Yet another LOA / Nomination question

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by hawk, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    DS & I were discussing his SLS experiences and he was explaining the briefing where they covered LOA's.

    We understand they are rare, what they are for, how they are used, etc.

    Where we get confused is around nominations associated with LOA's.

    We've read as many back posts on LOA's, it sounds like in some cases a nomination is provided *if* the candidate is not a principle nom or did not make the ten nom list. (Presumably provided from other nomination sources)

    In other posts, it sounds like the congressional committees work to get LOA holder's higher in the queue as they are high probability. So they are more likely to get a nom.

    And in others, there is reference to LOA's being contingent upon obtaining a nomination, which makes it sound like you have to run the full nomination process and be selected.

    Is this variance between the academies? Or are there different types of LOA's?

    We recognize it's somewhat irrelevant right now because of the odds. We are just trying to understand how it works. :)

    Any clarification would be welcome! Please use short sentences as clearly we are missing something simple! :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    If you get an LOA, it means you will be given an appointment pending upon the conditions of the LOA. They are different for different people. Most are dependent upon a nomination, and perhaps DODMERB clearance. If it is dependent upon a nomination, you do not have to be the principle nom. Any nomination is sufficient.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Okay, you need to understand the LOA process

    1. LOA's are very very rare. Only about 150 or so go out for the original 6K that are qualified in the PCQ.

    2. They are used as a recruiting tool for candidates that have incredible resumes. 2300 SAT isn't enough, you need the EC's to go with them.

    3. LOA's start churning out in August, but they go for several months.

    Now the nom process regarding an LOA in hand.

    1. It will be dependent upon a nom...ANY nom.

    2. The MOC, knows that a candidate with an LOA, may not necessarily be charged to them. Just giving them the nom fulfills one portion of the apptmt. Thus, no need to put them on a higher queue.

    You will learn along the way that the nom gets you in, but once in they can charge you to other sources, i.e. Supe.

    Dodmerb

    Your LOA will also be conditional on passing the Dodmerb. If you have color blindness to a level that the USNA does not accept and an LOA, there will be no apptmt.

    This is the time everyone gets excited about the thought of receiving an LOA. As much as your stats maybe strong, you need to realize that the LOA is used as a recruiting tool and you need to place that into context. Many LOA's are given for recruited athletes. Many are given to the candidate that is the top of their class and could easily get EA MIT. That is how hard it is to an LOA.

    Don't place too much into getting that LOA. LY at this time there was a cadet who was 1000% positive with their stats they would get one. They were positive that by Oct., they would have an apptmt in hand, only to never receive an LOA and have to wait until January. This is a very long roller coaster ride. Please realize that it was only 1 month ago the mass mailing went out, in other words, your ride could be 3 months until you find out, or 11 months.

    Either way, we will be buckled up right next to you for as long as the ride is.

    BTW SS is a plus for the ECS.
     
  4. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Hopefully this will answer your questions -
     
  5. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Let me address how MOCs view LOAs. I've heard three different stories -- and all are probably true. It just depends on the MOC's perspective.

    1) The MOC tries to make sure every LOA candidate in his/her district/state gets at least one nom. MOCs may collaborate on this -- making sure one of the Senators or the Rep gives each LOA candidate at least one nom.

    2) MOCs don't care whether you have an LOA; they pick the best candidates based on their committee's evaluations. An LOA MAY be one factor they consider or they may not care. These MOCs basically don't care who the SAs think are the best candidates -- they only care whom they think are the best candidates.

    3) The MOC figures that, if the SA gave you an LOA, they will "find" a nom for you and thus view an LOA "negatively" in the nom process. Thus, they assume (incorrectly, BTW), that if they have 10 folks with LOAs in their district/state and give a different 10 people -- without LOAs -- noms, that 20 people may potentially get appointments.

    Thankfully, approach (3) above is not common, but I have heard of it happening. Approach (1) tends to be the most common.

    The one thing I will say to everyone out there is: THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THE WAY YOUR MOC APPROACHES LOAs. The SAs do their best to educate MOCs about the process, including LOAs. However, in this area, the MOCs are autonomous; the SAs have zero control in how the MOCs approach their noms; MOCs merely need to comply with the laws, which they wrote.

