Was it a mistake to choose one SA as #1

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by Shelbyboyz, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. Shelbyboyz

    Shelbyboyz Member

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    When DS filled out applications for all his nominating sources (Rep,2 Sen and VP), he chose the same SA for 1st choice on all applications. On one of the app's it said (in bold) that applicants may be nominated for a SA that is not their 1st choice. DS would be beyond thrilled to receive an appointment to either his #1 or #2 (he only applied to 2). Was this a strategic error to keep the SA choice in the same order for all nomination applications?

    The reason for this worry/dread is because choice #2 is showing interest, but if DS doesnt get a nomination for #2, he will be out of luck :frown:
     
  2. Spanky58ggpt

    Spanky58ggpt Member

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    Honesty is no mistake

    Don't think of it as a mistake. He should be prepared to explain his choice in an interview, if required, as simply being honest. They asked him to rank his choices and he did so to the best of his ability, regardless of how close the choice is. The fact of the matter remains that all candidates are seeking to serve. The choice of which service for some is the primary consideration, while for others, it is the career path they desire. There are enough similarities between the services that most of the folks on a nomination panel realize a candidate can reach his goals and be a valuable asset to more than one branch of service. They are trying to help find the best fit. A young man or woman, with the commitment necessary to attain a nomination, will be such an asset. The slots available on the slate presented by each nominating source are going to be filled according to the priorities set by that MOC or his panel. Nothing he can do about that but be his best and hope they see fit to place him on multiple slates, which potentially makes the choice his to make if both noms result in appointment offers. Otherwise, as you mentioned, he is happy with either. These young men and women, if selected, are going to be immersed in the culture of whichever service they find themselves. This is simply a choice they are making with the information and knowledge they have available at 17, 18, 19 years old. Only time will tell if they make the right choices. But, they made a real and honest choice, something that officers have to do with increasing responsibility and importance as their careers progress. Think of it as a baby step on a journey that has many alternate routes.

    There are a tremendous number of variables when it comes to nominations based on what I have learned here on this forum. There are some general statements that seem to hold true for at least a slim majority of the time. Representatives are more likely to be able to offer noms to multiple academies. Senators are more likely to offer noms to primary choice only. Simply a matter of numbers and availability with exceptions too numerous to keep track of.

    This is a process run by human beings with all their faults and failings so it might be a good idea to ask for some divine intervention once in a while. Say your prayers and trust that the answer is part of His plan.

    Best of luck to your DS.
     
  3. Shelbyboyz

    Shelbyboyz Member

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    Thanks Spanky58ggpt. The goal is an appointment, but it is so easy to worry about a possible missed opportunity. DS continues to work hard and I guess the cards will fall as they may. DS had only one interview, and the question of service selection did not come up. And yes, we have been asking for some divine intervention :)
     
  4. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Contrary to some advice that I've read on this site (after he had applied) my son split his nomination requests between his top two SA choices. One Senator and the VP for the USNA (USAFA #2) and the other Senator and Congressperson for the USAFA (with USNA #2). I don't know if it was a good plan or not. I can tell you that EVERY interview was SA specific and only one person on any of the interviewing committees even asked him about any other SA than his #1 choice (and that was about a LOA from the USMA). So far he has a nom for the USAFA from our Congressperson and a letter from one Senator (the one that had USAFA #1) that informed him that he was not selected for an USAFA nom. That letter came two weeks after he had already been awarded a Nom from our Congressperson and supposedly they compare slates. Was he considered for his #2 choice (USNA) from that Senator and just not chosen as one of the top ten candidates? Again, I do not know. USNA Noms are very competitive in PA and of course there is more competition at the state wide (Senator) level than locally. We are still waiting to hear from the other Senator where the USNA was #1 on his SA preferences.

    Good luck to you and your son....I hope it works out for him. :thumb:
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    (To lurkers coming up on similar concerns). The whole "Which academy should I choose" or "How should I prioritize" is a 100% personal question and answer. And to be honest, other people's opinions, while good hearted, aren't the answers you should be looking for.

    There are some applicants that truly want to go to a military academy and serve as a commissioned officer. They truly don't care if they go to the air force, army, navy, coast guard, or merchant marines. Those who 100% don't care what branch they serve in and go to school at are extremely rare. Most people actually do prefer one over another, and can prioritize each academy. Then there are some individuals who only want 1 specific academy and branch of military. My son was an example of the last category. There was no way in the world that he was going to apply to army, navy, coast guard or merchant marines. It was Air Force or nothing for him. And if he didn't get an appointment, then he would go to traditional college and consider ROTC. And if ROTC didn't work out, he'd look at OTS after graduating college.

