new member question


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jan 5, 2009
I have been watching this forum for quite some time. A lot of great information thanks for giving your time to those in need! My son is a junior at a very competitive all boys prep school. Each year, the school gets two or three boys that get appointments to the various SA's. In fact, last year, they had four who graduated from West Point at the same time!

He has been interested in the service academies for quite some time and has a lot of qualifications except for the grades. Last year, his HS councilor told him that he did not think he would make it into an SA because he was not an A student, but I told him not to give up on his dream. His main goal is to get a pilot slot with either the AF or Navy. He is active with his CAP squadron and has consistantly promoted, hoping to make officer by next year. Even though others outrank him, he is the non-officer squadron leader and head of the color guard. He is half way to getting his pilot license and is also active the past three years playing on his high school Varsity-A rugby team. Also works summers, but we do not allow him to work during the school year because of the work load.

We have a family contact that is a close to high ranking staff member of our US Senator, who likely can help him with the recommendation. My son has since met the Senator and worked this past year on the Senator's re-election as well our MOC's campaign. Also has a number of other community service hours.

His grades are good considering the school he attends. His average has consistently been around an 86. They do not grade on a four point scale, so we do not know the equivalent. He worked hard this last semester and knew he would need a lot of A's but ended up with both A's and B's.

After a long drawn out explanation above, my question is whether or not he really has a chance at getting into an SA? Because of his grades, he has decided not to apply for the summer programs and has pretty much given up on the SA's. As a back up, he is looking at ROTC at either Embry Riddle or Texas A&M Corp of Cadets. If he does good on his SAT's, will that over-ride his GPA?

Any advice you can give is appreciated.
Thanks again.
Haha your councilor needs to take another look...if he has an A-B average he should be able to get into the summer programs especially if he plays sports. Your councilor might just be used to the other kids that went to SA and got accepted...they could have been extraordinary but if your son is taking honors classes and is getting A's and B's that's probably good enough and the councilor just doesn't know...
He should at least apply to the summer programs
Welcome, Cartgate! :smile:

Tell your son he will never know unless he tries. Has he taken the SAT or ACT? A good score on either one can really help. Also, I know West Point uses a geographical distribution for its SLS slots but I am not sure if AF or USNA does - sorry. He should apply to the SA summer programs that interest him - that will initiate contact with the academies. At West Point, the SLS application is used as the preliminary candidate application.

Be sure your son reads each academy's admissions pages...the steps for admission are very plainly stated. Many cadets/mids are A-B high school students.

Your son sounds like a committed leader and a good student. Best of luck to him as he applies to his dream schools!

If your son is truly interested in a SA he should apply. If he is lacking in grades it is possible he could be offered a year of prep school. If he does well there, he would be able to attend the academy.

ROTC is also a good option. Why not apply for both ROTC and a never know until you try.
If he gets a great sat or act score it will most likely over ride the gpa. He shouldnt give up. I was denied to usma and usafa ss, but I didn't give up and I have a decent shot at getting an appointment. Just remener that he should take the sat or act asap and as often as possible
Last year, his HS councilor told him that he did not think he would make it into an SA because he was not an A student, but I told him not to give up on his dream.
My daughters guidance counselor told me the same thing. She is a plebe.

West Point is looking for kids who fit the scholar/leader/athlete model and who are of good character and will make good military officers.
Not every cadet is a super star in all areas - far from it. Some are fabulous athletes, some are brainiacs and others are great leaders.
Academically - if your son is taking a strong schedule that is a plus. Hopefully he is taking Honors courses and some AP classes? In Math he should be up to either pre-calculus or calculus his senior year.
Has he taken the SAT's or PSAT's yet?

Your son has some terrific leadership experience going for him. Admissions knows and understand CAP.
Athletically - Rugby is a great sport. West Point has a fabulous Rugby Club team.

The bottom line is - keep encouraging him. He should go ahead and apply for SLS. If he doesn't make it - it's not the end of the world. If he really really wants to get to West Point, then he will.

Your son sounds amazing!! Please follow the very good advice offered here and apply to the summer seminars and to the Academies if this is what he wants to do!!

We did not think our son stood a chance at all. (Homeschooled--we just didn't think he would be competitive.) We have absolutely rejoiced every step of the way. From the first letter (which we were sure would say "thanks, but no thanks") that started with "Congratulations we think you have the potential . . .", to the letter from our congressman giving him a nomination. No guarantee of an appointment of course--still we wait. But this has been a wonderful experience. If nothing else, he has interviewed with great people and let me tell you, putting together one of these applications is the experience of a lifetime!! He has not been intimidated by any college application after this!

If this is your son's dream please encourage him. Look at the stats of previous classes--it is not all about just grades or just SAT scores--it truly is the complete person and they know who they are looking for. How will you know if you don't try?
Trust me, a councilor is not a certified SA representative.

You shouldn't give up. It doesn't hurt to try.
Thank you everyone for your replies. My son is now excited again about this. Interested in AFA, NA, and KP. Also AFROTC and NROTC. Now in middle of Junior year, going to be pretty busy from here on out. Thanks again.