What are my chances?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by RCave, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. RCave

    RCave Member

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    Please don't sugar coat it. I was sent here by a 2017 hopeful who said you guys were very helpful.

    I'm currently a High School Junior. My GPA is decent I suppose at 3.5(standard 4pt scale) and my PSAT score was 1810(kinda low for me). I'm taking the ACT in April and expect around a 30.

    I'm in Varsity choir, but unfortunately I have no athletics or community service. I just started taking Krav Maga outside of school and I'm applying to a local Teen Court volunteer program where you sentence your law-breaking peers to community service time in a real court environment. I'm planning on taking wrestling next year so I have something to show the academy, although I doubt I'll make Varsity. My class rank is 151 out of 446, which concerns me because it places me about 40 places from top 25%.

    I emailed my liaison over a week ago asking what my chances were and asking how to improve my odds but he never responded.

    I live near the capital of Texas so I'm afraid that my region will be extremely competitive for nominations. I'm an excellent speaker if I can manage to get an interview, but I'm still worried.

    Do I have a chance? If so, what are the best things I can do to improve?
     
  2. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Plan on Plan B

    Everyone here will tell you to have a Plan B. I would encourage to make a Plan B and C.

    Plan B should include maybe a Prep School like NWP or NMMI

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  3. RCave

    RCave Member

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    I'll gladly go to the prep school if they offer, but otherwise I'm going to Texas A&M and I'll apply for the Corp of Cadets.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You have 0% chance if you don't apply.

    Nobody here sits on the board, and if they did they would be silent.

    I won't shade the truth no ECs will hurt because it is not just about athletic ability, but leadership and long term commitment.

    Part of plan B for many AFA candidates is AFROTC scholarship, take note they do not superscore SAT/ACT and your EC file will include everything up to the end of your jr. yr. Wrestling is a fall sport, it would not be considered.

    As far as the class rank, that is why they request the school profile. If 50% of your peers go Ivy, top 30% will impact how they look at your rank.
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I'm probably the "Bluntest" person on the forum. Don't worry about me sugar coating. But at the same time, I'm going to tell you that you are asking a question that approximately 1,459,402 others have asked; and unfortunately, the answer is the same for all of them. "IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOUR COMPETITION IS"!!!

    Does your gpa and probable ACT/SAT scores meet the minimum standards? Yes, no problem. But the academy is NOT a traditional university where if you meet their standards, and have the money, you are pretty much accepted.

    Put it this way: You 3.5gpa is WAY ABOVE the minimum standard. However; the AVERAGE person who receives an appointment to the air force academy has a 3.86 GPA. I'm not going to copy and paste it all, but click on the link in my signature block. It's the complete Academy brochure. In the first main section, it shows all the averages for cadets. ACT average is around 30. More than 90% played some sort of sport. etc.... Click on my link and look at it yourself.

    But again; it depends on your competition. But I will be honest, with a 3.5gpa (Unless ALL your classes are in the IB Program or ALL are AP classes); and with NO ATHLETICS and NO COMMUNITY SERVICE; and can I assume no groups or clubs other than Choir? Can I assume no real leadership positions? (Hard to have any if you aren't in any clubs, volunteering, etc...) Anyway; assuming all this is true, then your odds are very slim. That's the truth.

    On the other hand, I can guaranty you that you have a 100% chance of NOT RECEIVING an appointment if you DON'T APPLY!!! In other words, if you're looking to "Save yourself the work" of applying if you think your chances are low; then maybe you need to reassess your motives and desires. Nothing worth having is free. No matter what your chances are, you should be applying for it. If not, then maybe it's not worth having. Best of luck to you. mike.... (Click on my Link in the signature block)
     
  6. RCave

    RCave Member

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    I've read almost every page on the Academy Admissions page, but when I see ACT/SAT vs. GPA graphs for Academy admissions, there are people with 3.9 GPA's scoring 34 on the ACT getting rejected and people with worse GPA's than myself getting in. Are these just people with spectacular extracurricular and academics? Like some Captain of the football team nonsense that gets them in?

    Throughout High School I've slid by doing the minimum knowing that I could get into Texas A&M, now I've had a wake up call in the form of wanting to get into the Academy. I'm trying to do everything I can to compete with the other applicants but I just don't know where to begin.

    I go to the best and most competitive school in my area. They'll consider that as well right? Or are they just going to look at plain numbers?

    Last year I was a choir officer(basically all the leadership I've got) and I was in a Political Awareness club, but once the class of '13 graduated the club never came back. In all honesty, I've had issues of depression since I can remember and I finally have a source of motivation(the hope of getting into the academy, albeit a long shot) and I'm afraid that my laziness over the past few years as screwed me.

