Am I competitive at all? c/o 2020

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by 7ez, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. 7ez

    7ez Member

    Mar 9, 2015
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    So after a lot of thinking about my future over the past school year, I have decided that I want to be an officer in the Air Force. I want to have a meaningful impact on society and help protect the nation in any way I can. And the more research I do and the more cadets I talk to, the more I also want to attend the Academy. I understand I am very late in the game to be starting this process, as some people have spent their whole high school careers preparing their resumes.

    I applied to Summer Seminar and was denied, so I am a little bummed. I know that it apparently has no indication of my chances of receiving an appointment, but I can’t help but ask if I am about to get involved in a long process that I stand no chance in.

    I understand that nobody can predict chances, but what I am looking for is some guidance as to whether I am competitive or at least heading in the right direction.

    -GPA: 4.0 unweighted, 4.8 weighted
    -Class Rank: Top 5% out of over 700 students
    -Will have taken 13 AP classes by end of Senior Year
    -PSAT: 200 (68 CR, 71 M, 61 W)
    I am scheduled to take the SAT for the first time in April and have been studying, so I believe I will be scoring 2000+. If I push myself I believe I can score 2200+ by fall of Senior year.

    -AFJROTC. I am very active in my unit (tons of awards and clubs within it) and have been an officer since sophomore year. I am currently the highest ranking junior in a unit with over 300 cadets, and I have a legitimate chance of being the commander next year.
    Also I will be able to receive a nomination from my SASI, so I at least know that I will have a nomination going forward into the admissions process.
    -National Honor Society. I am a committee member and am running for an officer position for senior year. I believe I have a good chance of being elected President or Vice President or Secretary.
    -Debate. I am a national qualifier in debate and have many awards from competing. I will also be my team’s captain next year.
    -National Beta Club. I am a committee chair and organize community service events for members.

    Community Service/Work:
    -Over 350 service hours as of today, hopefully near 500 by the time I graduate.
    -I intern at a local political office (politics is one of my interests).
    -I have either a summer internship or job lined up for this summer.

    This is by far the weakest part of my application. I realized the importance of sports too late, and so I have never done any JV or Varsity sports in school. I know this puts me at a disadvantage and based on this I know that about 79% of entering students have varsity athletic letters. And I am sure even more have played sports without necessarily earning a letter.
    -If the rest of my package (academics, leadership, community service, etc.) is on point or better, will that make up for my weakness in this section?

    Here is what I have done:
    -Martial arts. I started in middle school and continued into Freshman year. I stopped going to maintain my academics and leadership positions, but I have returned to my former studio and am planning to continue it year-round (so grades 9, 11, 12)
    -My school created an ultimate frisbee club this year that I participate in regularly. We play weekly and set games up like a tournament. I will continue this next year as well.
    I work out regularly and I know that by the time I test, I will be able to meet and exceed the averages for the CFA.
    -I am planning to try out for the cross country team this fall, but I have no idea if I will even make the Varsity or JV team since my school is very competitive.
    -I am also planning to try out for the wrestling team, but again I have no idea if I will make the team.

    Thank you for reading all of this, please let me know whether you think I am competitive for an appointment and if there is anything I can do to increase my competitiveness.
  2. afmom2020

    afmom2020 Member

    Feb 26, 2015
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    My daughter's main sport was outside of school and the admission counselor suggested that you get a letter from the coach. In your case, get someone to write about the martial art program you have followed, how many times a week you train, what kind of training you do, what level you have reached, etc.

    You also say that you train, but does it happen in school? DD took weights in school for the PE requirement and the counselor once again asked for more information from the school since it's not your average sport.

    I hope this helps.
  3. KTMDad

    KTMDad Member

    Oct 24, 2014
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    Our DS's stats are similar to yours. He didn't decide to apply to USAFA until about a year ago, he was heavily involved in year around debate (both state and national qualifier) and was a team manager and president, he was not selected to attend SS, did not play a varsity sport (but is very athletic - backpacking/snowboarding/dirt bike riding/ etc.), earned his black belt last year, did well on his CFA, volunteer at the same place every week for 3+ years and took on leadership roles, finished his application in early Sept and was offered an Appointment (class of 2019) in October (Presidential Nom). We were also very concerned about the lack of a Varsity Sport, but I have read that the Academies look favorably on Debate which for him was year around and has a significant time commitment. While we are very new to this, I would referred to the much more experienced posters on this site and get your application done early and excel on the SAT/ACT. Good luck in your application journey.
  4. Boozebin

