Sports

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by frankthelyon, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. frankthelyon

    frankthelyon New Member

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    Hello, I am a current sophomore wanting to apply to the Academy. However, I am not currently doing any sports. I would like to get involved in a school sport, but because of my busy robotics schedule, I don't think that I will be able to practice every day after school. What are good club sports outside of school that I could get into that are fairly easy to pick up? (And are fun!). Thank you in advance for your help.

    P.S. I am physically fit, and I workout every day.
     
  2. juliusc16

    juliusc16 Candidate Appointee

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    Two Cents

    Just my two cents, but I guess, like everything else, it depends on where you live. Personally, I'm in favor of club swimming only because I did Vars Swimming this past year and loved (emphasis on loved) it, and it's great on building stamina. However, I didn't do club swimming b/c I a) didn't have the money to join the team and b) didn't have the time to join the team (practicing + AP homework = longer nights than anticipated)... If you can drive and you're parents are okay with either you driving to the meets/games, or letting you catch a ride with a team member's parent, then more points in your favor. But practices were (or at least the club I considered joining) was from like, 5 or 530-730(pm) ET, and my swim team started practice at 730-9,915 (pm)ET.

    Look at your schedule first to see what you can do, and then talk to your peers that do club sports and find something you might be interested in doing that'll, somehow, fit your schedule. Keep working out on a regular basis, but don't over stress yourself. :biggrin:
     
  3. AFAYahoo

    AFAYahoo Member

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    First of all, any sport or activity should be something you enjoy so you will stick with it, really get involved with it, etc. Like Julius said, swimming is a great possibility, also club soccer or summer league baseball. Just trying to think of things that could work around your school and robotics schedule. Just curious, is robotics your only activity? Remember, you'll need activities that show leadership not just membership and I would venture a guess that the majority of applicants have more than one activity as well as at least one sport. Its a lot of juggling with time management being a huge skill, but its also the reality of what a service academy will be looking for as they consider applicants.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I know you say you have a busy schedule and sports hasn't been a high priority with you, but you have to realize that sports are a very high priority for the military academies. And it's not because they are trying to win NCAA championships. It's because sports line up with with physical fitness; team work; leadership; following orders; goal oriented; etc... It's almost synonymous with military.

    When looking at past candidate's files that I've worked with and assisted, if I had to combine their application, average it, and describe the "Average" candidate who later became a cadet, it would be as such:

    1. IP Program or 1/2+ of their schedule AP/Honors classes
    2. 3.85+ GPA
    3. 30+ ACT and 650 Minimum SAT sections
    4. 2 each varsity level sports; + varsity letter or similar accolade
    5. 3rd sport usually more fun related; e.g. summer baseball, city soccer, etc.
    6. 200+ Hours volunteering
    7. National Honor Society
    8. Another club or activity; e.g. band, politics, spanish club, CAP, JrROTC, Scouting, etc... doesn't matter, just another club
    9. Class officer and/or leadership such as team captain, club leader, Boy/Girl state, leadership in the activity above
    10. Community involvement such as part time job, church, hospice, other community stuff.

    This is not a list of ideas, but the average type resume of an academy applicant who received an appointment. Some actually do more than this. You've mentioned a "Busy Robotics Schedule". I don't think you quite understand how busy a schedule most academy appointees actually have. I can tell you that the average applicant/appointee that I've worked with usually starts their day with school around 7am. My son for instance left for school at 6:45am. Woke up at 6am. Most kid's schedule had school until 3pm. Some club activities during the day; during lunch; etc... Sport practice after school until around 6pm. Club, volunteer, additional activity for another hour or two and parts of weekends. Some time in there eat dinner. Do homework. Find some time to unwind, watch a little tv, etc... My son; and many other applicants I've spoken with; would get in bed between midnight and 1am.

    So not trying to say that your schedule isn't busy, but there's a lot of candidates with a lot busier schedules who seem to make it work. Their able to do all this; still volunteer; still have time to date and/or have a social life; and do all this while maintaining their excellent grades. And there are plenty of candidates who can do this, so as the academies don't have to lower their standards. Not trying to discourage you or anyone else from realizing the academy and military as a future. Just that there are many other people who want it so bad that they have much demanding schedules. Competition is fierce. Best of luck to you. mike....
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 to CC.

