timeline for SA and ROTC applications

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by williamsdr3, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. williamsdr3

    williamsdr3 Member

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    Hello, first time poster here. My 11th grade son is interested in USMA, USAFA, and USNA with a backup plan he would be very happy with to join the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. I am trying to get an idea about the timeline for all the service academy summer programs, applications, nominations as well as the AROTC, NROTC, and AFROTC scholarship applications. Are there any good consolidated resources beyond the individual websites? It seems he needs to start with his SA summer program apps in January but the ROTC apps are a little more unclear about when they open. Are those usually applied for in the Spring of junior year or not till Fall of senior year?

    Also, do the summer program applications form the beginning of the SA actual applications or are they separate?

    Also, anyone have an Excel spreadsheet or other good tracking format for all of this? I can come up with something but perhaps there are resources already out there.

    Thank you for your advice. This is a new world for all of us.
     
  2. jaglvr

    jaglvr Member

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    Believe AFA summer program deadline is December 31
     
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  3. mintyicedtea

    mintyicedtea Member

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    I'm not aware of any consolidated resource. Beyond the individual websites, these forums are your best source of information. For USAFA Summer Seminar, the apps are open now. He shouldn't wait till January.

    From one parent to another, it would be better for your son to be the one driving the application process. Is there a reason he can't do the legwork on researching deadlines and creating the spreadsheet himself? We have heard over and over again from SA admissions that they are very sensitive to parental overinvolvement and see it as a red flag. They want to see future military officers demonstrating leadership.

    I have had to restrain myself many times from stepping in to help my son, but it's been great seeing him take charge and own the process. Welcome to the forums!
     
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  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    The application process is a test in itself, of perseverance, attention to detail, critical path planning, integration of task lists, execution, follow up, thoroughness, accuracy, time management and timeliness, all desirable traits in cadets and midshipmen, as well as future junior officers. Oh, and patience!

    I’ve enjoyed reading here over the years about systematic approaches with spreadsheets, binders, color-coded folders, whiteboards, action calendars.

    Reading every page, dropdown and link on the SA .edu sites is a critical first step for the prospective applicant, taking notes. Ditto elected officials’ websites and attending information nights.

    Pay particular attention to the medical history information, as there are some time-sensitive cut-off dates for certain medications.

    Read the Stickies at the top of the Nominations and DODMERB forums here on SAF.

    Many applicants use their parents as admin assistants and med history resources; some do it all on their own, and there are many degrees of parental participation.

    Essentially, it’s almost a 1-2 year job interview journey.

    Browsing the forums can produce a lot of best practices.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I would also add that from 1 year to another they may tweak the process. IOWS, just because for the class of 22 or 23 worked one way it does not mean it will be the same the following yr.

    My best advice is:
    1. Take every ACT and SAT this spring that you can afford.
    2. Get the email addresses of the teacher recs required before the end of the school yr. Not now, but about a few weeks out from end of school yr. Inform them and the GC that this your desire to apply.
    3. WORK OUT for both the CFA (SA) and PFA (ROTC)
    4. Get your medical records in order for DoDMERB
    5. Understand that the ROTC application is different, not only from the SA aspect, but within each branch. AFROTC does not superscore, A/NROTC does. AF/NROTC scholarships are STEM oriented. Their boards meet at different times.
    ~ ROTC boards do not talk to the SA boards. You can be appointed to USAFA, but not receive an AFROTC scholarship.
    6. Keep hard copies of correspondences. Computers crash. Best to have that back up in paper.

    As others have stated, your DS needs to be the one taking charge of this. Be their support system, but they need to do it on their own. Once your child hits 18, the military will lock you out bc they are an adult in their eyes.

    Good luck.
     
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  6. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    Outstanding perspective from @mintyicedtea, @Capt MJ and @Pima. Frankly, that’s about 97% of the best advice you can get about navigating the process.

    So I humbly offer the final 3%: As you strong encourage your kids to take control of the process, also warn them to not compare themselves to what they read here. Posters on SAF are but a very small cut of the whole applicant pool, and not a very representative one at that. And for every poster who says “I did this and that happened,” there’s someone who can say the exact opposite.

