I posted this last year and was told that it was helpful, so I will post it again. This is aimed primarily for High school Juniors, though others may find it helpful The following are my suggestions primarily from my son’s experiences and from other’s input. I am sure that there will be some (many) who disagree with some (most) of the following suggestions. However, I am of the opinion that it is an extremely competitive process and even more so than in the past. You need to cover as many bases as possible to achieve a successful outcome. Follow Lieutenant General Moore's dictum that "there is always one more thing you can do to increase your odds of success" Tips to get started: CFA It is posted on here that the CFA is pass/fail, Im not sure of that is true or not regardless, We were told that 17,000 applied (not getting into a debate on the definition of applied!) for the class of 2017. In this increasingly competitive environment, you really should maximize your scores. If you haven't maxed out your scores in a practice CFA then you have room for improvement before you take it (but dont wait too late!).One thing that you can do your junior year is begin your CFA practice. I would suggest that you approach your high school PE teacher with a print out of the CFA instructions.http://www.usna.edu/admissions/cfainstructions.htm. Explain to them that your goal is to become an officer in the military (be prepared to explain why). Ask them if they will help you. Starting now-try to meet with them once per week after school, or before school or they may even allow it during your actual PE class. You can then run through a mock CFA --this will only be about 10-12 minutes weekly. The days in between the mock CFA you can practice whatever you are not able to max. If your run time is too slow try to meet with the school’s track or xcountry coach for tips on your form. My son's baseline run was so slow his 8th grade sister beat him. He met with a form coach for the xcountry team every other wk for 15 minutes. The form coach would give a couple of tips each time like don't run in basketball shoes (seriously-not sure why DS didnt know that one up front?) , run softer (I have no idea what that means but DS did), chest up etc etc. IF you get into NASS/SLS you can check that off immediately and not need to worry about it sr yr. ( a little tip the NASS mile is shorter than the SLE mile) ACT/SAT As you are aware the Service Academies super score. It is ONLY to your benefit to take the ACT/SAT as many times as possible. If you take the ACT for example, they offer it September, October, December, February, April, June. You should be signed up for all of them. Shoot for top quartile in each as your lowest acceptable personal goal. If you are not in the top quartile take it again (and again). USNA: Math and English only, ther other Service academies look at all four + writing TEACHER BUY IN JUNIOR YEAR You will need the very active support of your Math and English teachers (and science teacher for USMA) throughout this process. Believe it or not they will have to do a lot of work for you and they may not want to, have moved, retired etc. They will have to fill out on-line evaluations of you over their summer vacations. The will have to write a letter for you as part of your member of congress nomination packet. The will have to write a letter for you as part of your NROTC/ROTC/AROTC application packet. The will have to write a letter for you as you apply to the colleges or universities that will direct your NROTC/ROTC/AROTC scholarship. The will have to write a letter for you to square away your Plan B and Plan C colleges or universities. They will have to evaluate your: Cooperation, Dependability, Productivity, Attitude, Leadership Ability, Consideration for others, Initiative, Ability to Plan and Organize work, Attendance and Punctuality, Drive and Character. You will NEED to get their buy in. This does not mean simply being nice to them. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it. This means 1.) Working hard for them in their class 2.) Going above and beyond to demonstrate the above characteristics 3.)Explaining articulately what you are trying to accomplish and why 4.) Showing your appreciation for them throughout this process by writing hand written thank you notes. One important thing to know is that 99% of teachers became a teacher because they enjoy kids and sincerely want to help them. Many (most) high school students have not yet formulated their goals. You have. Share that with the teachers early on and ask for tips and suggestions. Their tips and suggestions may not be 100% helpful but you may get a nugget in there. More importantly, they will be glad that you are sharing with them and are asking for their help and guidance, and then will buy into your plans. BOYS/GIRLS STATE Find out when your Boys/Girls State is. Learn about the process to being chosen to represent your high school. In some states it is extremely competitive. This may sound like merely a check mark but it is much more. It is a check mark in that it is looked on very favorably by the admissions board and increases your points/score for admission. However, it is far more fun than it sounds like it will be. You will learn a lot. It will be filled with others trying to get into Service Academies so you will get a chance to meet more people like you who have the same motivations. Boys/Girls State will let you experience leadership training in an exciting learn-by doing environment. It is fun. CONSIDER APPLYING TO S.A.M.E The Society of American Military Engineers offers a very unique series of engineering summer camps designed for High School students who excel in math, science and technical courses and are interested in pursuing engineering in college. These one–week camps are high energy, hands–on events for students from across the country and around the world. The camps are led by a professional staff of engineers from both private industry and the military services. The camp is only a couple hundred dollars and THEY pay your airfare!!!! (Cheaper than summer leadership programs!) There are four separate ones: Marines, Air force, Army and Navy. The Air Force program is only for someone who is applying to one of the five service academies. (For the Air Force program you must provide some proof of an expressed interest in applying to a Service Academy or ROTC Program (this does not include JROTC) and proof of being a qualified applicant.) You can, for example be interested in going to USCGA but apply to the USAFA S.A.M.E camp. These week–long camps take place during the summer months in a variety of settings—centered on a military base at the Air Force Academy, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Port Hueneme, Calif., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Applicants must have expressed intent to pursue a degree in architecture, engineering or a related field, have demonstrated leadership characteristics through participation in extra-curricular activities, sports, and/or community activities, have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 GPA scale and be physically fit and healthy. This is a very competitive application process. Go for it!