My parents were both flight instructors and so I have the opportunity to get my private pilot's license. Would this improve my chances of getting in? I know it means that once you get to the academy you can fly sooner but how does it look on an application?
No. Not any more than other activities that you endeavor to do.
There's only ONE question you should be asking yourself..... The same question everyone should ask themselves about activities that they have a choice of doing or not.
Do you WANT to to do it? If the answer is yes, then do it. What's the problem. This isn't rocket science. Whether or not getting your license, or being in CAP, or being in JrROTC, or being in the Band, or being in the Drama Club, or going out for Track....... Do I need to go on? Do you WANT to do it? If so....... Then DO IT. If Not...... Then Don't. Don't make this harder than it is. "Which isn't hard AT ALL".
The biggest benefit to having your license is the flying hours. My son is in ROTC. Dont take this as gospel but from what I see, when you take the TBAS test, that is added along with your AFOQT Pilot score give you your PCSM score. My son had a 95 Pilot score on the AFOQT and along with that TBAS score, he had PCSM score of 70. Along with 201 hours of flying, his PCSM score went up to 98. 99 is max
Unless they've changed the rules recently, the academy doesn't require the AFOQT test. They rely on the SAT and ACT. However, as of
2008, all USAFA students are required to take the AFOQT to provide data for broader valid-ity studies. But it's not used for acceptance to the academy.
As mentioned previously. If you want to get your private pilot's license; then get it. If you don't, then don't. Either way, make sure you're doing it because you want to. It won't get you any extra brownie-points towards an appointment.
I think having a PPL has become more important over the past few years in the whole process of getting an AF pilot slot regardless of source. I agree that it will not count for acceptance to USAFA except as another extra activity, but I cannot see the admission boards not at least look at it when it has become nearly a requirement for other commissioning sources to get a pilot slot. As Humey said, ROTC cadets get a huge boost for flight hours. On the OTS and Guard/Reserve sponsored side a PPL has absolutely become a requirement to even rush a unit. Also, even the USAFA pilot candidates get to skip IFS if the have a PPL so it takes one whole elimination step out of their path to getting wings. I think if you have the opportunity to get your PPL, it is a good idea to do so even if it does not directly add points to the admission process.
Of course, we were answering the original poster's questions.
"Would this improve my chances of getting in? ............ how does it look on an application?"
Obviously having a PPL has it's benefits. Just like some cadets get to test out and skip certain classes because of the classes they took in high school and how they score on the qualification tests. Same with the PPL. There are advantages.
But to specifically answer the original poster.
"It's not going to improve your chances of getting it, and it will look just like any other activities on yours or anyone else's application".
If you want to fly, like to fly, and have the means of getting your PPL because you WANT TO; then you should get it. Shouldn't matter if you are applying to the academy or not. Shouldn't matter if the military is even of interest to you or not.
"Plan your life, activities, curriculum, sports, work, etc. around what you like and want. NOT to try and fill squares and impress others. Do this with your life, and you will be so much happier. Take the classes that interest you. Play the sports you like. Apply to the schools you want to. Don't apply to college or a university if you don't want to. (Not every great job requires a college degree). Major in the field that you are passionate about. DON'T THINK ABOUT MONEY. Apply to jobs that you want."
Do these things, and you will be happy. You will have learned what the vast majority of us have learned by the time we are 50+ and say: "If I knew at 18 what I know now.........". Of course, MOST won't learn that lesson now. At 50+ they will be saying the exact same thing to the next generation. And they won't listen either. But, I've got to try.