    The temptation to compare and then draw definitive — and often wrong — conclusions is especially strong when it comes to SAT/ACT results, CFA scores, and timing of nominations and LOAs. The practice of comparing to a very small, unrepresentative sample can lead to dejection or complacency or anything in between.

    The individual anecdotes are interesting, and usually informative, but they are not gospel. Make sure your kids stay within themselves, maintains focus, and worry only about what they can control.
     
  7. williamsdr3

    williamsdr3 Member

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  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    @williamsdr3

    Here’s the handy link to the medical accessions standard. DODMERB plays a big role. They Q or DQ according to the standard. The individual Services may waive, according to their individual policies.

    https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/613003p.pdf?ver=2018-05-04-113917-883

    One area that we see every year that generates difficulty is the medical history questionnaire. It should not be rushed. The question should be read carefully, and answered precisely, no more and no less. Every year we see those who have rushed through, inadvertently chosen an incorrect response, forgotten something, conflated alcohol use and alcohol abuse, foolishly lied about an experimental use of drugs or self-diagnosed (for those questions that ask if you have ever been diagnosed with X). Then it’s down the remedial rabbit hole for no good reason.

    In particular, having to go back and unravel an untruth about drug usage is more painful than just stating it up front, and taking any heat from surprised parents. The SAs will not be shocked about what happens in HS with regard to this age group and trying certain things, even the typical high achiever Captain America and Wonder Woman types.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
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  9. williamsdr3

    williamsdr3 Member

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    Wow, CaptMJ thanks for the medical link. Kind of shocked to see my son's only physical issues which I thought would be a non-issue are listed as DQ conditions - artificial lens and tiny cataract brought upon by his childhood eye injury (Nerf sword to the eye). He had excellent vision in both eyes before the injury, but now he has one eye still at 20/15 and the other with the artificial lens corrected to 20/20 or so so I didn't think it would be an issue. Guess I will go research all the DODMERB stuff but kind of rattled by this. It seems from all my other research like he is a strong candidate for the SA's. Now it comes down to can he get a waiver for it, I guess? Wondering if he should go down this long and arduous process if these conditions are disqualifying. I thought it would only matter if he wanted to be a pilot.
     
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    That’s why Plans B, C, D are so often emphasized here. Go with the process - as is often said here, 100% of those who don’t apply, do not get in. With luck, someone will chime in with insight on this particular condition. If your DS really wants this, he should go after it with his best effort, if and until he is offered an appointment or not offered one. If this dream doesn’t work out for this reason or another, then it’s a classic life lesson.

    Waivers are given to those the Service wants and for whom they can find a role. The accession bar for medical is set high because of the potential for extreme stress, harsh operating environments, remoteness from medical care, and the importance of every one in a unit being the least likely to break physically or mentally, to support unit readiness.
     
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  11. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Again the need for plan B. The way DoDMERB works is they qualify or disqualify. The commissioning source will decide whether or not to waive. USAFA could say no, but AFROTC can say yes. They might both be AF, and every cadet commission will go ADAF, but they are 2 different commissioning sources.
     
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  12. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    One of the points made regularly by the longtime posters here is, “don’t self-diagnose.” Let the medical professionals determine your fate. Don’t disqualify yourself proactively by guessing at a past condition or projecting to a future outcome. As @Capt MJ says, let the process play out. It’s a weeding-out mechanism in a way, but it’s there for a reason.
     
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  13. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 10-Year Member

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    I have had 3 of my kids go through this process successfully. They all applied to summer seminars and all 5 service academies plus ROTC. The processes and timelines changed substantially over the years, so each of my kids had to start over with their own efforts. They all developed their own process to keep track of their progress which varied according to their personalities. If you allow your son to set up his own methods, he will be able to set up what will work best for him.