    Our DS1 did not do traditional school sports, but he had athletics (outside school) in his resume with recognition for these activities.

    He did TKD from 7th grade to 11th grade.
    He became a black belt and competed on the Jr. Olympic Team for 3 yrs.
    He was a 2 time state champ and a national champ.
    This is a yr round sport --- illustrating dedication 52 weeks a yr, not just during a season.
    He also was an instructor for TKD --- volunteer/job--- not paid since he did it as a 15 and 16 yr old.

    He became a Lifeguard with the Y when he hit 16. This was his PT job during the school yr (20 hrs a week) FT during the summer.
    He had a total of 23 saves in 2 yrs ---illustrating his physical ability
    Promoted to Sr Guard, pool Mgr rising summer sr. yr ---illustrating leadership
    In his resume under duties as guard he stated that he had to be re-certified yrly, plus at this Y they tested them monthly --- retrieving a swimmer not using ladders within 60 seconds, AND retrieving a 10 lb weight from the deep end of the pool without ladders and within 60 seconds.
    As a SR guard he not only had to re-certify himself, but also run the certification classes --- more athleticism

    The AFA has no issue with candidates doing club sports, because many homeschoolers face this issue. However, what bothers me most in your post was you may be too wrapped up in your robotics and lose the opportunity of attending the AFA.

    AFA looks at the WHOLE candidate, not just the academic side of the candidate, robotics is an academic EC. You can be physically fit, but athletics brings so much more to the table than just being able to catch/throw a ball, run, etc. It also illustrates your ability to work with others, deal with losing, manage your time and still be the best among your peers. Robotics illustrates the latter part of this paragraph, but it does not illustrate your physical ability.

    I am with Mike on this one. Not trying to be Janie Raincloud, just trying to make you get many of your peers will manage just as much as you if not more. Find the time and get athletics in your profile now. If it means you step back from robotics a bit than step back. Keep saying to yourself WHOLE candidate, not PART candidate.

    If you elect not to step back from robotics, there is nothing wrong with that, you just need to understand you may have a weakness in your profile. It is up to you. I agree with others don't do something just for the sake of it, do it because you like it. I also agree with others to feel confident/comfortable as an applicant you need to shore up your weaknesses.

    This is not just an AFA issue, but depending on your state, it can become an issue regarding noms. No nom = no appt! Some states are not as competitive as others, i.e. SD compared to NY. It may be no problem to get 3 noms with no sports from SD, but NY where the MOCs talk and spread the wealth for noms., this may be a HUGE problem.

    FWIW, this issue will also become an issue for your Plan B --- AFROTC scholarship. It will be an issue at the AFA or in AFROTC too because the 1st few weeks are not academics, it is physical agility. This is why they place value on athletics. They know it may become a stressor for cadets especially at the alt. the AFA is located at. In the end of the day there will always be the 2 people left standing for 1 spot. Do not give them the reason to select the other person.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  6. frankthelyon

    frankthelyon New Member

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    Robotics isn't my only activity. I am section leader in my school orchestra, and vice president in NHS. I am also co-captain of my robotics team and volunteer regularly at my church. The problem isn't that I am at robotics all day every day, but instead that robotics is directly after school--right when school sports practice. Hence, why I want to join a club sport that practices later in the evening. I have a 3.9 GPA, however my school does not offer AP courses. Will that impact my application, even if I am taking the most challenging courses my school offers?
     
  7. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    frankthelyon,

    I can understand that you are very involved in your robotics team. I think what you aren't understanding is that there are tons of other kids who do robotics, too, but also find time for sports.

    Our son was very involved in FIRST robotics in high school, serving as lead programmer for two years and team captain for a year. He was also a three-sport athlete with 10 varsity letters. He found a way to work it all. I am not sure how your robotics team works, but on our son's there was a division of labor. There are builders and programmers. Son was a programmer. While the other team mates built, he would do his programming work at night and on weekends, communicating and meeting with the team when he could. The advisors for robotics understood, and the sports coaches were fine when son explained the times that he had to miss a weekend sports practice because of a robotics competition.

    It all comes down to a matter of scheduling, time management, of how hard you want to work for a nomination to USAFA. Lots of other kids are doing it, so if you want a chance you have to step up. As others have said, sports is a big part of the package for a service academy. Yes, you could get an appointment without sports, but you have to have something else truly outstanding to make up for it.

