Lacks a varsity letter

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by mark4csu, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. mark4csu

    mark4csu New Member

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    Hello, my youngest son is interested in the CGA and brings strong credentials academically, has a lot of work and community service, a variety of leadership experience, etc. With that said, one glaring thing he lacks is a varsity letter. He participated in sports in 9th and 10th grades, however he turned his attention to volunteering and work so that took the place of sports. He's physically fit and scores around 255-260 on the PFE right now. My oldest son just completed his first year at the USNA. What's interesting is my oldest son wasn't as high academically and didn't have as strong extracurricular activities, yet he was a c0-captain in football among other things so that helped him. In other words, we've seen the benefits of participating and excelling in a varsity sport in terms of service academy acceptance.

    My question is for my youngest son, with such a high percentage of acceptances having varsity letters, does it even make sense for him to get a varsity letter his senior year or is it simply too late? He would be getting one only to check it off the list, and it would be in cross country or track. One stat I saw showed 86% of those in an entering class had a varsity letter so obviously this appears to be a "must have." With that said, he did gain excellent work and volunteer experiences with leadership in place of a varsity sport and his 255-260 on the PFE seems acceptable. Can the lack of a varsity letter be replaced by other activities or is it simply too much of a hurdle to overcome? I just want to set appropriate expectations for him. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Aeroman65

    Aeroman65 Member

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    My DD is the same. Very strong academically and with community service/volunteering, but no varsity sports. She is pushing ahead anyway. She loved AIM session 1: it changed her mind from a "maybe" to a "definitely" on her desire to attend CGA. CGA is now her #1 choice. From what I've seen on this forum, sports is just one aspect, but the applicants are evaluated on all aspects. With strengths in other areas, my DD remains hopeful. We still have a plan B, just in case.
     
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  3. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner 5-Year Member

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    Sports are important from the perspective of teamwork. Being captain is a positive because it demonstrates leadership. These are the reasons sports are considered important. However, is a letter a must have? If 86% had a letter, that means that 14% didn't have a letter. CGA is going to look at the entire package, not just sports. He should do a sport he likes because he likes it, not to check a box. (I see Aeroman has posted while I'm typing). The CCEB is going to look at the package, and compare that to what the Academy needs for this year, and the coming years, and where that fits into the needs of the Coast Guard in 5 years. That's why checking a box is not as important as demonstrating commitment to the values of the Coast Guard, the ability to lead when in the position to do so, and explaining in your/his essays where he/she fits into this.

    Tell him good luck, have a Plan B (C,D). And the Coast Guard Academy can't say yes (or no) if you don't apply.
     
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  4. madhttr

    madhttr AROTC Dad

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    Others will have to comment on the USCGA chances, but I coach HS cross-country and have had a runner come out her junior year specifically for getting a varsity letter and improving her academy chances. She was not initially a strong runner and I was dubious, but she worked her tail off and earned the letter (I have some criteria I use to award them and she met the criteria). She is now at USAFA. But her situation was unique: we have a small class 2A team and needed her to complete our girls team. Had we had more runners I doubt she have been able to earn a letter and it would be highly unlikely at a larger HS in a higher classification. So it may be too late, depending on the school and the competitiveness of the team. If he does go out, he should do everything he can to demonstrate commitment to the team and that he is not just there to check a box. That will serve him well regardless of what happens with USCGA.
     
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  5. mark4csu

    mark4csu New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback! My best wishes for your DD on her pursuit of CGA.
     
  6. mark4csu

    mark4csu New Member

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    Agreed and thank you. While he's seen sports play a very important role in his brother's acceptance at USNA, he's gained a lot of valuable leadership and character-building traits while working and volunteering the last 2 1/2 years (he's an assistant ranch/barn manager, directing staff, doing very hard work, etc.). It was his choice to move away from sports and I think it has been a very positive thing for him, regardless of what happens with the CGA or any of this other options. His essays and interviews will be important to explain why his leadership experiences, while not sports-related, still bring value to any institution he tries to attend. I told him that selling and believing in himself will be something he not only does over this next year, but for the rest of his life. That's all a good thing regardless of which A, B, C, etc. plan plays out for him. Appreciate it!