USAFA Hopeful

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Pilot20, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Pilot20

    Pilot20 New Member

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    I will be an upcoming sophomore this year and have been thinking about the academy. I have talked with the old ALO and people who have recently graduated the USAFA. I know that I am starting to think about college somewhat early, but hopefully that will give me an edge over the competition. What are some things that I should consider doing that will stand out on an application.

    Thank you, any suggestions are useful.
     
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  2. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    Good to see you are considering USAFA. I hate to burst your bubble, but you aren't really early in considering a SA or in building your application. My DS in the class of 2020 started considering USAFA as a 7th grader and believe it or not started building his application in junior high.

    USAFA will look at the total person so:

    Academics
    Challenge yourself and take a challenging schedule filled with STEM classes. Keep your unweighted GPA at 3.8 or above (to make sure you beat the recent median GPAs).
    Take the ACT and/or SAT until you are well above the median average. The ACT has moved between 30 and 31 in recent years. My DS took the ACT each year from his 8th grade to 11th grade years. He improved each time and stopped after posting a 34 or 35.

    Athletics
    Be involved and letter in a varsity sport if possible. Earn leadership spots on a team if possible. Stay in shape and make sure to score well on the fitness exam. Practicing on the activities scored in the exam for more than a year should give you a leg up on most applicants. Try to max out in several categories.

    Leadership
    Boy Scouts, CAP or JrROTC are all good ways to earn leadership for the application. Summer Seminar and/or Boys/Girls State. The main thing is to lead and be prepared to show how your leadership made a difference.

    Politics
    Look for opportunities to meet your MOC and their staff so you are on their radar. Keep in touch with the ALO or prior ALO and ask for their advice on how you are tracking. They understand the process and can give you solid advice on areas to improve on or where there may be gaps in your application.

    Use this forum and research other articles where you can learn more about the process and USAFA life. Best of luck.
     
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  3. Pilot20

    Pilot20 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. The first time I heard about the academy was in 8th grade and that is when I started to build an application. Although I've started building my application, I am trying to find out everything that I can do while I still have a little bit of time.
     
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  4. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    Good to hear Pilot -

    Let me give you my DS' application resume for a reference. I do it so you know he got in with these numbers, but there will be others with similar or even better numbers in the same year who did not get an appointment.

    High School - rated in the top 5 in the state in size and academics
    GPA - unweighted 3.8
    NHS, French Club, Academic Competition squads
    16 AP/IB classes (he made 4 or 5s on all AP Exams except French and Spanish where he earned 3s)
    Top 10% of class of 1000 graduates
    3 year letterman on tennis team that won 3 state titles (he was not a star or captain on the team)
    The bad - he made a D one semester in BC Calculus - a grade which he had to explain in his interviews (made a 5 on the AP Exam)

    Leadership
    CAP - Billy Mitchell Award - Flight leadership - Summer Powered Flight attendee on Women in Aviation Scholarship
    Summer Seminars for USAFA and USNA

    Testing
    ACT 34 or 35

    Politics
    Met ALO as an 8th grader and stayed in touch yearly to discuss path and progress. I believe the relationship helped him in that he was a known to the ALO who spoke at his awards ceremony about watching him stay the course and work towards an appointment for 6 years. He also attended 6 years of our MOCs Academy Days. He got to know the staff and the MOC. We went to Washington for a visit during his junior year and he had an impromptu interview with one MOC.

    Interviews
    We have become friends with the staffer at one MOC who leads the SA nominations for him. She said our DS was relaxed and himself in the interviews and his calmness resonated with the panel. He was prepared on current topics and ready to speak about possible weaknesses in his application. Being prepared and relaxed helped him.
     
  5. dervogel

    dervogel Member

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    If I were you I would keep checking this forum as the upcoming school year begins, and then some. We are starting to enter the phase where many rising high school seniors (myself included) are working on the whole application process. You can be sure to expect many posts about the application process and other related topics for the next 8-10 months. As someone who didn't even begin exploring the academies until the summer before his Junior year, I can attest to this. Reading various posts on the forum for almost a year definitely helped me understand how the whole process works. You are already at an advantage by being here. Most applicants don't use or haven't heard of this forum. It is an extremely valuable resource!

