So I love this forum and it has offered my tons of insight so I want to share mine to those who are currently in the application phase. I posted this in another thread but I feel it is important so I want to reiterate it to all that would take the time to read it. Also if anyone else wants to bare their advice or words of wisdom, GO FOR IT! Anyway, Here is my tid bit of advice... 1) Fitness: Start working out now! I don't care how fit you are, there's always room for improvement. You need to be preparing for your CFA. Mine was a very challenging 30 minutes. I've been chubby all my life so it was extra hard for me but I have a friend who attends USMA that was physically amazing and it was hard on him too. So do push ups, pull ups and sit ups at least 5 days a week for a minimum of thirty minutes. Also Run your behind off! Not just for the CFA but for USAFA itself. I started with a mile, then a mile and a half, and now I run 3 miles. Occasionally time yourself to track your mile and 1.5 mile speed. My work out regime goes as follows... I start of with a 3 mile run, outside on a road that is up and down hill. Find an area like this to help running, I promise it will help. I started at 1 mile on this road, then a week later 1.5 miles and then after running that distance for a few weeks I increased to 3 miles. I plan to increase that here soon. Monitor your breathing and stamina to prepare for the elevation change. After running I am off to the gym I do three sets of 20 Inclined on stairs diamond push ups 20 wide arm push ups 20 close arm push ups As with the running, I started doing 5 of each push ups and then 10, 15 and now 20! It is exhausting but it helps so much. After that I do three sets of... 20 Crunches 20 Sit-ups 20 flutter kicks Again, I started with 10 and then 15 and now 20 Also get used to doing pull ups or at least practicing the form I use an assisted pull up machine that lessens my weight I am pulling up so that I can be more used to the pull up form to perform more reps. I recommend doing this first. Trying pull ups after all those push ups is agony. This regime is a bit long usually takes me about an hour and a half and some times we change up and lift weights but this is a good place to start, it certainly helped me. Lets just say that before I started working out, 5 push-ups were hard for me. Now when I leave the gym I usually have completed a total of 180 something push ups, depending on how my dad changes the routine. Also, have a gym buddy! My dad is a god send. 2) Test Scores: These are important because academics weigh the most. Use the scores you have, BUT DON'T STOP TESTING unless you are accepted or maxed out (36 ACT or 1600 SAT) trust me on this one. I took the ACT four times! And the SAT twice! I was scheduled to take more but I got accepted. Never forget that they take mixed scores either! My composites on the ACT sucked. I got 25,24,23,24 (in that order) but my highest scores were (Math 25 Reading 29 English 26 Science Writing 25) my SAT highest scores were (Math 560 Reading 580) I recommend taking both. To people, one is easier than the other, but you need to take both so you know which one produces better scores. I did better on the SAT because it felt easier. I let myself get overwhelmed with getting good scores and it affected my scores negatively so don't stress yourself out over scores. Also take the writing at least once so you can apply to back up colleges. Also, If you are on free or reduced lunch, or get special assistance at school, you may qualify for SAT and ACT fee waiver and College application fee waivers. Talk to your counselors. They will be helpful and you should use all resources possible. These waivers will save you hundreds. Testing and college fees are no joke. 3) Recommendations: This process requires tons of recommendations so start having some teachers in mind. I applied for 2 senatorial Nominations and 1 congressional nomination which are applications in them selves and required three recommendations each. What I did was picked six teachers and had each of them write a letter of recommendation for my nomination packets and o had four teachers write me letters for USAFA (2 of those will be done online) by the end of it I had extras but more is better than less but only send the requested maximum amount. 4) Find support and don't get discouraged: This is going to be a hard a stressful process. The acceptance rate is 9.9% and USAFA is the 4th ranked university in america (above all the military academies and Harvard, Stanford and Yale.) So its huge. At one point o got discouraged. Never get discouraged! Keep treading on and have someone to vent to if you get to stressed. I had a best friend that I vented to about everything. Having their support helped me not give up on myself. This is a mind game as well as a physical one. 5) Don't stop fighting till it is officially over: There will be times where you think you won't make it. Every time I took my ACT and my scores went down, I started to think I wouldn't make it. I applied for early action and on Jan 15 they told me I was deferred to regular decision. I was denied one nomination and got a nomination for a different academy. After all that I wanted to quit. 2 weeks after those negative letters, my congressman calls me and tells me that I have been accepted to USAFA. I promise, that is the greatest feeling you will ever feel and it is worth the fight and hard work so never give up! Until they write you a letter that says that you have not been accepted into USAFA, you are still competitive! 6) Keep on the Ball: START AS SCHEDULED IT WILL RELIEVE SOME STRESS! I had no varsity participation and not much going for me so I had to cram a lot into my Junior and Senior years and I didn't even start my application until the beginning of my senior year but I still finished for early selection. That's what you should shoot for, it looks good and they consider that you finished everything early. Take AP classes or honors, get a varsity letter or at least play a sport and find a leadership position to excell in(not just to hold) maintain a good GPA! At least 3.5, mine was 3.7 so not everyone who is accepted is a 4.0 but shoot for 4.0 regardless! Never slow down, just power through the paper work and the challenges! Use your parents! Mine help me so much its unreal! Do things to make yourself stand out! Where I lacked in ACT scores, I made up with Leadership roles and a bounty of honors classes. I have taken a total 6 Honor courses, and 4 AP courses. My GPA was dragged down by not doing so hot in Pre AP precal. College prep classes such as AP classes will help because they are freshman college level classes. 7) Have a back up plan: If USAFA is number one than go for it head on! But have a contingency plan! I completed my packet for early action which is due NOV 1 so I used the extra time afterwards to meet December, January, and February college applications. I Applied to like 10 schools after finishing my USAFA application and got accepted to Penn State and others so I knew if USAFA didn't happen, I had a great school to go to. At least apply to one school you know you'll be accepted and one that is harder to get into, that's just minimal though. Also apply for at least 2 scholarships and FASFA! You can't use FASFA for USAFA from what I understand but if you are not accepted and attend a civilian college, it will help. 8) This is the most important thing to remember. NEVER FORGET THAT YOU CAN DO THIS! I just shot a lot of info at you, I know, but I promise it should help and I through in all my personal examples so you could see how someone has gone threw it. And I did this recently. I'm going into the class of 2019. If you have any questions while applying, feel free to ask me!