Standing Out...

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by SP4C3M4N, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. SP4C3M4N

    SP4C3M4N Member

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    Hi guys,
    Being in High School I want to do everything in my power to go to USAFA. I was talking to this Navy guy when I was at Civil Air Patrol last week and he said that you have to do something to "stand out" of the crowd. He said everyone will be doing the same thing as me. So how do I make myself look special when applying to the academy? Could you guys tell me what you guys did during your High School careers, in and outside of it, that made that made you guys get selected to go the Academy? What made you stand out? Why are you where you are now?
     
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    USAFA looks for academics, leadership, and athletics.
    Find something in there that interests you, and do well in all of them.

    For me, my strong points were strong academics and Eagle Scout/Order of the Arrow. There isn't really any magical "hook" to admissions. You need to be strong and well-rounded. Everyone will be stronger in some areas than others. About the only exception I can think of is recruited athletes, but they still need to be good enough in other areas to hack it.
     
  3. Kapunui

    Kapunui Member

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    Something that helped me stand out not only for usafa but for my nomination interviews as well is the fact that I own my own business. I started a Construction company a week after I turned 18 and employe five people and myself steadily. Another thing I do that helped me stand out is im a world class speed skater. I have competed on the international level and they liked to see that. Things that everyone does is good but maybe try and find unique things that pertain to your interests then shoot for achieving as much as you can in those areas.
     
  4. SP4C3M4N

    SP4C3M4N Member

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    I too have my Eagle and am in the Order of the Arrow. I will be getting my Billy Mitchel Award (becoming an officer in the Civil Air Patrol) by the time I apply to the Academy. I have maintained a 4.0 in school but am taking only one honors class and will be taking many more next year and possibly an AP class. Also, I'm in the Thespian Society at my school and act a lot. I do a few more clubs outside of school offered by the youth center on base. I am a military kid. How does that look?
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    What about athletics? They want a well rounded cadet and physical abilities matter, hence why part of the score is not only athletics, but also the CFA.
     
  6. coastiefam

    coastiefam Member

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    Since everyone has to submit SAT or ACT test scores you can make yourself stand out with high scores.

    Take both tests and see which you do better on. Then continue to take it as often as you can until you have your best score.

    This will also obviously help you with your plan B schools as well.
     
  7. SP4C3M4N

    SP4C3M4N Member

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    I did football but that was an journey I never want to experience again. So, I am thinking about doing cross country next year.
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    There are a lot of parts to receiving an appointment to the academies. Approximately half of the appointees the academy is limited to on their selection. E.g. For every slate of 10 names that a senator or representative submits to the academy, the academy MUST choose one person from that list of 10. They have no choice. "Assuming at least 1 of the 10 on the slate is qualified". In some scenarios, the senator/representative is allowed to "Prioritize" their list of 10 names. In which case, the academy has even LESS choice. They MUST choose the person that the senator/representative prioritized as their #1 candidate. "Again, assuming the individual is qualified".

    The other half of the appointments, the academy pretty much gets to choose who receives the appointments. There's no magical list of attributes that will make you stand out. That's because neither you, I, nor anyone else can tell you about your competition. "The other 9 on that senator's/representative's slate of 10 names". This is why your ALO's interview is so important and the scores count for so much. This is the academy's only real direct contact with you. There can be a significant drop in total points on your application with your ALO interview scores being slightly difference between you and one of your competitors.

    You want to stand out? As said, be an "ALL AROUND" achiever. Academics, Athletics, Leadership, Teamwork, Volunteering, Extra Curricular, etc... And don't think that "Participation" is all you need. You need to be an achiever. Being president of one club is better than being a member of 5 clubs. Being captain of the swim team, football team, basketball team, X-country team, etc... is better than just being a team member on 5 different sport teams. Being a starter/All State/All Conference player on one team is better than just being a secondary player on 5 team sports. But obviously, not everyone can be the captain or All-State caliber. In those cases, the being a member of 3 teams and starting is better than being on 5 teams and rarely playing. Again; no one here knows your competition.

    Also, we are taught to be somewhat "humble". Our friends and classmates don't like someone who brags a lot about their accomplishments. When it comes to applying to the academy, the application, the interviews, etc... Throw that mentality out the window. This is the "JOB INTERVIEW" of your life. There's obviously a difference between bragging/being proud of your accomplishments and being arrogant or contemptuous. Know the difference and submit the best package you can.

    The best way to stand out is with your personality. Be confident but know conceited. Be proud of your accomplishments without putting down others and being arrogant. Make sure your answers, positions, opinions, etc... are YOURS and not your family's, school's, church's, or something you THINK your senator/representative/ALO "Wants to hear".

    You want to "STAND OUT"????? "BE REAL!!!!!" good luck. Mike....
     
  9. SP4C3M4N

    SP4C3M4N Member

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    Thanks... that should help a lot. But, I am not very talented in athletics and still am not sure what sport I am good at. Can other things make up for my inability to play well?
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Everybody can run. Run, run, run. You'll need to when you get there anyway.
    I do understand about not being good at some sports. If it involves a ball my DS can't play it well. Hell, he has trouble playing it poorly. But he found his home in wrestling. No game balls involved in wrestling. Like all else in his life, whatever he is actually interested in he does well at. So what are you interested in?
     
  11. Space2Bmom

    Space2Bmom Member

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    :biggrin::biggrin: Thanks for the laugh!
     
  12. NargleSlayer

    NargleSlayer Member

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    What set me apart I think is that I've played 4 different varsity sports. Also, I switched high schools to push myself in the IB diploma program.

    Also, I had a few quirks... I won grand champion for making an apple pie at my 4H competition (Tarrant County Junior Livestock Show). Even though it's weird... hey at least I was the best at being weird... (Also won $150 :wink:)

    Most of all, be genuine and HUMBLE in your interviews. Sometimes "I don't know" is the right answer (It was for one of my questions). Also, when any of the interviewers ask you if you have any alternates.... Research some alternates like OTS or OCS and ROTC programs... Because having a backup military officer route is always good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  13. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

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    like has been said, be WELL ROUNDED. Also, one of the things that I did was start and lead a new club at my school that focused on something I was passionate about. That shows extraordinary dedication and leadership while at the same time you're doing something you care about!
     

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