My son is a 9th grader and wants to attend the AFA, what do we need to do now?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by wrights1994, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. wrights1994

    wrights1994 New Member

    Mar 2, 2012
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    He has already taken the ACT (33) and SAT (1930) through NUMATS (he has done both since 6th grade but those are this years scores). He runs CC in the fall and plays lacrosse in the spring for school. I would expect he would be varsity for both sports grades 10-12. He also plays lacrosse all winter in a couple of leagues and club lacrosse all summer. He has a 3.98 (non weighted) with two current honors classes. I would expect he would have two more honors class and 7-9 AP classes by the time he graduates in 2015. He does do service for church. I know that the problem is that every kid who applies has these basics. What else does he HAVE to do to even have a chance? Do we contact our ALO or congressman now?
  2. pilot2b

    pilot2b 5-Year Member

    Jul 8, 2011
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    :zip: Those are pretty incredible stats as a 9th grader. Keep up the academics, sports, community service, and try and throw in some leadership experience (become team captain if possible of a sport). Keep on taking the SAT/ACT and he'll look awesome to his ALO when junior year rolls around. :thumb:
  3. usafamomma

    usafamomma 5-Year Member

    Jun 15, 2011
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    I'd advise him to relax and enjoy being a kid while he still can. He sounds very bright and that he'll be a great academic fit.
  4. jro

    jro 5-Year Member

    Jan 24, 2012
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    I am probably speaking out of school here, since my son is a junior and just starting the application process, but the main thing I have learned so far (not just for USAFA, but for all college apps) is that preparing seriously for the PSAT and SAT can pay huge benefits.

    My son took the PSAT for practice during freshman and sophomore years. His scores were OK (sophomore 177), but not special. We signed him up for a review program the summer before junior year (I don't want to push anything here, but if you PM me I'll tell you which one). His PSAT jumped to 222 and his SAT to 2190. In our state (GA) he is in pretty good shape for National Merit Scholar.

    Admissions to the service academies, as you probably know, are super-competitive. Being NMS may help an applicant's chances, although I don't know for sure, but if my son doesn't get in he has great fall-back options because there are a bunch of schools that will give him a full-ride because he is a NMS. Your son has done well enough so far that he is NMS-capable; don't let this opportunity slip away (my younger son is 8th grade, and we're starting him now on review classes).
  5. AFAYahoo

    AFAYahoo 5-Year Member

    Apr 12, 2011
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    What he has sounds great so far, but like pilot2b mentioned, leadership activities will be impt. Captain of a team, president of a club, etc. I might encourage him to develop some interests outside of sports (a service club like Key Club, Scouts, etc.), but make sure its something he's definitely interested in, not just a resume filler. It will be impt to show he is well-rounded. He doesn't need to contact his ALO yet--they'll be devoting their time to the current class of applicants--summer before senior year will be fine. Otherwise, he should keep up the good work, but definitely enjoy his high school years. It goes fast, especially once the college/academy application process begins.
  6. Bullet

    Bullet 5-Year Member

    Jan 9, 2008
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    Very simple answer that can be summed up on two statements:

    1) Does your have what it takes?

    They'll look at his academics. The Academies are on par with the top Universities in the nation in regards to academic rigor, PLUS your son will have to deal with more pressures on his time management than most other students will face at other Universities (intramurals, required drill / formations / exercises, clubs, extra-curricular activities, etc..). So, is he taking (and most importantly, SUCCEEDING AT) the hardest courses, a well rounded course load, and doing this while also doing other activities like sports or clubs or extra-curriculars.

    Also, will he be able to handle the physical demands both at the Academy and in his career? Is he involved in some demanding sport that demonstrates this (like LAX) and doing well? Also included in this category (physical fitness) is his medical condition -- this is a big trip up for many. Does he have a medical condition that would hinder his being a cadet, and more importantly an officer?

    2) Does he have what the Services NEED?

    The primary purpose of the Academies is to train the next generation of our nation's military officers. They'll want to see evidence that he has some leadership potential. This usually takes the form of a leadership position in either a school sport or extra-curricular, because it shows them that either their peers or their coaches / advisers think they have that leadership potential.

