As hopeful said; the different categories are "Prospect", "Applicant", and "Candidate". Once you get far enough along, and your basic information is competitive, you become a "Candidate". It simply means that you will be considered. As hopeful also mentioned, an LOA is given to only a select few. And those LOA's are generally all given out by about November. Not that a few more can't trickle in after than, just that there aren't that many. There's also a very small amount who are given actual "Appointments" early. Not getting either doesn't mean you won't get selected and offered an appointment in March. That is when the majority; +/- 1000 are actually given out. The early LOA/Appointments are usually for those that are in the top 1-3% of their class; the 4.0gpa unweighted +/-; nailed the CFA; >2000 SAT combined; >30 ACT; etc... mega EC; volunteer; etc.... Basically the top scores based on their historical data from previous years of experience. I can't remember the actual break down of scoring, but I think academics can get a high of like 805 points. Even if my numbers are off, those who got the LOA/appointments early were close to maxing most/all of the areas that the academy admissions board grades you on.
I believe there is 1 more SAT/ACT available in time to get scores in. I think November/December. If you can retake these tests to help with your scores, that can only help. Also, if you're unweighted GPA goes up at the end of this semester, then definitely resend the academy a new transcript. Trying to determine what scores you need is almost impossible. You aren't being graded against a list of scores; Pass/Fail. You are competing against every other applicant who is trying to get in. If EVERY applicant got a math SAT greater than 680; then you need to have a 681. Every group of applicants are different. There is an average for applicants overall. Those are outlined at the academy website. However, you have to remember that you are competing with other candidates. Not a minimum score. This year's freshmen class has an average entrance High School GPA of 3.85 unweighted. Also, of the 1380 +/- that enter basic training, on average there will be about 80-90 that either quit or medically get rejected during basic training. This year it was only about 40 that didn't make it through. Each year and class is different. None better or worse, just different. Of the 1380 that start, usually about 950-1000 will graduate 4 years later. I believe that this year's graduating class had over 1000.
Anyway; do the best that you can. Get the highest SAT/ACT test scores you can get. Have the highest GPA that you can get. Do all the EC, volunteering, sports, etc... that you can. That is all that you can be expected to do . The best. You can't try and aim for a certain level. The whole concept of the air force academy is; once you've reached your goal, immediately set another goal higher. I know it's frustrating wanting to know if you will get accepted or not. Every single cadet currently at the academy has gone through that exact frustration. The vast majority of them had to deal with it until March. Some were fortunatel to get an early appointment or LOA in October/Novemeber. But for the majority that waits until March, all you can do is make sure that every opportunity that you have to increase your scores, activities, sports, etc... that you manually send updates to your counselor at the academy. At the same time, you make sure that you have applied to a number of other colleges in case you aren't accepted. Just like any other college; they don't accept everyone. If it wasn't the air force academy, you would be applying to a number of traditional schools. Same here. Have other schools lined up.
Sorry that we can't give you the magic SAT score, or gpa, etc... to give you a better idea of your chances. I can say however that being they are still waiting on your transcripts, writing samples, and CFA to be completed, chances are that you probably won't have a "Complete" application until probably the middle/end of November. I think it would be very iffy for you to be able to still receive an LOA. The reason being; the few they have to give out; 10% +/- of total applicants, will probably been given out by then. Appointments had to not only been 100% complete applications, medical, cfa, etc... but also had to have their nomination already in hand. Most congressmen don't have interviews until about December, so the actual early appointments are usually for those who had a nomination from the president, prior military, College ROTC, and a few other categories. So, once you are 100% complete, don't get discouraged if you don't see an LOA. It doesn't mean anything other than your application wasn't completed soon enough to really be considered for an early. But that's OK, because 90% of all appointments given in March didn't get an LOA. Just finish your writing, cfa, transcripts, and get your nomination from your MOC. Later... mike....