesn't get a nomination, or an appointment for that matter. Personally, my advice is to spend less time making these posts, and more time making yourself better overall. Just a suggestion.
     

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