Advice on Application/Preparation - USAFA


New Member
Jan 2, 2017
I am currently a junior in high school, and have decided that I am going to be applying the the Air Force Academy over the upcoming year. I'm looking for advice and a couple clarifications for certain aspects of this... to start, my highlights are:
-All A's and B's in high school so far, never below that, GPA fluctuates between 3.4 and 3.8.
-PSAT 1250 (Math 600, Reading/Writing 650) I have yet to take the SAT/ACT, will likely improve.
-Before application deadline in Jan. 2018 I will be on Natl. Honor Soc., I missed this years deadline.
-1 year Army JROTC, 3 years Air Force JROTC, 3 years Civil Air Patrol, cadet officer.
-3 leadership camps with the above programs, plus a fourth year staffing them
-Drill team, Color guard, tons of community service, and a very active cadet with all 3 cadet programs with multiple achievement awards
-Concert Band (4 years, percussion) Marching Band (3 years, perc.) Jazz Band (1-2 years, piano)
-No major sports :(
-No military family
So, looking at the requirements, my major worries are:
*PT test... my biggest worry is PT, and have started hitting the gym as much as possible since deciding to apply. I am very tall, over 6 ft. and am very skinny. I can do ok on some events like pushups, basketball throw, and shuttle/mile runs. I am very worried about pull ups and sit ups though. I have had a very bad history with these events and cannot even do one pull up, and have a hard time doing sit-ups because of my height. How can I prepare for these events?
*Nomination... I live in a highly populated area which has a lot of military families, so I am worried about being able to attain a nomination. This is also the part of the application process which I know the least about. Are the 5 spots new each year, or permanent throughout? I also am applying with a friend of mine with almost identical stats... is it likely for us both to get the nomination?
Thank you for any help. This is a big goal for me and I appreciate the advice.
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Just continue to do well in school, score well on the SAT/ACT (they superscore), volunteer, play sports, and look for leadership opportunities. I take it you have your Mitchell. Strive for the Earhart, Eaker, and Spaatz. Look to become cadet commander if you can.

Search this forum. All the info you need is out here.
Do not worry so much about the PT test. I was somewhat in your position: I decided to apply at the end of my sophomore year, yet PT was my largest obstacle. That summer, I lost 35 pounds to half my mile time. In the following October, I focused on pull ups, and went from zero to ten over two months. I spent an hour a day preparing, across the whole week, splitting my time between cardio and weightlifting. PT is an easier part of the application to improve, and USAFA puts the lowest emphasis on the CFA of the big three Academies AFAIK. I did pretty poorly on mine, but I still got in, so...

The nomination process I have less of an answer for. Yes, you and your friend can both receive nominations. There are five slots total, so a nominator could have five current cadets in the class of 2020 and not be able to give out any noms. With each cadet slot not filled, they can give out 10 nominations, which therefore can allow up to 50 noms. I believe getting the nomination is the goal and not to worry about the five cadet limit; a book of applicant tips says that if the Academy really wants six people from the same district, they will forget about the five cadet rule.

Misc tips: Get your GPA up as far as possible, ASAP. Same with the test scores. I suggest studying hard for them early this semester, get a great score, and do not worry about them senior year. That's just one way to reduce stress during the application season.

DO NOT wait until you are entered into the National Honor Society to submit your application. Submit it as soon as possible, in August or September, to prove that you are very motivated. You will probably not hear back until February or later anyways, so you can just email your USAFA counselor with proof of NHS entrance in January. Also, I believe you can keep updating your application with new awards or extracurriculars even after the application deadline.

Spend a ton of time perfecting your essays. I wrote drafts of two of my essays when I first saw the prompt in July. By September, I finished all three, speaking with teachers about them after school multiple times per week. I believe my strong, lyrical writing combined with great content greatly helped secure me a Letter of Assurance.

Good luck!