Applying to a new college


New Member
Jan 2, 2018
I am currently at usafa and I am applying to another school because I am having a feeling usafa is not for me but my friends and family want me to stick out the first year. I feel like I still will not like it even after recognition so that is why I am applying to another school so that I can transfer at the end of the year. I want to keep my options open however I do not know where to go or who to ask to send my first semester transcript. I don't really want my academic advisor or anyone for that matter to know I am applying to a new school so is there a way for me to send it myself or request a transcript for myself that I can send? Please no hate usafa is not for everyone just helpful answers only! Thanks!
Official transcripts must be sent by the institution. There's no getting around it. If you want to switch you must do so wholeheartedly. It won't affect how you're dealt with by the powers at usafa.
My DD was in your shoes last year. Filled out common app in plebe year thinking she was definitely leaving. Decided to stick it out for fear of regretting her decision. Doing much, much better as a 3/C. I think she's going to go the distance and graduate. You're right though, not for everyone. Give it some careful thought. January starts the cold, dark season that makes things tougher.
You can go to the registrar and request an official transcript. If you do, I'm pretty sure only the person who processes your request will know of your intentions.
^^^ this (See the Registrar and it's not public info). Many cadets begin the transfer process. Approximately 150 per class will go through w/ a transfer after realizing that either the Academy or military lifestyle is not for them. There's nothing wrong with this decision. Across the country, students transfer to new schools every year, for many reasons.
Why do you think USAFA is not the right place for you?
(There are good reasons, and reasons most 4 degrees contemplate but pass in time...)
There is a certain percentage of every class that transfers out and that is ok. The military, and specifically USAFA, isn't for everyone. But I suggest you stick it out for the remainder of this year. It gets MUCH better after Recognition (per my 3* DS). I also suggest that you shouldn't try to hide this and sneak out the back door without much notice (that's my interpretation of your plan). Be upfront, open and honest about your situation. With doing this I think you should expect that you will have a conversation or two as to why you should stay but you may also find some help with the transferring. And to echo what was previously said, official transcripts can only be sent by the institution.

Regardless of what you choose to do, the skills and character that got you into USAFA will carry you forward.
ilovelukebryan -- USAFA and the Air Force, or anywhere in the military, might not be the place for you . . . that is fine . . . not judging. You have to decide that.

USAFA is supposed to be tough . . . I assume you knew this before you applied . . . I hope it is tough . . . in addition to getting a great education with a lot of opportunities for experiences you can't readily get at a civilian school, it is supposed to be difficult in order to test the candidate's grit and hopefully prepare them to become an Officer in the United States Air Force. While graduating from USAFA is not the only path to become an AF Officer, unlike most other schools, that is the only true purpose for USAFA.

The SA's like to brag about how they have a 7% or 9% acceptance rate "like the Ivies" (from my research, USAFA is the most honest with this calculation as they only include "completed" applications in their calculations and their acceptance rate is around 12%.) One of the major differences between the SAs and Harvard or Yale can be seen in the attrition rates. For Harvard and Yale (based on my research a couple of years ago) their attrition rate for a 5 year undergrad degree was around 2%. The SAs are currently around 20% over 4 years. (When I went through it was 40% -- almost half of those I entered with quit USAFA sometime prior to graduation). What is my point? While getting into an Ivy League school is very difficult, and anyone who enters should be congratulated -- staying there once in doesn't seem to be a problem. On the other hand, the scholarship to an SA, while also very difficult to attain, is one of the most difficult scholarships in the country to keep (some of the SMCs like VMI still have a near 40% attrition rate) . . . because it is meant to be that way.

Apply to the other schools if you like, but before you decide to quit, I would recommend you write down why you wanted to go to USAFA in the first place, and be honest with yourself. What was your goal? What attracted you to USAFA? Why did you put yourself and your family through that taxing application, DoDMERB, nomination, nail-biter of lottery ticket selection process?

Next, write down why you want to quit. Then compare that to the above.

