What can I do to increase my chances of being accepted to the USAFA?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by monkoy11, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. monkoy11

    monkoy11 New Member

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    I am currently a Junior in high school and I have wanted to be a fighter pilot ever since I was in 3rd grade. I am willing to do whatever it takes to go the Academy and increase my chances of getting accepted. As of now I am taking the following classes as a Junior: Spanish 4 AP, English 3 AP, Physics, Finite Math/ Trigonometry, US History. I am also participating in the Physics club and am currently running for Secretary. I am currently working on getting into the Civil Air Patrol. I have completed 40 hours of community service and am working on more. Also, I am currently working on getting into Pre-Calculus because I have spoken with my congressman's assistant, Patty Shay, and she gave me a list of requirement that I should accomplish to better my chances and transferring from Finite/Trigonometry to Pre-Calculus would help. I am also participating in Waterpolo, Soccer, and Swimming as my sports this year. My question is if all I am currently doing is enough for the Academy and what I can do to better my chances of getting accepted into the Academy?
     
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Here is the deal: only the admissions committee can truely tell if you will get in or not. We cannot give accurate chances.

    The academy weights academics higher than any other portion in their applications. They also weight math and science over other things (heavy engineering school where every cadet takes hard sciences and engineering courses). You need to be in the highest level math class you can succeed in.
    For that matter, you need to be in the highest level classes you can succeed in, period.

    Academics, leadership, and athletics are the things the admissions committee looks at the hardest.
     
  3. wiscyellowjacket

    wiscyellowjacket Member

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    Considering USNA

    There are more fighter pilot billets from the Naval Academy than the Air Force academy!!! try USNA!!!
     
  4. cdh50193

    cdh50193 Member

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    60% Academics (Half on SAT/ACT, other half on GPA/ranking/course difficulty, etc)
    30% leadership roles which includes atheletics, community service, active role in government such as in clubs, captains, etc
    10% CFA (push ups, sit ups, basketball throw, pull ups, shuttle run, 1 mile run)
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Interesting, I guess the AFA changed their WCS in the past couple of yrs. It used to be 60/20/20.

    60 Academics
    20 ECs
    20 CFA and Recs.

    Apply for SLS this yr. It will put your name on their radar at an earlier point. It doesn't mean you will get the highest WCS, but as an EC it doesn't hurt to be able to put that on your resume when you are fighting for a nom from your MOC. Sometimes, it can be that one little thing that makes you score just a little bit higher when you are being evaluated.
     
  6. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Stay healthy.

    The highest rated, most academically prepared, physically-fit candidate can be DQ'd for a injury, illness, or other disqualifying medical condition.

    You could be a 4.0 #1 ranked 1600 SAT football team captain class president Eagle Scout and not get an appointment because you carry an epi-pen for a severe bee sting or peanut allergy.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    This might seem like a joke, but nothing is worse than to have your dreams ended due to an injury before they ever started.

    Break a bone and get a pin placed in and you will be spinning wheels with Dodmerb. *That would be why people on this site say congrats for the apptmt, now wrap yourself in bubble wrap!
     
  8. nbbgolfcmdr

    nbbgolfcmdr USAFA Cadet

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    Also, don't get too busy. Something that I've noticed here is that the people in my squad were excellent at one or two things, but not average in a lot of things. If you love the Physics club, go with it! If you're wanting to get into CAP just to have it on your resume, I wouldn't worry about it. In two years you might be able to get to C/2d Lt, and the leadership helps, but more people are here who weren't a part of that than those who were.

    I was in CAP, and it taught me a lot about leadership and whatnot (how to shine shoes, wear uniform, etc.) When you get here, you're on the same playing field. Friends with no prior, preppy or ROTC/CAP experience have just as shiny shoes, just as well made beds. Only advantage? Maybe know what's going on in some of the upperclassmen's heads because "you've 'been' there."

    I'm not tell you or anyone not to get involved with ROTC, CAP or join any other clubs. All I'm saying is that it's better to be excellence where you put your time than to be mediocre in a lot of things.

    I had student government, CAP, sports and church activities in addition to school. Those took a lot of time, but I did better in those because I had time to seriously commit to them than if I also had car club, chess club, drama club. Get what I'm saying?

    I have a friend who starting the beginning of his Senior year to try to make his application way more competitive. School plays, volunteering, leadership (also tried to get into CAP), and we both got the Texas Senatorial nomination. But he didn't get in, and overall, he stretched himself way too thin his senior year if that makes sense.
    Now here, you can do anything you want. Just make sure that you're willing to do "anything" doesn't end up hurting you than helping.

    But something else is that there are seminars that make your application competative that might only last a week. One big one that I did was Boy's State. It was a great experience, I got Lt Governor, made friends, and helped my resume. But it wasn't frivilous or anything like that.

