No sports

dustyperiwinkle

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Aug 12, 2019
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Hi there. This is probably a very repetitive question that gets asked a lot. My biggest concern right now is not getting a nomination because I’m not qualified because I don’t play sports.

I would love to go to the USAFA but I really don’t know if I should even apply because I don’t play a school or club sport. I know that the vast majority of appointees were varsity lettered. I also know that sports are important not just because of athletic achievement but because they demonstrate leadership, teamwork, endurance, attention to detail, etc. etc.

Besides the no sports thing, I think I have good stats in other areas. I am a drill instructor in marching band. We’ve gone to nationals, we work hard, we run, we demonstrate teamwork and endurance. As drill instructor I have been in charge of almost 50 people and their well-being. I am a primary teacher who is responsible for leading the group, teaching the drill, and building the culture of the group.

I have a 35 ACT, 3.9 GPA, top 6% of my class. I am Vice President of mu alpha theta, and secretary of key club. I’m also in NHS and DECA. For DECA I was in the top 10 people of my category at internationals last year. In concert band I have made the all region band twice.

I did track and field and figure skating in middle school but I quit as soon as I reached high school because of marching band. I don’t regret it, marching band has taught me life lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Sorry for the long rant. I just want to understand if I have any chances of going to USAFA. Do I even have a chance to be nominated by my congressman? Why would they nominate somebody without sports participation? I don’t know. Someone lay it on me.
 
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justdoit19

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You absolutely have a chance! Make sure you work on your physical fitness so you can score well on your fitness test. Not everyone is a varsity athlete. Your leadership in band stands out to me. Exactly what you explained is leadership. I’m sure there are things in your other organizations where you have lead an made a difference. Build upon what you have!

No one can really asses your intangibles: how do you interview? What’s your competition? Your essay, etc. but imo, you for sure have a shot! But you have no chance if you don’t try.

Are you ‘24? Or beyond.
 

BBQ-Devil

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MidCakePa

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I know that the vast majority of appointees were varsity lettered.
You pretty much answer your own question here. Of course you have a chance at nomination and appointment without a varsity sport because, as you say, a “vast majority...was varsity lettered.” Which means a small minority was not.

Contrary to popular opinion, varsity athletics participation is not mainly about physics fitness. SAs can figure that out even more accurately via the CFA. Instead, athletics is mainly about teamwork, leadership, resilience, discipline, perseverance, drive. And all those aspects are available to be gained via other activities. It’s up to you to demonstrate that you have those attributes via marching band — or any other endeavor. That’s what the small minority does.
 

anlee

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Dec 28, 2018
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You will be able to demonstrate athletic ability on your CFA. Start training for your CFA now so you can do well and show that although you did not play a sport, you were still committed to fitness. Be sure to emphasize in your essay that the marching band has physical requirements and what they are. I know our school marching band did a lot of conditioning. Merchant Marine has a really good band- I would recommend you apply to them also!
 

dustyperiwinkle

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Aug 12, 2019
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You absolutely have a chance! Make sure you work on your physical fitness so you can score well on your fitness test. Not everyone is a varsity athlete. Your leadership in band stands out to me. Exactly what you explained is leadership. I’m sure there are things in your other organizations where you have lead an made a difference. Build upon what you have!

No one can really asses your intangibles: how do you interview? What’s your competition? Your essay, etc. but imo, you for sure have a shot! But you have no chance if you don’t try.

Are you ‘24? Or beyond.
Thanks for the positivity! Yeah I’m ‘24 so I’m applying right now. I’ve just been doubting myself a lot. It’s a long shot in my opinion but you’re right, I should definitely try at least.
 

justdoit19

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Thanks for the positivity! Yeah I’m ‘24 so I’m applying right now. I’ve just been doubting myself a lot. It’s a long shot in my opinion but you’re right, I should definitely try at least.
It’s a long shot for anyone who applies. Seriously. The odds are NOT in anyone’s favor. You cannot know unless you apply.

DS #1 applied, no offer. Couldn’t clear medical but he will serve in a different way as of last week.

DS #2 is currently a Mid. If he paid attention to a chance me thread, he would be discouraged I suppose as he isn’t a 4.0 student. However he received a principal nomination and won locally. He’s a great leader, interviewer (and overall person imo but I’m biased) and is doing awesome at USNA.

DS #3’is currently applying. His weakness is his English ACT score. So he doesn’t check THAT box. But he also is not fazed by a chance me thread, and may knock the socks off his MOC too!

Point is, you do not have to be the absolute best candidate person in each individual category to receive an appointment. Or maybe you do. There really is no way to know how you stack up locally, how you interview, what your competition is, so many other things to even guess. That’s the problem with chance me threads.

You have to want it. If you want it, go for it. You have as good of a chance initially as anyone else. It’s up to you, but you won’t know if you don’t try. And why wouldn’t you try if you want it.

You look like a good candidate to me!

BTW, this is a great learning and growing experience no matter if an appointment is obtained or not. And if an appointment isn’t received this year and you really want it, apply again next year. Also have a good, solid plan B! Both of mine applied ROTC concurrently.

Best wishes.
 

USMA 1994

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You should speak to the leadership and team work associated with marching band during your interview with your ALO. This is where he/she can help complete the picture of your activities and potential that do not perfectly fit in one of the current boxes. Last year I interviewed a young lady who was the Drum Major for a 6A high school in Texas and I added facts to the interview and supported that her leadership opportunities were on par with that of the Captain of the Football team.
 

