WARNING: This will be a little long. This thread is mainly for those new to applying to the academy and are in the process of doing their application and preparing for their MOC and ALO/BGO/MALO interviews. Usually between May and now, discussions pop up about why certain individuals didn't receive an appointment. Or why they didn't receive a nomination. And of course, the whole debate on how some feel that applicants "Who were more qualified" didn't receive an appointment. Which leads into discussions of fairness. I've seen this topic come up in all forums for every academy, as well as other forums; not just here. This topic isn't really open for debate; as none of us are in a position to sit on a selection board to make appointments. But it is important to know some of the whys. Especially for those who feel that they, or someone they know, didn't receive an appointment, but "APPEARED" to be "MORE QUALIFIED". If some want to discuss and debate it, that's fine, but I'm not going to get into a pi$$ing contest. You will read many times in these forums from prominent posters like Pima, Flieger, and so many others, that the academies are looking for the WHOLE PERSON CANDIDATE. What does that mean? Better yet, why is that so important. Well, it's significant to this thread, because the first thing people have to stop doing, is basing all of their opinions on numbers. What I mean is, people are so use to academics being the defining factor in success. E.g. Honor Society, Dean's List, AP/IB program, Valedictorian, etc. When people mention certain academy applicants who didn't receive an appointment, and they consider them "More Qualified", almost ALWAYS they are referring to the individual having stellar GPA and ACT/SAT scores. People have to stop thinking this way. Are academics important? Of course they are. But remember what I wrote in the beginning of this paragraph. The academies are looking for the WHOLE PERSON CANDIDATE. So when you THINK that someone More Qualified didn't receive an appointment, you have to look beyond their academics. And without knowing the competition, and what their resume looked like, you really can't tell who was "More Qualified". So what are the things YOU CAN DO to make YOU TRULY MORE QUALIFIED??? 1. Challenge and Excel in academics: A 4.0gpa doesn't mean anything if you aren't taking the most challengin classes offered. You won't be penalized if the IB program isn't offered, or if you don't have a lot of AP classes available. But you DEFINITELY WILL be penalized if such classes are available, and you aren't taking them. This is why the academy requests your school's profile and your class schedule. They prefer, and WILL TAKE an individual with a 3.7 gpa in all AP/IB classes over a 4.0gpa in traditional or normal state required classes. 2. Leadership: Yes, it's great if you're involved in a lot of activities such as JrROTC, CAP, Scouts, Band, 4H, Sports, fund raising, etc. But if you aren't a LEADER in these activities, they count very little for leadership. And the academies are looking for future military leaders. Therefor, they want to see applicants who have a disposition towards leadership. 3. Social activities: The academies are looking for "Team Players". This doesn't just mean sports, is although that definitely shows such activities. But it includes the clubs and activities you're part of that has definite short and long range goals, where the good of the COLLECTIVE is emphasized over the good of the INDIVIDUAL. This is very important when looking at sports. Some sports are very "Individual" in nature. As such, you need to be able to qualify the "Team" part of this. It's great if you're the fastest sprinter or swimmer; but if you don't mention "Team Awards" where you contributed to the TEAM, then you aren't getting what the academies are after. 4. Physical Fitness: This isn't usually a problem. Most people understand the CFA and what it means. But realize, "Athletics and Physical Fitness" are two TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS. They have different purposes as far as the academies are concerned. Go to the first sticky in this forum where I explain why sports is so important. That's totally different from physical fitness. DON'T CONFUSE THE TWO. Beyond these things, what is important to know about the "WHOLE PERSON" concept the academies are looking for, is that they are looking for a diverse and cohesive class. This is very common even in the job market. I have hired a lot of individuals in the past. Some might say that I didn't hire an individual who was "MORE QUALIFIED" than someone I did hire. That may be true, from an academic or experience viewpoint. But just like many applying to the academy tend to emphasize academics when they define "More Qualified", in the real world, employers are also looking for individuals who are a GOOD FIT for their company. An individual who they feel will be a better part of the "Team". The academies are no different. They are developing a leadership corp that will be leading a very diverse enlisted corp. They don't want a leadership corp that are simply all the "Best Academic Achievers" out of high school. If that was the case, the academy would most likely be made up of cadets who all came from the best private schools in the country. Where the kids are prepped to all attend the best universities in the country. And believe it or not, the academies do get some of these kids. But an entire class of those applicants would make a terrible leadership corp going forward. Your beliefs, perspectives, views, etc. that you were brought up on, are NOT THE ONLY VIEWPOINTS in the world. To make an effective leadership corp, the future leaders need to have diverse experiences, opinions, perspectives, etc. that they can contribute to and learn from the other cadets in their class. They need to perspecives and viewpoints of the rich and poor. The white and black. The city and country kid. The traditional and not so traditional family. Why? Because these are the very people they will be leading. And you can't be an effective leader if you can't understand and associate with those you are leading. So yes, that means the academies are going to try and make their classes diverse. They are going to grow their applicants from every background they can find. They will find applicants who excel in every conceivable discipline. From band to cheer leading; from scouts to JrROTC; from Football to class president; from working the family farm 5 hours a day to raising your baby brother and sister because mom has 2 jobs; etc. So what can YOU DO? Besides the things mentioned above, you need to show HOW and WHY you are DIFFERENT!!! What makes YOU so special? Why about you is going to contribute to the academy class to help make everyone else a better leader; and in turn make you a better leader. This is a job interview. You are not entitled to this job. Just like there have been many jobs I've applied for an didn't get. You need to sell yourself. You need to show that the academy needs you in their class of cadets. I've interviewed a lot of applicants. You'd be surprised at how 10 interviews on the same day, all asked the same question, all from the same home town and basic background, can still be SO DIFFERENT. Obviously, there will be some in the "No Brainers" club. These are the applicants who have it all. And almost always, they all receive appointments. But the No Brainers club only makes up about 10-15% of the academy. The remaining 85% are in a fierce competition. And sorry to say, but just because you have a 3.95 or 4.0 gpa in all AP/IB/Honors classes and a 34-36ACT, doesn't make you "More Qualified" than someone else. I have seen many times where a 3.4-3.6gpa and 28ACT was MORE QUALIFIED. WHY? Because they are the Whole Person. They have everything the academy is looking for, in order to be the future leader they are looking to develop and to contribute to a class that will make THE TEAM a better and more diverse group of leaders. Some will argue this thread. That's ok. I don't mind. But the truth is the truth. Academics is important; but it's not everything. And unless you know your competition, which is almost impossible to know, there's absolutely no way anyone can say that they should have received an appointment, because they were MORE QUALIFIED than others. I had a parent 2 years ago venting at me because their son didn't receive an appointment. She was convinced he was definitely more qualified than some who made it. The truth is, he probably was one of the MOST QUALIFIED applying. I didn't have the heart to tell her that her son really didn't want to attend the academy. That he was only applying because his parents wanted it. So I let her believe it was the academy's fault. I figured her son would tell her in time what he told me. Anyway; I hope some of this helps. Hope it adds perspective. Best of luck those applying for this coming year.