    But that's just him. The reason I bring this up is because there are some people that have been given the advice to apply to ALL the different academies. Sometimes they get this advice from a MOC, a school guidance counselor, parent, friend, etc... The important thing is: Does the applicant really want to go to a particular academy? This is a MINIMUM 9 year commitment. 4 years of academy education and 5 years of active duty. If you really don't like the idea of the air force, then don't apply to it. Same with army, navy, coast guard, or merchant marines. Apply only to the academies that you truly, deep in your heart, want to attend and serve in that branch of the military. Don't apply to all of them because it's a free education. Apply to one(s) you have a calling towards. The one(s) you really want to serve.

    Same with prioritizing. If in fact there are more than one academy that you feel comfortable with, then put the priority to the one you want. If deep down inside, you really don't care what academy or branch of the military you serve in, then mix up the priority with the different MOCs. This way you have a better chance of being the Principal nominee for one of them. But don't try and play the odds if it means getting accepted to an academy/military service that you aren't ecstatic about attending. It's your life. Not your counselor's, parent's, friend's, moc's, etc... Choose what is best for you. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  6. Spanky58ggpt

    Spanky58ggpt Member

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    Amen, CC. Sound advice. We all want what's best for our DS/DD and try to guide them in a way that they reach their goals. These are all exemplary young people by virtue of their desire to become part of something bigger than themselves. Learn from those who have traveled and served as tour guide on this journey.

    Something I used to tell my Marines:

    Make like a sponge...soak up every bit of knowledge and information available. Life, or a good Sgt., will squeeze out anything you don't need right this minute.:thumb:
     
  7. 1993A10

    1993A10 Member

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    CC, that sounds exactly like my DS. ALO told him to apply to all SAs since that would show his desire to serve where ever his country needed him. We urged him to apply to USNA, too--we love seafood--but he only wanted AFA. He applied there and to AFROTC at a local top 10 engineering school. Our senioe senator asks that you only list one SA on your app for nom. (The other senator moved his app date up to 9/30; we applied a couple days late--after talking with his office--and never heard from him or his staff again.) Regardless, DS was focused on AF and that's where he concentrated his efforts.
     
  8. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    My son was given the same advice. In addition he was told that because it is a good idea to start your applications as early as possible (often times before you know for certain which SA you prefer) you should apply to all of them and use the time to educate yourself to the differences/opportunities. Just writing the "Why SA X" essays will help a candidate really consider whether one SA is better for him or her. By the time you finish with the ALO/MALO/BGO interviews and hopefully attend one or more of the Summer sessions you should have a fairly good idea of what to prioritize on you MOC SA Nom requests.
     
  9. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    I don't think so. I have always had a problem with candidates presenting separate priority lists to different MOCs. It is difficult for me to justify it as anything other than 'playing' the system. I think, at best, if a MOC ask me to list priorities, I would list them all the same and then somewhere either in my application or introductory interview remarks explain that while I do have a specific first choice that the second one is very close.

    MOCs do talk to each other. How would you react to a very specific interview for Academy 'A', demonstrating all the passion expected to attend said SA, only to be asked in parting; "You seem very desirous to attend Academy 'A' and to serve in the "X" branch of service. Why did you list Academy"B" as your first choice with MOC "B"? If you can accomplish this without degrading the initial part of your interview, I suppose it would be permissible to list different SAs in different orders with different MOCs. Otherwise, be very careful.
     
  10. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I'm not sure whether this actually happens as much as some people think. My experience is that the MOC's SA rep handles the process and will "sometimes" compare slates with his/her counterparts with other MOCS. As I understand the process this SA Rep's primary interest in comparing slates is to get as many people noms to as many SAs as s/he can (avoid duplication). They are not perusing your applications with other MOCs trying to determine which SA you put in what place on their priority list.

    One other thing to consider is that the nom selection/interview process is very different depending on where you live. In some regions there are not enough candidates to fill a slate for any of the SAs. If you are qualified you could walk out of an interview with 4 noms (one for each SA that requires one) and ALL the other candidates that are qualified receiving their 1st choice of SA noms.