USAFA10s

USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB
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You most definitely have a great chance - read this sticky https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/sports-and-your-academy-application.44076/ and figure out how to tell (through your application and interviews) how marching band gives you valuable experience that is akin to playing a varsity sport.

I managed to do both marching band and tennis, so it is clear to me the value of being in a marching band leadership role. It is YOUR job to make sure that comes across, as not all band programs are created equal, and not everyone understands what it is like to lead a section/teach drill in marching band.
 

Wishful

"Land of the free, because of the brave..."
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Does your school have a kickline??
 

peppypea

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Feb 2, 2017
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You will be able to demonstrate athletic ability on your CFA. Start training for your CFA now so you can do well and show that although you did not play a sport, you were still committed to fitness. Be sure to emphasize in your essay that the marching band has physical requirements and what they are. I know our school marching band did a lot of conditioning. Merchant Marine has a really good band- I would recommend you apply to them also!
Anlee beat me to it: for sure apply to MMA as well- they are super music focused! Had my DS not gotten his appointment USAFA he would have gone there.

That being said, absolutely emphasize your involvement in band and what that has meant for you and how it has helped you. My DS is in Drum and Bugle and he LOVES it (but holy moly, as a mom watching from the outside- HUGE commitment, uffda!)
 

peppypea

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I have stated this in other posts, but here's a bit more to consider: Be a cool well-rounded person. Like, the Academies are looking to enrich their pool, they want the kind of people who are smart but also interesting- the kind of folks you are drawn to at a social gathering. I know this sounds hippy-dippy, but anyone who attends an Academy is potentially one of the greatest leaders of our future. The kind of person who communicates freely and can enhance any situation.

So, yeah, maybe you aren't sporty in the traditional sense, but you CAN bring something special and wonderful to the table. Let that light shine when you do your various interviews: passion shows, you can't manufacture that.

Best of luck, I believe in YOU!
 

fencersmother

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Practice for the CFA... a lot. And I am not kidding. RUN RUN RUN, and practice for the CFA timed, in order of event. So many hopefuls neglect to practice for this test in this manner, and conk out during that long run at the end.

If you play a horn, contact the band that plays at football games.
 

Christcorp

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Just a point of clarification. A few people mentioned that you can still get into the academies without any involvement in varsity level/high school level sports. That is true. But they also mentioned that you can make up for the lack of sports, by doing exceptionally well on the CFA. It is indeed important to do well on the CFA; however, SPORTS and the CFA are 2 totally different things. The CFA does indeed measure your physical fitness; but being involved in "TEAM SPORTS" has nothing to do with your physical fitness. Yes, chances are, if you're involved in varsity/high school level team sports, you're "probably" physically fit. To most extent. But the purpose of sports/athletics/team sports, etc. that the academies are "measuring", have almost nothing to do with your physical fitness. That's what the CFA is for. Why would they have 2 tests/requirements to measure the same thing???

If you're curious as to WHY athletics/sports is so important, read the post in the sticky all about athletics/sports. Then, you will realize, that while it's definitely possible to get into the academies without athletics/sports, you will need to emphasize the attributes that athletics/team sports you possess from a different activity. And "Physical Fitness" is NOT the attribute you're looking for.

Best of luck to you.
 

Adopt3

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The USCGA admissions counselor had my son email the band director to express interest after he completed his application. Should he try to contact the band director at USNA and AFA also? Is that allowed?
 

shiner

USAFA Grad, Faculty 3yrs, ALO 7yrs
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The USCGA admissions counselor had my son email the band director to express interest after he completed his application. Should he try to contact the band director at USNA and AFA also? Is that allowed?
Certainly allowed, but understand that the band director is not a voice in the admissions selection process like an athletic coach would be. Also understand that SA Drum and Bugle Corp is not at the DCI level and the drop in quality is difficult for some students to handle. I went from a top HS program in the US where every student had a tuner to USAFA D&B where there was 1 tuner for the band, and you had life long woodwind players trying to learn brass intruments, and a walk-on cymbal player had just made drum major.... Let's say that didn't sit well with me.
 

shiner

USAFA Grad, Faculty 3yrs, ALO 7yrs
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My biggest concern right now is not getting a nomination because I’m not qualified because I don’t play sports.
Athlete, Mathlete, Band Kid - we have seen all types get appointed. As a USAFA ALO, I've had all three types appointed in the same class from the same school. I have to think it was my favorite appointee class because it showed me that it was possible. Well rounded students come in different forms and provide the type of diversity the SA are looking for. If you consider the CFA your SAT for fitness, it is the great equalizer for this question. Academic, Athletic, and Extracurricular -- how do you stack up?

I had a tough choice in HS in terms of path to go. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to attend USAFA and choices about how I spent my time were strategic. Our football team was not good at the time, but the band was winning awards. I chose band, crushed it in extracurricular leadership opportunities. As a result, I was offered appointments to multiple SA. You should apply. Considering the age of your original post, I hope you already came to this conclusion and submitted your nomination packets ahead of the deadline.
 

dah19

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Feb 22, 2019
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My DS did not play at sport and is at USAFA. He excelled in leadership and was well-rounded otherwise. He also knew the stats and knew it could be a challenge, but he interviewed well and made sure to speak of his other achievements.
 
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