When to apply to the Academy

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by schul542, Feb 29, 2016.

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  1. schul542

    schul542 Member

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    As many of you know, the PCQ opens up tomorrow. I have already opted in to automatically have my application sent in on March 1st because I applied to Summer Seminar.

    I seem to be stuck on when I should complete the rest of my application. Many forums say that the sooner you complete everything, the better. The general rule that I have heard is to try to complete the application within 45 days of starting it. If this is the case, I could complete my application within the next month or so.

    However, others have also said to wait until the end of the summer. The reason behind this is that I will be attending many great programs that will boost my application (Boys State, CAP Encampment's, and possibly USNA SS). By waiting, I would be able to put those on my application and be able to write about them for my writing sample.

    What are some of your thoughts on when the best time is to complete your application? Thank you.
     
  2. 16maybt

    16maybt Member

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    As far as adding those programs I would definitely wait until you complete them. The USAFA application provides plenty of space for you to describe programs, its impact, your responsibilities, leadership positions etc.
     
  3. ClimberGirl

    ClimberGirl Member

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    I don't think you understand how this application works... Most things will not even become available to you until the end of July. Essays, teacher recommendations, drug and alocohol statement, activities record, etc. will not be available until mid-July at the earliest. At that point, by all means chug right along with it! Good luck!
     
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  4. Renegado

    Renegado Member

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    Don't rush. Build your resume and take the ACT/SAT as many times as you can. Practice the fitness test in sequence until you're confident you have it down. Your whole candidate score isn't going to go up just be turning everything in early.
     
  5. Stonewall

    Stonewall Member

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    Like the others before me have said, don't rush. I don't think admissions will be reviewing applications until fall at the earliest.

    I started my application to USMA around October 25 and got accepted a few weeks ago. I was almost too late starting in the process to get nominations. Applications for those were due the week after I opened the PCQ. I know this isn't USAFA but I'm going to assume the process is similar.

    Take it easy but be serious and complete everything on time.
     
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  6. schul542

    schul542 Member

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    I'm sorry, I have been doing all of the research on my own up until the last couple of weeks. I thought the application opens up March 1st, and then the applicant progresses through the application process at their own pace. So if I start right away, wouldn't some aspects become available before the end of July? Maybe I have misinterpreted the admissions process on the academy website.
     
  7. ClimberGirl

    ClimberGirl Member

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    Nope. Some things just won't be open until the end of July. Most things actually. Sorry! But enjoy your junior and senior years... They fly by!
     
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  8. Row2020

    Row2020 Member

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    When applying to USNA and USMMA DS heard over and over - the sooner the better. Here's the good and the not so good of that methodology. By the time everyone else in his class was just beginning the college app process he was essentially done and ready to focus on the school year. He approached his LRO teachers at the end of junior year. The letters were written over the summer when the teachers could write at the leisure and well ahead of the barrage that kills the teachers in fall. I hope that they were tip top quality letters! .....Not so great, early BGO interview (AUG 1). It was his first ever interview. While he was prepared, he admits that he could have done much better later in the Fall after he had had practiced interviewing in a less intense situation. The interview was very relaxed and his BGO is a very nice man, when you see your future on the line everyone it's only human to fidget and stutter. By the time he got around to the MOC interview he was a natural! I assume that USAFA has an essay on the app? Craft that essay. Do not write it in an afternoon or over the weekend. Write it and then put it away for a week. Think it through. Have someone else read it. Then write it again. Be proud of what you write. You are asked to draw a metaphorical self portrait with your essay. Don't give them a stick figure. Best advice is to complete what you can get done early on. Practice the CFA, interviewing skills, and writing. Good luck!
     
  9. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    Schul542, good for you for thinking ahead and being proactive regarding your application. If USAFA admissions operate like last year, you will receive word via your portal as to when it will open for you and you can begin submitting documentation to your file. Last year, those who opted for the SS app to be the pre-candidate questionnaire were the ones whose portals were opened first starting on July 1st. The candidates were then given 4 months to turn in six of the required items including, personal statement/essays, activities list, CFA, request for teacher evaluations and transcripts etc. Those 4 months went very quickly, so you have an advantage thinking of these now and making a plan on what you would like to accomplish by the end of the summer. I recommend the following:

    1. Start practicing the entire CFA in the correct order NOW and timing yourself at least every six weeks until you test for scores closer to your deadline. I would also recommend not waiting until the last minute to submit it in case you need to take it again. But, that should not be a problem if you start now. Your deadline will most likely be in early November (provided they operate like last year).

