As long as the academy(ies) have MORE QUALIFIED applicants than they need to appoint, they will conduct their programs as they see fit. If an academy needs/wants more applicants that fit certain criteria; e.g. location, gender, race, etc. they will put more efforts into those areas. If they don't need as many, they won't.
Hypothesis: Air Force academy has more than enough QUALIFIED applicants/appointees than they need; therefor they don't exert much effort into offering visits, overnight visits, admissions staff involvement, etc.
Just like any job, school, product, service, etc. if the need for "Customers" increases; the effort of "Sales" will increase.
Christcorp, I've read many of your posts in the past and always found them insightful. Reading between the lines of your post above, USAFA is receiving higher numbers of more qualified candidates than both USMA and USNA. As a result, USAFA has no need to be responsive to inquiries from qualified candidates or provide avenues such as overnights to qualified candidates who are trying to decide if USAFA is the best choice for them. That, in my layman's opinion, does not seem like a sound strategy for acquiring the best candidates, especially from a finite pool with significant overlap between academies.
Usafamom2016 asserts that candidates should not need "hand holding and weekly contact" to navigate this process. I can't say that I disagree, but there is a large chasm between her take on the subject and the complete lack of interaction DS experienced. I would think that somewhere in between would be a reasonable expectation. The lack of contact flies directly in the face of the 2017 USAFA Instructions to Candidates Guide which every candidate was required to download prior to starting his/her application. It, in fact, states:
1.) "Keep in touch with your Air Force Academy Admissions Counselor to ensure that your file is complete and current."
2.) "Contact your ALO mentor for insight into life at the Academy and Careers in the Air Force."
Just to confirm, DS is a desirable candidate who's GPA and test scores are higher than the averages listed by Christcorp in his post. DS also has a solid resume beyond the academic portion. USAFA ordered his DoDMERB early in the process and he is qualified. It seems to me USAFA is sending mixed signals in it's interactions with candidates.
I understand that Christcorp and Usafamom2016 are aware of behind the scene mechanics to which most of us are not privy. However, the explanations that have been offered about USAFA's apparent strategy for using its ALO/counselors to get the highest quality cadets just don't seem to make sense. I'm not trying to be antagonistic, but I will tell you that DS did change his SA rankings with our Congressman, in no small part, because of the perceptions he had formed during his interactions (or lack of) with his liaisons and counselors. What made that change more impactful is that our congressman will not double nominate; DS did get the nomination to his first choice.