Does Work During School Benefit My App?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by KansasMan, May 17, 2018.

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  1. KansasMan

    KansasMan Candidate for USAFA Class of 2023

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    I'm applying for the Class of 2023 and I made it past the PCQ, fairly confident I have at least a chance at getting an appointment but I'm still going to try to improve myself in the time span I have.

    My only real question is to what extent does working 15-20 hours a week on average during school have an effect on my app? I have good grades and sports with it, so it shows I can deal with high work load, but since I'm not able to become a manager until after the application is entirely due, will I have lost out on leadership experience because of that? Or does it factor into the "whole person" value?
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    Yes it does; but let me qualify.

    Work, is simply "ANOTHER" extra curricular activity when looking at the entire application. Some people think that there is some "Hierarchy" when it comes to extra curricular activities. E.g. JrROTC is BETTER than band; Civil Air patrol is BETTER than the Spanish Club; Football is BETTER than soccer; Debate team is BETTER than Chorus; working after school is BETTER than Youth Group Leader; etc. NONE OF THIS IS TRUE!!!

    The academy wants and understands 2 main principles:
    1. They are looking for WELL ROUNDED INDIVIDUALS
    2. Each individual "IS INDIVIDUAL". They have different interests, different strengths, and different areas they excel in.

    The 2 common denominators are:
    1. Holding LEADERSHIP positions in WHATEVER activities you participate in
    2. Using your activities in a TEAM ENVIRONMENT.

    The military is ALL ABOUT the TEAM; and when it comes to future officers, ALL ABOUT LEADERSHIP. That is the MILITARY in a nut-shell. This is what you need to demonstrate in your application. That you are a TEAM PLAYER and that you are a LEADER. You can be involved in 3 sports, 2 clubs, work 20 hours a week, JrROTC and CAP...... But if you don't have LEADERSHIP experience in any of these, and you don't demonstrate how you succeeded in a mission or meeting goals AS A TEAM MEMBER...... then NONE of those extra curricular activities actually mean anything.

    The academy would rather have an applicant who is in 1 sport; and is the captain of the team; and involved in one club; and is the president of that club; and did Boy/Girl's state;........... than to have an individual who was IN JrROTC, CAP, 3 sports, 2 clubs, and Scouts; but was ONLY a PARTICIPANT. And trust me, having worked with a lot of kids doing their college applications, I've seen a LOT of individuals who get involved in a LOT of activities their Junior and Senior year of high school, SIMPLY TO PAD their application. The year my son graduated high school, he had an individual on his high school football team. He was a senior. never played football before. (Our school lets everyone on the team, but it doesn't mean they'll play). He simply got on the team to PAD his college applications. I've seen people do that with just about every club, sport, or activity imaginable. All to PAD their college/academy applications. NONE of these individuals had LEADERSHIP positions in ANY of these activities. And needless to say; NONE of these activities helped these individuals with their college and/or academy applications.

    So yes, working does help. And in your case, even though you don't have leadership experience AT the JOB, if you DO have a lot of leadership in other areas; such as sports, clubs, boy's state, etc.; and you also have volunteer time, etc.; then the working part time can be beneficial on your application, because even though it doesn't show leadership, it DOES SHOW that you are able to manage your time effectively and efficiently and still maintain good grades as well as excel in some of your other activities. (But that is an assumption). I don't know what your other activities are; what your leadership experience in those activities are; etc. And personally, you don't need to tell us those activities. WE AREN'T THE SELECTION BOARD. Only YOU need to know if you have excelled and show leadership in your activities.

    best of luck
    Mike
     
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  3. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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    Some candidates don't have a full resume of sports or leadership roles because they need to work to help support themselves or their family.

    In this case work offsets lack of 'normal' extracurricular activities but in other cases I don't think as a general rule it is a big factor.

    Now if you are an entrepreneur and are running your own enterprise that shows some clear leadership qualities but bagging groceries and serving lattes is another story and won't compensate for lack of other activities. But they do ask for work history as part of your SA and nom application if memory serves. It shows that you are driven and self sufficient vs Mom and Dad taking care of everything IMHO.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Regardless of what work you do, it shows you are disciplined and arrived on time, etc. You can maintain a work schedule. It's good in that sense.
     
  5. cc.cg

    cc.cg Member

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    What is PCQ? Cant find it on the Acronym list?
     
  6. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    Pre-Candidate Questionnaire.
    (It is now in the Acronym list).
     
