Article on Getting into Service Academy

CuriousDad

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Nov 16, 2019
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A co-worker told me about a article by Kiplinger about how to get into a service academy (link - https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/college/T014-S003-things-to-know-to-get-into-a-service-academy/index.html). Has anyone seen this before? If yes, do you think it is good information? I thought it was a good article for my DS who is in 9th grade, but I'm not sure how accurate it all is. They interviewed students who got in, so it seems like it is true. They even mention this website, but I'm not sure if it is reliable.
 

MidCakePa

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That article has made the rounds a few times on SAF. It’s generally accurate and up to date. For the latest and best info, read every tab, link and pulldown on the SA’s website. SAF can add some texture and context — many opinions, mostly good, some bad, much of it subjective. As with all major life decisions, seek many and varied opinions from many and varied sources. But for mission-critical information, always look first to the primary source.
 

CuriousDad

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Oh yes, of course, my DS has been going through the admissions websites for the schools he is most interested in. I've looked at them some too. But that Kiplinger article goes into some other things and provides some information that isn't on the admissions websites. That's the information I'm wondering if it is reliable. I thought the article was very good for summing up the whole process into one place, and the information from the students was very helpful to me as a parent. My son thought it was very good to for the same reasons. I thought it might be a good thing to post as a "sticky"/pin at the top of some of the various discussion pages here. Again, since I thought it was a good summary, especially for someone new to this. That would be for the moderators to decide I guess.
 
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When I read that a few months ago, I thought that was a very useful article to start with. Then as MidCakePA said, go through the USMA website and best advice in the world is to start early on everything. Get in shape and practice for the CFA so that the candidate can get a good score in before any fall sports start and risk of injury increases (exactly what happened to my DS).
 

HCopter

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Hello everyone!
I am posting here to ask since this is the most recent thread I could find with "sticky".

Somehow I can't seem to see the stickies anymore - what am I doing wrong? This is for USAFA and USCGA.

There used to be USAFA sticky by Christcorp, something like Sports and you academy application or simliar.
 
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AROTC-dad

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Hello everyone!
I am posting here to ask since this is the most recent thread I could find with "sticky".

Somehow I can't seem to see the stickies anymore - what am I doing wrong? This is for USAFA and USCGA.

There used to be USAFA sticky by Christcorp, something like Sports and you academy application or simliar.
This might be the thread you are referring to:

You can find this sort of thing with the search function. I searched for "sports" in the title of the thread and authored by @Christcorp.

The Forum has reduced the number of "sticky" threads overall in order to streamline the website.
 
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amcollier

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BLUF: That article is a little too optimistic.

I found that article while reading around the internet trying to school myself up about the process and what to expect as a parent. If I had one criticism about it, it would be that it is almost too surface level about the actual chances of getting into an SA. I know that sounds weird - allow me to explain: it talks about nominations, and it talks about scores on tests, and it talks about having approx. an 11% acceptance rate across the different SA's. My beef, if you could even call it that, is that it doesn't dig into just how hard it actually is to get a nomination, and it doesn't talk about how your DS/DD might blow the average test scores out of the water but how they might not get a second glace from an SA or for a nom because they lack leadership experience, or they don't do well on the CFA, or they lack that elusive x-factor. The 11% or whatnot that it references can't be the total acceptance rate from all applicants - I believe it is only based on those that get nominations and are otherwise 3Q, which is a fraction of the total applicants. You can say MIT has an 8% acceptance rate because maybe 30,000 people apply and only 2400 get in. There are thousands and thousands of applicants to the SAs that never get a nomination and therefore never hit the statistics.

My DS is still in the waiting process. He's 3Q, has nominations to all 4 SAs, and has a great resume, but there are thousands just like him - I don't think the article is upfront enough about just how truly challenging the SA process is. My younger son is more than happy to just enjoy his freshman year of HS knowing he isn't interested in all this and therefore won't have to worry about it!!
 

Ohio614

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Additionally, do not hesitate to contact your MOC's office. Most will host informational seminars to provide an in-depth overview of the nomination process. As a 9th grader, it will provide him with a guideline for how to frame his HS career. I would also recommend checking out the composition on USNA's class portrait (https://www.usna.edu/Admissions/Apply/Class-Portrait.php). It is very similar for all of the academies and keep in mind, this is a national percentage, depending on your state, numbers may vary. With that said, it is a good starting point to determine his HS involvement.

Each office will have its own nomination process with different deadlines (earlier than the academy deadlines).
 

okboomer

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BLUF: That article is a little too optimistic.

I found that article while reading around the internet trying to school myself up about the process and what to expect as a parent. If I had one criticism about it, it would be that it is almost too surface level about the actual chances of getting into an SA. I know that sounds weird - allow me to explain: it talks about nominations, and it talks about scores on tests, and it talks about having approx. an 11% acceptance rate across the different SA's. My beef, if you could even call it that, is that it doesn't dig into just how hard it actually is to get a nomination, and it doesn't talk about how your DS/DD might blow the average test scores out of the water but how they might not get a second glace from an SA or for a nom because they lack leadership experience, or they don't do well on the CFA, or they lack that elusive x-factor. The 11% or whatnot that it references can't be the total acceptance rate from all applicants - I believe it is only based on those that get nominations and are otherwise 3Q, which is a fraction of the total applicants. You can say MIT has an 8% acceptance rate because maybe 30,000 people apply and only 2400 get in. There are thousands and thousands of applicants to the SAs that never get a nomination and therefore never hit the statistics.

