CFA - Send scores in or retest?

Billberna

Member
DS is a very strong candidate with great academics, test scores, GPA, extracurrics, leadership, and he interviews very well, too. The problem is this CFA. We met today with an athletic director of a local private school. He is monitoring the test out of the generosity of his heart - DS doesn't attend his school, but he does play on their tennis team as a home-schooler. Anyway, he took the CFA today and got these scores:

Basketball 74
Pullups 16
Shuttle Run 9.1
Situps 87
Pushups 75
Mile Run 7:59.

So, do we send in these scores or take it again? I am concerned that retaking in a couple of weeks may improve the mile but other event scores not as good as they were today. It's a gamble. We hate this decision. Our application deadline is Nov 1. The CFA is the only outstanding piece. Thank you.
 

Enthalpy

2021 USMA Dad
6:43 is the average mile time for boys, I would have him keep running and working on all the events over the next month and then you can do practice tests with him and see if he is improving. If he is, then have him tested again and submit the better time.
Also he could ask his RO which is more important, getting the app completed five weeks early or having a better CFA. Who knows, he's not that far off in maxing out a few of the CFA test, maybe he improves all around.
 

Billberna

Member
The trouble is that you have to dump your scores if you don't submit them within 48 hours of the test. That is the risk we take. We hate to lose all those good scores when we don't know if/by how much the mile will improve the next time. His ALO interview is Monday. Maybe we can ask him then. But I would like to hear other opinions on this as well.
 

Enthalpy

2021 USMA Dad
The trouble is that you have to dump your scores if you don't submit them within 48 hours of the test. That is the risk we take. We hate to lose all those good scores when we don't know if/by how much the mile will improve the next time. His ALO interview is Monday. Maybe we can ask him then. But I would like to hear other opinions on this as well.
I was unaware of the time frame, I would call the regional commander or email and get their input ASAP.
Good luck and God Speed to you and your son
 

HuskyPilot

Member
If you are wise, you will enter these scores NOW. Get an official CFA score into the system. You will regret not doing so if he suffers an unforeseen medical issue that would not allow him to take another CFA for many months while he heals. Anytime you are participating in sports/athletics/working out you risk an injury. With no CFA score you WILL NOT be considered for appointment. The CFA is nothing more than an assessment of your fitness, balance and core strength and is used as a tool based on many years of experience to gauge your probable success in meeting the physical/athletic requirements of a cadet. Clearly your scores show you likely fall well within that probability factor. You can and should strive to do your absolute best but don't let the pursuit of the perfect be the priority over completing what you must.
 
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Billberna

Member
Thank you, Husky Pilot. We really needed to hear that advice today. Your advice resonated with what my fears are (future injury) and they make complete sense. It wasn't his best morning, and now I think he is coming down with some kind of virus. I think we are going to get these scores on the record and hope and pray for the best. Thanks, again.
 

USMA 1994

Member
I would agree, submit now and look to improve at a later date if possible. The CFA is the least weighted in the overall calculation. Get a green check and then so what else is needed.
 

Billberna

Member
Ok. We took the gamble, and our P.E. instructor submitted our DS's CFA scores an hour ago. When we check the portal, it shows the CFA has a check mark, that it has been "received and processed" and that it is no longer listed as an outstanding requirement to be completed. There is no sign of rejection and no apparent call for rescheduling the CFA. The only item left is the ALO interview, and that is coming up this Monday. So is it safe to assume we are good to go? That his CFA passed?
 

HuskyPilot

Member
Ok. We took the gamble, and our P.E. instructor submitted our DS's CFA scores an hour ago. When we check the portal, it shows the CFA has a check mark, that it has been "received and processed" and that it is no longer listed as an outstanding requirement to be completed. There is no sign of rejection and no apparent call for rescheduling the CFA. The only item left is the ALO interview, and that is coming up this Monday. So is it safe to assume we are good to go? That his CFA passed?
I don't believe you can infer any meaning other than what it simply states, "received and processed". Prepare for the interview and continue to strive to be the best you can in academics/athletics/leadership and community service as you finish your senior year. You should also be working on plan B just to be prepared since nothing is promised or guaranteed with your USAFA application.
 

Hoodlum15

Member
When I applied I was super worried my CFA scores were too low. I called my admissions counselor to ask about them and she told me they were qualifying. So if it's really bothering you (which I think it is, it definitely was me!), ease your stress and go ahead and make the phone call (make sure your son calls). On a side note, my high school counselor was told by USAFA admissions that one of the easiest things to do to boost your application is to show interest in your application by talking to you admissions counselor. They said literally ask anything, just make it so they know your name.
 

HuskyPilot

Member
With all due respect, I don't believe a simple call to the admissions office in any way "boost" or enhances your application. How would that be tracked? What rubric would be employed to weigh such a response? I think it's much more likely that the prospect of thousands of additional phone calls made without any significant purpose other than a false belief that it somehow helps you over the applicant that doesn't is not what the very busy folks in admissions is hoping for. I'm continually fascinated by the never-ending pursuit of the USAFA Admissions equivalent of the "DaVinci Code" for appointments. It's really not a mystery. Over decades of trial and error, SA's have a good understanding of what it takes to be successful as a cadet and military leader and they do a tremendous job each year in admitting a freshman class that meets that goal. Don't waste a second of time trying to determine the "tricks" to a successful application. IMHO, it shows a lack of understanding in not only how the admissions process is conducted but why and what the ultimate purpose really is. Just follow the instructions, be honest, strive to be the best at everything you do and be persistent with the proper attitude. I wish all 2022 applicants the best!
 