    THEN there are the competitive districts. Where a MOC might have 5 panels of SA specific panels interviewing candidates every 15 minutes for 3 days. Can you imagine the two USNA panels that were meeting concurrently for 3 days giving ANY consideration to a candidates 2nd choice SA? How could they? Whatever your 2nd choice SA was, that panel is also having 3 days worth of interviews for just that SA's noms. Is it possible that the USNA interviewed a candidate that listed USNA as #1 on his list but just barely missed the 10 person slate so they brought his file over to the USMA board for consideration because the USMA was #2 on his list? Sure. Then what? The USMA board just spent 3 days interviewing candidates that thought the USMA was their 1st choice SA, and now they are going to "insert" this candidate (that they never interviewed and doesn't consider the USMA as #1) ahead of the people on their list? I don't think so.

    I think the idea of keeping the same SA order on all you MOC nom requests is fine providing you are in a situation where your MOCs are not using SA specific boards because of the quantity of candidates. If you are interviewed/evaluated by the same board as all the other applicants then by all means....use the same order for each board and receive a fair evaluation.

    I'd be VERY interested in hearing from ANYONE that ever had a problem with listing a different SA order between MOCs AND was was interviewed by SA specific boards. I don't think the MOC's SA reps have the time or interest in comparing what your preference was on another MOC's application. You'll be fortunate IMHO if these MOC SA reps even have the time and inclination to try and make sure each slate is unique.
     
  11. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    The assumption for some is that the purpose of discussions is to allow as many candidates to be nominated as possible. However, of more importance, is to ensure that each highly competitive candidate does indeed have a clear appointment path to a SA that he will accept. This demands liaison between the MOCs.

    There are over 500 MOCs. There is absolutely no standardization between them as to how they select so any generalizations is simply that. However, in the past 15 years I have been associated and worked closely with 13 different offices and have sat on two separated MOC candidate selection boards. Seven Senators and 6 different Congressmen. In general, what I have seen is that the Senators go first and their results are passed on to the congressional offices to both avoid duplication and to ensure that the highly qualified are indeed accommodated as to their desires.

    That the MOC’s SA reps do not perform their jobs adequately is a huge disservice. Can you provide examples? Don’t assume the lack of transparency equates to lack of interest. There seems to be an individual on each staff, trained by the SAs, whose primary tasking during the nomination season is to prepare and present all the candidate’s records for and to the board. To assume that since a candidate would not come forward on this forum and explain a problem would indicate that the board was not aware of it is ludicrous.

    Again, if you can, after expounding to MOC ‘A’s board long and clear about your lifetime ambition to attend USMA, answer the follow up question as to why you listed USNA as your first choice to MOC ‘B, do whatever you want. If not, be very very careful. All I can say is that in my four of over 500 districts, if I am ever on a board, and the situation arises, I will bring it up. I like to see how candidates think on their feet. It would present a perfect opportunity.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  12. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Nothing demands liaison between MOCs. There are no laws or regulations. All that exists (when/if it exists) is good will and good intentions. These are Members Of Congress. They will do what they want, when they want. If they don't like a current law/regulation (OSHA, Social Security) they can (and do) vote to exclude themselves from something that applies to the "little people" (the public).

    I believe in regards to SA noms that most of their intentions are probably good. However, how much time and effort each is willing to
    invest in these good intentions will probably vary from MOC to MOC and MOC rep to MOC rep.

    Correct...there is no standardization between MOCs and how they select appointees.

    Adequately? What is their job description? As the MOC SAs communicate between them (those that do) who is on their Nom lists does it include reviewing each other's applications to determine who has chosen what SA 1st, 2nd or 3rd?

    I don't recall saying that they do their jobs inadequately. I did certainly say that "I don't think the MOC's SA reps have the time or interest in comparing what your preference was on another MOC's application. You'll be fortunate IMHO if these MOC SA reps even have the time and inclination to try and make sure each slate is unique."

    No argument from me. Now, let me ask again....does this MOC SA rep then take ALL these files and "prepare and present all the candidate’s records" for and to the other MOC's boards? Otherwise, as I said...the MOC SA reps are comparing slates NOT applications.

    Absolutely. Why would I expect on a forum that includes BGOs/MALOs/ALOs, applicants and their parents, that someone that actually had a negative experience would post that experience? Wouldn't a post concerning the negative repercussions of prioritizing different SAs on one MOC's list over another take away from the non-embarrassing and mundane discussions about STDs, being too fat and criminal history affecting your appointment chances?

