What if your ALO is kind of a dud?

peppypea

Member
On our first go-round of applications my DS had a very nice very busy ALO- F/T job, little kids- very busy...unfortunately, DS wasn't able to get as much guidance as he kind of needed. What happens if you end up with a dud of an ALO? Are there advisors online one can consult? DS2 has decided to apply and having a little more help this time would be greatly appreciated.

(None of this is character assassination, he is a wonderful man, just has a lot of other things going on at this point in his life.)
 

Lil' Skippy

New Member
Upon the advice of '69 USAFA grad who graduated son's from USAFA & USMA we have reached out to the other SA's as well. One of the first things he told me was the ALO's are pretty much non-existent, and I have since learned that first hand having reached out numerous times to no avail. We still bleed blue, and our first choice is USAFA, but I've gotten more help/support here on the forum. I don't think your ALO has the exclusive, from what I gather that's just the way they are. I will say that USMA, & USNA BGO both responded back to us within hours. For now, we're keeping our options open.
 

peppypea

Member
DS1 barely applied for USNA (I am not sure he even completed his app) but we found the BGO was more responsive.
 

flieger83

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
Upon the advice of '69 USAFA grad who graduated son's from USAFA & USMA we have reached out to the other SA's as well. One of the first things he told me was the ALO's are pretty much non-existent, and I have since learned that first hand having reached out numerous times to no avail. We still bleed blue, and our first choice is USAFA, but I've gotten more help/support here on the forum. I don't think your ALO has the exclusive, from what I gather that's just the way they are. I will say that USMA, & USNA BGO both responded back to us within hours. For now, we're keeping our options open.
I have to be careful here as I’m not only a member but I’m also a moderator. That being said, I’m now taking off my moderator hat and putting on my ALO hat.

ALO’s are not non-existent. I’m sorry my fellow graduate had such an experience and has such a low opinion of the fine men and women that serve as ALO’s. And yes, I realize that some ALO’s are more responsive than others and that can be a source of frustration to anyone. I get that.

So let’s discuss what an ALO is. They’re pretty much like B&GO’s and FFR’s and the like: they’re 100% volunteers. I can’t speak for any of the other programs with authority, but I can when discussing the ALO program. The ALO program consists primarily of two types of ALO: the retiree and the Category E reservist. There are others but they’re in small numbers (active duty members volunteering on their off time, and active reservists/guardsmen volunteering) when compared to the total force.

The category “E” reservist is a volunteer for a military job that is for no pay. Category E reservists receive no pay, they simply record “points” for service. They are required to achieve a specific number of points for a “good year.” A good year counts toward their military retirement. Reservists and guardsmen can retire and upon reaching age 60 they receive their retirement benefits of pay and medical. The pay is far less than an active duty member receives but it’s still something. Because this is the process, the majority of ALO’s have primary jobs in some industry (I’ve been a pilot, engineer at a global firm, and I now teach high school). A large number of ALO’s are commercial airline pilots. They’re gone for days or weeks at a time and when they return, that’s when they can do ALO duties. And it goes on and on…

Why do I say all this? Because I think folks need to know that being an ALO is a challenge. My wife has asked “When are you going to STOP this???” for many years because of the amount of time it takes. My answer is always “when I no longer enjoy it or feel I am useful.” That’s how is “should” be with every ALO but I’m not naïve, there are those that don’t put in enough time IMHO.

So…if you have an ALO assigned to a candidate and you can’t reach them, here are the steps to take:

1. E-mail and phone
2. If no response in a week, contact the state director (LOD) and ask for assistance

If none of this works…you contact me with your school and location, and I’ll find the ALO and reach out to them and the state director and we’ll get the situation resolved. In the meantime, I’ll assist any way I can.

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
 

cadet15

5-Year Member
@flieger83 is the real deal! I remember eons ago when I was applying in 2010/2011 timeframe I got to meet up with him and his passion for the ALO position and the influence they can potentially have was evident. I had a great ALO, reservist who flies for the airlines and had small kids at the time (who are not so small now!). He made the time and I think that is what you will find. There are people who are willing to put in varying amounts of time and effort to the position. I wish everyone had a Steve for their ALO because I know having a good one can make a huge difference. That being said, not everyone does unfortunately. His advice is sound and as much as escalating things may feel uncomfortable, one of the lessons to be learned in the application process is advocating for yourself. It is valuable for any kid to learn that lesson in some capacity!
 