    Once again, not trying to put out your efforts, just warn you against a trap I've seen too many people get caught in. The Academy wants excellence, and you've got about a year to do so. So, be the best you can be and do your stuff well. Don't be scared to try new things. If you can be excellent in everything, more power to you. Just don't hurt yourself in trying to help yourself.
     
  9. monkoy11

    monkoy11 New Member

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    I get what youre trying to say. I've actually thought about all the things I am trying to do to get into the Academy and seems overwhelming and I try my best to tell myself that I can do it and I will make it though it strong. Although, I do have one thing one mind that might ruin my chances and I wanted to talk about it. Today, after speaking with several math teachers and counselers, I finally got bumped up from Finite/Trignometry to Pre-Calculus. Which, to me is a great thing that I got into the class. Although, all the teachers told me that I will need the Trig to know what is going on around the last semester of school and I have not been taught the Trig. since I bumped up from my Finite/Trig. class. I am really worried that I might not be able to understand most of the lessons that require the knowledge of Trig. Although, I do have a few teachers and friends that might be able to help me out, which is great, but my consern is that I will lose myself somewhere in the class and end up not getting the A or B that I wanted. My question is, in your opinion, should I really be doing taking this class, not knowing half of the information that I need to know to get into the class? Should I be overwhelmed by taking this class? I am just really worried.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Personally, I would say NO! Taking a class that you do not have the proper foundation only sets you up for pain and frustration. It will not only hurt you in school, but also when you take the SAT or ACT since you will not have the knowledge to answer the questions.

    Your PAR is going to be made up of several factors, gpa, course rigor, class rank and SAT. Having a Math class that you got a C or a D is going to hurt you. Again since the SAT/ACT is also placed into the equation you will take a double hit for getting a lower SAT score.

    Having that H or AP behind all of your classes where you get A's will do you more good than having 1 more advanced class where you pulled a C. The SA's know that every candidate is not going to be allowed to take every AP due to their school system.

    When your transcripts are submitted the AFA will also require a school profile. In that profile, it will have the grading system, the amount of APs and Honors offered. Thus, they can see how your school works. In your situation, it appears you were not in advance math at an earlier age, but you are compared to your peers in the traditional math course, but in Honors, which helps you.

    Good luck
     
  11. nbbgolfcmdr

    nbbgolfcmdr USAFA Cadet

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    Also, there are some cadets here who got placed into Pre-Calculus and even Algebra! I'm not saying that you want that, just that Pima's right--you definitely want to get the best grades where you are the strongest.

    Personally, I took Calc 1 in high school as an advanced course. I'm not in Calc 1 here at the Academy. The FSEs (you'll find out about those) are tough, and I didn't pass the first two concerning Algebra, but got a 100 on the Calc GR. KNOW YOU'RE ALGEBRA AND TRIG BEFORE YOU COME HERE!

    But seriously, don't take AP and get a C or D and instead of getting a great grade where you're originally placed. When we were taking our placement exams during basic, they told us, "Don't guess on answers you know you don't know how to do, because the class you might get placed into will screw you over than the class you should be in." Take it for what it's worth.
     
  12. monkoy11

    monkoy11 New Member

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    Well I just went through my first week of Pre-Calc this week and so far its not as difficult as it seems. Although, doesnt Pre-Calc involve Trig? Could I not learn the Trig while I am in Pre-Calc or would it be more difficult? And say if I applied to the Academy, would it look good if they saw that I went from Algebra 2 to Pre-Calculus? or would it look flimsy if I didnt take Finite/Trig?
     
  13. Freeman

    Freeman New Member

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    As I talked my Liason into telling me:

    Eventually, the board gets tired and goes with numbers. However...

    It is, regardless of the papers they send us, 10% Athletics, 10% Academics, 30% Relevant "Whole-Person" Paperwork, 50% Liason Interview, with the Seminar report, if any, being included amongst the latter two divisions. He said the idea is basically: Can he take the course load? Yes. (Minimum ACT/GPA/etc.) Will he survive PT? Yes. (DODMERB/CFA/Athletic History) Will he make a good Lieutenant? Yes. WE HAVE A WINNER!

    He said it just so happens than most of those who fulfill the last of the three best also excel at atleast one of the two aforementioned topics.
     
  14. Freeman

    Freeman New Member

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    I disagree...

    I am currently in Advanced Placement Calculus. My principal lied to me about the course set-up, and there was a scheduling issue where I couldn't start off in Honors and still take AFJROTC. I am the only of 20 AP CALC students to skip Pre-Calculus and have had the more poorly reputed teachers for Alg II and Trig, yet, with AP Boost, I have a B in the course, whereas I could have simply not taken it and had Pre-Calc next semester. I don't think I made a mistake. Hard-Work is the ultimate decidng factor, and through it I'm successful in the hardest class my school has without it's prep course. You can stilll succeed in the higher course if your willing to make the appropriate sacrifices.
     
