What was your ACT?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by tsl42, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

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    Very well said MN-DAD. The truth is; MANY HS Counselors are ignorant when it comes to the academies. Even in the most "Prestigious" high schools in the country. Matter of fact; I would say, the more elite, prestigious, expensive, etc. that a high school is; chances are, the more "ignorant" the high school counselors are. REASON: Less applicants from those schools applying to military academies, and therefor less experience by counselors.

    But as MN-DAD pointed out, there is nothing derogatory about being "Ignorant". Those who take offense to the word, are obviously ignorant of what the word ignorant means. As an ALO, I've personally met with no less than 20 hs counselors. Very few had an in-depth knowledge of the academies. They basically did whatever the student/applicant instructed them to do. E.g. sent transcripts, school profile, class ranking, etc. Very few provided any actual guidance in the process. Funny enough however, one of my son's teachers heard he applied to the academy when my son was in the guidance office getting paperwork sent. He, (The teacher), told my son he was wasting his talents and abilities by going to the air force academy. He should attend a real school. Well, after just 4 years (8 if you include the academy), my son has Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate's degrees. 26 years old; and no college debt. I don't think even his teacher can say that about himself.

    The point is, there are a lot of well meaning teachers and guidance counselors out there. Just because they say something, doesn't mean they're correct. Just because a teacher teaches something in the classroom, doesn't mean they are correct. And ANY guidance counselor who tells an individual, who they KNOW, is applying to one of the academies, to ONLY TAKE the ACT/SAT no more than twice, is either "Ignorant" or "Incompetent". Chances are, they simply don't know how the academies work.
     
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  2. brovol

    brovol Member

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    When my son told my wife and me at the end of his junior year that he was going to apply to West Point I had no clue how all of it worked. Nothing. We had a friend who recently graduated from USNA, but never contemplated our kids doing that. I looked into what it took, and discovered that, although he never planned it that way, my son had almost the perfect profile for the academies. Good grades, athletic, stayed out of trouble, and apparently had an interest in the military. He had taken the ACT once, and got a 29. He hadn't expressed any interests is the other academies, so I suggested he consider USAFA, USNA, and USCGA too. He applied to all of them, but only completed apps for USMA, USNA, and USAFA. Then he put an emphasis on those things which would help his chances of admission, although most of them were things that were being done anyway. He studied for the ACT, and took it four times, improving his super-score each time. Got two composite scores of 31, but never higher than that; although he got subscores of M 34, E 31, S 34, and R 30, and thus a super-score of 32. He worked on his CFA, and ran for NHS President successfully. I doubt he would have done that if not applying to academies. He let his varsity baseball and soccer coaches know he was interested in being a team captain, and was named captain of both teams, which I think probably would have happened regardless, but taking the initiative didn't hurt. And he worked hard on his applications and nominations. I know he revised essays several times because I edited every version; whether he accepted my suggestions or not.

    During the entire process I became very enlightened myself. I took a lot of time to learn about the academies, and tried to put myself in a position where I could give thoughtful advise to my son. I was interested, and eventually became excited about the prospect of him attending an academy, even though my wife and I had some real reservations about it at first. Admittedly, parents can get caught up in living vicariously through their children, and its not uncommon for me to have to check myself. My son is extremely independent, however, and that hasn't changed. Sometimes I don't suggest something because too often it seems he doesnt do something just because I suggested it. LOL. Regardless, I really got into the whole admissions process, and enjoyed learning as much as I could. There is a ton of information available online, including the academy sites, this forum, and articles. The best info though came from the RC's at West Point; at least as to how things worked there, and the Candidates book written by Sue Ross.. We visited WP and USNA several times, and USCGA once, and sat down with admissions people at all three schools multiple times. My son spoke with and corresponded with admissions folks from all of the academies too. This certainly is something that you can become very knowledgeable about over the course of a year.

    People on these forums have some different philosophies on things. You can take them or leave them. The processes for admission at the academies varies a bit between the schools, but is generally pretty consistent. Class standing and ACT/ACT scores make up the academic portion, which is by far the largest component. Math and English are the most weighted scores. Fitness (CFA) is only worth 10% of the total, but that is a big deal, and can be improved upon, just like the ACT, by any candidate, just through time and work. The rest of it is mostly about who the kid is, and how much stuff has he/she done during HS. It can be worked on some with initiative and sometimes luck, but the foundation probably needed to be there even before the kid started his/her application.

    Overall its a pretty fair process, and if there is a better way of selecting candidates, I cant think of what that might be. For candidates and their parents, I suggest you take the time to learn as much as you can. lots of good stuff out there, and its actually really interesting.
     