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  7. KansasMan

    KansasMan Candidate for USAFA Class of 2023

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    Thanks for the replies everyone! One last question. I understand the fact that padding my resume won't help my chances at all, but would summer going into Sr year be too late to start new things such as volunteering for a large church? Assuming that I go in to actually make a difference, of course. I've just been paralyzed by the doubt that starting anything new is pointless.
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Starting new stuff isn't pointless unless you're applying to AFROTC which doesn't consider senior year at all.
    That being said, don't do it just to pad your resume but because you have a desire to do it. If you don't have that desire, don't bother. Actually, given the way you posted, it sounds like resume padding is exactly what you're after... hence your hesitation. They can smell that stuff a mile away.
     
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  9. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

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    My DS works after school and summers (not spring - conflicts with baseball). Depending on the nature of the job, there can be lots of opportunities to show leadership. Do you interact with your coworkers, with the public etc? Have you recruited new employees? Have you given feedback and received feedback? Have you juggled schedules? Have you stayed late to help fellow employees get the job done? Have you taken inventory? Have you led a cleanup team?

    I’ve always felt that a job for a high schooler was as valuable or more valuable than after school sports. It used to be a common thing. When I turned 16, every night when he got home from work, my dad would ask me how the job search went and it was well understood that I would keep looking until I landed a job.

    Don’t let percieved box checking make you think that your job is unimportant, no matter if it’s bagging groceries or french fries. Be damned proud to be a part of the American work force and carrying on a uniquely American right of passage. Discover the everyday leadership you do in your job, which I bet is significant, and articulate it in your application.
     
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  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    Remember, as I posted, the academy knows every applicant is “unique” and is an individual. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Each has areas they excel in. It’s really important for parents to try and recognize these things in their children when they are little. Then, help them to maximize their potential.

    I’m retired military, but was still active duty when my kids were in school. Military isn’t the highest paying job around; especially for enlisted personnel. So, as I discovered my kid’s strengths, I encouraged them to follow their hearts and passions. Both were great in academics. Son graduated #1 in his class and daughter before him, wasn’t far behind. Son really excelled in sports and he loved volunteering. Daughter was really big into chorus and some sports. They were also involved in a number of clubs and activities.

    Because we didn’t NEED them to contribute financially, but I understood the scholarship process very well, I emphasized that their classes, sports, and activities, (that they were passionate about), WAS their job. If they wanted some work for extra money in the summer, like cutting grass, baby sitting, shoveling snow on weekends in the winter, etc. that was fine. But a traditional job during the school year was not an option. Their JOB was to excel academically as high as they could, and to excel in the activities they were passionate about as high and as far as they could. And thus, I would show them how to translate that into college scholarships. As such, both kids had numerous scholarship opportunities. From some pretty decent schools, such as Tulane, Michigan State, USC, of course the academy appointment, some other University of Whereverthehell, etc. My daughter chose a traditional university at close to a full ride. (Being older, she remembered the military travel and didn’t want the academy or military). My son chose between 4 FULL ride offers, both for academics and athletics, and chose the Air Force academy.

    I am not writing this to discount a job; to say someone should or shouldn’t have a job; or to even debate the good and bad of working while in school. As I mentioned in the first post, each person is unique and the academy knows that. NO extra curricular activity is better than another.

    I am writing this, because there are a lot of people who read threads on this forum about SPECIFIC activities. They read how GREAT some of these activities were for them or their kid. Some posts go so far as to make it appear, that certain activities actually give you a step up with your chances. I am writing this to reassure those reading, that you don’t HAVE to have a part time job. You don’t HAVE to be in JrROTC or CAP or Scouts. Specific activities on their own, don’t add or subtract from your overall points on your application.

    All you NEED to do, is be involved in the activities that you are passionate about. EXCEL in those activities in leadership type roles. EXCEL academically, taking the hardest and most challenging classes you have available. And remember, that the military, meaning the academy, is ALL about TEAMWORK and LEADERSHIP. Some things, like sports, are natural activities to be involved in teamwork. And you can advance into leadership roles in such an activity. But if you aren’t involved in any sports, (which is hard to justify, considering the list of sports is quite extensive and are available many different times of the year); then you’ll need to emphasize heavily on your application how you were involved in intense teamwork some other way.

    So, if you really WANT, or NEED, a job, then definitely go get one. But remember, there are limited hours per day. For every hour you are working, especially at a job that doesn’t offer much leadership advancement or TRUE teamwork opportunities, that’s an hour that you aren’t using in an activity that you are passionate about; has leadership opportunities, and offer true teamwork possibilities. Job or no job........ do what you’re passionate about, and excel in it.

    Best of luck
    Mike
     
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