Taking the CFA before being moved to Candidate Status


New Member
Jan 23, 2017
DS received notification that his Pre-Questionaire was competitive and that nothing further would happen until at least July 1. I'm wondering if he could complete the CFA before he is moved to candidate status (if he is). I'm asking because otherwise he would need to wait until school is back in session in September which slows the whole process down. I'm sure this is not a unique situation to my DS. Thank you for any information.
Unless something has changed he can take it, but not submit it because it is done electronically and since his file will not open until at least July there is no way he can send it.

Secondly, September is way early. Most MoCs do not even close out their nom applications until at the earliest Sept., and some don't close out until Oct.

Use the summer practicing the CFA in the order it needs to be done. There really is no rush.

I would also have him spend the summer writing his essays. Edit, re-write, re-edit, and repeat. This way he will be able to have his AP Eng/Lit teacher to review the essays the 1st week of school.
~ My DD is an English teacher and she has been asked to review/critique essays for college applications on top of her other duties as a teacher...i.e lesson plans, grading papers, etc. If a teacher is asked often enough it can take them a while to get it back to them.

Finally the reason this does not slow down the process by waiting is because he will also have to have his GC submit electronically their paperwork, along with the required teacher rec. Just like the coaches these people will be gone until Sept.

OBTW if he is really adamant about doing it before Sept., his ALO is allowed to administer the CFA. However, if it was my child I would spend the time making sure the bigger things that might trip him up is ready to roll.
~ IE his medical records. DoDMERB trips up a lot of kids because they never thought that something was going to put them into the remedial or DQ pile. Your child will not go to your family doc, he will go to whatever doc they assign him to, and it has to be done in a limited time frame.
Pima is right. You have plenty of time on your side. However; if your son is the type that's not going to have any problem getting the CFA completed with excellent scores, there's nothing wrong with getting it done and out of the way. Like Pima said, simply don't submit the scores online until your portal is open for you to do so.

At the same time, most schools are open in the summer months for many reasons. If you coordinate with your school admin and guidance counselors now, I'm sure you can work out a time when you can go there in the early part of summer; after your portal opens; and have them ready to send your transcripts, class schedule, school profile, etc. And in the summer, there's usually at least 1 or 2 coaches and/or PE teachers available at the school. Our football coach was there doing strength conditioning for the football players; then 2-a-days later on; etc. Maybe you can arrange with them to do your CFA. Depending, most of them are allowed to give you the CFA test.

I applaud any candidate who wants to get the application done early. I highly recommend it. But in order to do so, you really have to be on the ball. When my son applied, the portal opened on June 15. He was 100% completed with his application before July 31st. Less than 45 days. This allowed him to enjoy the rest of the summer; use August and september to get all his other college applications completed and sent in; and to really enjoy his senior year of high school. Basically, by the time school started in September, he was completely done with "College Stuff". But you have to determined. You have to have everything; especially with the school admin; lined up ahead of time. You can't just expect to walk in during the summer and expect everything to fall into place. If you have the admin and counselors lined up; your teachers recommendations lined up; your CFA lined up; your writing sample and the application lined up; then it's very easy to have the entire application completed in 45-60 days. That includes getting scheduled for your medical physical. And; if you're on good terms with your ALO, you can even get the interview out of the way. And with my son having a Presidential nomination in hand, he was eligible for an early appointment. Which he did receive at the end of October.

So yes, you can definitely get the CFA and the entire application completed early. Much earlier than most. But you have to really be prepared for it. And that starts today. Not in May when school is getting ready to get out. When teachers and admin are frantic trying to get the senior class graduated. You need to speak with the appropriate people now, so you can agree on a followup time in the summer to get all this completed. It can be done.