My DS is still in the waiting process. He's 3Q, has nominations to all 4 SAs, and has a great resume, but there are thousands just like him - I don't think the article is upfront enough about just how truly challenging the SA process is. My younger son is more than happy to just enjoy his freshman year of HS knowing he isn't interested in all this and therefore won't have to worry about it!!
I think the 9% - 11% acceptance rate includes all applicants. For USMA at least, the numbers are roughly 15,000 applicants of which 4,500 will gain a nomination of which 2,400 will be 3Qd of which 1,400 or so will receive offers of appointment.
 

hopefulmom182

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Apr 22, 2017
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BLUF: That article is a little too optimistic.

I found that article while reading around the internet trying to school myself up about the process and what to expect as a parent. If I had one criticism about it, it would be that it is almost too surface level about the actual chances of getting into an SA. I know that sounds weird - allow me to explain: it talks about nominations, and it talks about scores on tests, and it talks about having approx. an 11% acceptance rate across the different SA's. My beef, if you could even call it that, is that it doesn't dig into just how hard it actually is to get a nomination, and it doesn't talk about how your DS/DD might blow the average test scores out of the water but how they might not get a second glace from an SA or for a nom because they lack leadership experience, or they don't do well on the CFA, or they lack that elusive x-factor. The 11% or whatnot that it references can't be the total acceptance rate from all applicants - I believe it is only based on those that get nominations and are otherwise 3Q, which is a fraction of the total applicants. You can say MIT has an 8% acceptance rate because maybe 30,000 people apply and only 2400 get in. There are thousands and thousands of applicants to the SAs that never get a nomination and therefore never hit the statistics.

My DS is still in the waiting process. He's 3Q, has nominations to all 4 SAs, and has a great resume, but there are thousands just like him - I don't think the article is upfront enough about just how truly challenging the SA process is. My younger son is more than happy to just enjoy his freshman year of HS knowing he isn't interested in all this and therefore won't have to worry about it!!
okboomer is correct. The acceptance rate is not based on those with completed applications and nominations. The acceptance rate is based on how many candidates open or start the application.
 

amcollier

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I'm happy to be corrected on the statistics. My core issue remains that on the surface, the literature available about getting into an SA makes it seem like a simple 1, 2, 3. Have good grades and such, get a nomination, get accepted. There is so, so much more to the process that people who haven't experienced it will never understand.
 

okboomer

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No argument there!!!

An in-depth process for sure. That said, given their mission, I want the process to be as in-depth as possible!!!
 

StPaulDad

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One thing it tests is perseverance and the ability to follow instructions. That's probably not a coincidence.
 

time2

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Thought the article referenced by the OP is very well written. The writer obviously did their homework to develop this material and covered many of the high level topics on this subject. Some can quibble about the finer details and while some of the statements quoted in the article of current cadets/mids are more their opinion, it is generally a good place to start if interested in applying. Obviously, all SA's have their own website which includes the application process. Each MOC also has a website and good to know the specific application steps for THIS cycle since things can change from year to year.

Honestly, the acceptance rate should have nothing to do with deciding to apply. While it is good to know that ANY highly competitive college/SA will have more applying then accepted, it really makes no difference if that number is 5% vs 11%. There is no universal way to calculate acceptance rates and there are many steps to the SA application process that doesn't apply elsewhere. Any college can make themselves look more 'selective' (if that is the goal) by handing out more applications even to those not intending to apply. No one should start with a list of 'selective' colleges as a means of deciding where to go. If you have no aptitude for singing/dancing or playing a musical instrument, applying to any college of the 'performing arts' makes no sense no matter how 'selective' they seem to be.
 
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The top colleges all seem almost arbitrary when comparing one kid who got in vs another kid who didn’t. My DS has Stats that yielded an LOA to USMA In a competitive district, but a deferral from Georgetown, where both his mom and I went and he did a course on national intelligence there this past summer.
The quirks of the MOC nomination process, which for most people mean 3 or 4 different applications in addition to the SA app, plus the MOC interviews, the CFA and DODMERB mean it really is a gauntlet. It’s definitely doable if you start early and stay organized. But in the end it really does seem to come down to your state and especially district, unless you have strong enough stats to get in off the NWL.
Top colleges like to pull from a wide range of states and cities too, but it’s a pretty extreme form of local mano a mano competition for SA appointments in many cases, especially with a sizable chunk of the class going to recruited athletes, prior service and URM.
All that said, I probably read all of this my first night on these forums, but it takes a while for that to really sink in and make sense.
 

CuriousDad

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Nov 16, 2019
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But in the end it really does seem to come down to your state and especially district, unless you have strong enough stats to get in off the NWL.
Are there any statistics out there about how tough it is to get in from different states or districts? I guess that stats might be different for different academies too.
 

time2

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^^ That gets asked every so often on here. The reality is you can only apply for a MOC NOM based on where you live. It is unlikely the parents are going to relocate just in the hopes of improving an applicant's chance for a NOM. Knowing the stats from a prior year isn't going to yield any information you can do something about.
 
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