    Please note that I said that I'd be very interested in hearing from someone that had a problem with listing a different SA order between MOCs AND was was interviewed by SA specific boards. With all your VAST experience with the non-standardized MOC appointment process have you seen this specific problem? Interesting that you have been reluctant to share the experience.
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    To comment on your last point. Realize that WE, on this forum, are a VERY SMALL percentage of applicants, parents, cadets, alumni, and DEFINITELY ALO/MALO/BGO, on this forum. I can honestly say that only one other ALO in our entire state has ever heard of this forum. And that's because I gave her a stack of cards with the website on it to pass out to her applicants. But I think she may have lurked here 1 or 2 times.

    Applicants are the same way. MAYBE, if we're lucky, do we get 1% of all new applicants posting here. "That would be approximately 100 new posters per year". Obviously, those that come to this forum, and others, are much more motivated than the 95%+ of all other applicants. Many are more proactive with their ALO, LOD, MOC, Counselor, etc... That's the nature and profile of these applicants. That's why I can tell other state ALO's that I know of "X" amount of individuals receiving an LOA and "Y" who have received early appointments. And yet THEY, the other ALO's, don't even know LOA or early assignments have started going out. (In the october time frame).

    So I wouldn't expect to see too many negative reports on this forum about the application/nomination process. Most individuals here are more proactive; more involved; quicker to call and check on things; etc... It's the 95%+ who don't come to forums like this one who are at the total mercy of their MOC and ALO, believing that everything is in control. Don't get me wrong. I'm not dogging the ALO/BGO/MALO's. Especially those who don't visit these forums. Forums like this are relatively NEW. Many of these ALO/BGO/MALO have been doing appointment apps before Al Gore ever invented the internet. Definitely longer than these forums. And many don't believe they need a forum to help them. It's simply a tool. A tool that many applicants, parents, alo/bgo/malo, etc... can use to be more efficient and knowledgeable. That's why we, this forum, tend to have a unofficial HIGHER level of LOA/Appointment acceptance than the academy average. Those here have MORE and BETTER tools. They do better on their apps and interviews. So I'm not surprised to not see too many complaints on this forum.
     
  14. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Agreed. Likewise we have no reason to believe that you are hurting yourself by prioritizing different SAs on different MOC applications without evidence to the contrary.

    One thing that does appear to be true is that as more and more applicants are applying for nominations, more MOCs are using SA specific boards for interviews. I'm still not sure how you have any chance at your 2nd choice SA if you live in a competitive state/congressional district where each applicant is interviewed only by one of these SA specific boards....unless you interview for different SAs with different MOCs. Is that "playing" the system or just asking to be fairly considered for more than one SA?
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    One person might apply to ONLY air force, another to ALL 4 academies (Requiring a nomination). Another may only want army and navy. If 2 people want air force, and both are on the slate, but ONLY 1 SLOT EXISTS, then that person might be on another slate for a different branch of military/academy.

    While these MOC's may use the competitive method instead of Principal, that doesn't mean every applicant wants the same thing. If you are the "Best of the Best" applicant; you might be on ALL the slates that you applied for. However, imagine a situation where there are 30 applying to air force, if you are average, you might be #13 or #14. But there might only be 20 applying to West Point, and in that pool of applicants seeking a nomination, you might be #5. The only way your scenario really works, is if ALL applicants were all applying to the same academies, and you had the same exact amount across the board. But in real life, MOST applicants don't apply to ALL the academies. Some only choose 1 academy, and NO 2nd choice.
     
  16. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    CC - I'm having difficulty following your reasoning here. Using your example above: Let's assume that your MOC has a separate SA panel interviewing ONLY candidates that have listed USAFA as #1 and a 2nd (separate panel) interviewing ONLY candidates that list the USMA as their #1 choice. Doesn't matter what or even if you have a 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice SA...you are interviewing ONLY with the panel that you listed as your first choice.

    At the end of the day the USAFA panel ranks their candidates 1-30 and you are (as in your example) ranked #13 or #14. Clearly you do not make the slate of 10.