    Also, please do NOT assume that, once you have an LOA, the SA will "find" you a nom. I had 3 candidates this year who had LOAs and no noms. USNA gave one a Supe's nom. The other 2 got turndowns and did not get in. I can't speak for the other SAs, but for USNA at least, when they say it's up to YOU to get a nom, they do mean it.

    And lest you think the MOCs are ever going to change the law to give them less authority, autonomy, etc. . . . :yllol:
     
  6. acesmom

    acesmom Member

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    pls explain LOA's for this newbie parent

    Okay, so I'm VERY new to all of this and it's a bit confusing:eek:

    DS is in the process of his apps to MOC's and AFA. He is currently on his way back from SS and shows as "competitive" on AFA admissions. So do I understand correctly that the LOA is a "letter of assurance" directly from the SA...in other words that the candidate has been accepted by that SA? I assume the candidate still needs a nom from someone? This is where I'm confused. Please explain as if I know nothing! there are a lot of new parents on at this time of year I would expect:smile:

    DS started app to MOC's before SS and we will be working to complete when he gets home today. Goal is to have them all in by EOM.

    Thanks in advance,
    acesmom
    DS Pre-Candidate Class of 2015
     
  7. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Yes, the letter of assurance comes from the admissions department at the academy.
    There are many criteria to be met for admissions, what the letter says is IF you meet these other criteria (they list them) THEN you will receive an appointment.

    Early one's go out before the MOC's have picked their nomination slate. Additionally other criteria might include becoming medically qualified and/or passing the CFA.

    It's great he is in a hurry to get everything done early! However, there is nothing to be gained by sending in the MOC applications early. Lots of kids have some good things going on early in their senior year (make captain of a team, volunteer etc.) He wants the MOC to know about ALL of it. I suggest that you hold of, update the MOC applications and send them in a couple of weeks prior to the due date. Nothing is gained by being early here.
     
  8. acesmom

    acesmom Member

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    Just a Mom: thanks much for your post.

    I don't recall if it was on this website forum or if I received the advice elsewhere, but we were told that getting in apps to MOCs early is good because the boards actually start reviewing them way before the deadline date. It was suggested that getting them in early the app gets seen more times as they are going through them. We were also advised to NOT wait until just a week or two before deadline because then it could be perceived you were not proactive and waited till last min. I do see your point though! Our MOC deadlines are all in Oct, so maybe we wait until early Sept? (We start school here first wk of Aug).

    We went to a SA conference hosted by our congressman. They told us there to please send stuff in AS it gets completed and to not wait until your whole packet is done and ready. I suppose it's different from state to state and MOC to MOC.

    Anyone else have any thoughts/advice on WHEN to get MOC apps in ???

    Thanks again for your help JustAMom. And remember, we are never JUST moms. We are the BOMB as the MOM! as I like to tell my kids:shake:

    Be well,

    acesmom
     
  9. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    I never heard this but each MOC can do his/her own thing. Some interview, some don't, some have a committee, some do the picking themselves.
    If your MOC wants information piecemeal, then do it. Make sure he keeps updating his package until he is notified of a Nomination - this includes first quarter grades.
    Some MOC's specifically want the entire package sent at one time, so it's important to follow your MOC's instructions.

    I would say - wait until the beginning of the school year. In your case, end of Aug would be fine.
    If your son is going to re-take/keep taking the SAT/ACT have him send his scores directly to the MOC. Do NOT wait until he gets his scores before sending them in.

    Of course, we are the BOMB! I just like to humor my kids! :wink:
     
  10. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    I have never heard of an MOC reviewing applications for nominations until after their deadline.

    Perhaps you are confusing with the actual SA's, who do review applications weekly beginning in September. The admissions review committees meet, assign WCS (Whole Candidate Scores) to each applicant and even send off a few LOA's to highly, HIGHLY qualified candidates.

    Even if your MOC accepts things piece meal (in Texas it was to be delivered in one packet, letters of recommendation, etc all included).....so even if they say they will accept things dribbling in, I would be cautious about doing this excessively. You are relying upon some staffer who is probably doing a hundred different things, to get your continual updates filed away in your file, not someone else's.