    Two other areas in the "need" category that generates a lot of debate here: diversity and Div 1 level athletic ability. The Academies NEED to recruit the best and the brightest, and NEED to get the attention of these best and brightest so they will want to go there. Having a football team that is competitive may not cause our future enemies to tremble in fear of America, but it gets the Academies' names in front of the general population (and you would be surprised how large a number of the American population is ignorant of the Academies and what they are there for). Diversity also demonstrates that the Academies are fully integrated into the general population, and is not the home of some elitist group of folks.

    Now, you can try to "fill every square" (and pretty much everyone does to improve their chances), it doesn't mean your guaranteed admission. It just makes you more competitive towards getting an appointment. This is the vagueness in the process that also generates debate here -- some get in with lower standards than some, and some get left behind with what appears to be "locks" in their record.

    The best you can do is sweat the stuff you CAN control, and not worry about those you can't. Put 10000% effort into making yourself the best candidate available, because if you don't and you don't get in, you have only yourself to blame. (But I would also add emphasis to the "balance" part mentioned before -- if you're doing something just to "fill a square" versus doing something you enjoy, it usually just back-fires on you).

    Looking at YOUR son's stats, I would say he is on the right track (Congratulations to you, you've raised a remarkable kid!). Keep him focused, keep him healthy, keep him ready, and keep him having fun. Do that, and even if he doesn't get into his "Dream Academy", he will nevertheless succeed in life.

    And isn't that the ULTIMATE wish you have for him?
  7. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

    Jul 20, 2006
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    I don't have much to add other than I also have a 9th grader who has his sights set on USAFA!

  8. USNA2016Dad

    USNA2016Dad 5-Year Member

    Dec 4, 2011
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    Boys State

    Look into The American Legion's Boys State. He should talk with his school's counselors in January/February of his Jr year. This is an excellent program involving civics/government and leadership. The 3 kids from my son's HS class of 2012 that have been selected for appointment to the SAs (USMA, USNA, USAFA) each have Boys State on their resumes. If I may also add, time will go by unbelievably quickly from now to when you become a "mailbox stalker". Best of luck, cheers.
  9. profsparrow

    profsparrow 5-Year Member

    Dec 7, 2010
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    May I put in another word for Boy Scouts. There are great opportunities to learn and practice leadership. And if, in the next 3 years he is able to attain the Eagle Scout rank, along with holding positions as a Patrol Leader or Senior Patrol Leader it will show that he can lead people and has learned to set and achieve goals.
  10. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    No, he has 2 more yrs before he is even eligible to start the application process.

    1. You do not know if either will be in that capacity in 2 yrs.

    MOC's change, especially this yr with the general election. You would be spinning your wheels.

    ALO's are volunteers, this is not their day job. They can move and all of that "face time" is down the drain.

    2. The AFA has @ 10K applicants a yr. Right now many 2017 are contacting both their MOCs and ALOs, this is on top of them dealing with 2016 appointee/candidates.

    Your DS is 2019. Review point 1. The MOC staff doesn't even know if they will be there in 2014.

    There is no guidance they will be able to give regarding anything for your child.

    3. Kids change.

    Our DS since he was 10 wanted to be an AF JAG. His dream college was Duke since he was 8. That was set in stone for @ 6 yrs. Duke AFROTC undergrad, Law school after graduation and 20 yrs in AF JAG.

    Summer rising jr yr:
    boff Duke...Notre Dame all the way! Same plan AFROTC undergrad, Law school, etc.

    March jr yr.:
    AFA...huh? JAG, but probably Pilot now. Huh? Duke not even on his list, Notre Dame is plan B.
    ~~~ Whiplash for Bullet and I

    Fall SR yr:
    AFA, Notre Dame, Columbia (HUH?), UMDCP, NYU Sterns, and UMiami (Huh?)
    No more Law school in the plan at all. AF 20 yrs all the way, Pilot 1st choice, Intel 2nd choice. Govt and Politics major.

    Feb 1st Sr yr:
    UMDCP all the way on AFROTC scholarship. When the college acceptances came in, I opened them, not because I was nosy, I gave him the chance 1st, but because he said "I don't care, I won't go there even if they take me".

    FF March 2012:
    Will graduate from UMDCP with a Scholars program citation and has a UPT slot to Laughlin AFB.

    I used our child as an example to illustrate how young he is right now, and how quickly they will change.

    Yes, some have had this dream forever, but if you only have tunnel vision on that Plan A, you may create a path for them that they now are following because of your best intentions for them.

    He has a strong profile, keep him on this path, but as others have said let him take control, he will succeed in anything.

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