    At the end of the day the USMA ranks their candidates 1-20 - BUT you never had a chance to interview in front of this panel because you were interviewing ONLY in front of the USAFA panel. How does this USMA panel insert you in position #5 ahead of 14 candidates that they actually interviewed AND who have listed the USMA as their 1st choice? Based solely of your application stats? Why interview the 19 other candidates then? I thought the purpose of the interview was to make a determination between those that are equally (or closely) qualified and to answer some questions about bearing, interest....ect....that couldn't be gleamed just from an application.
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Actually, that's where the different MOC styles come into play. In our state, where there's very few people, the MOCs interview for all the academies. If you put air force, army, and navy; it is possible to be interviewed 3 times. The moc's don't necessarily do all their interviews for all academies, all on the same day. At the very least; can only speak for my state; they will internally score you and put that score on their list of applicants. Then they take the top 10 scores from each academy list, and that's their slate of 10. Our senators and rep don't interview on the same day. So even the one senator that I know exactly how he does it, has the exact same interview and questions for ALL candidate. No matter what academy you're going for. His scoring is mainly subjective. e.g. presentation, attitude, confidence, etc... along with scores he gives for gpa, sat/act, extra curricular, etc... Then, if you put in for 3 academies, he makes 3 copies of your "Score-card" and puts one in each academy list. Then, when all is done, he takes the top 10 scores from each academy pile and makes that his slate of 10.

    So, if ALL individuals wanted air force, your score might make you #15. But if only half ALSO wanted West Point, you might be #5 if you were in that pile also. Then again, he doesn't require you to list a preference of which academy. Our other senator actually wants you to list preferences. He also has his scoring, but it's a little different. Our representative use to do the principal nomination. Our new representative does the competitive list.

    Some would say it's not fair the way our state does it, because some individuals can get 4 nominations to all 4 academies. But honestly, rarely do individuals in our state apply to ALL the academies. I don't know the last time I saw a merchant marine. RARELY ever to navy. I've seen a couple coast guards, but they don't require nominations. Most are air force and some army. That's the state we're in. Not a lot of water or interest in the navy from wyoming. The good news is: If you want the navy, and are from wyoming, you are guaranteed a nomination if you have half way decent grades. Considering Air Force gets the most applications, and that's only around 15-16 for the ENTIRE STATE, most everyone gets a nomination. If we have more than 10 eligible, and they are all decent apps, the senators and rep will communicate so that while the top 5 will get 3 nominations, the others will get at least 1 nomination to air force. Same with army, navy, and merchants. Again; each state and moc is different. We can do things like this because of our low population and application numbers.

    But because we basically can only give out 3 to an academy per year; each senator and 1 representative; it behooves you to apply to more than one academy, so you can possibly get your 2nd or 3rd choice if you're not one of the top-3. Of course, we also get a few Presidentials thrown in there also. Guess what I'm saying is; our state is a good example of getting your 2nd or 3rd choice. Only 3 individuals can go to air force, or army, or navy with a MOC nomination. We only have 1 representative. So there's 7-13 others who might have nominations and not get an appointment. You can't accept more than one, so it's quite easy for someone to get their 2nd or 3rd choice if they put in for it.
     
  18. OBXmom

    OBXmom Member

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    My son was very torn between USNA and USAFA. Both senators required him to request a nomination for only one SA. The congressman allowed him to request two, as long as he submitted two packets. As soon as the congressman's office received his packets, they called and said he would have to choose one (!!!). We live on the east coast, so he had seen USNA a few times, and been on an official visit, but had yet to visit USAFA. (He had been invited to visit USAFA in the fall, but had to respectfully decline the visit at the time since it would have caused him to miss a football game. He attended a very small high school (only 21 boys on the team and 5 were injured). I about had a heart attack when he turned down the visit, but he felt strongly about not abandoning his team. The more research he did, the bigger the quandry became. He called his congressman's office twice and spoke with the person that handles the nomination inqueries. He explained his dilemma quite honestly. The person reiterated that the congressman needed him to declare a preference. Before the time limit he had to decide was up, he received a nomination from the congressman for both!
    He then visited USAFA. He never did receive an appointment to USNA, so it was VERY fortunate that he persued both SA's.
    He is now happily attending USAFA and is very grateful for the congressman's understanding at that very critical decision making time.
    I think that time was one of the most stressful periods for me as a parent. I cringe just reading some of the current applicants questions because it brings back all the memories.
    If you are truly undecided between academies, be honest, but keep as many options open as you can. Best of luck!
     

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