Well, we all know how competitive it is to get an appointment to USAFA. Part of feeling like we're not as qualified is either a sign of humility or a gut reaction to strive for even more. I think part of that is what also makes it so competitive because everyone tries to boost their applications as much as they can. In December, I was elected to go to the National Student Congress tournament as a representative and to be honest, I really was "meh" about being able to got to AL (a week before bct! yikes) but I was a heck of a lot more stoked to be able to call my counselor and tell her to add that to my resume!
But to finish answering your question, everyone except the most arrogant people alive feel the same way. I know I did
The opposite is also true. There are some; not arrogant at all; who believe that their application is better than others. That is part of the competitiveness of our society. It's also a way to rationalize our performance. If we don't get the appointment, we have to figure out why? We talk about quotas, nomination preferences, athletes, etc...
so, there is not right or wrong way to feel. It all depends on your disposition and past successes and set backs. Some will think they definitely deserve an appointment. Some will fee lucky or blessed if they get it. Both are the correct feelings.
I have both qualities, I'd say, of what CC is talking about. I feel like I will definitely get in, but then again I will not. Getting in is so competitive that even with a principal nominee and a spotless record, my chances are still slim. I try not to think about this anymore, and just try to see when the board will finally get to review my file. It''s been 3 months since I finished applying, and they still haven't looked at it... It's almost March! I want this so bad!
Personally I felt that my extra-curricular activities and leadership positions were strong enough. I felt my GPA was below average. But I strongly felt that my test scores were going to be the thing that kept me out. Fortunately I was incorrect.
So, let's get analytical. What about the applicant who has a 4.0 gpa, 2000 SAT, 30 ACT, class rank #1, varsity sports letter, bla bla bla and they DON'T GET THE APPOINTMENT????? Not the PERFECT 36ACT/2400SAT, but pretty close to being perfect all around. There are definitely some of those applicants. How do you explain, rationalize, justify, etc... And assume there was no DODMRB issues. Obviously, there are roughly 10,000 initial applicants. it's reduced to 6000. It's then reduced to about 2800. Where only 1700 will be offered appointments. Of which 1400 will accept is. Of which 1300 will make it out of Basic. Of which 1100 will get to junior year commitment. Of which roughly 950-1000 will graduate and get commissioned.
This is enough to make your head spin. Sorry folks, I keep sending you back to the serenity prayer. All you can do, is your best. This is the JOB INTERVIEW of your life. In my opinion; more important and impacting that any other college application or job interview. And no matter how much you WANT it or think you DESERVE it, you only have so much control over it. Maybe it's TOO MANY applying in your district or state. Maybe because of early apps, nominations, etc... there were early LOA/Appointments offered and the super applicant who didn't get theirs in until Jan/Feb doesn't have any room left for their nominator. There is only so much you can do and so much you can't do. My only suggestion is:
1. BRAG ABOUT YOURSELF ON THE APPLICATION
2. DO THE BEST ON THE CFA AND INTERVIEWS
3. DO THE BEST YOU CAN IN SCHOOL, GPA, SAT/ACT
4. DO ALL THE VARSITY SPORTS YOU CAN EXCEL AT
5. DO ALL THE EC YOU LIKE AND HAVE TIME FOR
6. APPLY TO SUMMER SEMINAR
7. FINISH YOUR APPLICATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (E.g. Sept Senior Year)
8. SIT BACK RELAX, WAIT FOR NOMINATION INTERVIEWS, REALIZE YOU"VE DONE ALL YOU CAN DO AND CAN'T DO ANYTHING ELSE.
i felt that way exactly! honestly my scores were average, i had some but not many leadership roles, my community service was good, my grades are pretty high, and my CFA was very AVERAGE. I always thought i had a good CHANCE to get in, but its funny because i never took much thought as to what i would do if i got in. I kinda always thought that i wasnt really gonna get in because it is SOO competitive! And yet, i got in! when i found out i went berzerk! thats when i actually realized that i actually convinced myself i wasnt going to get in. Another reason is because a kid at my school who is umber one in the class was also applying and i believed he was going to take away my chance at a nom slot, but for some reason i got accepted and he hasnt heard from them yet. I still cant figure out why though, he has better grades, sat scores, and our CFAs were pretty much balanced. I think maybe it was the interview with the Nom and ALO because i know i aced those! along with maybe my involvement in BSA. It just goes to show that motivation and an ALL AROUND applcation means more to the academy than just the brains....so yes, i got in, even though i seriously thought my chances were almost none. SO hang in there!!!
Yeah, I am not in yet, but I am hoping
I am like you ("Am I really good enough to compete with these other candidates?")
I didn't even expect to receive a nomination, and then all of a sudden I received one from both a senator and a congressman, and a letter from my other senator stating that he would have given me one, but I already had enough.
So, even if you do not think you are strong, that does not mean that the perception that others have on you is the same.
I have to agree with christcorp about the job inerview of your life, partly because this has a good chance to become our lives! One of my teachers was writing my recommendation to a senator and she just came up to me one day and basically said she's done hundreds of letters of recommendations before but she just couldn't stop thinking of how much more is at stake. It's not just for a college but also a job and career!