    Stealth_81
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Listen to him.

    I get your position, but now it is starting to come off as "Let me explain my position why..."

    You can explain it every which way from Sunday, but no matter your explanation, in the end of the day like Stealth stated you have to have something else truly outstanding to make up for it

    Tell us you won a National Robotics competition. In the traditional college admissions process tell us you have a HOOK because of robotics.

    Nobody here is trying to dis-way you, we are trying to make you a better applicant by strengthening your weaknesses, athletics is a weakness, and you know that. It is all up to you now regarding how you react.
     
  9. frankthelyon

    frankthelyon New Member

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    Pima, I am sorry I was coming off that way. I do not want to try to get an appointment without sports. This summer I am joining a local swim team and in the fall I will try out for my school's swim team. Thank you all for your help.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I get your position, unfortunately this is an internet forum, and intonation is not easy to read in a post.

    As long as you get why people are saying join a sport, you will do okay.

    I read a post today or yesterday that summed it up the best.

    DON'T give them a reason NOT to appoint you.

    That is what we are trying to do here, we are trying to make sure they don't have a reason.
     
  11. USAFA_Falcon_15

    USAFA_Falcon_15 USAFA '15 Appointee

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    Wrestling. +6:thumb:
     
  12. kalusafa

    kalusafa Member

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    Christcorp and Pima, fantastic advice. Add IB Diploma, 2 a day swim practices for most of DS's life (+ regular strength / training), private pilot license, Eagle Scout, national level swimmer, etc. Pretty busy schedule.

    For those seeking Appointments, the point is, this type of schedule shows the application reviewers that you can be successful in a very challenging, busy schedule, and it does help prepare you for life once at USAFA.

    Hit it hard and good luck everyone.

    Bill
     
  13. frankthelyon

    frankthelyon New Member

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    One more quick question. In your opinion, do you think it would be better if I got into TaeKwondo or swimming? With swimming, I would be on a local team and have the possibility of doing varsity at my school. Thanks in advance.
     
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Doesn't matter what we think. There's no magic list of activities. You do what u r into, u do it well. You Excel and get into leadership positions. Its that simple.
     
  15. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Take my advice with a grain of salt in comparison to CC (who is an ALO). But I assume the Academy wants "proof" that you are VERY smart and that you can handle the college workload while juggling all kinds of thing at once. If you are not an athlete standout (D1 bound), I assume you better be an academic standout or a leader standout. An AP test scores of 5 "proves" that you are smart. ACT/SAT test scores attempt to "prove" that you are smart as well. So if you don't take AP or college courses, I would think you would want an incredible ACT/SAT score to have a chance especially if you lack varsity sports.

    Your school doesn't offer AP. Understood. :) My DS wanted to be challenged over high school courses so he went to two years of college while in high school (junior and senior year). I predict your school offers a similar program and it is free. When you get all A's in college while you are 16 and 17 years old, that is their "proof". The academies score advance courses higher. All college courses tip the scale in your favor. Right now (without AP or college) it may not show.

    Re: work load: His chemistry professor nominated him to be a tutor after he thought it would be fun. So he tutored college students in Calc and Chemistry for 15 hours a week and he got paid. He also worked as a swim instructor 4-6 hours a week. Studying, working, and a 3 sport athlete at his high school (captain of 2). These are the type of students you are competing with and the bar is rising every year.

    As the other parents are mentioning, you have to stick out in a positive way. Remember, there are 98,000 high schools in the USA (hence 98,000 valedictorians.) What other ways do you standout above the rest? Even if you don't get into an Academy, tier one colleges will be looking for a well rounded students. So your preparation will stretch you for any college. More importantly, it will stretch you as a person. Remember, you could be a valedictorian in a 900 person high school with a perfect ACT score and easily get declined at Stanford or Cal Tech. You need to be well rounded. It's competitive. Don't get discouraged and stretch yourself.

    If I was in your shoes, I'd see if I could continue with robotics outside of school because you enjoy it (as well as it shows you have a commitment). I'd look for a local club to transition to. Then I'd join a sport that you will do well at and focus on being the best that you can be. I would find harder classes (college while in high school). That's my free advice to get into any college.

    Best of luck. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012

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