What to do while waiting to become Candidate?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by KansasMan, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. KansasMan

    KansasMan Candidate for USAFA Class of 2023

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    I have to wait until the portal opens on July 1st to start my packet. I've already gotten on my Congressman nomination (KS-4, not a super competetive district) and will be getting on my Senator noms, but I don't think I can get those without my actual application.

    What are the things I should definitely get on besides those Senator nominations before the packet opens up? I feel like I'm just wasting all this time I could be using on this long application process.
     
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  2. service1st

    service1st Member

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    Start getting into shape for your CFA. You can always improve physically. I believe you may start filling out nomination applications before the portal opens up.
     
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  3. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    • Practice on the CFA
    • Work on improving your ACT/SAT score.
    • Develop a Plan B strategy.
    • Continue to work on community services that you have already begun.
    • Role play MOC interviewing skills with a knowledgeable adult.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  4. THParent

    THParent Member

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    Trying to get an Offer of Appointment will be the greatest test of patience in your lifetime so far.
    Your patience may need to last until April or even May, of next year.

    Do what you can, as you can. @AROTC-dad 's post above is solid advice for anyone applying to any SA.
     
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  5. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    Start drafting your “story,” i.e. why USAFA, why the AF, how have you been a leader, how have you overcome adversity, etc.? Your story is a critical part of your application, and you’ll need to tell it in various contexts: USAFA essay, USAFA interview, MOC essay, MOC interview. Multiply that if you decide to apply to other academies and if your Plan B is ROTC (which I would think it is). Your story needs to be authentic, compelling and consistent.

    If you’re like most (all?) successful candidates, you’ll draft and redraft and redraft again, until you feel good about it. It takes more time than might think.
     
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  6. usafajm22

    usafajm22 New Member

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    In addition, it may be helpful to start thinking about who you are going to ask to write your recommendations. You will need a recommendation from a math teacher, english teacher, and other faculty member at your school. You will also need recommendation letters from individuals outside of your school who know you well, both for the Academy application and for the nomination applications, so long as the requirements are still the same.

    As stated before, take the SAT/ACT until you feel your maximum potential is reached, and train for that CFA.
     
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  7. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    I would add to take a trip and visit the academy if you can. Get a “feel” for the place, and community. And take your parents. Get them a coffee cup from the gift shop
     
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  8. minnie28

    minnie28 New Member

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    1) Reach out to your ALO (USAFA) or BGO (USNA). They can meet with you, answer questions, start getting to know you, etc. He or she will also be more than willing to give you a practice interview. (The practice interview is something I wish I had done beforehand with my BGO) The better your ALO knows you, the better your write up from them will be. I don't recommend your interview being your first interaction with your ALO.

    2) Reach out to any current Cadets or USAFA alumni you might have connections to. If you can, exchange a few emails. If you can meet them in person, even better. While I was going through the application process, people from my neighbor to my friends to my college counselor helped connect me to alumni or current Mids and Cadets I could talk to. ALO will also be able to connect you with Cadets. Ask them as many questions as possible to keep learning information about the SAs. A question I got a lot during interviews was, "What have you done to learn about the SAS?" This will help you answer that question.

    3) Reach out to your MOC SA nomination liaison. Let them know you look forward to applying for a nomination. It's a super simple thing that will help the person in charge of nominations remember you.
     
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  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Certainly agree with #1 above. Just keep in mind that some ALOs and BGOs will not meet with you until a certain amount of your application is complete, while some will meet with you. These folks have real jobs, families, and commitments to vacations etc. I'm sure there are many folks who begin the application process, but never follow through.... so this is how they can allocate their time efficiently.
     
  10. Prospective_Cadet

    Prospective_Cadet New Member

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    I am worried that I have not been upgraded to a Candidate. Has anyone been upgraded yet? Also, I read that we will be getting a packet in the mail, a guide of some sort. Is this true? When should I expect to be upgraded to candidate status? Sorry for all of the questions, they have been on my mind for a while. Thank you in advance.
     
  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    Prospective, SERIOUSLY?????? It's not even July. If you are worried about your status NOW, oh my gosh, I dread your March & April posts.

    Please. CHILL. Get a job flipping burgers, or stacking groceries, or mowing lawns, or reading to old ladies. Get two jobs. Work out every day. Take a class, preferably one like weaving or sewing or woodworking, creative, NO GRADES. Teach your nephew how to skip rope, teach your cousin how to do origami.

    Do SOMETHING this summer which will take you out of yourself and into the real world. To fret over your candidate status in June, a year before your possible I-Day is unproductive, unhealthy, and just - wrong.

    Advice from an old lady worth what you paid for it.
     
  12. OldRetSWO

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

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    27 year BGO here. I am willing to meet with candidates and parents to answer questions and make sure that the process is understood but it is NOT an interview. As for "practice interviews", there is no way that I or any BGO that I know would do that. Too much polishing from us and we'd never see the real candidate and instead hear a bunch of what we feel is important thrown back at us.
    That said, during an interview, when I manage to pull important stuff out of a candidate, I will often give advice on how to better provide that up front with a later interview which is usually the Congressman's/Senator's panel.
     
  13. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Noting the above timing of USNA BGO interview, for any prospective USNA candidates visiting this forum, you are NOT already behind! BGOs are all volunteers, and they do their interviews at various points. My impression from the BGOs who post here, is that many wait until a certain percentage of the application is complete, which can be over a multi-month arc.
     
