Ok, I'm just a senior in high school, but I got an appointment offer so I'll try to give you an idea of why I think they sent me an LOA.. It's not AT ALL about SAT scores. They do help show that you study hard and have the mental ability to succeed, but everyone who gets candidate status has over 600 on each section i believe. What the Air Force wants leading its men are leaders, and that means people who are never content with where they are. My idea of a leader is someone who pushes himself/herself to be the best and brings up everyone around them as well. They also want to see that you want the academy to be the best for your country and not for yourself (I think anyone can agree thats not an efficient means). Another thing is they don't want mediocre. They look for well rounded, but were you good at everything as well? Were you not just in a sport, but did you letter? Did you stay in boy scouts till you got eagle? From what I know, the academy lives and breathes these principles. Thats what got me set on USAFA and thats why 2013 will see me at BCT this June.
The fact that you're on here "desparate" to go shows that you probably have these principles as well. Good luck I hope to see you there
Weston; I can understand and appreciate your position on why you think you received an LOA, but I don't believe that it's that simple. Matter of fact; what you describe is so intangible, that it would be very difficult to determine if a person has all those things you're describing as a prerequisite for receiving an LOA.
Each candidate is multi-scored on their application. There is a score for everything; including your SAT/ACT scores. You are scored on your GPA, CFA, Writing Samples, letters of recommendations, sports, extra curricular, etc... Everything on your application is scored. NOW; considering that you CAN'T get an LOA (At least in the air force) unless your application is completed; with only your DODMRB and/or nomination still being required; means that your application has already been scored. Because of 50+ years of scores and applications to base decisions on; the academy knows pretty much based on your scores which percentile you will fit in. If you fit in a high enough percentile that they realize you will be offered an appointment (Assuming you pass physically and receive your nomination) whether it's now or 4 months from now; they will have a tendency to offer you a LOA. This is similar to a traditional college offering "Early Admissions". The goal is to excite you and make you commit to the academy without committing to other schools. If you have to wait until March, and receive offers from other schools prior, you might be tempted to accept another offer.
But this LOA can't be offered unless they have scored you or at the very least know the probably score when completed. This way a higher scored individual isn't left out at the expense of a lower scored individual. This score definitely includes your extra curricular activities like scouting, CAP, JrRotc, Varsity letter sports, etc... But it most definitely also includes your SAT/ACT scores, gpa, class rank, difficulty in classes, recommendations, interviews, etc... It's really the only way to determine such an assurance. Yes, there are exceptions and additional appointment slots, but we're talking about the 90+ of appointments/LOA being offered. later... mike....