    The one common denominator is that my kids all attribute their success (in getting into summer programs and being awarded multiple appointments and ROTC scholarships) to getting all their applications completed early. They all had all their applications in before the start of their senior year. It made for a very busy summer, but a lower stress senior year. They had plenty of time to get DODMERB issues resolved. It was much easier to get their letters of recommendation done by their teachers in the spring rather than at the start of the school year when things are busier. Their members of Congress were all impressed that they were 3q'd by the time of their interviews. They had time to continue to excel in their studies and to enjoy time with family and friends their senior year. Good luck to your son.
     
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  14. OldRetSWO

    OldRetSWO USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs 5-Year Member

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    This is what I've been telling my BGO candidates for over 25 years. In my experience, it also better to go to the admissions board when they have an entire class to fill than when they have already selected hundreds of candidates.
    Others have differing opinions and often post them here but if there is one thing that my tenure as a BGO in three states/districts now has shown me is that getting done early and in to the admissions board early is advantageous. Yes, that means taking the SATs a few times before the senior year (when school counselors recommend it for most kids) but this is not the average state school/run of the mill private school that most counselors steer most kids toward. If candidates want this enough then hopefully, they've been working toward it for some time and getting good CFA scores is not a problem. I've had many of my BGO candidates along with my son (I was not BGO for him) do well enough on the CFA to get in and NONE of them ever did serious training for the CFA ahead of time. I'm positive that my son didn't (and neither did I back in the day).
     
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  15. MMShape

    MMShape Member

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    For nominations you can look at your MOC and Senator's websites this year to get an idea of what they will ask and when the apps will be due next year. For ours--there were zero changes in the process between last year and this year so our DS had those completed over the summer, except for the letters of recommendation, which he requested as soon as school started. He only applied to USAFA and opened his portal within the first week the applications were available, so his deadline was in early Nov. Don't kid yourself--this process will take nearly all of the four months they give you to complete it; it competes with school (I'm sure like us multiple AP classes), sports, other college applications, life, etc. I think our DS finished everything with two days left to his deadline. If you carry over your file from Summer Seminar to the actual application I believe you can start earlier than July, but check that because we didn't do that so I don't know for sure. But there's got to be some way to open your portal sooner than in July, or maybe some kids are just very diligent in addressing everything over the summer. But the earlier your child can complete it the happier everyone will be, especially if there are multiple SA applications involved. And finally--the best advice from our DS is to practice for the CFA in the order and within the time they give you. Our DS did not do it this way and although he passed, he was surprised at how when you add the cumulative timing between the events (he only practiced individual event timing) it made a difference in his performance. Good luck!
     
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  16. Pwrent

    Pwrent New Member

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    @williamsdr3, there are a lot of deadlines! My DD took the earliest of all the deadlines and used that date to finish for everything she applied to. There are a lot of common items between the various applications.

    For deadlines, the summer programs were the first, and then her earliest deadline was AFROTC which was towards the end of September. She completed as much as possible before senior year started.

    There’s a lot that needs to get done that they rely on others. They need to have adults write things for them, like their teacher and school guidance counselor, and recommendations to the MoCs. They need to request that the school send the profile and transcripts. It’s challenging for them but she found asking early (before the end of junior year) helped.

    The fitness tests are not the same. My DD had three different tests for AFROTC, USAFA, and USCGA. They were administered on three different days by different people. He will need to allow time for those and maybe weather too depending on where you live and access to an indoor track.

    The ROTC programs aren’t the same as each other. For example, the AFROTC scholarship can be used at any participating school, while the Navy is school specific.

    Also, your son can consider the USCGA, and they also have a summer program, AIM.

    Not relating to deadlines, but advice we got from another parent is for the kids to make their decision where to go based on what your student would like to do and where they can contribute most for the next 5, 10, 15 + years versus which academy or school is most appealing for the next 4.

    It’s not an easy application process. I admire that the kids are dedicated to serve their country.
     
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  17. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 5-Year Member

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    This. Are you currently organizing their HS class assignments, when things are due, etc.? Probably not. If admitted to an SA they will be responsible for deadlines not just for academics, but for so much more. If your son truly wants an academy, he will drive the process. The organization skills needed during the application process translate over to their time as a cadet/mid and an officer.
     
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