10-Year Member
5-Year Member
May 29, 2008
Hello all. I've been browsing this forum for the past week or so, and I've found much of the information so very helpful. It's great to read the experiences of those who have gone through this process before, and are currently at the AFA. But as I read the stories of those who have received appointments/nominations, who seemed so qualified, I've wondered about my own chances of getting into the USAFA. So I thought I'd bring my stats, so to speak, here and see what you thought. I apologize if it's a rather long post...I'm hoping to be an English major. :wink:

I'm an 18 year-old cyber school senior who was home schooled until this year, currently in the process of applying for the class of 2013 (meaning graduating in 2013). I realize that I'm a bit behind the normal schedule of an applicant, but I didn't begin to consider the AFA until this past April. Since then, I've read pretty everything on the AFA Admissions website, attended an informational meeting on SA sponsored by my local MOC, and met my ALO. I think I know the areas that I'm weak on, and I have an idea of where/how to improve these, but if anyone could give me any tips, or point out something else you think I'm weak on, I'd be grateful.

So, in high school I've taken:
English: 9th grade English, Rhetoric, Contemporary Literature, 1/2 credit Mass Media, English Comp. 101, and Speech 101.
Math: Alg I, Alg II, Geometry, Trigonometry, and College Algebra.
Science: 9th grd/Earth Science, Biology, & Physics (w/ lab)
History: 4 years, but I don't remember what exactly each year focused on, except I know 12 grd was Government & Economy. Also, US History 103.
Language: Spanish 1, 2, 4, and Spanish 102 & 201
And of course several electives including Bible, Art, Music, and Psychology 101.
Those in italics were taken at a community college, and I fortunately was able to maintain a 4.0 in both HS and college courses.

SAT scores:
Verbal - 710
Math - 550 (took middle of Sophomore year, had not yet finished Alg II/ Geometry or really studied, retaking this Sat, June 7th)

Rec. league soccer Freshman year, but no public HS I said, home schooled.

Extracurriculars/other activities:
Choir Junior year, actively involved in youth group/church throughout HS, involved in home school teen group, member of the 2007 graduation planning committee, and member of Phi Theta Kappa (Junior College International Honor Society). Also, I took mission trips each summer to places like Argentina, Pennsylvania, Mexico, and Chicago, and will be a volunteer counselor at a children's summer camp. Does the AFA look at your activities over the summer?

I think that's about it. Also, I have a few questions I was hoping some of you could answer.

1. I'm lacking in high school sciences. At the time they weren't that important to me, although I got all As. Would taking Chemistry and Biology this fall at community college help?

2. One big problem, no HS sports. I'll be working out all summer, and I'm hoping to max (or very close to it) the CFA. Would that help fill the sports gap?

3. I'll be looking for leadership opportunities, and I'm open to any suggestions.

4. About the interview with an ALO; I'm not sure what this is. Is it a formal interview? Is it required? What does it entail? I've met my ALO, and talked with him on the phone a bit, but never had an "interview".

5. And the Biggie: what are my chances? :)

Again, I'm sorry for this enormous post. But if you could take the time to read it and give me any input, I'd be thankful.
hello mikil and welcome to this site,
though i am an appointee and not a cadet, i think i can tell you a bit about your chances. academically i think that you are strong. you have some good college courses in there and awesome grades. USAFA loves students who are inclined to math and science, and i DO think that taking some science courses this summer or next year WILL help, but you already have some pretty good grades and courses that are impressive. also, be sure to get those math SAT's up a bit, USAFA likes high scores in SAT math.

the reason why USAFA smiles upon student athletes, especially varsity TEAM sports is not only because of the good physical condition you attain while participating. moreover, it is because you learn to be part of a team and work as a team. USAFA loves this because that's what USAFA, the air force, and the military is all about- and their looking for officer potential. BUT maxing the CFA will look stellar because it shows you are in shape and were motivated enough to get there, so DEFINITELY SHOOT FOR THAT!

your extra-curriculars do have some strenths. your missions trips show you have a sense of the meaning "service before self". your church involvement does the same, and it will look good. and yes, USAFA will consider your summer activites as long as you tell them. however; your lack of leadership positions will hurt you. try to get involved in leading this summer and next year in any extra-curriculars you do, or take up some new ones and step it up.

your ALO is a formal interview, meaning he asks you questions and your answers count. dress nice and be prepared to answer why you think you would make a good officer and leader, using examples.

OVERALL, if you were to apply today you would DEFINITELY become a candidate. if you follow through with everything you say you will (excellent scores on CFA, science college courses, better math SAT scores, a leadership position or two this coming year), i'd say your chances are extremely good for an appointment
How is your health? Any history of asthma or allergies? Any concussions, dislocations, bone breaks, or major injuries? Any history of surgery? Eyesight better than 20/600 and/or correctable to 20/20?

If so, you may want to start gathering your medical history files so you can promptly respond to any DODMERB issues that may arise.

Remember, that scholastic qualifications and physical qualifications are only two parts of the "3Q" triangle. Being medically qualified is a requirement as well.
First, I don't think you're really "behind". I hadn't even considered a service academy until just after my my senior summer (the summer before senior year).

I'm not sure how home school works, but I assume that acadmies know a home schooler doesn't have quite the same opportunities to participate in high school sports. I would encourage you to find something you like to do (play), and do that, not only because it's another check in the box on the application, but because it's just a good habit to get into anyway, and on those stressful days at AFA a sport is a nice medium to get some of that "rage" out.

