Enlisted vs college

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by powerhouse93, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. powerhouse93

    powerhouse93 New Member

    Mar 26, 2012
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    If you guys wouldn't mind, I'd like some advice. Today, I received a letter saying that I would not be getting an Appointment. In all honesty, I was naive, and expecting an Appointment. I scored a 31 on my ACT, 1330 on my CR+MATH SAT, and had a 3.87 GPA. I went to Boys State and I am in the NHS. I also am very close to getting my private pilot. I had a Presidential Nomination and a Rep. Nomination. Anyway, the news came, and I decided to skip the sulking and start worrying about my plans for life. I have been considering 2 options: joining the AF as an enlisted member, and applying to the Academy at every opportunity I receive. Or I could go to college, most likely the University of Illinois. The only problem is, I never bothered to apply for its ROTC program:bang:. If I would have done this, it would have eased this decision. I would then apply to USAFA from Illinois. Anyway, what do you guys think is the best option? Though I am not delirious (yet) from not getting that appointment, it hurts. I've been turned down from this and 2 presidential scholarship applications, both free rides. I would like to avoid further heartache (semi-sarcastic), but don't know how to.
  2. Dad

    Dad 5-Year Member

    Apr 25, 2010
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    You can still join AFROTC at Illinois. Contact them now if you're interested. They will help guide you through the process. Looking at your stats, I would recommend going to Illinois for a year and reapply. Be careful, you might actually enjoy Illinois and not try USAFA again. Best wishes from an Illinois grad. :thumb:
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

    May 21, 2008
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    First; I'm sorry for your disappointment. I see more rejections than appointments. That's the same as with any university. Realize that you're in the majority.

    Having said that, your question, "Enlist or attend College", is strange. That's like asking, "I'm thinking of selling my old car; should I get a BMW or a Cesna"? Yes, they are both "Modes of transportation", but they aren't the same. Going enlisted or attending college are both "Something to do when you graduate", but they aren't the same thing. Neither do they accomplish the same thing.

    Usually people who are enlisted and apply to the academy, didn't apply in high school. It was something "Most" learned about after getting into the air force. Not saying that you can't do that, just that it's not the most logical method.

    First; you need to decide what you goal is. Please don't say that going to the academy is your goal. The academy is just 4 years long and is just a stepping stone. Your goal is something that is longer term. I.e. Being a commissioned officer and serving in the air force; being a pilot and serving in the air force; etc... In these cases, ROTC is the natural order.

    FWIW: You don't have to have an ROTC scholarship to be in ROTC. Many/most/a lot of ROTC members are there without a scholarship. You can still be an ROTC member, apply to the academy, graduate from college through ROTC, become a commissioned officer, etc... (Go to the ROTC section of this forum for more info).

    If you go enlisted first, you're going to be waiting a long time. 1) Unless you take a job no one else wants, you're not going to be able to enlist and leave for basic training in the next 4 weeks. You'll probably have to wait around for a few months before going off to enlisted basic training. 2) Until you graduate basic, tech school, and probably get your 5-skill level, you won't really be able to apply to the academy. (There are some active duty enlisted on this forum who are applying. They can answer that better). Point is; you can't start applying for the academy as soon as you join the air force as an enlisted member. 3) If you get past 23 years old, you can't enter the academy. You have to graduate by 27 years old.

    If you truly want to be an officer and serve your country, go to college; join ROTC; and re-apply to the academy if you want to. If you don't get in, you can still get commissioned. If you go enlisted, there is no guarantee you'll get into the academy. But you can't compare the two things. They are totally different. best of luck. mike...
  4. dagger

    dagger 5-Year Member

    Sep 14, 2011
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    I wasn't going to post since they pretty much covered it. Anyway, six months from now you are guaranteed to reapply if you are at a civilian college. If on active duty, not so much.

    Couple of things to consider by enlisting:
    -Your commander may not approve your application
    -You may be waiting a couple of years before starting the application

    Here's my 'timeline':
    Jun '08 -- Graduated High School
    Aug '08 to Jun '10 -- Two years of college (75 units)
    Nov '09 -- Starting talking to a recruiter + ASVAB
    Jan '10 -- Swore in
    Jun '10 -- Shipped to BMT
    Mar '11 -- Graduated Technical Training
    Mar '11 -- Started application
    Sep '11 -- Received nomination from commander

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    I never thought in a million years I'd be applying to USAFA until Mar '11 when my flight chief encouraged it.
  5. airman

    airman 5-Year Member

    Jan 15, 2012
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    If you prove to be stellar in basic and tech school you can apply while you're still in tech training. Also, think about the National Guard as an option. You'd still be able to attend college while serving and being able to apply through the LEAD program which is what Dagger and I are going through right now. Here is my timeline.

    August 09: MEPs and ASVAB
    January 28th: '10: Swore in to the Air National Guard
    June '10: Graduated Highschool
    July 6th, '10: Left for beautiful Lackland AFB for BMT
    Sept 6th '10: Made my way to Keesler AFB for radio training
    November 22, 10: Learned about the LEAD program.
    March 31 2011: Inprocessed into my current squadron
    April 1 2011: Asked my commander for his endorsement. GOT IT!
    April 2011: I filled out the on-line application.
    Sept 6, 2011: Started Flight School at Bridgewater State University
    Sept 2011: Was accepted into the LEAD Diversity Visitation Program
    October 24 2011: got bumped to candidate kit status.
    November 7 2011: finished application
    April 9 2012: Still waiting to hear from the Academy.

    During Tech School I was an Airman Leader, Distinguished Graduate, and decorated volunteer/tutor (by decorated I mean a bunch of silly certificates) and the 2 commanders I had asked still did not give me a letter of endorsement.

    Think wisely before you make your decision.
  6. mustang10

    mustang10 5-Year Member

    Feb 2, 2011
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    From a prior enlisted USAFA grad

    The Air Force does not see enlisted service as a means to an end. If you enlist, make that commitment expecting to serve your first 4 or 6 years. The LEAD program is a bonus opportunity that only a few know about and less get to take advantage. Stay in the mindset of keeping your options open.

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