    2. Before the end of this school year, perhaps after spring break, I would approach your Math and English teachers and ask them if they would be willing to write a LOR for you and have it completed as early as July or at least by the start of your senior year. They will be given an email link (after you provide USAFA with their emails and will input their recommendations via your portal. If they are unwilling to complete it in July you should give them a due date and send them a reminder approximately 2 weeks before the first week of the next school year. Your school counselor will also be another evaluation that USAFA will request and they will most likely be sending your transcripts as well. You should do the same for him or her. Let them know BEFORE the end of this school year.

    3. You will also be able to send in 3 LORs from other people such as church leader, employer, scout master etc. that can attest to your character and leadership abilities. I would approach these people before the end of this school year as well and give them a deadline of the 1st of July or after and send a reminder two weeks prior to that deadline.

    4. Visit the websites of your two senators, your district rep and the Vice President and find out what the application procedures are for applying for a nomination. If they are like most, you will need LORs from them as well. If you plan right, perhaps the same three people can be used for this, but it is not required. Pay attention to their deadlines, as they all will be different.

    5. Prepare a list of addresses that your counselor will need to send your official transcripts to and give it to her the first day of the new school year, or sooner if your school is open in the summer.

    6. Start thinking about what you would like to say in your essays. I'm not sure what the prompts will be, but you can guess that you should have a pretty good idea about why you want to attend the Academy, why you want to serve as an officer in the military and have a story about your life that deals with facing obstacles and how you overcame them. One other item to think about is what makes you special and why choose you over someone else, or any event that happened to you that was life changing. Just some food for thought.,

    My DD's deadline was November 10th and her planning allowed her to finish her app by mid October. It also cleared the way for her to finish all seven of her plan B college apps by November 1st plus her ROTC scholarship app as well. I can attest that she was no where near as stressed as other students trying to do it all at once plus, she did not have to worry about her teachers being inundated with requests for LORs from all the other students at the same time. It made her first semester of senior year much more enjoyable. She also received an appointment on December 17th which made it much easier to plan the next phase of her life. Many of her classmates are still waiting to hear from colleges.

    I am sure I probably missed something, so others can chime in. By the time the thread is finished, you will have a wealth of information at your finger tips that will help you succeed in your future endeavors. Good luck to you on your journey. Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride, but you got this!!! Now, Aim High!
     
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  10. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    Standardized testing...if you're not happy with scores you have right now, start preparing to take ACT/SAT sometime in the fall. Most people have a "stronger" test - if that's ACT, you will be required to take an ACT with Writing. Either way, it doesn't hurt to take the test again. Sign up for an early test so you're not caught off-guard by deadlines. Remember - USAFA will only accept official scores for your application at this stage. Official scores have to be mailed from the ACT/SAT administration company.
     
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  11. blackbird71

    blackbird71 New Member

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    Where is the pre-candidate questionnaire located? Is it under the "Complete your USAFA Application" tab? As schul542 mentioned, the 45 day rule concerns me. I am a junior not yet ready to complete my application, and I do not want to accidentally start it trying to do the questionnaire.
    Thank you.
     
  12. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    Yes, the initial pre-candidate questionnaire will begin once you click on "Apply" and register for an account. You will fill out all the information requested and once you hit the "submit" button, your pre-candidate questionnaire is complete. At that point you will wait for word that you are competitive. Once you receive that notice, you will then wait for July 1st or after to continue with your application. Good luck to you.
     
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  13. CA_hopeful

    CA_hopeful Member

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    Just to clarify, I checked the box for my summer seminar application to open my file so that means I don't have to fill out the pre-candidate questionnaire, correct?
     
  14. schul542

    schul542 Member

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    Correct. If you checked the box to open your file, it will automatically submit it for you. If you check the portal right now it should say that you are an applicant.
     
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