Request for Advice


New Member
Oct 25, 2017
Hi! I am a junior in high school who is wants to apply to the US Air Force Academy (and/or West Point, but that one is 2nd priority). My main question is, given what I have written below about my situation, what can I do to improve my application/chances of being nominated/appointed?

I do have some weaknesses in my application, because I only thought about and decided to apply when I have the chance on my junior year. There's a reason, but it's probably not relevant here.

Major Weakness 1: I do not have any history of sports whatsoever. None. Nada. I am going to try out for Cross Country and soccer as soon as possible, but I'll only get 1 year of sports (1 and a half if I somehow manage to get on a team between 1st and 2nd semester of this year).

Major Weakness 2: I have little in the way of leadership. However! I am working to fix this: I am currently in AFJROTC, am the team captain of our JV Cyberpatriot, have been inducted into NHS (KHAS is pending), am trying to get a job in Group Staff (For AFJROTC), and am currently working on a project with NHS for donating rice to the World Food Programme.

Major Weakness 3: I have/had ADHD, and was on prescribed medication for it. However, I've been off meds for more than 2 years, and while I used to have a 504 plan, I do not have one any more (We didn't renew (Is that the word to use here?) it 2nd semester 10th grade year, and so I will have been off it for more than 24 months when I apply).

Now that I've discussed my major shortcomings, I feel I should mention that I do have some strong points on my application:
  • I got a 1540 on my SAT (780 math, 760 reading)
  • I have a 4.0 unweighted GPA (4.8 weighted) (Although I might not be able to keep that one up...)
  • I attended (and graduated) the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy (A National Guard affiliated program. In brief, it is a quasi-military alternative high school.) and filled the squad leader position twice, and platoon sergeant position once.
Given that, what should I do to help my application be more competitive? Thank you for any and all advice and comments you may have :).
Congratulations on your excellent SAT score, and your GPA, NHS, AFJROTC!

Clearly you have self-identified your weak areas and are taking steps to improve in those areas. You still have time to gain more leadership experience. And putting an effort into team sports is a sound idea, but regardless, you should workout so you can do well on the CFA.

I don't know how past ADHD will affect your application, but you can search for past discussions on that topic and research the medical standards to get a better idea.

What no one here knows is your history, how/why you ended up at FYCA, and depending on your history, whether or not it will affect your ability to get a nomination and appointment. (And you do NOT need to share your personal story here.) You should, however, be prepared to discuss your story during interviews for nominations and with the Academies. I don't want to be negative (and this is a generalization, not specific to you since I don't know your reason), but some of the reasons a 16-year-old lands in a quasi-military alternative high school could be impossible to overcome when seeking an appointment to a SA. You should, like ALL applicants, work on your plan B and plan C. Good Luck!
I am confused. You're a high school junior, but have already graduated high school? Here's your quote:
I attended (and graduated) the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy (A National Guard affiliated program. In brief, it is a quasi-military alternative high school

Not one sport? Hm. I have heard of band kids calling marching band a sport (and defending it against wrestlers, hockey players, water polo folks... not too successfully. No flame throwers, please), but have seldom heard of anyone with NO sport at all. No tennis? hand ball? Marathon? swim club? Have you practiced for the CFA? How did you do? If you try now to pad your resume with a sport (XC, soccer), that will be obvious. Others will weigh in with advice/ideas.

Please look up DodMERB regulations regarding ADD & associated medications. Some will depend on when you took meds (under age 13).

Do you have a part time job? Can you get one... NOW? Jobs are great - they show dedication, work ethic, ability to manage time, leadership, team work... Get a job. It's good for you.

What is KHAS? (When using acronyms which are familiar to YOU but not to others, please use the full term, once, then we'll figure it out)

Of course your SAT looks decent - always strive for 800/800. Your GPA - good, but for all we know, you could have taken not one AP/IB/Dual-Enrollment/Honors course. So, giving us the GPA is good, but tells us nothing really.

Do you have a foreign language? What has prevented an otherwise good and motivated student from having NO SPORTS during 2+ years of high school?
Are you a foreign student?

The JROTC is a good start; how long have you been participating in that?
Since you are a junior, begin in January to research American Legion posts in your area and find out if you can interview with them to be sponsored to attend Florida Boys State in Tallahassee next summer. The application process is usually in January or February, and they do the interviews shortly afterwards. You only get one chance to do this and it is one week during the summer between your junior and senior year, but you have to be sponsored by a local American Legion post to participate. This is a leadership and government program that you still have a opportunity to be part of, and it is life changing for some who attend. I have heard that West Point looks highly upon Boys State, and possibly USAFA does as well. My DS participated this past summer and there were over 500 boys selected. You are in Florida, right? (Although most every state has their own Boys State AND Girls State, too.)
I love that Fencer is always pushing the part time job. I am in her camp as well. The value of earning your own money is so important. My 17 year old took a hiatus during football season, but as soon as they are done with the playoffs he will be put back on the schedule. And while he has always valued higher education, spending a couple years making pizzas has definitely reinforced that!
The job is sososo important for many reasons. First off, it teaches our kids how things are in the "real world" outside of their homes and especially, their schools, where, let's face it, the coddling is sometimes unrelenting. Don't make burgers fast enough = irate customers who complain and want their money back! Don't cut the bushes to the satisfaction of the neighbors = don't get paid, have to re-do it, don't get hired back. Don't get the dishes washed fast enough, or clean enough, at the local eatery = fired. Of course, these can be tough lessons but better learned at 16 than at 22 or 26 or 36 or 56. I would rank a long-held part time job with sports, especially sports in school which have a short season & those sports without a second sport to make sports a year round exercise. (My opinion only. Fencerschildren WORK.)

And there is nothing like working on a pipe in a hole in the street with rats and raccoons and sewage to make that math class seem pretty dang inviting.