You have a very long way to go. You need to get a nomination. MOC nomination slates are not due until Jan 31 so you should not expect to hear prior to that. If you already have a Presidential nomination and you consistently walk on water on a day to day basis, you may hear earlier. If you don't have a Presidential nomination and you consistently walk on water, you may receive an LOA prior to Jan 31, but you will still need a nomination.
Patience is the order of the day. Focus on completing backup plans B, C, D, E, and F.
I agree with kinnem. This is a marathon, not a sprint. They do not call it MASS MAILING MARCH for nothing.
Yes, some will hear early, but typically it is the minority and it will be a drip, drip, drip with the 1st big drip being Jan. You need to understand how charging appointments work. If your MOC uses an unranked slate than before USAFA can charge a candidate all of candidates must be boarded. A candidate can get their nomination in Oct., but for whatever reason does not do their CFA until Dec., and not boarded until Jan., than USAFA cannot charge the appointee to that MOC until they are boarded.
I would strongly suggest that while you wait get your ROTC scholarship done. AFROTC and USAFA do not talk... there have been many candidates that got an appointment, but rejected for the scholarship and vise a verse. AFROTC does not superscore, USAFA does. AFROTC will not include your sr. yr, USAFA does. AFROTC is national, they could not care less if 100% of the recipients are from 1 state. USAFA is geocentric, and they do make sure that every state is represented. USAFA uses the CFA, AFROTC uses the PFA. The only thing that they will use is the DoDMERB, HOWEVER if you get DQd by USAFA,
There is no way that a new AROTC LT could now if he/she would have been appointed to USAFA if they did not go through the process. There are too many variables associated with nominations and slotting outside the candidates control. The major difference between ROTC and USAFA admissions is the nomination and geographic diversity process. All other differences vary slightly and need to be understood but basically look at the same things.
These new grads my think they walk on water but it just takes one other person applying in your district that walks a little higher on the water and you are more likely than not to be on the outside looking in.
The OP needs to keep working hard and improving his file as much as possible before the deadline. It is a marathon and a competition. Others are still working on improving their applications.
Now is also the prime time to complete the nomination packets. They can be a pain if you wait till the last minute.
The point I was trying to make is that there are some AROTC LT's out there who have impressive Academy-type backgrounds & therefore would have been excellent candidates for USAFA, but for some reason did not apply. Since they didn't, we'll never know if they would have made it, & I urge every AROTC candidate, if they meet the requirements set forth on the USAFA Admissions website, to also apply to USAFA. Yes you do need a nomination. I also agree with the rest of your post.