Where do I need to Improve?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Timmer5181, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. Timmer5181

    Timmer5181 New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am looking for advice and or some tips for the application itself and the process to apply. I am a rising Sophomore in high school. I have an idea of one of my short comings but I would like to see what other people have to say. I am from a small school in Wisconsin roughly 80 people inside my grade. This upcoming year these are some of the classes I will be taking Honors Pre-Calc, Honors English 10, Honors Chemistry, Spanish 2 and CAD 2. So far my GPA from last year is 3.6 unweighted I know that it should be around a 3.9-4.0 for the Academy. One of the major downfall for me I believe is when I was in 7th grade I took Algebra and got a C not knowing that it would ever land on my transcript. I have been told two different things when I say that. Some say that they wouldn't count that against me and others say that they will. I was on JV Football and JV Baseball last year. This year I am going to run Cross Country and play Baseball, Football was not for me. I have around 150 hours of community service. I have held a job for 2 years and another a few months. I am a C/Msgt in the Civil Air Patrol being in for only 11 months, I am shooting for the Spaatz award. I have the Ground Team Member 2 qualification and Ranger 2nd Class qualification. This summer with the Civil Air Patrol I went to Columbus AFB and simulated Pilot Training for a week having to know the academics that the students there were taught. I also went through Hawk Mountain Search and Rescue School which is said to be one of the most physically challenging courses that the Civil Air Patrol has to offer. Lastly a few days ago I graduated the National Honor Guard Academy. I am planning on taking the ACT sometime this school year. If I don't get accepted to the Academy I would like to go through the prep school and re apply. I would really appreciate any feedback and If you could tell me other things I can do to put on my resume. An example would be I was told by an Academy cadet that he saw somewhere for the Academy that there was a box for a radio operator license, so he went out and got one. Thanks for taking the time and reading this.
     
  2. JestFutureFalcon

    JestFutureFalcon Member

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    Some major things I think you need to do are:

    Get involved in leadership positions. Leadership and extracurricular accounts for a nice chunk of how your application gets evaluated (20%). It shows you are one of the go-getters in today's world and that's what you want USAFA to see. After all, USAFA is meant to develop leaders into military officers, so don't be shy about stepping up in whatever you are involved in. I'm not sure how civil air patrol works but since there are ranks I assume it is similar to jrotc. Try to work towards becoming an officer in CAP. Another potential leadership position can be attained by getting involved in student government, sr beta, national honor society, etc. get involved with some school clubs too or maybe even start one! Definitely start stepping up in your sports and try to stick with it for more than a year. Earning captain in your sport is another way to show leadership.

    Athletics are another part of the 20% I mentioned before. Now, don't just go out and volunteer for every sport there is at your school so it looks nice on an application, but actually find what you like doing. I envy you since you have a XC team and your school sounds even smaller than mine lol. While you are at it join track in spring. They have a few mid distance events that your XC training can rub off on. At the same time you need to be preparing yourself outside of sports for the physical demands of the academy. Go look up the CAndidate fitness assessment on their website to get an idea of what you wanna start working on. Just a heads up: the basketball throw is a b!t&h

    Academics: now this is a biggie. It accounts for 50% of your application. It's great that you are taking honor classes but think about what your competition is taking: AP, Dual Enrollment, etc. Talk to your guidance counselor about stuff like this. Make sure to bring up boy's state too(that's kind of something you do junior year but show you are interested in it and learn what you can do to be selected as a delegate). Also I wouldn't worry too much about your 3.6 gpa. You are still a sophomore so you got a while but from now on make nothing but straight A's. By your junior year it may be around 3.8ish cuz that's how mine was (I stopped caring bout school my freshman year). The average cadet at USAFA has a 3.85 I believe. Be sure to have some background in trig, geometry, biology, physics and other things. They have a list for good subjects to take on their website too so look into that.
    And I need to drive this point home: TAKE BOTH THE ACT AND SAT AS MANY TIMES AS YOU CAN. The more experience you have with them the better chance you have of getting a competitive score. Buy the resources for act/sat studying they will help a ton. I actually downloaded an app for act study on my phone. They have the competitive scores available on the USAFA website, but if you want to better your chances of getting in, strive for an act score > 30. I'm not sure about sat. I personally hate it since it feels so much longer. Don't show up to test day without studying also. Go on YouTube and look up test tips for each test, because the tests themselves don't really measure how much you know, but how your testing skills under pressure work. Bottom line: STUDY STUDY STUDY

    I admire how you have already decided you want to go to USAFA so early. I wish I started that young. Once applications for the summer seminar open up ur junior year, get on it right away. It isn't too long but do not put it off. Traditionally, the earlier you submit an application the better because it shows you are interested in something. Same concept goes for the actual application you start in the fall.

    Just to let you know, I am not an expert on the topic. I'm just a senior who really wants to go to USAFA. The best resource you can get is from the actual website or perhaps the ALO in your area. My blue and gold officer for USNA told me that he had kids contacting him about info for getting into the naval academy during their freshman year. You could probably figure this out by contacting the USAFA counselor for your region.
     
  3. Badge250

    Badge250 Member

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    Timmer, sounds like your motivated to get into the academy. You should continue to be involved in things that interest you. Do not do things to just check a box and or add to your resume. Seek out leadership positions in CAP and school clubs, teams and activities that you enjoy.
    Overall: nothing will take the place of a high GPA (taking the toughest courses your school offers) and high ACT/SAT scores. Athletics and leadership positions are extremely important. Community service is also important so keep that up. The fact that you can do all this and keep a job is definitely a plus too.

    Once again, all the "stuff" is great, but those grades and test scores have to be 'up there' to be competitive.
     
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  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Academics, leadership, athletics.
    Keep those things as your priorities for being competitive. Shoot for the highest grades in the toughest courses you can take. USAFA looks at your school's profile, and they want to see that you can excel in the toughest academics. Leadership can come in many forms. The most common ones are holding positions in CAP, JROTC, Scouts, and sports teams. It doesn't have to be those. They are simply the most common ones. Volunteering, working, and participation in activities is good, as well. In athletics, strive for being well-rounded. You don't need to be an Olympic athlete, but you need to be fit. (I was at the very bottom border of "fit" by USAFA standards, and it makes life a lot tougher--don't be that person.)

    ...Not sure why you are stressing about a grade from 7th grade. USAFA cares about your high school grades.
     
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  5. JestFutureFalcon

    JestFutureFalcon Member

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    Raimus middle schoolers can take high school classes sometimes. He is worried because as a seventh grader he was less experienced I guess so he had a lower grade which ended up on his high school transcripts since it was a high school course.
     
  6. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    I had several classes that I did poorly in in 8th grade transfer to my high school transcript. These classes hurt my GPA and class rank significantly. I think the OP has the same problem.
     
  7. Badge250

    Badge250 Member

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    DS took High School algebra in middle school and it counted on his HS transcript. I remember always stressing to him when he was in 8th grade how important it was for him to do well in that class. I think this is pretty common in most states/school districts now, especially with HS students now trying to fit in more AP classes in their 4 years.
     
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I believe USAFA will reconfigure your high school gpa to suit their standards. Don't worry about a course you took when you were twelve.
     
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