I applied, and to be honest didn't expect to be offered an appointment, and was mentally preparing myself for AFROTC at a state college. I also went berserk when I opened my LOA - totally didn't expect it. I thought it was just a letter telling me my application is complete or something. The postcard that said my application is complete came about a week after my LOA, for some reason.
CC is correct (as usual, Mike!). But, let's not forget that intangible quality of "leadership potential." A lot of people forget that all the US service academies are not just "colleges," but are training the best of the best to be officers in our armed forces.
Even if you feel you are just average, if you're in, the Academy found some quality in you, some spark, which they feel will make you a terrific officer. I think they are really very good at making those determinations.
You are absolutely correct. People need to realize that EVERY SINGLE PERSON who gets an appointment DESERVES it. The Air Force has been doing this for a while. They know the qualities and potential they are looking for in an officer. And just like enlisted personnel, the Air Force knows that for the mission to get accomplished efficiently, they need personnel from many different categories. While the "ideal" system would be that everyone that comes in will stay 20 years; and that the "new" personnel are at the same number as those retiring. But that isn't practical. But that's OK, because a well trained military member; even if they only stay for 5 years +/-; becomes a greater contribution to our country as a whole than if they hadn't spent any time in the military. (Yes, I said it. Ex-military personnel going back into the civilian world are "Generally" more valuable to the overall success of our economy and country). So if you've been selected for an appointment into the air force academy, it is because the Air Force recognized the qualities in you that give you the potential of being a success as a military officer. The appointment alone should be enough proof to the candidate, their friends, and family that they no longer should ever doubt their capabilities. You should NEVER AGAIN doubt yourself. The fact that you even applied to the academy and are qualified puts you at the top of most of your peers.
But what about those who don't get an appointment. This is most difficult. As I mentioned earlier, the reason a person didn't receive an appointment doesn't mean they aren't qualified or doesn't possess the qualities the air force is looking for. The most important thing to know is that there are only so many people who can get an appointment. There's more applying nationally than can be accepted. There's more per state and district applying than can be accepted. In theory, there are roughly 15,000 high schools in our country. If hypothetically, the #1 class ranked student of every high school applied to the big 3 academies (Only because they appoint the most for my illustration); that's 4,200 students accepted. Assuming they were all equally qualified 3Q; that would still leave roughly 11,000 who didn't get an appointment. And guess what, I would guess that there is close to 15,000 applicants to all the academies combined each year. The big 3 usually have around 9000-10,000 each year applying. And there's a lot that DON'T apply to all branches. Matter of fact, I would say that not that many apply to all 5 of the standard academies.
So realize; usually only a certain type of person even applies to the academies. This alone puts them ahead of a lot of other college bound students. Those of you that make it, you deserved every bit of it. Those of you that don't receive an appointment, DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED!!! There's so many reasons why you didn't get an appointment, with many having nothing to do with you. But if you are qualified and make to the end, but didn't get the appointment, be proud of yourself. You can apply again next year if you still want to. THAT IMPRESSES THE ACADEMY A LOT!!!! (Determination). Also, if you are qualified for the academy, then you are MORE THAN QUALIFIED to attend most universities in the country. Including the Harvards, Yales, Stanfords, Duke's, Cornell's of the world. Every person who applies to the academies should be proud of themselves and for being willing to accept a commitment that most people wouldn't even consider. best of luck to all of you. mike.....
Please as the appts and the thank you, but at this time we can't offer you an appt now, don't leave this site. We are all very proud of you and I saw last yr many candidates disappear when the offer didn't materialize. Most if not all elected to do the ROTC scholarship route. I hope that you can see that this site will continue to make you a great officer through the advice offered here.
Also remember, at least for the AF, it is a very small world. You have people here who want to fly, some who want to do engineering and some who want to be docs. We have teased hornet for about a yr now that we expect one day for him to be our DS's flight surgeon. He will one day meet up with many of you...I know that all of you want the 22 (he is included in that wish...even though Dad works on the 35), but I also know he wants the Strike and realistically I bet that is what he will get at first. So in 5 or 6 yrs he might meet up with AFA grads, and there as FNGS at the 335th, DS will probably get named Chief Burnt Tongue REDO...somebody from here will put together that he is Bullet and Pima's son and thus a friendship will form from this site. You will be amazed how fast your next 4 yrs will fly by, and there is nothing better than showing up at an assignment knowing at least 1 person...if you leave here you will lose that friendship and will regret it when you show up at UPT, because even ROTC cadets get the chance to fly!
You also may get to the ROTC det and decide t reapply...you might decide that that was the route you are meant to take, however, wherever you go you will always be able to assist the next bunch on how to navigate the system. You will be able to share your personal experieces that will calm the next candidates nerves. Every candidate, cadet and parent has lived this extremely unique application process and should realize that they are an important part of this community.
I like you post PIMA! lol. At the rate things are going now, may get stuck with a UAV for 2 years! OR, if I get a grad school spot (doing that process now, yuck!), then the pendulum should swing back by the time I hit UPT.
I always considered my application competitive. My academics were very strong, and I was a 4 year cross country runner and senior captain. At the same time, I realized that there are good applicants that are not offered appointments. I always thought I had a good shot, but I could never feel sure. It is such a relief to know now!