  3. AimHighReachForTheStars!

    AimHighReachForTheStars! Member

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    I too did not know anything about the USAFA application process until we applied. My DS was not an athlete and pretty much given up on doing well on the CFA. I convinced him to not rule himself out and let the Academy decide after he put forth his best effort. He applied in late Nov 2016 and was able to get 60s/9/10/70s/70s/7+ and did not have to repeat his CFA; not the best scores but was satisfied because that's what he could do.

    Our HS counselor was helpful in sending the SA requested documents; if we had application questions we turned to the SA counselor, ALO, USAFA website and Instructions to Candidates.

    I only found out about this forum in early January this year after we came back from the holiday break. I wish I found it sooner. Under the circumstances I think we did ok because his application was completed and still competing. If he does not get an offer, at least he tried and we have a solid Plan B and C waiting in the wings. I think the only thing I would be somewhat ignorant about would be the MOC process (my DS has a Presidential nom) but info from this forum gave me insight.
     
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  4. TakeruR

    TakeruR New Member

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    I applied for the Summer program for USAFA when I took the ACT once and got a 31, but I was rejected...
    But I took it again this February and got a 35. I think what disqualified me was my athletics. I did 3 years of JV basketball and Olympic weightlifting this Junior year.
    However, I did get accepted to SLE with just the 31, so I am kind of confused.
     
  5. Navyblujumpsuit

    Navyblujumpsuit Member

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    Haha lots of information on this thread, so I'm sure you don't need me!! Just wanted to say that I got a 31 ACT and 1400 SAT and just got my appointment, but I'm sure all of the other posts will help you more than this can! Good luck!!
     
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  6. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    There is so much more included in the process than just test scores. Each year, there are many qualified candidates that are not offered appointments. This is not necessarily a rejection, the TWE usually says that while your are qualified, the academy did not have a spot for you as a more qualified candidate was admitted.. Your test scores are impressive, but they are only 20-40% of the entire WCS. If you did not have many extracurricular activities with leadership roles, strong class profile and CFA, another candidate with lower test scores and a higher scores in other areas would beat you out. If you look at the class make up released by the academy, you see the whole person concept on display. The process looks to find young men and women who are pretty good at numerous things, not just great in one thing.

    There is no direct relationship between SLE and offers of appointment. Te academies use SLE as a mostly as a recruiting tool using only a few things that actually impact your WCS.
     
  7. ejeffress

    ejeffress New Member

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    I received my appointment 2 weeks ago and I scored a 34 on English, 27 reading, 27 science, and 32 math. I took it 4 times but increased by overall score one point each time. I recommend taking as many practice tests as you can and reviewing the ones you missed and the all the concepts.
     
  8. IdahoAF

    IdahoAF Member

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    I'm a reapplicant so hopefully this helps some.

    Rejected with 28M 25S 30E 29R
    Accepted with 33M 31S 35E 36R

    Good luck to those who reapply. Target your weaknesses, strengthen them, and be relentless in the chase for your dreams.
     
  9. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Bingo! That's what working to improve scores is all about. Good luck Idaho. Great scores.

    With that kind of tenacity and smarts though you should probably go to West Point instead. LOL
     
  10. Hiker2021

    Hiker2021 New Member

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    Test scores are only a part of the picture. We were really concerned b/c my son's scores were ACT E/26 M/27 R/31 SR/26 and his SAT were 1280. He had EVERYTHING else; GPA 4.06, tons of service, multi Varsity sports, team captain, student council president,CAP, Boys State, strong CFA and other stuff. (He did not get into Summer Seminar.) I think this attests to the fact that USAFA really does look at the whole picture because he received an appointment last week. Sooo excited!
     
  11. mommahedg

    mommahedg Member

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    Such a great thread of information. Myths and Mythbusters all around. Christcorp delivered some superbly informative details that helped me understand a great deal more. So just to add one more to the mix of "circumstantial variations", DS took his ACT 4 times and got a composite of 30 the first time and never did better after that. He did raise his English on try #4 so that was worth it to him. He ended with M/29; E/32 ; R/30; S-R/30. He DID get accepted to Summer Seminar so that helped. He has a 3.96GPA (no AP courses), 4 years varsity in XC & Track, does NOT have any foreign language because he took 2 years of Engineering instead (was told by AC & ALO that helped his cause).

    Where he mainly got ahead was taking on leadership in everything he did...band section leader for 2 years (40 trumpeters), AJROTC-with honors distinction Battalion Commander (150+ cadet program) which he commanded drill competitions at the national level, captain of a top 10 JLAB team at World Championships, lots of district and state vocal awards in choir and tons of volunteer leadership for local charities and church. His CFA was pretty solid to max on all. It's true, here in flyover country (Mo), the competition he faced was much less but as this thread has shown...it takes a well-balanced, well-rounded applicant to receive an appointment, which he did receive two weeks ago.
     
