My DS has had a similar experience to the OP's regarding contact with his ALO. He tried to communicate with his original ALO at the beginning of the process, as recommended in the Instructions to Candidate Booklet, by email and phone messages, but the ALO never responded. He has tried to contact his "New" ALO to set up an interview, but has received no response. DS has completed his application, is a competitive candidate, and is DoDMERB qualified.
DS is applying to two Service Academies. The ALO equivalent and Counselors at the other SA have been proactive and responsive to DS. He started this process with USAFA ranked by far as the number one SA on his list. As he has moved through this process, he has started to lean toward the other SA. He has taken the sports recruiting adage, "Go where you are wanted," and applied it to his service academy process.
We live in a large competitive state and district, and SA rankings are extremely important in the nomination process. DS's Congressman does not double nominate, so DS's number one SA choice will in all likelihood be his nomination. DS is now considering contacting his Congressman's SA Liaison to ask if he can re-rank his choices. He is not contemplating this action lightly, in fact, he considers it one of the most important decisions of his life.
The OP's and DS's experiences may be anomalies, but if they are typical, then USAFA may be creating potential issues bringing competitive candidates into the academy. If this new ALO interview process is the problem, then USAFA may need to rethink it. I say this with great deference to the men and women volunteer ALO's at USAFA, but the volunteers at another academy, so far, have been better advocates for their Alma Mater.
Just to be clear, DS says he would be thrilled and honored to receive an appointment from either SA. However, if he had to choose between the two, it would now be a very difficult choice.
As frustrating as unresponsive ALOs can be (mine also was), I would recommend against making a decision of which to attend based on that. Once he is actually accepted, the ALO is no longer part of the picture. Your son should focus more broadly and decide which SA will best fit his needs and desires, both now and in the future (summer opportunities, degree options, career fields, commissioned lifestyle, etc). Just my opinion, but take it for what it's worth.
Those are great points Hoodlum15. However, your recommendation misses the main point and assumes that DS has a choice of which SA to attend. He has to receive an appointment before he has a choice. Right or wrong, he has come to the conclusion, based mostly on interactions with his academy liaisons, that he has a better chance of an appointment at one academy over the other. That belief has potentially changed his strategy for the nomination process. If he gets to a point where he has to choose between two appointments, then all of your points will be valuable for him to consider.
Several previous posts in this thread contended that since the USAFA ALO's are volunteers, candidates should not expect to receive a high level of interaction from them. One of the posts was a bit condescending, and I wanted to relate to others on this thread that volunteer liaison officers from one of the other SAs provided a significantly higher level of interaction. Of course this is purely anecdotal, based only on DS's experience, but it didn't square with the information being provided by the majority of posters. Additionally, one of the posts advised reading some of the many threads which discuss ALO guidelines. Since USAFA made a significant change to the ALO interview process this year, most of those old threads may no longer be of value.
Finally, local ALO's are called ALO mentors in the Instructions to Candidate Booklet. I have never heard of a mentor who didn't have significant, substantial interaction with those under his/her tutelage.
Again, DS would be thrilled and honored to receive an appointment to USAFA. However, USAFA literature indicates that ALOs play a significantly different role in this process than what DS has seen from his.