What can I do to increase my chances?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by ztak07, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. ztak07

    ztak07 New Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I have wanted have always wanted to serve in the Armed Forces. The U.S. has given me a lot of opportunities that I would not get if I did not move here and I want to do something that will keep allow people after me to have the same opportunities as well. I am currently a junior in high school and I am panicking because I have 2 years of high school left and I'm running out of time to do something!

    I am not going to give excuses for myself but just explain what the situation is like now and what I need to do to get things in order. I really want to get in USAFA or USNA. I plan on graduating with a comp science major and doing something with computers the rest of my life. I put down a little resume of what I have completed so far and I want to know what I need to add to increase my chances of getting into either.

    Honors and AP have the same weight because most colleges don't take high school AP credits.

    Academics:

    9th: I think I had around a 3.1 or so cumulative GPA for the whole year and did not participate in a singular E.C. or do anything that is worth mentioning on an application. My school was doing a 4 period day at this time so 3/4 honors and or AP classes were allowed.
    • Honors English-
    • Honors Civics
    • Algebra 1
    • Physical Science
    Sophomore: 3.3 GPA for this year and it was a much bigger step up then what I had my first year. My school went to a 6 period schedule and I took 2 honors classes and 1 AP class. I finished the last trimester with a 4.0 GPA. Like the previous year I did not do any EC, sports, or volunteer.

    10th Grade:
    • AP Prep Bio
    • Honors World Lit
    • Honors History
    • Geometry

    11th Grade:
    [*] Regular Chem (cannot take AP chem and French.)
    [*] AP US History
    [*] Honors US Lit
    [*] Honors Algebra 2
    [*] French 4th level.

    I am 3 weeks into my school year and I still have not done any EC's. The only reason I did not do ECs was because both of my parents work everyday until 7-8PM and I have no way to get to and from the school everyday. My school is about 16 blocks from where I live and the only option would be a bus which I am willing to take. So what can you guys advise me to do this year and the next? I am not sweating the ACT because I am a smart guy but this doesn't mean I am arrogant( I study and prep.)
     
  2. Liberator45

    Liberator45 Member

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    Take challenging classes and do well in them. Make a workout plan and stick to it. Also, you really need to get involved in some kind of extracurricular activities. A sports team might be your best option. Get involved and show your dedication to a program, don’t join a group just to check a box on your application. Do well on the ACT and SAT. Take both tests. You may do better on one than the other.
     
  3. Dad

    Dad Member

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    I would sweat the ACT (average score is about 30) since most candidates are taking Calc as a junior or senior. I would also be concerned with your lack of ECs. There are clubs you could join and places to volunteer. Since your package is lacking in ECs, you would have to crush the ACT/SAT to make up for it. Furthermore, the academies are looking to develop leaders of character. One way they look for leaders is through athletics. They also look for leaders in CAP and scouting. You will need leadership positions in these activities. If you can't do activities due to your parents' work schedule, I would suggest finding a part-time job. You can demonstrate leadership by getting promoted to shift leader or head bottle-washer (or whatever).

    I am a bit concerned also about your looking for a job in Computer Science. You have to remember that the needs of the Air Force come before your wishes. Are you willing to serve your country in another field? There is more to the USAFA experience than 4 years of college. You will be expected to give up 5 years of your life (minimum) after graduation. Make sure you are considering USAFA for the right reasons.

    Also, you did not mention your physical fitness. There is a test (CFA) that you will have to take as part of the application process.

    You can read more about the candidate requirements at http://www.academyadmissions.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/USAFA_Entire_Catalog.pdf . I would also recommend reading "Air Force Academy Candidate Book : How to Prepare, How to Get In, How to Survive" by William Smallwood. It is a bit dated, but it really paints a good picture of what to expect in the long process of applying, getting nominations,receiving an appointment, and earning a commission in the world's greatest air and space force. Best wishes. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  4. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Most colleges DO take AP credits. USAFA and USNA do not, but you can validate some courses (not have to take them) which would free up your schedule to possible do a double major or take other electives you may be interested in.
     
  5. Bundy

    Bundy Member

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    You make no mention of participation in athletics. Without athletics I can't imagine any candidate, no matter how academically qualified, getting an appointment.
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Start to imagine...it happens every year. :smile:

    BUT...as your comment intimates, correctly; it is very tough...the rest of the package must be super sharp!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. daverussell1

    daverussell1 Texas Aggie '80

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    you live a mile from your school. Have you ever heard of walking or riding a bike. I used to ride 3 miles from my house to school everyday. Give me a break. You need to get your grades up higher and get into EC's.
     
  8. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

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    I feel that your chances are somewhat limited with:
    -No athletics
    -No EC`s
    -A lack of APs--majority of students take at least 3 or 4
    -Besides the lack of APs is the fact that you are lacking in the math department especially...like said in above posts, most are taking Calc at some point. I`m a sophomore, and had Algebra last year. I have the second half of Algebra this first semester, then have Geometry next semester. Junior year, I`m going to take Alg. 2 w/Trig and Senior year, Pre-Calc, and Calc. It`s nowhere near impossible, and with both USAFA and USNA, they take math and science into extreme consideration...they are the most technical of the academies.
    -Your GPA? Considering you`re not taking so many AP classes, it should be way up...Honors is great and everything, but AP is what counts.
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    ztak; don't get totally discouraged. As Steve (Flieger) said, the academy definitely gives appointments to some who don't have much in the line of athletics and extra curricular on their application. But this is rare, and you better ACE those ACT/SAT tests. As well as bringing your high school grades up to near perfect.

    As the other mentioned, the academy is looking for "Well Rounded" individuals. That means those with the academics, athletics, physically fit, volunteer time, leadership experience, team building/involvement, etc... You obviously won't know if you'll get an appointment unless you apply. You asked what you can do to improve your chances. We told you.

    But dave, dad, and the others are correct. You have to make the effort. You can't make excuses. The academy doesn't care about excuses. Your competition isn't made up of all rich kids who have all the priviledges and a mommy and daddy who do everything for them. Your competition are home schooled, urban, kids who live on ranches and farms, extremely poor, 1st generation American with family/social issues; single parent families, etc... They take the most AP or IB classes available. (And YES, just about ALL colleges accept AP classes). And when they can't get all the classes they need/want at their high school, they enroll at the local community college and take classes there. (Most are free to high school students). If their school doesn't have sports, they get involved with city leagues, parks&rec, etc... Living a mile from school and no parent to drive you to/from is not a problem. It's an excuse.

    You wanted to know how to improve your chances. Get involved with clubs. Become a leader. Being you're a junior, let your counselors know you're interested in leadership opportunities like Boy's state. Get involved in school sports. Take the hardest classes that your school offers and do well in them. Kick but on the ACT/SAT. If you aren't above a 30 on the ACT or a 2000 on the SAT (3 tests), then you aren't competitive. Those are the average scores for applicants. That's what you have to do to increase your chances. Best of luck to you. Mike....
     
  10. Navy1981

    Navy1981 Member

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    You mention in the first part of your question that the U.S. has given you a lot of opportunities since you moved here. I'm assuming that means you moved to the U.S. from another country. Are you a U.S. citizen? Not meaning to bust your bubble, but if you're not a U.S. citizen, then that is going to be a deal-buster at any of the academies.
     
  11. viper95

    viper95 New Member

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    Hey Ztak,

    Something that is helping me out is working with these folks www.academyconnected.com. These guys all went to the Academy and they can work with you to help you prepare for the application process.

    -viper95
     

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