Hoodlum15

Member
With all due respect, I don't believe a simple call to the admissions office in any way "boost" or enhances your application. How would that be tracked? What rubric would be employed to weigh such a response? I think it's much more likely that the prospect of thousands of additional phone calls made without any significant purpose other than a false belief that it somehow helps you over the applicant that doesn't is not what the very busy folks in admissions is hoping for. I'm continually fascinated by the never-ending pursuit of the USAFA Admissions equivalent of the "DaVinci Code" for appointments. It's really not a mystery. Over decades of trial and error, SA's have a good understanding of what it takes to be successful as a cadet and military leader and they do a tremendous job each year in admitting a freshman class that meets that goal. Don't waste a second of time trying to determine the "tricks" to a successful application. IMHO, it shows a lack of understanding in not only how the admissions process is conducted but why and what the ultimate purpose really is. Just follow the instructions, be honest, strive to be the best at everything you do and be persistent with the proper attitude. I wish all 2022 applicants the best!
Good post, and I can agree. This was information told to me by my high school counselor who attended a USAFA admissions day several years ago. The reasoning she was given (by an admissions counselor) was that when the admissions counselors can put a voice to an application they are more likely to put more effort into pushing that application at the admissions board. It is not a "tracked" or "monitored" box to check, just an extra push that was strongly recommended by this particular counselor. Obviously there's no secret formula, just trying to offer what was told to me. :)
 

Cerberi

Member
You guidance counselor is wrong. USAFA admissions could care less what your voice sounds like. The person in Admissions you are calling is not your advocate. Work on making your package as good as it can be. If you have a question, make sure you have researched USAFA's website to see if it is answered already and then and only then - call. I would wager that the vast majority of appointees never call USAFA admissions - they follow the process as stated.

The SAs do everything possible to make it about your package and not about who you know. If it was about 'who you knew', there would be a lot more graduates' children being offered appointment. The same is true for Nominations - almost every MOC has established a panel to review and make recommendations so they can remove 'politics and connections' from the process.

And regarding the CFA - 'passing' should not give you an overall warm fuzzy feeling. Lots of people pass the CFA and many others hit the Min scores needed for the ACT/SAT. You are competing against many people that excel in both areas.
 
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cmitchell39

New Member
I'm currently a Doolie (freshman) at the Academy. I would say just send the scores in now. If the scores are inadequate, the academy will just tell you to take it again. I know multiple people who had to take the cfa more than once and it didn't effect them getting in. If you're 100% sure you could retain and/or improve ALL of the scores (especially the mile) then I guess I'd retake it, but unless you're 100% sure then just send in your original scores and retake it if need be.
 

Billberna

Member
I'm currently a Doolie (freshman) at the Academy. I would say just send the scores in now. If the scores are inadequate, the academy will just tell you to take it again. I know multiple people who had to take the cfa more than once and it didn't effect them getting in. If you're 100% sure you could retain and/or improve ALL of the scores (especially the mile) then I guess I'd retake it, but unless you're 100% sure then just send in your original scores and retake it if need be.
Thank you. Not 100% sure, so sending it.
 

Wishful

"Land of the free, because of the brave..."
5-Year Member
Good post, and I can agree. This was information told to me by my high school counselor who attended a USAFA admissions day several years ago. The reasoning she was given (by an admissions counselor) was that when the admissions counselors can put a voice to an application they are more likely to put more effort into pushing that application at the admissions board. It is not a "tracked" or "monitored" box to check, just an extra push that was strongly recommended by this particular counselor. Obviously there's no secret formula, just trying to offer what was told to me. :)
I took you post to mean that for this one particular counselor, having a voice to a name is/was important. Another counselor may view it as a bother. I am unsure what exactly an Admissions Counselor actually does. Do they review applications & make follow-up contact with an applicant in order to have that particular application completed on time so it is as ready as it can be for admission review, or do they actually have a say in the room when the review is being conducted IE: when the decision is actually being made? I am going with the former, not the latter.
To review: the Elements of USAFA Admission Decisions are as follows:
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_briefs/RB9900/RB9905/RAND_RB9905.pdf
Academic Composite 60%
Leadership Composite 20%
Selection Panel Score 20%

The CFA is a small % of the 20% total given to the applicant's Selection Panel Score.
This score consists of the selection panel’s evaluation of the following:
  1. a review of admissions liaison officer (ALO) evaluations,
  2. writing samples,
  3. teacher evaluations,
  4. recommendations,
  5. and the candidate fitness assessment, CFA
While the actual % assigned to the CFA is unknown it is a % of the 20% of the SPS. The first 4 items speak to character, maturity, and academics. These probably weigh more then item #5 & the time & effort put into increasing good CFA #'s may be better spent increasing the other parts of the WCS, not just the Selection Panel Score. If you're concerned, then you may to explore it further with your Admissions Counselor. Just remember, "I'm never wrong, only misinformed".;)
 
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