    Boozebin 5-Year Member

    Sep 23, 2010
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    It looks like you already know where your weakness are and you're going to address them. Also don't sell your Martial Arts short, the question I have is did you compete? Are you nationally ranked? Those things go towards that sports commitment. While yes the academies look more favourably on traditional HS sports especially team based ones not having one its not a deal breaker. We have a long time poster Hornet which was a nationally ranked in Tae Kwon Do if I'm remembering correctly and he made it in years ago.

    I don't want to worry you by what I'm about to say but you're looking at it from only one portion of the application process. The nominations are a key part and they may look at the sports thing differently. My DS had very similar stats to you but did not have any sports and he failed to receive a nomination. While you have at least some you should be fine but you really have to nail your CFA. Leave everyone with no doubt that you can make it through the physical aspects of the academy. The CFA make look easy because people look at the individual events and say I can do that but since they are back to back with little rest in between you'll get tired and your mile isn't as fast as you expected. Do a trial run and work from there.
    wildblueyonder likes this.
  5. socaldaddy

    socaldaddy 5-Year Member

    Apr 5, 2011
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    Also, make sure you take the ACT. Some appointees do very well on it vs. the SAT.
  6. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

    Jan 31, 2015
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    7ez, first of all, it sounds like you are doing an amazing job at preparing yourself for the Academy with regard to academics and leadership. Great job! :thumb:

    Yes, it would definitely help to get involved in sports. You should absolutely try to get on the wrestling team and XC team. Also, even though your other leadership is great, I would suggest that you become an officer in the Ultimate Frisbee club (if there are currently no officers, so much the better; you can volunteer to be team captain).

    Don't worry about Summer Seminar. Honestly. I know it's a major bummer. But I got the same rejection letter last year and am now sitting on a USNA appointment. It won't make or break your application, and it certainly doesn't indicate whether or not you'll make a good cadet. Move forward from here and remember that there are a LOT of ways to wow the admissions panel. The credentials you have right now in academics and leadership are way more important than SS would be. Keep your chin up and you will succeed! Good luck! :D
  7. USNAhopeful88

    USNAhopeful88 Member

    Feb 16, 2015
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    "I am planning to try out for the cross country team this fall, but I have no idea if I will even make the Varsity or JV team since my school is very competitive.
    -I am also planning to try out for the wrestling team, but again I have no idea if I will make the team. "

    If you don't make it you can always go out for a no cut sport. Im sure your school has at least a few

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother 5-Year Member Founding Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    In many areas, there are non-school sports which you can take up and begin competing in (competition is a key!) relatively soon. Of course, you are not going to win at first, but stick with it. You know this is true with Martial Arts.

    I think, if you were my child, that I would strongly support you getting a job. And joining a running team (as in local marathoners club, or something where you can get started immediately.), or other non-school sport. Your high hopes of joining the competitive school XC or wrestling teams just seems too pie-in-the-sky for a high school junior.
  9. baileydb

    baileydb Member

    May 27, 2014
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    To be fair though, I was able to join a non-school associated varsity XC team my junior year (finances and parents working combined with distance from sports meant I couldn't do any until I could drive), and lettered, and I'm not even a great runner. Even if your school won't let you join their team, there are teams not associated with schools (mine was a home school team) that maybe you can look into.
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    I'll bounce off Boozebin since I was mentioned. I started Taekwondo when I was 10 because I was no athlete, did not like nor was I good at traditional team sports, and dreamed of nothing more than going to an Academy. By the time I applied to the Academy, I held a State championship and "World" (for the organization) status ranking. Take it with a grain of salt....haha.

    When I was a high school senior, I spoke often with my USAFA counselor. While I did receive an appointment in March 2006 (the time!!), my counselor was candid enough to tell me that I would have received an LOA if I had a more traditional sport with a JV or Varsity rating. Despite my TKD credentials.

    If you want to go down that path - I highly encourage it. I enjoyed my time in TKD and it helped me greatly. Be the best you can. Strictly speaking, a more traditional high school sports team will be more helpful for the application. If you can do both, even better. Good luck!

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