  12. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    This thread really highlights the unknown of the competition and where you sit on your slate. There is no one exact answer on what is needed since this is not a nationwide competition. You typically only compete against the others on your nomination slate.
    Looking at the three examples above, both @Hiker2021 and @mommahedg have applicants that have very similar resumes that would be around the average of high school applicants applying to a service academy and both received offers of appointments. Being around the mean of service academy applicants still puts you in a very good place and no disrespect is intended. We do not know the rest of @IdahoAF resume but for the sake of argument, lets assume everything else is similar in terms of extracurricular and activities. If all three of these individuals were on the same slate, Idaho would be the clear slate winner with the higher test scores and boost from a semester of college. The other two would probably not compete well for a a slot of the NWL since they are closer to the average unless one would have some special type of diversity the academy is looking for.

    With that said, if your stats are around the averages posted in the class profiles, you have a good chance of getting an appointment. Having a perfect gpa or test scores do not hurt but you can get in without them. The scoring system weighs heavier on academics but values the whole candidate concept. If the academy is truly your goal, work hard, do your best and never give up.
     
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  13. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Curious, how is it possible for someone to ask for what people are getting on their ACT and then get lectured about how one's goals should be to get a perfect score and do your best and not just get by. I know it is a generalization, but most people do their best especially at this level and most people know they will never get a perfect score. What they do want to know what is the average ACT/SAT score that will get them into an academy. Its no difference than wanting to know what is the average GPA and ACT for getting into Stanford. Nobody studies based on getting a 30 or a 32. No sure if that is even possible unless you are some sort of genius who can figure out what how many you can purposely miss in order to get a certain score. In my son's case, we looked at what GPA was and ACT would take to get into Air Force Academy and we knew he would never get in. So we didnt bothered, no one was hurt,no one lost time and effort trying to get something that was almost impossible. I even contacted my Senator and was told not to even bother her unless my son had an "A" average. He got into AF ROTC and received a pilot spot for when he commissions . In conclusion, if you dont have anything nice to say, maybe you should keep quiet


     
  14. xcmum

    xcmum Member

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    Humey - Please don't take offense at what Christcorp said. Christcorp is very knowledgeable, has been around the forums a while and has seen this & similar questions asked very frequently. I think that there are times that when people ask what the average ACT/SAT or even CFA scores are needed, what some of the much wiser people on the forum may worry/wonder about is if the student will just stop at the average thinking they are safe.
    For example, if a student were to ask & be told on this forum, that the average ACT score for USAFA, in previous years, was say a 30. Would that student then only take/retake the test until they reached that average of 30 & then think that's good or safe enough because they reached the average? It's entirely possible.

    What I took from what Christcorp said was that even students that may have achieved that average score might consider striving & retesting multiple times for an even higher score & yes, to aim for that perfect score. That is what many, many of the those competing for appointments can and will do- in ALL areas of their applications. They don't rest at the average. They work & work, test & retest until even their weakest areas of their applications are as perfect as they can be and at the very least, are well above average.

    My DS took the SAT twice (both old and new version) & ACT 3-4 times between his freshman & end of Junior year. His highest SAT score was a 1420 combined on the new version. His first ACT was a 31 composite. He felt overall he could do much better on the ACT verses the SAT so he concentrated on improving that. By the time he submitted all his applications, he had raised his best, single sitting (not superscored), ACT composite to a 34 with every area of the test above a 30 & 2 (science & reading (?)) at 35's. With the superscoring, it was a little higher. My point is, he didn't rest easy with whatever the average was. He tested multiple times, aiming for the perfect 36 and while he fell a little short in the end, his overall scores kept increasing. He has since received offers of appointment to both USMA & USAFA as well as a 4 year AROTC & type 1 AFROTC scholarships and know it was because he always wanted & pushed himself to be as perfect as he possibly could be in as many areas he could.
     
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  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

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    I'm sure, in your opinion, it will sound like I am "Lecturing" again; but here goes.

    There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between knowing what the "Average" score is to get into Stanford or any other University; and trying to determine what it takes to get into one of the academies. And I hate to disagree with you, but you have no idea what GPA and ACT it would take to get into the Air Force Academy. The BEST you could hope for; and it's published in numerous sources, is "WHAT IS THE MINIMUM" required to get into the Air Force Academy. That is an easy question and answer. But to ask "What GPA and ACT Would it Take" is a question that cannot be answered. And I think it is a SHAME that you determined that he would NEVER GET IN, you you "DIDN'T BOTHER" applying. Now; if you said that his GPA and ACT were BELOW the minimum standards, and there was no way to raise those scores, then that is a FACT that you dealt with. But if his ACT scores were above the MINIMUMS and his GPA was anything higher than say around a 3.3-3.4, then I think you did a disservice not encouraging your son to apply. I am glad that he received an ROTC scholarship and will get commissioned. That is just as good; and in some way better; than receiving an appointment to the academy. So, congratulations to him. But you have NO IDEA what GPA and ACT "IT WOULD TAKE" to get an appointment to the academy. So don't say that you do. You can say you know what the "MINIMUM GPA and ACT" required is; but that's totally different.