  14. OldRetSWO

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

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    That is actually policy at least within my Area Coordinator's swath of territory. We BGOs are not asked or expected to do an interview until the candidate has made significant progress on their application.
     
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  15. In-the-Know

    In-the-Know Member

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    Prospective,

    Read the letters posted on your portal. They tell you exactly when USAFA starts promoting candidates and if you will not be promoted until your scores/record improves.

    Get used to reading information and paying attention to the detail that you read. Written correspondence is the main way USAFA communicates its application procedures. Have you read "The Instructions to Pre-candidates"? Once you are promoted everything you need to know is in the "Instructions to Candidates". Read it and read it again, and again... Its all there. Only then should you ask questions. Don't expect people to have patience with you if you don't do your homework. Once you have done your homework then ask questions on what you don't know. You will impress those you ask with your knowledge base and they will be more than willing to help you understand the finer points and nuances.

    One short story: As a brand new airlift copilot and second lieutenant, we were taxing from the runway to parking at Rhein Main Airport (Frankfurt, Germany). The first thing I did when we switched over to the tower frequency was to radio for taxi instructions. The aircraft commander took the approach plate (a thick 6" x 9" book now replaced by i-pads) and whacked me in the head. He said didn't you review and study the taxi diagram before we landed LT!!

    It behooves all candidates to review the "approach plate" before you start the approach.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  16. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    And, for candidates, if you haven’t read every page, drop down and link on your target SA and ROTC websites, and your nom source websites, taken notes, built timelines and developed a task list, now is the time. Strategic and tactical planning, coupled with attention to detail, are desirable junior officer qualities.
     
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  17. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    1. Work on your CFA. Run in the rain, run at the hottest time of the day. Run at 5:30 a.m. after playing Xbox until midnight Do it in the order and within the time constraints required. At the same time start practicing the PFA (ROTC). You cannot use the CFA for the PFA.
    ~ You will schedule that CFA and it could rain or be 95 degreess, thus your run could be slower because you only ran when it was perfect weather. You could do the CFA the afternoon after you stayed up late to finish something (essays) and are exhausted. It doesn't matter because the fact is when you get to BCT or AFROTC you are going to do the CFA or PFA and they don't care whether you are exhausted or it is raining/too hot. You either pass or you fail.
    2. Work on the essays.
    ~ Please take this advice, DON'T POST IT ON HERE and ask everyone to review it. Multiple reasons, but impo the biggest is this is an anonymous forum. There could be other 17/18 yo candidates reviewing it, iows your peers or in my eyes the blind leading the blind. Additionally, someone may think WOW and lift parts of your essay...sorry, but I am not naïve and I am a little cynical. For all you know that other person (poster/lurker) will take it and run with it...MoC committees can read both and think HMMM, which one is the real author?
    ~~ My DS had an amazing ALO, he met with his candidates bi-monthly to review their essays. He did not allow them to duplicate any essay (USAFA or the 3 MoCs). If I say that he edited, re-edited, and re-edited 3 or 4 times it would not be an exaggeration.
    3. Get those medical records in order now!
    ~ Too many candidates get caught on the simple things...prescribed an inhaler at 13, still have it re-filled, play soccer, LAX, etc, and never used it, but now I am hit with a remedial at best, DQ at worst. This goes for concussions too!
    ~~ If you have not had an eye exam by an optometrist, and your folks can afford it, GO NOW! Use the search tab here and you will see (no pun intended) that many candidates never realized they have vision issues, be it color deficiency, astigmatism or whatever the parameters that have been set.
    4. Start the ROTC scholarship application. I know nobody wants to hear/read it, but the fact is many will go Plan B, C or D.
    ~ USAFA and AFROTC do not talk. They have no clue if you are applying to one or both. AFROTC selection process is completely different, it is not only the PFA that is different, but AFROTC does not superscore. AFROTC only includes a new SAT/ACT from your senior yr, nothing else. AFROTC cares about your intended major when it comes to selection.
    ~~ Contact your top schools (plan B) Contact that det. Be prepared they are typically a skeleton crew during the summer, so it could be a little difficult.
    ~~~They are not allowed to go on vacation when school is in session. ADAF tends to move them in the summer, so some will be moving out while the new person is not there yet. Or the new person has not learned all of the ropes yet, thus it could take them time to respond.
    ~~~~ Contacting them directly may open you to a little hidden gem regarding AFROTC scholarships, but beware it is a double edge sword. It is called the ICSP. In College Scholarship Program. In essence, the AFROTC det. CoC will say you are my pick and give you free tuition regardless of how much it may cost. The problem is you have about 1 week to accept, and once you do, HQ AFROTC will remove you from the HSSP. If the college does not accept you, than you are SOL. Before you ask...if you are appointed to ANY SA than you can walk from the scholarship.

    I hope this helps. Good luck and thank you for wanting to defend this amazing nation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  18. ginapenny

    ginapenny Member

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    Does anyone know if it depend on when u filled out the PCQ as to when you will be promoted to candidate status? My DS did his March 28 and received a letter saying he would get more info in July. Not necessarily July 1. So since its a rolling admission I was thinking it would be later
     
  19. MJ2020

    MJ2020 Member

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    I don’t know when my DS filled out PCQ. I know it sudmitted the same day it was open. He received an email “you have a new letter from USAFA” date June 30. I hope your DS got his email yesterday.
     
  20. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    PLEASE STOP.

    Please. Read the above. Scour this site.

    Now, go take a vacation. Check your portal WEEKLY, not hourly.