Official Candidate...

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by emily, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. emily

    emily 5-Year Member

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    I received a letter from the Naval Academy saying that I was an official candidate about three weeks ago. Since then, I have discovered (through looking at their site) that I am also a candidate for the military academy, but I am still only an applicant for the air force academy. Is this a bad sign? Should I give up on this academy (my first choice) and concentrate on the other two? Or is there anything I can do to get the air force to consider me as a candidate more seriously?

    Also, do you only get a letter from one academy saying you are an official candidate, or should you also get one from each that considers you a candidate?
     
  2. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

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    On CC flieger stated that the AFA will be changing to candidate starting June 30th.
     
  3. Chanmachine

    Chanmachine 5-Year Member

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    When I went to summer seminar they said we should be able to start working on our apps starting july 1st. I think you're okay for now. Just concentrate on the apps for the other service academies.
     
  4. hornetguy

    hornetguy 10-Year Member

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    Patience, you will learn that soon. It is still VERY early in the process.
     
  5. America's Finest

    America's Finest 5-Year Member

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    It's still early. I received my "official candidate" letter (more like a post-card) way later than this time last year.
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    USAFA/RR has told the ALO force that we can expect to see our first "candidates" showing up on our webpages NET 30 JUN 09.

    So I'd say...next week the VERY first ones will be identified.

    And even if you are NOT a candidate early on, SO WHAT?! It does NOT mean you're doomed, you won't get in, worry a LOT, etc...etc...etc...

    The "early candidates" are usually those with simply amazing numbers early on, or completed packages, or those that got the "lucky tag" on day one. It does NOT mean they'll get in, that they have a better chance, etc..etc..

    It's WAAAAAAAY too early to be worried/concerned. Keep focused on the END GAME: get the nomination, get the package done early, get the best scores you can in ALL areas, and eventually get that appointment!

    That's ALL that matters. The rest...well, it's fluff.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. emily

    emily 5-Year Member

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    I'm not particularly worried, it's just that I've already got letters from the other academies saying I was a candidate. But I still have to get a nomination from a congressman and take the CFA.

    And another question: Because I'm a female, is it a lot harder for me to get in?
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

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    You being a female is a tricky question. First of all, realize that generally speaking, you aren't competing with other applicants nationally. Most applicants are competing for the nomination from their rep/senator (MOC). Therefor, you're competing with people in your district/state. I say MOST applicants, because there are some other nominations other than your representative/senator; and if you're eligible for those, you'd be competing with other applicants who could be national.

    Now, while the military academies don't have an actual "Affirmative Action" program in place for accepting candidates, they do understand URM. (Under-Represented-Minorities). They like to have an academy and a military that is representative of our society/country as a whole. So, while there are definitely less women in the academy than men; there's also a lot less applying. While your sex or race could play some part in the process, it's not a large part. And if anything, being a women could actually give you a slight edge. But realize, how the break down works. Here it is again for the Air Force Academy:

    ROUGHLY 10,000 people apply to the academy (Prospects)
    Roughly 6,500 of those will be considered worthy of consideration (Applicants)
    Roughly 3,500 of those will be considered competitive (Candidate)
    Roughly 1,700 of those will be offered an Appointment (Appointment offered)
    Roughly 1,400 of those will accept the Appointment (Appointment accepted)

    Now realize, that of those considered candidates (That 3,500 number can definitely be much higher if there's a lot of highly qualified applicants); these HAVE TO as a minimum have their entire application complete, CFA, DODMRB, and most importantly, a NOMINATION. Without this being accomplished, they can't even be considered to be offered the appointment.

    The Army ALWAYS gives candidate status earlier than the Air Force. Matter of fact, it is not uncommon for West Point to give out LOA's in July. The final individual still has to have completed the same application and nomination, but the Army gives theirs out earlier in the hopes of getting people to lean more their way. (Sort of like colleges who offer Early-Acceptance in the Fall).

    So, when it comes to competing, you are primarily competing with others in your district and state. Each person who nominates, is only allowed "X" amount of people in the academy at one time. So even though they can nominate 10 individuals each year, it's possible that they aren't ALLOWED to have but 1 or even 0 out of that list in this particular year. But if your application is a kick butt application, walks on water, then the academy will work to find you another nomination. And if you can get the #1 slot of the nomination on your representative's list, then as long as they have a slot available, and you're qualified according to the academy, then you are also in. Hope this sort of explains (In an overly simplified way) how the process works. best of luck. Mike....
     
  9. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Two things to clarify/expound upon.

    First, Mike is dead on accurate so read what he said and take it to heart.

    Second...small additions/clarifications...at USAFA (I work for them so I will speak in that regard) if "X" number of people are "fully qualified" and "Y" are females, the AF Chief of Staff (4-star general) has directed that the AFA select the BEST candidates, and not look at ANY other category. (Mike alluded to that too!)