    I don't think the MOC will view the applications that arrive a week or so before the deadline as less interested than those who arrive in August or September. Typically, they have a committee which will meet AFTER the deadline to begin sorting through applications, deciding who to interview, etc.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I have to agree with JAM and jennyp. I never heard of an MOC reviewing a packet prior to the deadline.

    If your MOC wants it piece meal than follow their directions.

    Here's my issue about sending piece meal...what happens if one piece is lost? Do they have a system for you to make sure that they got each and every piece?

    Our DS, received every MOC nom, and I can tell you that without a doubt, 1 of them arrived 1 week prior to the close out date.

    In the end your MOC will give a nom., not based on when they got the packet, but what is in the packet when they got it.

    If you have completed the packet early than by all means send it. If they want it in piece meal then send it. One thing about applying to an SA is following orders, and this is the first test.

    Just don't rush it because you feel it is important to get it there early. Many MOC's ask for essays, a poorly written essay can do more harm than having a strong essay show up on the deadline date.

    You are correct that every MOC varies, so it is equally important to understand that what one poster has been told by an MOC is not a hard rule of thumb for every MOC. Have your child contact your MOC and ask them directly whenever it is in doubt regarding direction. You as a parent should not call, unless it is physically impossible for your child...i.e. child goes to school at 6:30 a.m. and plays a sport every day until 6 pm, which means the office is closed. (Even so have them email before you life the phone up).

    OBTW, I would suggest sending everything via registered mail, sign receipt, because at least you know it got there. I would also suggest to contact them @ 2 weeks out if you sent it early to verify that the packet is complete. You don't want to get the no nom., because something got lost in the mail.
     
  12. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    I can one up you Pima, our congressman's office got the package hand delivered on the deadline day. She got a nomination.

    Seriously, jenny and pima are giving good common sense advice. Some MOC's will NOT accept additions or updates. Even so, you risk getting half your packet lost.

    Send it all in together, in ONE package. If you GC requires your transcripts send directly from her office then coordinate the mailing with them and send it all in together reasonably close to the deadline date. It's a good idea to get confirmation of delivery which is easy to get from the post office.

    IF you have something really, really, really significant (like you made Eagle scout, or you won a athletic champoinship), then update your package AND bring your accomplishment with you to the interview and work it into the conversation.

    I am going to repeat this in bold and it holds true for MOC's within the same state. e.g - there is no point in asking what Pennsylvania or Florida or Texas MOC's do.
     
  13. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    All schools are different, so I don't know if you are allowed to do this at yours, but this is what DS did: He paid for a transcript for himself. He picked it up, photocopied it, put it in his MOC packets with a note stating that the official one would be sent from the school under separate cover, but this one was unofficial, as it had been opened.

    Having everything in one folder makes the review by the MOC so much easier.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    This statement got lost in the mix, and I think it is important to address it.

    LOA's, especially for the AFA (your DS's case) are RARE! YES, it comes directly from the SA. THE MOC has nothing to do with it. Sometimes, they are not even informed of the LOA.

    Let's break down the numbers
    @10K open files
    @6K get "applicant"
    @ 3K get noms
    @1600 are offered apptmts
    THUS, a 17% acceptance rate.

    @ 150+/-, historically, get an LOA from the AFA. Do not start spinning yourself up on getting an LOA or not getting one. Statistically even 150 out of 6000 is not something a betting person would take odds on. DO the math, for the AFA a candidate has a basically a 1 in 45 chances to get an LOA.

    If you extrapolate those numbers, and realize how many congressional districts exist, you would see that on the avg not even every MOC has an LOA candidate, it is more likely that 1 out of every 3 Rep (MOC) has 1 LOA in their nom pool.

    Do you know what they call the cadet with an LOA compared to the cadet without an LOA? CADET!

    The LOA means squat when you arrive next June. Nobody, is going to take heed of the fact that they had an LOA, so just be happy that he is moving onto the next barrier...nom process.

    Now regarding the LOA and the process.

    The LOA candidate still needs an MOC. Again, it will vary from MOC to MOC, but typically if the MOC knows they have an LOA, they will give the nom., because they may not necessarily be charged the candidate.