    What kind of stuff do I need to do to get into the running?

    Edit: My father is a retired Major in the Marines, so I just noticed that opens up Presidential nominations to me as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  7. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17

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    There have been candidates with perfect or near perfect ACT scores that did not make it because academics was all they had. Admissions is based on the whole person concept. They look for people with leadership and athletic ability in addition to academics.
     
  8. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Please explain why captain of the football team is "nonsense".

    Stealth_81
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    RCAVE,
    Suggested plan B... apply for the ROTC scholarship of your choice
    Suggested plan C... attend a college with your ROTC unit of choice and complete for an in-school scholarship.

    Another tip - As a retired Marine Officer your Dad should have some thoughts on this topic. Have you discussed it with him?
     
  10. icarus

    icarus Member

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    No sugarcoating, the application process is highly selective and is based on all that you've mentioned plus nominations and recommendations from your teachers and coaches. A football captain earns that position. It may be nonsense for someone who just does choir instead but you have to look at it from the selection board's perspective. Why would they choose a candidate that puts in the time and effort to be a leader versus one who "just slides by and does the minimum?' You should be able to answer this without this forum.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Yes, as LFry (Fred) mentioned, the academy is looking at the WHOLE PERSON CONCEPT. So no; believe it or not, captain of the football team is NOT NONSENSE. The military is the perfect example of where the number one priority is "TEAM WORK". And while athletes don't automatically get into the academy because they are the captain of the football team or whatever; it's natural that MOST applicants/cadets were athletes in high school. It's sort of a natural fit. Did you go to the link I suggested. (That's NOT the academy admissions page. It's the academy brochure.) Download the PDF and look at the profile of the "Average" cadet.

    Yes, there are those with 3.9-4.0gpa and 34+ ACT tests who get rejected. "AND THEY SHOULD"!!! I've seen it first hand, where the academy turns them down, but they get accepted into Yale or Harvard. Totally different school. But in the same breath, the individual is ONLY a super jock athlete, without the grades, volunteering, leadership, etc... should also be turned down.

    If you want to know the PERFECT candidate/cadet. In my opinion. It would be the 4.0gpa unweighted in the IB Program or ALL AP classes. With a 34-36 ACT or 2200+ SAT. They would be involved in 2-3 varsity sports. Captain/Co-Captain of 1 or 2 of them. They'd be a class officer. Involved in 1-2 other clubs. Probably a leadership position in those clubs. They attended Boy/Girls State. They have 200+ hours of volunteer time. The kick but on the Candidate Fitness Assessment and is obviously perfectly medically qualified.

    Now, obviously, we don't get too many PERFECT Candidates. Some lack in one area but make up for it in another. Some really excel in some areas and are just average in others. And yes, the academy requires a copy of your school profile, so they can compare your school and it's graduates with other schools so they can fairly compare them. Some schools don't off the IB program or many if any AP classes. That's not the kid's fault. Some schools don't have the finances or resources from their community to offer the students the same opportunities. Again; not the student's fault. The academy looks at EVERY ASPECT of the applicant. Grades, social, sports, community, family, hardships, adversity, diversity, etc... You name it, the academy looks at it. Then, an ALO will interview you and give their assessment. Then all of this information is put into the "Super-Duper-Computer" and a "COMPOSITE SCORE" is created. That's your score, and depending on your competition and their score, will determine if you get an appointment. Of course, you also have to have a nomination, and the MOC, presidential, vice presidential, etc... whoever is the nominator, will compare you to the other applicants seeking a nomination too.

    Hope this explains things. It's a very complicated process. Yet, it actually benefits those like yourself who may have areas of excellence with other areas of average or above average scores. Plus, the fact that each state senator and representative is allowed so many cadets, means that there's a national diversity already built in, so as all 1000-1200 cadets receiving an appointment don't happen to all come from the same affluent, privileged, or other means advantaged background. Best of luck. mike....
     
  12. RCave

    RCave Member

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    No offense was intended. I've seen data showing people that have done far worse academically than myself and gotten in. I assume things like that were the reason. My own bias due to the negative attitude of the athletic individuals at my school is probably in play.

    Will do. I've discussed it extensively with my Dad, but he's been retired for quite a while and can't really give me any more information than we can find online.

    I said minimum because I chose to put myself in an honest light, but as I ended that sentence I also recognize it was a mistake and I may have screwed myself in the long run. Try not to dismiss me with the very few facts I'm able to provide.