The questions you have to answer are, "Have my goals truly changed?" and, "If my original goals are still intact, am I willing to put forth the effort for another 7 semesters at USAFA to attain those goals?"

Sincere best wishes to you with your struggle.
Thank you for everyone’s responses! Don’t worry I’m still going to push through this year and if I still feel like it’s not for me, then it’s not for me! If I end up changing my mind i can always turn other schools down. I want that option.
Also fun fact for some of you who don’t know, you actually DONT have to tell anyone if you’re applying anywhere else and USAFA does NOT have to send you the transcript. I found out today that you’re actually allowed to request official transcripts and put whatever school address you want on it and send it out yourself. Thanks again for everyone’s responses!

I am with others on this issue. But here’s my version. If your desire to leave is because you no longer wish to serve in the military and want to do something else and that goal is very very clear than your change of heart is well understood. But the reality is majority of students at Harvard Yale Columbia and other civilian colleges of USAFA caliber change their mind on majors 1-3 times during their Freshman Sophomore year. And some have the desire to leave for somewhere else. Some students transfer from Harvard to Dartmouth and some change from Columbia to Harvard. Why they do it, I don’t have a clue. I see very little difference other than location. But I think some do it because they thought they didn’t belong there but belonged somewhere else. Like the way you feel.

Many Cadets who graduate very happy and speak of their Alma Mater with great affection thought about quitting more than once. And I don’t think you are any different but going through your personal trial today. In fact it is very normal. Academies have very few Rambo’s. Most are Scholars Athletes and Leaders which is the reason why you are there and others are there. But there are nerds and jocks too at the Academy. And Harvard has more! That’s the small difference with the Academy. But the bigger difference is Harvard nerds have a lot of respect for Academy grads because either they know or heard it takes more than brain to be at the Academy. It takes very special kind of young men and women to be admitted and be a Cadet at a Service Academy. You made the bar and you should be very proud!

Sometimes relationship outside the Academy want to make Cadets leave the Academy. I am just making speculation here so don’t take it wrong. But if you want to leave because you fell in love with someone outside the Academy before you came and you want to spend more time with the person and that person really cares for you she/he will wait for you. If not, you will fall in love many times over. And you should until the right person and the right time is there for you. I would not leave the Academy to follow your love today. Again my apology if this is not the case.

Stay at the Academy. Give yourself a chance. Give yourself more time. If you really must you can still change next year. But we wish you well and hope you complete your journey at the Air Force Academy and commission and serve our country. Best Wishes!
Falcon A...

June 25, 1979 - 1,516
June 1, 1983 - 956

I stand corrected, not 40% attrition for Class of 83, 36.9% attrition.
OP. My now 2nd Lt. entertained the idea of leaving many, many times as a doolie. A hundred thoughts became ten as a sophomore then one as a junior and zero as a firstie. Things change over the four years at USAFA, things do get better. Don't get discouraged. Doolie year is not USAFA and USAFA is not the operational AF. Apparently life is 100x (that's what I was told) better after USAFA lol.
Never leave when you are stressed, under pressure or feeling that you made a mistake - you are basing that decision on emotions which is generally not logical. Tomorrow that stress will be gone and that pressure will be off, then what? Life is usually a one way street, there are no do-overs. What if you left and decided that Harvard was also a mistake, can you come back to USAFA ( and would they want you back?) or did you just burn your bridge. It is easier to transfer from one civilian college to another, but not so easy with SAs to civilian then back. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
I agree, USAFA is not for everyone and it is good to have options. Leave if your heart tells you to leave but please make sure you are leaving on a good day. Leave when the sun is shining, the birds are singing and life is good (meaning you are not on ac pro or facing an honor board) . If you can walk down Cadet Drive with your head held high on that good of a day, then you have made the right choice.
.. USAFA does NOT have to send you the transcript. I found out today that you’re actually allowed to request official transcripts and put whatever school address you want on it and send it out yourself. Thanks again for everyone’s responses!