    Remember, MOC's can only have 5 charged cadets at any given time, but this is a giant puzzle for the SA. You can have an MOC nom, but be charged to the Supe or various other sources. You need the nom to get in, but that doesn't mean that is your source....it is confusing, but by Dec., you will be able to wrap your head around how the charging of a candidate works.

    Next, competitiveness.
    I am not sure what you mean by being classified as "competitive", I am hoping you are not like Snoopy lurking over the mailbox for an LOA. Yrs ago, when our DS went through the process it meant he passed the 1st barrier, it had nothing to do with an LOA.

    The AFA for yrs has been, to the best of my knowledge, the only SA that places on their website what is considered "competitive" regarding SAT/ACT. Score below a 490 on SAT CR or 24 ACT V and you are traditionally deemed not competitive. This may have changed.

    I know this is confusing, it will takes months before you get a handle on it, but we are here to help you out.

    The funny thing is once you understand the nom process and LOA, people will throw a wrench in by discussing types of nom lists...principal, princ. alt. rack and stack, alphabetical, etc. Your head will spin for quite some time before you can get it all.

    Best wishes to your DS.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    For both of our children, this was not an option. At our DS' school we could pay $1 and get the SEALED transcript 24 hrs later, even during summer hours. For DD, they place SR students on a virtual lockdown for transcripts as soon as their jr. yr ended. You were not allowed to get a transcript, sealed or unsealed, for a rising sr unless it went straight to the university, this even included the end of yr transcript.

    Mom is right...talk to the gc or school to see if this is an option you can use.

    The word ASSUME, could not be more true when it comes to the nom process.

    Again, not a hard and fast rule for MOCs, but it is best IMHO not to be blindsided at the last moment.
     
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    As stated, each MOC is different, and has the latitude to handle the program anyway they want to. I know personally of a MOC who has one of their staff, who is charge of the program, review the package immediately upon receipt. This review is two-fold. 1) Ensure that the applicant has provided everything required by the MOC's program to have their package scored. 2) To Pre-score the completed package for the MOC. This MOC didn't have a "Board" per say to review the package. S/He did it themselves. Remember, these are not the first time the staff/MOC have every seen or reviewed applications for a nomination. Just like the academy, they are very aware what "average", "Below Average", and "Above Average" applications look like. The pre-score gives the MOC a preliminary idea of those applying for a nomination. This allow him/her to work in concert with the other MOC to maximize the number of nominations they put out.

    Mind you, this is more common among small populated states. We only have 1 representive for the who state. IOW, we only have 1 district and 1 representative. So ALL those applying to the senator is also applying to the representative. In 2007, there were only 16 or 18 (can't remember exactly) individuals applying to the air force academy in the ENTIRE STATE. So getting a nomination is easy here. However, being the #1 person on the slate is tough. One might rank the slate, the other 2 might allow the academy to do the choosing.

    But the MOC's here are also looking and waiting to see the LOA's, presidentials, etc... Because unless you totally suck, you WILL get a nomination in Wyoming. An LOA applicant may indeed get a nomination the day after the deadline. (Another reason for pre-scoring). They can be the very last nomination on the slate, but the LOA gets them the appointment. Where things get crazy is when you have a lot of representative in a state. And they are also trying to compete with the 2 senators. But in states with only a couple of representative, or even just one, they can work out the logistics a lot better. But as said, it varies state to state. Good luck. mike....
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    To add onto Mike's points about MOC's. It is important to realize not every MOC does the interview process. It is their choice, just because another candidate states they are from the same state, and have an interview with their MOC, don't assume that your MOC will also interview.

    Additionally, don't assume that because it is Nov and passed the deadline date for the packet that they will not be interviewing. Sen. Burr does not interview until Jan. His notifications of who is selected to interview go out @ Christmas. Noms slates are not officially due until the end of January, and some MOC's want to get 1st semester grades before they move forward.

    Finally, just like everything else, MOC's may use the interview process as a verification process that the candidate in person matches the one on the paper...or it may be another piece of the puzzle, where there is no guarantee you will walk out with the nom.

    Just remember it the nom process for each MOC is like your child that will attend the SA, unique, but have commonalities among them.
     

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