    As for your senator; all S/He can do is provide "NOMINATIONS". Approximately 6500 nominations are given out each year nationally. Of those, about 1200 nominees will receive/accept an appointment to the academy. Now, if your senator basically told you; "Unless your son has an "A" average, we (Meaning him/her) won't give your son a Nomination". Then that is a totally different story. In that case, it probably would be a waste of time to apply to the academy. EVERY APPOINTEE MUST have a Nomination; but NOT EVERY NOMINEE receive an APPOINTMENT. So, if that's your Senator's standard, as well as your 2nd senator, and AS WELL as your District Representative, (Your main 3 sources for a nomination), then not applying was probably a smart use of time. Assuming ALL 3 NOMINEE SOURCE felt the same way as the one senator you contacted. But again; this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the "GPA and ACT that it takes to get in". You don't know that answer, and neither does anyone else here on this forum.

    You can find posts and threads all over this forum showing people with 32 ACT and 4.0 gpa who DID NOT GET an appointment to the academy. And you can find (Even Recently if you look) applicants who received an appointment with 26, 27, and 28 ACT scores. The AVERAGE GPA and ACT for appointees is a 3.86 gpa and 30 ACT. That's AVERAGE. That means, there are some 3.6 gpa and 27 ACT. Some even lower. And Some with 4.0gpa and 36 ACT. Average and minimum we can provide information for. "WHAT IS THE MINIMUM REQUIRED TO RECEIVE AN APPOINTMENT" is not an answer that can be given. It is based 100% on the rest of an applicant's application; as well as that applicant's competition. Anything you hear otherwise, even from a senator, is complete BAD INFORMATION.

    And as for you final bit of advice, forgive me if I don't put much credence in it. It's not my job, responsibility, or even desire to "SAY SOMETHING NICE" to applicants on this forum. Do I say nice things sometimes? Of course. Many times. But that's not why I'm here. It's not my place to coddle your little Johnny or Janie. That's your job. I'm here to help provide them with the TRUTH. Doesn't matter to me if they like the truth or even accept the truth; that's what they're going to hear. If you want this to be a TOUCHY FEELY forum, where everyone feels like a winner, and those who don't receive an appointment or ROTC scholarship are told "It's Not Your Fault, It's not fair, you should have gotten in";..... well; you're not going to hear that here. At least not from me.

    The truth is; unlike a traditional university, there are a FIXED NUMBER of applicants who can attend the academy per year. That is by FEDERAL LAW. As such, approximately 10% of the 12,000 +/- initial applicants will enter Basic Cadet Training. Who those 1200 are is based on a very extensive selection process. A process that BALANCES EVERY ATTRIBUTE of applicants to hopefully produce a class of motivated, determined, capable, diverse, and successful cadets. Applications look at academics, leadership, athletics, service to others, teamwork, community, motivation, determination, medical, and physical fitness. MOST of these attributes, the traditional university couldn't care one bit about. And you would be surprised how easy it is to get accepted to a traditional university if you AREN'T LOOKING FOR FINANCIAL AID. Yes; contrary to what you may believe, I have seen first hand, individuals get accepted to Yale and Georgetown with 3.0 gpa. But, when you're willing and able to slap down $40-$50K a year for school, they tend to say yes.

    So, I'm sorry if you didn't like my post/response to this thread. I can't please everyone. And to be honest, I'm not trying to please anyone. I spent 20+ years in the Air Force. It means a LOT to me. It also GAVE a LOT to me. The time I spend here, and the time as an ALO for admissions, is just a small amount I am willing to give to ensure the academies are getting the best cadets possible. And I truly want to help any applicant do their very best when submitting their application. But to be perfectly honest with you; I'm not motivated to help someone who is looking for "The MINIMUM required". The academy website and numerous other places show that a minimum ACT of 26 required. But it's also just as easy to see that the AVERAGE ACT is a 30. The ACT is something an individual has complete control over. They can take it as many times as they like. Their score can ONLY GO UP (For the academies). But if a person isn't TRYING TO DO THEIR BEST, AIMING FOR A PERFECT SCORE, then maybe the academy isn't for them. No one expects perfection. But what we do expect is that you TRY FOR PERFECTION. There's a big difference. And if you do your BEST, then it doesn't matter what your score is. You'll be able to stand with your head up and be proud of your efforts. But to not try, to not put forth the effort, because it's a waste of time and it's a goal that's almost impossible....... Well, sorry...... I'm not interested in that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017

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