I need help.

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by onealhart54, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. onealhart54

    onealhart54 5-Year Member

    Jan 30, 2012
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    I just want to figure it 2 things.

    1. What are my chances?
    2. Where do I start?

    I am a sophomore in high school. My GPA is around 3.6 or so. Last year (at a different school) I was in JROTC. I logged around 100 community service hours.
    I got a 160 on my PSAT. I don't play any sports and I'm not currently vollunteering.
    All of my classes are AP and PRE-AP.

    What should I work on? (I also don't know what sport to play. I played football for 7 years but after fracturing my clavicle in 8th grade, I'm not sure if I want to play)

    Next question:
    Where and how do I even start the application process?
  2. USAFA: 2016!

    USAFA: 2016! 5-Year Member

    Oct 21, 2011
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    First off, none of us can really tell you honestly what your chances are because we don't know.
    Your GPA is good. But it could always be better. PSAT of 160(if I'm right that translates to a 1600 actual SAT) is definitely not bad, and you'll get better the more times you take it. I'd say start taking the real SAT next fall and take it and the ACT as many times as you can. And study for it; I know that sounds about as fun as pulling teeth but I went from a 520 math to a 620 with 10 hours of studying over the course of one month. Trust me, it makes a difference. Your community service is good, so keep that up! Don't rule out getting a job if you can. For sports, I'd say get involved in at least one. Track is always good if you're kind of not sure, because there are so many options of events to do. Just try to do one sport you really enjoy and try to get in a leadership position. Does your school have clubs? If so, joining a couple could look really good, especially if you become VP or president of one. Also, even with sports, I'd say slowly start working out, just getting in shape. Start slow but steady.
    As far as how do you start, I'd say find out who your ALO is and get in touch with him/her. Just let them know you're interested and they might be able to give you some pointers as well. Next fall/winter, apply to the summer seminar. You're still pretty young and at this point, there's not much direct applying you can do. But you can always make your file look as good as possible through grades, test scores, community service, etc. Oh, and stay out of trouble! The last thing you need is a black mark for that. Best of luck, any questions, feel free to PM me! And congrats on seeking USAFA! :thumb:
  3. onealhart54

    onealhart54 5-Year Member

    Jan 30, 2012
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    Thanks for the reply.
    I'm currently (lethargically) working on finding new volunteer opportunities.

    I'm currently track manager. I will consider joining the running portion. The thing is, I'm not fast. I will never get on the varsity team

    I'm slowly getting in shape. I read the USAFA athletics form. That's a lot of stuff that I can't do so I'm working on it. Mostly by cycling.

    I'm definitely getting a job my junior year. I like money too much to not have a job.

    I assume you're a cadet, so you know what you're talking about.

    Again, thanks for the reply.
  4. BrianReed

    BrianReed 5-Year Member

    Feb 27, 2011
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    The admission process is long and arduous; but the key to success is having a good portfolio(s) (esp. cover letter also. you will have a tailored one to each congressman and school you apply to), motivation, and knowledge of how the process) works. It will be one of the most time consuming things that you have ever done up until now.

    Here are some general ideas I picked up over the last few years:

    1. Getting into a good school (esp. a service academy) requires more than just grades and class standing. You have to be a whole rounded person. Get involved in things that force you to learn new personal skills. Learn how to be social. Sport wise, I’m bias and I’ll tell you to join the rugby team. You might think this dumb, but it’s the truth. The best rugby players are smart. They can think objectively and react under stress. You learn how to work even when you’re so exhausted you can’t think straight. Of course, these are things you have to push yourself towards and are not forced upon you.

    2. Stand out of the crowd. Participate or better yet lead events which catch the admission officer’s eyes and shows character. A good opportunity at your age is a service project to Eastern Europe over spring break. Play in international tournaments (once again I suggest rugby. haha)

    3. Start the application process early. You’re One thing that I strongly suggest is going to the summer seminar. If you can make it into there (not very hard), and as long as you complete the application process, get nomination, and remain the same candidate your chances of acceptance are significantly higher (incl. getting the nomination from a congressman.)

    4. When building your portfolio at the academy, stay on top of things (make deadlines and perfect essays and submission packages.) You should never be able to wonder what you have to do next. Shove yourself down their throat. Get interviews and teleconferences with your ALO.
    5. Anything you can think of that will help.

    The application process:
    1. Set up a file at the USAFA. Do it online. Might even call some numbers.

    2. Apply for a nomination from your state senators, vice president, and congressman. (if your father or mother is in the military, you can also apply for a presidential one) All found online. (information will be sent out by the academies

    3. Master everything in the nomination application packages. Expect essays, tele/phone conference or videotape interview. Different, yet similar for each office.

    4. Master everything in the USAFA package. They will want you to take a candidate fitness assessment that you will need to have someone administered. School P.E. teachers should work, but are impossible to get a hold of. Mine was done with the Marine Guards from the Mission. My family is with DoD so that was a resource that I was able to use. So, use everything you can.

    5. You will need to take medical screening. This is a pain in the butt and must be taken fully control of. Information will be giving to you.

    6. Wait for a response. The above steps are basic. Keep a file and copy for each thing that gets mailed out.

    The academies allocate their acceptances by one student/cadet candidate per congressional district, one per senator, one per vice president(might be more). A congressman or senator will nominate several kids for a single slot at the academy. The academies also have competitive slots reserved for military families, sport recruits and the prep school that they choose at their own discretion.

    The reason behind the nomination process originated with the notion that the officers of the army should have no loyalty save to the constitution. Too many from one area or none from another could have caused contention and potential risks in the early days of the nation. This mitigated those risks.

    I wish you the best of luck in your admissions process. I'm waiting to hear from USAFA myself.

    Some brainfood: the thing about successful people, is that they always seem to have free time. I’m thinking that it could be the result of attitude or actual free time (i.e. task oriented and organized or something.)
  5. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    Academics, leadership, and athletics. Those are the main areas you should be focusing on (in that order, in my opinion).

    Take the hardest classes you can, and get good grades in them.
    Seek out leadership opportunities in whatever organizations you are in.
    Find a sport you enjoy, and start doing that.
  6. usafamomma

    usafamomma 5-Year Member

    Jun 15, 2011
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    My advice is to apply yourself in the areas that most interest you rather than trying to create the perfect well rounded resume. I personally believe that you will excel to your greatest ability if you pursue your genuine interests. The odds of receiving an appointment are low, so I have to ask...why pursue things just to pump up yourself on paper? Why not do the best you can but focus on the things that most interest you? That way, if you are not successful this year, at least you have furthered skills and experience in the area you want to explore. I am not suggesting you only focus on one area. I think it is important to be a well rounded individual, but do it for yourself, not for your usafa application.

    Also, I think you need to be honest with yourself regarding your resolve for physical fitness. The Air Force, and Academy, have strict fitness requirements. After admission, you need to pass a pft, physical fitness test. This is different from the cfa. Sure, you will have several opportunities to pass the pft, but you need to be able to do so during your c3c year if not earlier. You must be committed to your fitness to be able to continue at the Academy.

    Best of luck to you.

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