But also realize a couple things. There's only 2 things that a candidate/applicant has 100% complete control over. The CFA and their ACT/SAT tests. Some say their GPA, but once those grades are in, you can't really change them. But the act/sat and CFA you can control. But you only get to submit the CFA 1 time. Whatever the scores are when you submit them, that's it. Some will debate that the academy will let you RETEST the CFA. The truth is; whether or not you get to retest the CFA is totally up to the academy. If they like your application, and you appear to be one of the tops that they want, and your CFA isn't good enough, they will allow/ask you to retake it. But this isn't 100% guaranteed. It's up to the academy. They've been more inclined the last couple years to allow more retesting. But I would not bet on it. If you have a very average application, and your CFA scores aren't high enough, the academy could possibly not offer you a retest. In which case, you could be deemed "DISQUALIFIED". End of story. So before submitting those scores, you want to make sure the scores are the very best that you can do. Not average, not the minimums, but the BEST YOU CAN DO. You can practice and take the cfa as many times as you want. But you can only submit the scores one time. Unless the academy offers you a retest. And I'm sorry, but I would not bet on that as a backup.

So, unless your son is a major athlete, who can get close to maximum scores on the cfa, you might encourage him to practice it until he can't do any better. Again; he can do all that now, and still arrange for getting the application done early. It all depends on how determined he is. Best of luck.
Thank you both for your in depth and thoughtful replies, they are very much appreciated. My DS runs 3 seasons a year at the Varsity level we have practiced the CFA in order 3-4 times and he has come close to maxing out all sections and has maxed out the run. His mindset is much like you described Christcorp he wants to get done as early as he can. Thank you!
Our MOC stressed getting the application process started and finished early. My DS did some things really well and procrastinated on other parts of the application. He completed the CFA at USNA SS and used it in his application for both SAs. However, he did not request his letters of recommendations until after school ended and had to wait for the fall to get the necessary letters of recommendation. He did complete both the SA and MOC applicatons early and got his LOA in late December/early January.
DDrun; it sounds like your son is definitely capable of getting the CFA done quickly with great scores. The 2 hardest for most people is the run and the pullups. But if he can do, as you say, and can almost max it all; then definitely look into him having the application completed early. Remember; this takes a lot of COORDINATION. And that depends on how good his school's admin, counselors, teachers, and PE/Coaches are. If he can coordinate all of this with them NOW (Before they get too busy with graduation for seniors), then he should be able to get their cooperation. Like I mentioned; most schools are open in the summer. Admin for sure. They are the ones who sent all the required class schedules, transcripts, profile, etc. Matter of fact, my son was so organized with them, he brought them a big envelope already addressed FROM the school and TO the academy. He asked them when he came in, to PLEASE put a all those required items in the envelope. They sealed it and put the appropriate postage on it. And my SON took it to the post office to make sure it didn't sit around for weeks.

He had the teacher's personal and/or work email addresses so they could be reached during the summer for their recommendations.

He arranged with the PE/Coach to do the CFA during the summer, early.

He arranged with his ALO to get the interview and eval done ASAP. (ALO was impressed, and also relieved to get it done before the hectic fall came).

Once all that was done, he was scheduled for his medical/physical and was completed with the entire package before July 31st.

So it can be done. If your son is on first name and good terms with the school, then it's easy. If your son's school has a gazillion students in the school, and the school admin isn't as personal with the students, then it could be more difficult. Unfortunately, that is something totally in your son's hands. No one can help with that.

Best of luck. Mike
DS received notification that his Pre-Questionaire was competitive and that nothing further would happen until at least July 1. I'm wondering if he could complete the CFA before he is moved to candidate status (if he is). I'm asking because otherwise he would need to wait until school is back in session in September which slows the whole process down. I'm sure this is not a unique situation to my DS. Thank you for any information.
If your DS can max out the CFA I totally recommend getting it out of the way. I kept trying to get my DS to get it done early. For one reason or another it became one of the last things he did. The day before he was scheduled to do it, he rolled his ankle in a track meet. Fortunately, he was able to recover in time to do it- BUT TALK ABOUT STRESSFUL! Good Luck!