Writing Sample/Essay Prompts

America Works

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I searched the web for the "USAFA Writing Sample" and found some reoccurring information that I thought was valid. I wanted to share it with the prospective class of 2022, especially those of you would like to get a head start on the essay since the application is still not open. I am not completely sure if this information is accurate, but it's a start. ** I have found conflicting information about the third prompt, in some years it's optional prompt that allows candidates to explain any weak areas in their application.**

Choose 1 or 2, and 3.

1. When did you first become interested in the Air Force Academy and serving in the Air Force? What started your interest? What Air Force career field do you hope to enter? What do you expect to gain from the Air Force Academy experience and how will it help you in your Air Force career? (250 to 300 words, 3000 characters max)

2. Which aspect of the Air Force Academy experience (academic, military training, athletic, social/spiritual) do you anticipate will be most challenging for you? Discuss why and how you expect to succeed in that area. (250 to 300 words, 3000 characters max)

3. Describe a setback or ethical dilemma that you have faced. How did you resolve it? How did the outcome affect you? If something similar happens in the future, how would you react? (400 to 500 words, 3000 characters max).

VP Nomination Prompt:
Why do you want to attend one of the military service academies? (3500 CHARACTER MAXIMUM) *

Post Scriptum:
I was hoping we could help each with our essays in a google doc or something. IDK what I should expect; here's to trying.
 

America Works

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The 1st question I am prepared for. The 2nd question is harder than it looks. Are you planning on using the 3rd essay?
 

America Works

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The 1st question I am prepared for. The 2nd question is harder than it looks. Are you planning on using the 3rd essay?

I am planning to do all three essays.
Okay. I was wondering how to utilize the third option. It seems like it's provided to help candidates explain shortfalls in their application. However, a candidate could use it as another opportunity to highlight his or her strengths. I am worried that if I use it for the primary reason it will come across as making excuses. If I you use the latter, I could potentially seem over zealous. I read a previous candidates essay to USAFA, and he compared himself to Nixon and then went on to explain why he would be better than him. I don't want to be that person who overreaches and seems "EXTRA".
 

af802990

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Okay. I was wondering how to utilize the third option. It seems like it's provide to help candidates explain shortfalls in their application. However, a candidate could use it as another opportunity to highlight his or her strengths. I am worried that if I use it for the primary reason it will come across as making excuses. If I you use the latter, I could potentially seem over zealous. I read a previous candidates essay to USAFA, and he compared himself to Nixon and then went on to explain why he would be better than him. I don't want to be that person who overreaches and seems "EXTRA".

DM me and I will tell you more about my essay.
 

Falcon2022

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Okay. I was wondering how to utilize the third option. It seems like it's provided to help candidates explain shortfalls in their application. However, a candidate could use it as another opportunity to highlight his or her strengths. I am worried that if I use it for the primary reason it will come across as making excuses. If I you use the latter, I could potentially seem over zealous. I read a previous candidates essay to USAFA, and he compared himself to Nixon and then went on to explain why he would be better than him. I don't want to be that person who overreaches and seems "EXTRA".

I see what you are saying about coming off as over zealous but don't let that make you shy away from being proud of your accomplishments and making them known to the Academy. This is the time to sell yourself and show why they should choose you over the other well qualified candidates. I went through this process last year and it is one of the things I learned. I tend to be quiet about my accomplishments. But I learned that in the essays and especially the interviews you have to truly show why you are the best person. Again I see where you are coming from and I don't think saying you are better then Nixon is the right way to go but also don't be afraid to tell them why you are so great.
 

America Works

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I see what you are saying about coming off as over zealous but don't let that make you shy away from being proud of your accomplishments and making them known to the Academy. This is the time to sell yourself and show why they should choose you over the other well qualified candidates. I went through this process last year and it is one of the things I learned. I tend to be quiet about my accomplishments. But I learned that in the essays and especially the interviews you have to truly show why you are the best person. Again I see where you are coming from and I don't think saying you are better than Nixon is the right way to go but also don't be afraid to tell them why you are so great.
Thank you for the words of encouragement. I am determined to present the best application possible and will endeavor to do so. I am going to do the optional essay, however I am still unsure on how I should attack it. I have lots of ideas, but I am not sold on any of them yet. I am fighting the struggle between what I want to say and what I think the admission board wants to hear.
 

