You need to understand that there is an unofficial list of "Hundreds" of EC, sports, volunteer, leadership, etc... available for students to choose among while in school. There are the extremes where some students basically go to classes and that's it. Obviously, those aren't really the students that apply to a military academy. Then there are those that try and do everything imaginable. Again, not the norm. But of those that do apply to the military academies, the majority usually have certain things in common. I.e. many are doing varsity sports, national honor society, AP/IB classs, etc... What gets the attention of the nomination committees and such is usually the extra curricular activities. Mind you, as far as the academy and nominators are concerned, NON are MORE IMPORTANT than the others. They understand that there are hundreds of EC activities and only so many hours in a day. What they are mostly impressed with is PASSION and EXCELLING in those activities.
I.e. CAP is no "higher" on the kudo chart than say Boy Scouts. BSA is no higher than say Boy's State/Girl's State. State is no higher than say the "Young Republicans/Democrats". But what is important is that they see high levels of passion and success. It is better to have a resume of 5-6 activities where you excel at and are truly passionate about, than to have 10 activities where you might be struggling because of time.
So remember; whether you're in CAP, Scouting, Boy/gir state, National Honor Society officer, AP classes, IB program, volunteer time, Band/Orchestra, Varsity football/basketball/soccer/etc.... what matters most is that you really love what you're doing and that you are one of the BEST AT DOING IT. The person with the 4.0 gpa in all IB/AP classes, with the 30+ACT/2000+SAT, varsity letter, captain of the team, volunteering their time, getting local/national attention, etc... who is in a couple of other EC like CAP/Scouts/etc... Will do much better and have a better chance at getting in and succeeding at the academy; than the 3.5gpa in all the same type classes, lower ACT/SAT, all similar sports and school activities, who is trying to COMPENSATE with a resume that include 10 or more extra curricular activities and doesn't have to time to excel at any of them.
I only bring this up because having worked with many ALOs and individuals trying to get an appointment, there ALWAYS seems to be a similar question of "What do I need to do to get an appointment"? That is a legitimate question, but don't confuse it with the idea that there is some magical list of EC, Classes, sports, etc... that gets you in or somehow gives you an edge. There isn't. The key to getting an appointment is to take the HARDEST classes that you can, that will still allow you to remain in the TOP 10% of your class; (Doesn't help to take advanced college classes if you're going to get a "C" in them.) Kick butt on the ACT/SAT; be involved in leadership positions; (Can be CAP, Scouting, Boy/Girl State, class political offices, captain of a sports team, etc...); it doesn't matter which of them. It isn't the actual activity, it's the ACCOMPLISHMENT and success of it. And then, do any and ALL of the extra curricular activities and volunteering that TURNS YOU ON. Don't be doing it because you think you're going to fill some "Square" on your application. Do it because that's REALLY the type of person you are and you REALLY WANT to do those things. Then you will succeed at it and it will show. It will also show if you're just trying to fill squares. Again, this is for those wondering "HOW" to get an appointment, but are a little discouraged because they don't think they have the time to do some massive list of 10-20 items. There isn't a magic list. Just "Be ALL that YOU can Be" (Stolen from the army); and you will be fine. later... mike...