BBQ-Devil

Member
I wish all ALO's were like Steve; however, I am sorry to say our experience with our ALO was not positive at all......so I'll just leave it there.

I recommend contacting admissions directly and work with the admission counselor if you can't get the ALO. They are busy; however, the 2nd Lt. whom DS was assigned was a recent grad and was responsive to e-mail. DS was able to speak with her directly several times before accepting his appointment (usually next business day responses in most circumstances). She was even able to arrange a private tour of the cyber facilities with a professor while we visited campus.
 
Our ALO has been so incredible and so invaluable. I was actually going to start a thread asking what an appropriate way to express our thanks might be, beyond just telling him thank you. I am consistently blown away by the time he takes helping my son and offering his help above and beyond what we expected. Truly a great guy and obviously invested in our son’s success.
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
5-Year Member
My wife has asked “When are you going to STOP this???” for many years because of the amount of time it takes. My answer is always “when I no longer enjoy it or feel I am useful.”
I also get this from my wife from time to time. I have a relatively small BGO load of schools/students but the interviews and other BGO responsibilities seem to always pop up at an otherwise busy time where I have scheduling conflicts. Another BGO who I was very friendly with were planning to jointly retired from the program a couple of years ago but he passed away before we made the break and I've stayed on. I've actually kind of stepped away from my Senatorial Interviews and stopped volunteering when they put out their email blast but I can still be grabbed if they call me directly.

Of course, there is also the local congressional panel that I'm probably going to join. . .
 

Heatherg21

Member
I can only speak for our DS experience so far this cycle, but his ALO has been very responsive, encouraging and has been available within a day or two in terms of emails.
 

BBBRRRTT

Member
I wish all ALO's were like Steve; however, I am sorry to say our experience with our ALO was not positive at all......so I'll just leave it there.

I recommend contacting admissions directly and work with the admission counselor if you can't get the ALO. They are busy; however, the 2nd Lt. whom DS was assigned was a recent grad and was responsive to e-mail. DS was able to speak with her directly several times before accepting his appointment (usually next business day responses in most circumstances). She was even able to arrange a private tour of the cyber facilities with a professor while we visited campus.
Well, your DS got the nod of approval by the admissions board so there must have been some positive vibes in the ALO situation:)
 

peppypea

Member
this has been incredibly helpful.

I want to reiterate, this is NO condemnation to the ALO as a person, I realize that he is super busy, I hope we have a little better relationship this next go-round.

Side note: I was so damned excited never to see the stupid Basketball Toss again- guess I spoke too soon, lololol!
 

SCubb

Member
My wife has asked “When are you going to STOP this???” for many years because of the amount of time it takes. My answer is always “when I no longer enjoy it or feel I am useful.”
I also get this from my wife from time to time. I have a relatively small BGO load of schools/students but the interviews and other BGO responsibilities seem to always pop up at an otherwise busy time where I have scheduling conflicts. Another BGO who I was very friendly with were planning to jointly retired from the program a couple of years ago but he passed away before we made the break and I've stayed on. I've actually kind of stepped away from my Senatorial Interviews and stopped volunteering when they put out their email blast but I can still be grabbed if they call me directly.

Of course, there is also the local congressional panel that I'm probably going to join. . .
I’m curious if you could quantify a “relatively small load” as a BGO vs a relatively large load? What COULD the case load difference be across the country between BGOs?
 

NavyHoops

Super Moderator
5-Year Member
I have 2-4 candidates a year and 6 schools. I live in a decent sized city where we get 12-15 appointees a year. My load is pretty small I think overall. We have a BGO 3 hours away that has an entire city. He will only interview candidates when they complete their application 100%. We send folks out to help them with major college fairs and congressional days.
 

HCopter

Member
@NavyHoops , what is the BGO's recommended time frame to upload their interview?

Oh, so sorry everyone. I still would like to know about BGO but I see this is USAFA thread....same question for ALOs - what is the recommended evaluation time frame?

Not sure if this is different than prior years. I've been on forums when ALOs did in-person, then moved to Skype, and this year specifically you have an ALO during the application process, then when 100% complete, you are assigned an Evaluator who is not your ALO. You don't know evaluator until you are 100% complete. DD has her interview next Saturday - a big thank you again to all BGOs, ALOs, FFRs for doing this volunteer service 24/7 for our kids!
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
5-Year Member
My wife has asked “When are you going to STOP this???” for many years because of the amount of time it takes. My answer is always “when I no longer enjoy it or feel I am useful.”
I also get this from my wife from time to time. I have a relatively small BGO load of schools/students but the interviews and other BGO responsibilities seem to always pop up at an otherwise busy time where I have scheduling conflicts. Another BGO who I was very friendly with were planning to jointly retired from the program a couple of years ago but he passed away before we made the break and I've stayed on. I've actually kind of stepped away from my Senatorial Interviews and stopped volunteering when they put out their email blast but I can still be grabbed if they call me directly.

