Graduating early, still to young to apply to SA-best thing to do during this gap year?


Dec 27, 2016
I am a proud mom of a new USAFA 2021 appointee. When our family took our DS to our states appointee luncheon, put on by our Parent Group yesterday, our DD, age 13 and a current freshman is high school, became so inspired that on the car ride home she emphatically stated that she intends to go to the Air Force Academy as well. The problem: she will graduate high school at 16. Because of her age, we know she cannot apply to the academy when most do -between their junior and senior year since she will still be 15.

The question is how best does she make sure she still stays competitive for when she is of age to apply? I'm thinking she would follow the advice given on here to those who have to reapply for whatever reason, mainly take challenging college classes. Would this be a correct assumption?

Should she take a full load of college classes or could she take a few of the more challenging classes like Calculus, Chemistry etc.? I was thinking if she took fewer classes, she could also work, thereby also giving her that work experience.

Should she take these classes at the University level or community college level. Assumption is university classes might be looked at more favorably.

We know that she is still young and may change her mind which is totally fine with me, however we would like to know how best to help her plan if she still feels she wants to apply by her junior/ senior year.

Does anyone have any experience with this or advice?

Thank you.
While she could definitely take a full load of college classes (think freshman year classes at the academy -- Calc, Chem, Physics), there are incredible gap year programs out which would also make her standout. Or she could do an exchange year during HS which could push her graduation to when she is 17
The State Dept has amazing opportunities - National Security Language Initiative for Youth