Don't shy away from the maths and sciences. If you can, take Calculus. Don't do it if you'll fail, but Calc is a good thing to have in your pocket (and you may just never use it again, I haven't). Bio and Chem are good ideas too.

I like the verbal score, I'm sure you would be able to help out that math score the second time around, especially because you are familiar with the test.

Main point, if you want it, go for it, and don't let someone tell you you aren't right for it, if you think you are.

Service academies, any of them, are not cake walks. You have to want it, someone can't want it for you.

I say go for it!:thumb:
In the end, nobody on this forum sits on the board...if you don't apply than you won't be accepted.

Now I will say your Math SAT is very low (I understand you will re-take this weekend ---have to ask why you waited so long...had you taken the PSAT and became a NSMF it would have helped you not only in your resume, but for merit scholarships), but you need to look at the madatory courses and the fact that you do not have discrete math, pre-calc, stats, or calc will hurt you if you are accepted, college Alg is not going to cut it.

The AFA is known in the AF as the little engineering school in the rockies. Look at the syllabus of courses that you are mandated in taking from there ask yourself if it is the right fit.

It seems as you are well rounded and have a great chance. Now throw my opinion in the circular filing cabinet and ask your ALO where you stand in his/her rankings...they are a part of your WCS.

End of go and practice your CFA b/c that counts too!
What state are you from?

I think the one thing that isn't brought up enough is the state of residency.

Some states like Montana, Alaska and other smaller states have fewer applicants per space then Texas, Florida and Virginia. In Virginia, Fairfax county has one of the highest military family populations in the US. The ALOs there will tell you to be in the running you need at least 1400 SAT, 30 ACT, HS sports letters and some leadership postion (team capt., SGA treasure). This factor isn't explained to much to kids.
I concur... I remember a few months ago when a 13 applicant announced his MOC gave out 1 nom...I think he was from Terre Haute. I was floored by the thought, but when I googled the Cong. he indeed only gave out 1 nom.

Wow, you've all covered a lot of different things. I probably won't be able to respond to everything, but I wanted to let you know that I appreciate each of you taking the time to reply. I know there are many things I need to do, and ways I need to prepare, but I'm definitely going to be applying as soon as I get my SAT scores back. I took it this morning, and I'm pretty sure I did better than last time. I really do want to go to the AFA, and I'm excited about starting the process.

Flyboy, thanks for the welcome. It's cool to hear from someone who attempted this last year and succeeded. I do understand why the AFA looks for those who've played team sports. And while I didn't play varsity, I did play rec. league soccer from age 6 through age 14 (with a year or two break in the middle) so I do have experience with being apart of a team. Also, like I said, I will be looking for leadership experience, because I know that's an area that will be helpful not only in the application process, but also at the Academy itself.

Thanks for explaining the ALO interview. Now, I'm wondering, how do I set that up? When? I'm planning to ask the ALO about it, but I was hoping know what I'm talking about when I do.

And thanks for your final comments...they were very encouraging.

Luigi: Haha, you know, with everything else I haven't given much thought to that part of the process yet. But I have read what the AFA has on their website, and I think I'm medically qualified. You mentioned cat allergies apply?

LITS and Pima, you both touched on math and science, and my lack thereof, and I wanted to explain. It's not that I intentionally shied away from them as much as they weren't my priorities before. I was more focused on something in writing or the Media. It's not that I can't do them either; I can do them, and well. I actually enjoy Algebra. But like I said, they weren't the areas where my interests laid. Because of this, when my Math SAT score came back so low, I didn't take the initiative to take it again because it wasn't as important to a Liberal Arts college. You might be wondering how someone interested in the Arts decided to go to a "little engineering school". Well, the other thing I'm interested in is the Military, and I have been for a while. I want to serve my country, I want to lead people, and I want to do it through the Air Force. When I read the info on the AFA, I realized what an amazing opportunity it would be to combine both my areas of interest. Now, while the maths and sciences probably won't be my most favorite subjects at the Academy, I do believe I will be able to succeed at them. Also, as you both suggested, I intend to improve myself as much as I can in those areas this fall.

And finally, justawife, I love your name. :shake: Also, I'm from Pennsylvania, which is actually listed in its constitution as a Commomwealth...:rolleyes: I'm not sure how many apply for nominations here. Would the local ALO be the one to ask about that?

So, it looks like I've made another huge post. Thanks, everyone, for putting up with me and all of my questions.
Lots of good advice so far. Since no one on here is directly involved with admissions, just remember we are offering educated quesses on the types of things the various Academies are looking for. I think now is about the right time most start the application process for class of 2013.

Remember too there are interviews with MOC to get your nomination. Since no one here will ever meet and/or interview you, we can't offer any perspective on how that part of the process may go for you.

There are no lack of opinions about team vs individual sports. (You can also quibble over whether a sport like 'track' is a team or individual sport, so it not nearly as cut/dried as one might imagine). You should scan older posts for lots of that type of information. Suffice it to say that all academies are looking for top notch students who are also physically fit. If you haven't regularly worked out, ran or did other forums of regular strenous exercise you will be at a disadvantage if chosen. Playing one sport as a freshman I don't think is nearly enough to put you in the physical shape needed to for an academy, but it is never too late to start working on that.

I also agree that you should take (and excel) in the highest level classes offered in your school since that demonstrates your academic ability. Also need to do well in the SAT/ACT tests since those are a big part of the WCS.