Of course, there is also the local congressional panel that I'm probably going to join. . .
I’m curious if you could quantify a “relatively small load” as a BGO vs a relatively large load? What COULD the case load difference be across the country between BGOs?
Like NavyHoops, I have approx 6 schools and my yearly load has not exceeded 10 and is generally around 5 or so. My Area Coordinator has had a longtime commitment to recruiting BGOs and, while we have a decent outflow due to retirements, etc, we still have enough quantity to keep average school load to a reasonable level. Sometimes it can get a little funny like the time period when we had three BGOs living within about 2 miles of each other in our town and none of us "had" the town's high school assigned to us. That was a fourth BGO who lived across town (6-7 miles).
 

flieger83

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
This year, so far, I have 28 candidates. That number may fluctuate as some may be added later and others may withdraw.

That's not an uncommon number for me or many of the ALO's here.

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
 
This year, so far, I have 28 candidates. That number may fluctuate as some may be added later and others may withdraw.

That's not an uncommon number for me or many of the ALO's here.

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
Steve, I’ve been reading your posts and appreciating your input. I was wondering if you’d ever had a candidate you were just really upset did not get in? Or conversely on that you were upset DID get in?
 

flieger83

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
This year, so far, I have 28 candidates. That number may fluctuate as some may be added later and others may withdraw.

That's not an uncommon number for me or many of the ALO's here.

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
Steve, I’ve been reading your posts and appreciating your input. I was wondering if you’d ever had a candidate you were just really upset did not get in? Or conversely, one that you were upset DID get in?
Upset that DID get in?

No, not really. I've questioned some of the "blue-chip athletes" and why were they selected over others as the purpose of the academy is to develop professional officers to lead the air force, not professional athletes. (Okay, I'm a curmudgeon.) More than a few times those "blue-chip" athletes were nowhere close to qualified academically/physically but...they were really good in their sport so... And sadly, at least with the athletes I've worked with, probably 75% either dropped out of the academy or dropped their sport within a year. The academic load was just too much. That's so unfair to the athlete that probably had scholarship offers to other schools where they would have been able to do both. That makes me sad.

As for being upset a candidate did NOT get in? OHH...that's a long list. The worst time...I sent a spreadsheet to the Director of Admissions with a listing of the appointees from our state on one page, and then my non-select candidate on another page. I then asked if my candidate was not appointed because he was a Caucasian-American. Turned out that was NOT the way to make a friend of the Director. By the way, that non-select was offered appointments to ALL FOUR of the other academies. He is now a graduate of West Point (with Honors) and is an army officer.

I can easily be disappointed that a candidate didn't get an offer. I've been SO blessed over the years to work with such amazing young men and women! To say I had a small part in whatever their future holds is perhaps a little egotistical, but it really feels good and I have a deep sense of pride in their accomplishments. And I keep in touch with quite a few of them. The scariest (as in how fast time flies?) ONE of my first "candidates" is a Lt Col and squadron commander and should make Colonel next year! That tiny little 5'0" 14-year-old 9th grader...

I'm greedy for my candidates...when a deserving one isn't selected it hurts. That's why we always discuss "plan B and C and D..."

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
 

tex2021

Proud parent of USAFA C/O 2021
We have a 21'er at USAFA. DS did NOT have a positive experience with his assigned ALO. The BGO and FFR were very helpful and were much more responsive. Hope things will improve in the near future.
 
We also had a horrific experience with the local ALO. I am very glad USAFA Admissions changed the way they do business and now an ALO from somewhere else does the interview/evaluation. DS (who is also currently at USAFA) stated that he wanted to be an auto mechanic after his formal interview with the local ALO 3 years ago. I'm not bashing auto mechanics (a good one is often priceless), and I am good with a down to earth conversation about plans B, C and D but in my opinion the outcome of that experience was not what we would expect after interacting with any USAFA rep. The local ALO said they were a reservist. If they were earning points to be compensated later with a pay check for this type of interaction with my DS it should not go towards credit to count as a "good year." Who, what or where is the proper place to provide positive/negative ALO feedback?
 
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