    So...if we had a group with say 20% females as the BEST qualified, we've been told those 20% would be selected. Several years ago we admitted a LOT more females than in the past for precisely this reason. The only thing keeping us from admitting that many females is "typically" we don't have that huge disparity in gender applications. (Again, Mike also covered this)

    Next...nominations/appointments. To further clarify...each MOC has a legal "limit" of no more than 5 "designated appointees" at each service academy, at any time. HOWEVER...and here's where the "qualified alternate pool" becomes VERY valuable: that only fills about 500-700 slots per year, typically. Where do we get the other folks?

    From the "Qualified Alternate Pool." Who's in it? EVERYONE!!! Except those receiving "Primary Nominee" nominations from MOC's that use the "Primary/Alternate" nomination method. This method is NOT the most common. What it means, for those of you new here, is: "I designate you my primary nominee" comes from the MOC...that goes to the academy. The academy MUST appoint that person PROVIDED they meet all the legal requirements for entrance (DODMERB, academic, etc...etc...) But it's a guaranteed appointment. The MOC will also typically nominate 9 "alternates" to replace the primary in the even that person does NOT qualify. These alternates go, you guessed it: into the "Qualified Alternate" pool.

    Most MOC's simply nominate 10 folks per opening that they have and then tell the academy: "Here's my nom's...YOU pick the best." And that's that.

    Now, the FUN part (I know, this is long; my apologies) the academy will select the "designated appointee" (remember the max of 5) and credit that person to the MOC's account. The rest though...are fully eligible for appointment as qualified alternates.

    BEST example of a "huge success" I've seen was about 3 years ago. Senator Jon Kyl here in AZ had 2 openings so he nominated 20 folks. The 2 were selected by USAFA and the other 18 went into the pool.

    When the dust settled, 12 more had been appointed to USAFA! He received 14 appointments for 20 nominations; but only 2 "counted" toward his total of 5!

    So...knowing this was LOOOONG...does it make sense?

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  10. America's Finest

    America's Finest 5-Year Member

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    Really? What I have read is tha LOA can be given as early as November. At least the official ones. I've seen recruitted athletes that were told they would receive one the summer before.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

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    1st; Steve, (Flieger), thanks for the clarifications. You have always been impeccable with your wording and terminology. Some times my brain races faster than my fingers, and I THINK I said/explained something, when in fact I left it vague. I always appreciate your posts.

    America's Finest. Each academy handles their LOA process a little different. Not different in the requirements for an appointment, but rather in the process time. Almost ALWAYS, the air force academy gives out their LOA and EARLY Appointments (Those who already have a nomination; e.g. presidential; and are 100% complete with their application); in the November time frame. Even athletes are generally given LOA's at this time. That is assuming that EVERYTHING for their application is 100% complete; with the exception that they may not YET have a nomination or have finished their DODMRB qualification. That is what the "Letter of Assurance" states. It ASSURES the applicant that IF they get their nomination, and IF they are 100% complete with their application and are qualified; academically, medically; they WILL receive their appointment. I know of individuals in the Army; who applied to West Point and were given an LOA in July/August. My son had spoken with an Army AOL who was assuring him an LOA as early as July/August. The difference between theirs and the air force, is that they know that the application hasn't actually been completed yet. So for them, they are ASSURING if they get the nomination and are qualified academically, medically, etc... And complete their application 100% and are qualified, that they will receive the appointment.

    But I know of a few current army personnel who received LOA's in July/August, and they weren't athletes. Now; whether this is common or vary rare, I can't say. Is it possible for the air force to do it? Yes, possible. Do I know of any air force personnel/academy grads who received an LOA prior to November? No I haven't. I must admit however that I have only been involved with assisting individuals in applying to the academy and universities for about 5-6 years. And I've only been really involved in the application process for about 3. But maybe Steve/Flieger can say if he knows of any Air Force cadets who received an LOA in July/August. But I do know of Army cadets who have. later... mike....
     
  12. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Nope, Mike's accurate on the LOA issue re: AFA.

    I've been an ALO for...well, a LOT of years! :shake:

    And I've NEVER seen an LOA for USAFA prior to about mid-late October; November is more common.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  13. flymom

    flymom 5-Year Member

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    My 2012 cadet received her LOA on October 20th (She's not a recruited athlete) we will NEVER forget that day! :)
     
  14. emily

    emily 5-Year Member

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    Thank you for the information, guys! It's a little overwhelming, but it has answered a lot of questions.

