Fencersmother brings up a very good point.
For most universities, getting accepted isn't all that difficult. If you're a state resident and it's a state school; most have provisions that make acceptance almost automatic. If you're an out of state applicant, most universities have more than enough vacancies to get you in if you have grades and MONEY. Even the most elite like Harvard accepts a bit over 2,000 students each year. UCLA had almost 120,000 applicants and accepted about 20,000. And like I said, MANY state universities, by STATE LAW, must accept most/all of In-State applicants if they meet the minimum requirements for academics and test scores.
But the academies are different. Except for the very elite and sought after universities, MOST only care about your GPA and ACT/SAT. The more sought after can be a little more picky and look for Extra Curricular, clubs, etc. The military academies are looking for SO MUCH MORE. You have to realize that the academies are NOT a "College Program". It's an institution to train and develop FUTURE MILITARY LEADERS. Getting your undergraduate degree is a secondary priority. As such, they look at the entire candidate. And this is why SO MANY applicants get upset when they don't receive an appointment and they have a 3.9gpa and 32ACT. They keep thinking they are applying to a college. And it's not all their fault. Most parents, even when their kid receives an appointment, thinks of their kid as "GOING OFF TO COLLEGE".
The best way to approach an application to any of the military academies is to think of it as a "JOB APPLICATION". Think of yourself as applying for a job. When you apply for a job, employers look at the whole person. They want to know your experience; (In this case, applicable experience is gpa, ACT/SAT, etc.). They want to know how well you work as part of a team. (Sports, Clubs, etc.). They want to know if you have leadership and/or supervisory experience. (In this case, captain of a team, officer of a club, rank in an organization, selected for leadership training like boy/girl state, etc.). They want to know if you're involved with your community to determine if you're passionate about being involved in things BIGGER THAN YOURSELF.
And just like ANY Job Interview, there's a lot of other people applying for a position with the company. In this case, there are only about 1,200 openings at this time. In the end, those doing the interview; (In this case the ALO, Admissions, and the Selection Board); need to determine why they should choose one person over another. And that's what you need to do. Show them WHY they NEED TO CHOOSE YOU!!! Why YOU are better than other applicants. Why you stand out over the others. Just like a job interview, this is NOT THE TIME to be HUMBLE. Learn how to brag and boast without being arrogant and self centered.
Against ALL LOGIC, you are NOT APPLYING TO A COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In an average college application, you're only competing against yourself and the minimum standards. If you meet the school standards; have the money; and they have enough openings; you most likely get in. If you're an in-state resident to a state school, you're practically guaranteed to get in. But this ISN'T COLLEGE. This is "The Military". You are applying for a JOB. For the first 4 years, your job title is "STUDENT". Then, for the next 5 years, you'll have a new job title.
When I "JOINED" the military, I was Enlisted. I, my parents, family, friends, etc. all recognized that I "Joined the Military". Even though when I got out of Basic Training, I went off to "School" for almost a year; and I received college credit for all the classes which led to an A.A.S degree, etc. I, nor my parents considered me "Off to College" or "Off to a Technical School". I was "IN THE MILITARY".
So, when applying to the academies, realize that you're actually "APPLYING TO THE MILITARY". It's a JOB. There are only so many vacancies. The EMPLOYER is looking for "INTERNS" that they can develop into "Military leaders and Officers". Your GPA, SAT/ACT, etc. is important. But unlike most universities, they care about the WHOLE PERSON. So SELL yourself. And figure out what makes YOU UNIQUE and why they should CHOOSE YOU over all the other individuals applying for this job.
best of luck.