    I WILL apply and I WILL try my best. My motivation behind this thread was to try and get some perspective from people who know far more about the admissions than myself to try and judge my odds and receive advice.

    Despite ALL of that, what I need most of all is recommendations of where to go from here. NOT backup plans. I want to make myself look better as a candidate.

    More community service? If so, what kind? What athletics to get into? Things of that nature are what I need at the moment.

    I did, thank you. The FAQ questions near the end were interesting and I learned a few things they don't have on the main website.
     
  13. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    What to do

    One thing you can do is go to boys state and get leadership opportunity there. It also is a good experience.
     
  14. RCave

    RCave Member

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    Thank you! I looked it up. Thankfully I live right near the capital where it is held, so I'll look into attending.
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    RCave. The stereotypes you have, definitely need to be let go. Just because an individual is an athlete, doesn't make them a DUMB JOCK. I can show you plenty of applicants who became cadets at the academies, who were also recruited athletes, and they were tops in their high school and graduated in the top 10% at the academy. Matter of fact; there's quite a few "Jocks" who graduated the academy and were selected to go on to graduate school to get their masters and some even their doctorates. Many graduated with degrees in engineering, chemistry, math, sciences, etc...

    There are a lot of people who believe that athletes get special treatment when applying to the academy. And I'd be lying if I said that it never happens. But that is a small amount, and you'll find that the MAJORITY of all cadets WERE Varsity athletes in high school. And the MAJORITY of even the recruited athletes at the academy, also excelled academically, socially, as well as physically and athletically.
     
  16. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Why not restart the Political Awareness club that died out. That would show some leadership.

    Wrestling is a good idea. You might also try doing cross country (I think that's a fall thing) and track (a spring thing you could do this year). Besides helping to get you in shape, or better shape, for wrestling it would also help in preparing you for the fitness tests and life at the Academy.

    If you have the opportunity to take AP courses do so. Calc, Physics and or Chem would be good.

    If you can show you 'turned around' your 'minimum effort' that would be to your benefit as well I would think.

    Plan on taking the SAT/ACT tests multiple times to get your best score. Study for it.
     
  17. RCave

    RCave Member

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    At my school wrestling is double block with hour and a half after school practices during season, so I don't have any more room in my schedule for more athletics. The only thing that really concerns me physically is the average 6:37 mile but I have plenty of time to work on that.

    I'll look into restarting the club but I never really knew the teacher that hosted it very well, and it had extremely limited interest. I believe at best we had around 10 people, around 70% of which have graduated.

    I'm taking AP Psychology next year and I'm taking English 4 at the community college over the summer so I actually have room for Wrestling during the school year. That brings about another question though, how would they view classes done at the community college over the summer? Would those be viewed at the same level as AP courses? If so I may take Astronomy as well for fun.

    Since my school is so large they do offer AP Calculus, but I'm afraid to take it quite honestly. Right now I'm thinking about putting it off til college in hopes of getting a learning environment that I'm more comfortable with. Just four of my class periods would be taken up with Varsity Choir and Wrestling, so as I have it planned out right now I don't have room for it. :frown:

    A different school in the district offers AFJROTC, but they'd have to bus myself and the other members over there each day we had it. I'm not sure how beneficial one year of JROTC would be as a Senior, but quite honestly I'm not entirely sure what JROTC does - on the rare occasion we see them they march out before we sing the national anthem at football games.

    I was on a PSAT Team for high scoring students last semester so I'll be taking both the SAT and ACT at least once each. Currently I'm only signed up for the ACT in April.

    And I believe "sliding by" and "doing the minimum" is being taken a little too seriously. I didn't cheat or copy off people, I simply did minimal studying out of school and pulled off nearly straight A's each year.

    I've talked to a current Junior at the Academy about my chances and a 2017 hopeful who both believe I have a decent shot at making it, so on their word alone I won't give up.

    I've tried getting in to see my counselor but every time I go in she hasn't been there - I don't know how many cadets have come out of my school but seeing how large it is I'm sure at least a few have.

    I also had a question regarding letters of recommendation. They require 3 but I can probably get at least 5, but that's probably a little overboard. How many should I send in for nominations and such when the time comes? There is probably an obvious answer to this, but how do I request the recommendations? I have to send them to not only my congressman but my Senator as well, not to mention the academy. Do I just photocopy the letters or do I have to get three sealed ones from each teacher?

    Thanks guys.

    @christcorp - It's something I've been working on for a while. I'm generally a pessimistic person. I'm hoping getting up and working out all the time will help with my attitude. I do apologize.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

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