    But here's another one:

    I live in Tennessee. I don't think the competition for a nomination here is as tough as those in other states. My senators both ask for three letters of recommendation. What information should these letters contain? The websites only mentioned that they required them, but gave no further information as to what they should contain. Help?
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

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    Just an opinion here; so take it for what it's worth. Treat the nomination process as though it was the "Job Interview of your Life". Which it is!!!!! So, imagine you are leaving a company (High School); and you're moving away and looking for a new job at a new company (Air Force Academy). Now; with that in mind, think of 6 Key Points about you that you want your 3 references to mention. All of them should state the obvious about you being a great student and all, but try to get each of the references to mention 2 of the key points. It's OK to let those writing you a reference know what sort of stuff you'd like in the reference. So; as an example; besides the obvious; maybe one reference mention WHY the Air Force Academy and Air Force would be fortunate to have you. Also; some great leadership skills you have with an example. Another reference, besides the obvious stuff, can mention how you are always giving your time and such volunteering; and maybe mentioning your team work. Again with examples. And the third reference could mention athletics and work ethic.

    These are examples, but I think you get the drift. Basically, take the traits that the Air Force Academy is looking for; get those writing references for you to include some of these attributes in their letter of reference. Include examples. And then have EACH of them press upon the member of congress how you would be such a good asset to our armed forces and how much pride and honor you will bring to the state of Tennessee. Again; these are only examples to get your brain thinking. You don't have to use any examples I provided. But rather the concept. Best of luck..... Mike......
     
  16. aggie83

    aggie83 5-Year Member

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    Son got LOA dated Oct. 14, 2008. We knew they were actually looking at his file earlier because we were asked to clear up 2 discrepancies (turning out DODMERB doctor measured his sitting height wrong and they made an error on his depth perception test. His depth perception is fine). However, before they even got the cleared depth perception retest results, the LOA was issued.

    Goal: Get your packet completed and ready to be reviewed at the first selection committee meeting.
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

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    Yes; can't impress enough to get the application done as soon as possible. The board basically starts looking at the "COMPLETED" applications the first of September. And in those that are completed; will be numerous groups. There is the "No Brainer" group. The academy has 50+ years of seeing GPA, SAT/ACT, Sports, leadership, etc....... They know all the averages and where you stand. Obviously, the vast majority of applications will be in the average. But when they see some of the "No Brainers" who are definitely going to get an appointment; assuming they get a nomination and qualify medically; they want to give them LOA "IF POSSIBLE"; to entice them into being motivated into accepting the air force academy as their educational and career choice. Remember; most people who apply to the academy and get an LOA/Appointment; PROBABLY could get accepted to most universities in the country. As such, the academy is competing for you. So, the sooner you have your application in; the more it will be looked at. And based on your state; number of applicants; available slots; bla bla bla.... Your chances of an LOA/Appointment actually can increase.

    Example: The average GPA coming into the academy is 3.85. You have a 3.9. Average ACT is 28; you have 30. Basically; let's say you're doing really well. HOWEVER: You have other people competing in your district. You don't even know who this person is. But you get your application done 100%; you are 100% qualified; all you need is a nomination. The academy possibly gives you an LOA which means you only have to be on your MOC nomination list; ANYWHERE. You can be #10 and you still get the appointment. The OTHER people in your district competing have some 3.95 and 4.0 gpa's. They have some 32-35 ACT. etc.... You're excellent; and they are walking on water. But they get their applications in during the average time of around November; just prior to their interview for nomination. They almost CAN'T get an LOA. Most LOA's are given out by then. So there's 2,3,4 etc... people walking on water; and they are competing against each other for 1 slot from their member of congress. You're sitting there with an LOA which is a guarantee. Even if you are the LAST name on the nomination list. Where as the others need to be like #1 on the list. Anyway; just one of many examples of how getting your application done early, complete, and qualified can benefit you. best of luck..... Mike......
     
  18. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    YES YES YES!!!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  19. Mixmaestro

    Mixmaestro 5-Year Member

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    So, I am not old enough to begin applying yet (I fill out the precandidate questionnaire in December). Do the ALO and my congressmen want letters from me on my academic progress, to become acquainted with me before I actually begin applying? It seems very early.
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

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    Every congressman is different. We have no idea what they want. Contact their office or their website and it will tell you what they want and WHEN they want it. As for your ALO; you should be contacted by them when you fill out the pre-candidate questionnaire. Also; you will want to apply to the summer seminar. It's a great experience if you're fortunate to get accepted for it. It doesn't actually improve your chances of an appointment if you go; and it doesn't hurt you if you don't go. But there are a lot of INDIRECT benefits.

    1. You know a bit more of what you're getting into. (FWIW; EVERY applicant who thinks they know what they're getting into; has NO IDEA what they're getting into). Summer seminar will actually help you realize what will be required of you.

    2. Summer seminar automatically starts the application process for you. So, when the online system opens up, you're ready to begin.

    3. Your congressman/senator will usually see that you are committed to the academy if they saw that you went to the summer seminar. It will usually help in your nomination.

    Your congressman will probably not even meet with you until around November of your senior year. They give a deadline for requests for nominations. So by then, your application is complete; you've done your physical; your GPA is pretty well on track; and your ALO has already been in contact with you. Your congressman will know a lot about you by then. But again; check out their website or call them and get the package they send to their constituents.
     

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