  15. monkoy11

    monkoy11 New Member

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    Well this week I am scheduled for a meeting with my local congressman once again since late August. The reason I am going to make sure I am doing everything right. I don't want to be doing something this year that can ruin my chances whatsoever. I want follow a straight path and not several different paths that I have been hearing. Hopefully everything I am doing as of now will increase my chances and I will work my *** off to go to the Academy so I can do this ------> :tomcat:
     
  16. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I do believe your percentages are off by quite a lot.
    Unless they have reversed their percentages in the past few years, academics make up 60%.

    Flieger can probably answer this...
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You are correct raimius. The break down is 60-20-20. Now Freeman did state, that REGARDLESS of the paperwork they send out. So, unless he can show some internal document or something from the admissions board, I am going to have to stick with what the United States Air Force Academy Catalog (page 7); click on the link at the bottom of my signature; as well as what admissions and numerous ALO's have told me. But if there is some unofficial admissions policy out there that says that only 10% of a candidate's application profile is made up of academics, I'd really be interested in seeing it. But below is the official break down.

    60%: Academic Composite
    High School or College academic
    performance, SAT or ACT scores.

    20%: Extracurricular Composite
    Athletic participation, leadership
    position (scouts, school clubs, class
    officer, etc.), public/community
    involvement and work experiences

    20%: Admissions Panel
    Faculty and staff review, candidate
    fitness test, Admissions Liaison
    Officer interview, and writing sample.
     
  18. lotsofbooks

    lotsofbooks Member

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    Here's some perspective--

    My d. did a few weeks of trig last summer as she was determined to get into the Calculus. They still put her into the AP calculus even though the placement test results weren't all that good. She has never gone to school before.

    Basically she went from Algebra 2 straight to Calculus. And to top that, she's also taking the AP physics with calculus. (I couldn't stop her) (she's a junior) Her dad encouraged her to do this. She's the only one in the class that has never had physics.

    Over the summer we found a math tutor she really likes, and also a science tutor. So we decided she needs to continue with these tutors, and she has weekly tutoring sessions.(2 hours each) I insisted she maintain the tutoring to take this kind of schedule.

    With the math tutor she's staying slightly ahead of the class, and the physics does help as the math is the same. I can't stress enough how much of a difference a good tutor makes----and you have to keep it up regularly. The tutor is able to explain things the week before they happen in the class. Tutoring is not just about getting behind and trying to catch up.

    It's been my experience that the kids have really enjoyed the subjects where they had a great one on one experience. With both kids, it seemed that those became their favorite subjects! It seems to build their self esteem somehow, because things aren't always so great in the actual classroom.
    With Craigslist we have found wonderful tutors that have added so much to their education.
    I'm wondering if they overdo the prerequisites.....
     
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Freeman,

    Whoever told you that was the breakdown sold you a piece of bunk. CC is correct. Your GPA, rank, SAT, etc make up the big part of your WCS. The ROTC scholarship also follows the same breakdown as the AFA.


    lotsofbooks,

    I agree. If this is the course of action you are determined to do, than get academic assistance. Math is a foundation subject, and in Calc it will speed up as the semester goes along. Remember, every Sept. is just the repeat of the last quarter last yr., new material does not occur until later.

    Again,

    What needs to be understood, is the SAT/ACT will be a factor. If you are a rising sr that jumped the course, you will hurt your SAT since you will not have the info to answer those questions. (Caveat unless you are like lotsofbooks).

    Math questions on the SAT are not like CR where they say a foot is to a golf club as a...

    That type of question you can rationalize out. Math is about formulas, if you do not have the foundation to know when to use sine or when to use co-sine you just bit the big one.

    Lots the one thing I would suggest is to make sure that she also has EC's. Although the PAR is the biggest chunk, the AFA also looks at EC's, thus, if she is only going to school AND a tutor, she will be weak in the EC area. The AFA wants the best WHOLE candidate. I am not implying she doesn't have the EC's, I just don't want you to think that it is all academics either. They also care about athleticism. Just volunteering 2000 hours is not enough, because BCT is a big chunk in the beginning and the AFA is well aware that the altitude will reduce their athletic abilities at first. Just make sure that if she doesn't have any athletics on her application, that she gets as close to maxing the CFA as she can to calm those fears at the board selection.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  20. McCoy

    McCoy Member

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    It appears our schools do pre-clac diff. mine gets into trig as well, are you sure yours doesnt?
     

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