Not trying to be argumentative, but my experience with transcripts has taught me that the receiving institution usually requires a transcript to be sealed and sent by the originating institution in order for the transcipt to be considered official. Not all institutions may require a transcript to be sealed but I do believe a sealed one removes all doubt as to the legitamacy of the transcript.
I tend to comment for the other lurkers reading a thread that didn’t start it, won’t comment on it, but feel they are in a similar boat and want to learn from the thread. So OP, don’t take anything I’m about to write as personal or towards you. It’s simply a comment on the topic in general. Take from it what you want.

1. No matter how much you’ve ALWYAYS wanted to attend a military academy, and no matter how much you THINK you know about it, you have absolutely “No Idea” what you’re getting into until you get there. For most, it’s nothing what you thought it would be.
2. Some applicants apply PRIMARILY because of the FREE/SUBSIDISED education. They know it’s a good school, and the “Price is right”, but they are not prepared for a life of such military rules, discipline, and lack of individuality.
3. Academically, it’s a lot more challenging that most other schools. Not necessarily because of the course load, which is generally more than a traditional school, but because of the time restraints associated with all the other military activities and training involved.

But for those who truly do want to become commissioned officers and serve in the military, the training and experiences at the academy are essential. Your actual academic degree isn’t the main reason for the academy. You can learn academics in any educational institution. And no one believes that your degree in behavioral science or history is going to make you a better pilot, STO, Missile Ops, or other officer. (Caveat - some degrees may be part of your job, such as engineering or one of the sciences). It’s the military training and teaching you how to adapt to the stresses of the academy and the team concept that is the primary purpose of the academy. That’s what is going to train you to become a military leader. This is why the academy isn’t easy. You’re being forced to LEARN how to adapt. How to be part of the team. How to lead. Civilian schools don’t care about these things. Matter of fact, civilian schools care very little about you as an individual. As long as you pay your tuition, pass the classes, and don’t bring negative attention to their school, they could care less what you do outside of the school. And they could care less what happens to you after you graduate. They don’t care if you work at Pizza Hut, are homeless, or live in mom and dads basement for the next 40 years. The military isn’t like that. They care about the next 5-20 years. The impact you’ll have on the enlisted troops under your command. Performing a job that contributes to maintaining peace for our country.

Now, this isn’t to say the academy is the only place this can be achieved. ROTC is another Avenue. Granted, because they aren’t a 24/7 military environment, they have to achieve this with different methods. More concentrated training, summer programs, more selective on what you major in, etc. There’s a different type of commitment you have to demonstrate. But in the end, they too are trying to produce the same type of military,leader and officer.

So when you apply to the academies, realize that the academic education is secondary to why that institution exists and why you are there. You’re there to learn how to handle stress. Learn how to manage time. Learn how to deal with diverse individuals. Learn to be part of a team and something much larger than yourself. The Bachelor of Science degree is just an added bonus.

If you learn, understand, accept, and are ok with these truths, (and can see the big picture and look 4+ years down the road), then the academy can be a much easier place to handle and get through. Even the academics will become easier. But if you’re more interested in the academic side of the academy and your own individuality, then the academy will be much more difficult to get through, and/or you may find that it’s just not for you.
.. USAFA does NOT have to send you the transcript. I found out today that you’re actually allowed to request official transcripts and put whatever school address you want on it and send it out yourself. Thanks again for everyone’s responses!

Not trying to be argumentative, but my experience with transcripts has taught me that the receiving institution usually requires a transcript to be sealed and sent by the originating institution in order for the transcipt to be considered official. Not all institutions may require a transcript to be sealed but I do believe a sealed one removes all doubt as to the legitamacy of the transcript.

I just want to clarify this for other people who may be in the same shoes. At USAFA you can go to the registrar and request an official sealed and signed transcript that has no address written on it, therefore, it is up to the cadet to write where that transcript needs to go. So, no academic advisor or anyone has to know if you are applying anywhere else just in case or to keep your options open. The reason I want to keep this private is because I do not want to start anything with people talking to me about this or that when I am already planning to wait until the end of the year to decide. I just would like to keep my options open. So yes, my transcript I sent is legitimate!