    Some important things that I learned about from this forum:
    • Boys State: If interested (I say this because many people just do it for their resume), try to get selected for and attended Boys State. It was a great experience and a great way to learn about state and local politics. Also, it is weighted fairly heavily in the admissions process (I've heard from many people that it has the same weight as being an Eagle Scout)
    • Summer Seminar: Come Junior year, apply to all of the service academy summer seminars if you can. I say this because although you have expressed interest in USAFA, it is good to get a feel for all of the academies and their respective military branches to see which one you like the most. I initially thought that I only wanted to attend USAFA, but after attending NASS and USAFA Summer Seminar, I decided that I also wanted to apply to USNA. Granted, the summer seminars aren't any real indication of cadet/midshipmen life, but they are a great way to learn more about each academy and visit their beautiful campuses.
    • Attend your local area service academy day/forum, if possible. They are a great way to meet your congressman/senators, learn about the admissions process, and meet your ALO/BGO/FFO in person.
    • You'll hear this one a lot: Don't just sign up for billions of clubs and extracurriculars. Try to seek out as many leadership opportunities as you can. Any Academy would rather see someone with a few activities that they were heavily involved in over someone who just signed up for tons of clubs to pad his/her resume.
    Also, be sure to read every page of the USAFA Admissions Site (or any of the other academies you are interested in) to get a full understanding of the application process.

    Best of luck.
     
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  6. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American 5-Year Member

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    There are lots of cadets that decide to apply their junior and senior year without much prior planning. Some believe that you miss a lot of the fun of growing up if you structure your every move from entering middle school on through HS. Thats how the Communist sports grew so strong in the last half of the 20th century.
    Of course it's helpful if potential cadets have taken the right classes, excel academically and athletically, and have kept their nose clean.
    Moral to my exhilarating story: You are not late to the party, in fact you're early. Have fun in HS, and remember the nose thing.
     
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  7. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    Maple - my DS made his own choices and we supported him with the understanding he could change his goal at anytime - hardly a communist stance.

    Sports today are concentrated at a different age and with more focus earlier in life. Not saying it is the right thing to do, but it is a fact of life.

    You can have fun, keep your nose clean and stay true to a goal even at a young age. The key is for it to be the persons choice and not someone else's.

    I agree there is plenty of time starting as a junior but I didn't want the poster to think they were far ahead and had an advantage.

    As always the forum appreciates different opinions and viewpoints.
     
  8. Pilot20

    Pilot20 New Member

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    I totally agree with you. I am a hopefully starting to build a strong resume. I will definitely apply to summer seminar, boys state, etc... I am taking the hardest classes currently available and maintaining a 3.94 (unweighted). Also would being captain of the varsity soccer team and president of a club that does many service projects be good things for leadership?
     
  9. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    Those are good leadership opportunities. I would challenge you to think outside the box in leadership roles and be ready to talk about what you did as a leader to distinguish yourself - don't let it just be a title. You are certainly on the right track for building a strong application and thinking the right way.
     
  10. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    Don't be surprised (allowing for a tiny bit of disappointment) if you are not selected for SS. It will have no impact on your eventual appointment. In fact, many ppl selected for SS are those who might otherwise be least likely to attend it.
     
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  11. HardWorkAndALittleHope

    HardWorkAndALittleHope New Member

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    Yes, there will be some who have been preparing since birth, others will decide to apply last second. Don't worry about others, just present the best version of yourself. If a SA is right for you, you may find that you will already have an application in line with what they want.
     
  12. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    And, before the chaos starts: On I-Day, no one will give a hoot if you have an LOA (Queue that music: dum dum dum duuuuuummmmm). No one. There. I've said it (again. 100th time?)

    If you have the $$$ and time to go to SS, and you are invited, great. Have a blast. If you apply and are not accepted, go do something else. If you don't apply, it won't matter.
     
  13. Velocity2012

    Velocity2012 Member

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    Best of luck on your journey. All advice above may sound daunting, simply stay focused and do your best academically and athletically and in so doing you will have put your best foot forward.
     
  14. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

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    Three priorities:
    1. Academics
    2. Leadership
    3. Athletics

    Keep doing those well, and you will have a good chance (at any college, but particularly the Service Academies).
     
  15. seacadetmum

    seacadetmum Member

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    Start talking to your guidance counselor now. My dd is a rising freshman and we met with her counselor who is new to our district last week for schedule changes. We ended up finding out he was VERY up to date on what she needs for her application and started an "academic resume" for her during the meeting. The previous school he worked for had a high number of applicants so he knew what we needed to do and when. It was a huge relief for us. He has confirmed he will be able to secure her a spot in summer math next year so she can catch up to do AP Calculus her senior year, this was her biggest concern.
    Her goal is USNA but the priorities are the same: leadership, academics, and athletics.
     
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