America Works

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Are you'll writing your essays in 1st person or 3rd person? I find myself naturally writing in 1st person. Any thoughts?
 

DesertCaliMom

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Are you'll writing your essays in 1st person or 3rd person? I find myself naturally writing in 1st person. Any thoughts?
In my opinion, and that of George Orwell, first person can be a powerful tool, especially for this kind of essay.

Read (Google) Orwell's "Why I Write" and ponder its meaning. I guarantee after a day or two of applying the rhetoric therein and you'll not only want to write first person for this, but enjoy it.
 

America Works

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I think I cracked the second essay. It's all about how you will fit in at USAFA. So express your hopes and desires and weave them into the overall ethos of the school. I plan on using some rhetoric from there website to drive the point home.
 

Cerberi

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Start writing - way too much thinking.

Remember - outstanding candidates competing against other outstanding candidates.

My DD had to overcome living in an upper middle class household with 2 parents and the family went to Mass every week while she attended an All Girls Catholic School. She pretty much got along with everyone, was a coach's dream from a commitment/dedication perspective, and her teacher's loved her because she loves learning and participating in class.

Tweak a couple of those sentences and that is the majority of people she competed for appointment. There is/was no drama that she had to overcome and she didn't pretend otherwise by writing some flowery expose' about overcoming adversity.

On the other hand USAFA sent someone to the Prep School vs a direct admit a few years ago because the meager sum of $ he earned working after school was needed by the family to pay bills, so the USAF worked with him knowing he would net more pay as a preppie vs being a Doolie giving the family an extra year to recover and get on their feet. Or the kid that essentially grew up homeless and still did enough to earn an appointment.

I would bet most stories are closer to my daughter's than the latter 2 stories. And the latter two stories were very compelling/powerful.

And don't spit back the 'rhetoric' from the USAFA web site - anyone reading that will see through it immediately.

Write want you want to say. Admissions is not looking for some magical formula. They want a well constructed essay that makes a point without grammatical errors. They want you to tell a story - not third person.
 

America Works

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Start writing - way too much thinking.

Remember - outstanding candidates competing against other outstanding candidates.

My DD had to overcome living in an upper middle class household with 2 parents and the family went to Mass every week while she attended an All Girls Catholic School. She pretty much got along with everyone, was a coach's dream from a commitment/dedication perspective, and her teacher's loved her because she loves learning and participating in class.

Tweak a couple of those sentences and that is the majority of people she competed for appointment. There is/was no drama that she had to overcome and she didn't pretend otherwise by writing some flowery expose' about overcoming adversity.

On the other hand USAFA sent someone to the Prep School vs a direct admit a few years ago because the meager sum of $ he earned working after school was needed by the family to pay bills, so the USAF worked with him knowing he would net more pay as a preppie vs being a Doolie giving the family an extra year to recover and get on their feet. Or the kid that essentially grew up homeless and still did enough to earn an appointment.

I would bet most stories are closer to my daughter's than the latter 2 stories. And the latter two stories were very compelling/powerful.

And don't spit back the 'rhetoric' from the USAFA web site - anyone reading that will see through it immediately.

Write want you want to say. Admissions is not looking for some magical formula. They want a well constructed essay that makes a point without grammatical errors. They want you to tell a story - not third person.
Thank you for the advice. I do tend to over think things, but it's part of my writing process. I'm still in the brainstorming phase, so some of my ideas are out there. Once I start writing, things tend to move more organically. I understand your point about using AFA's rhetoric, and I see how that could negatively impact my essay. I will continue to brainstorm, and I hope to share more of my thoughts with you all. Again, I sincerely appreciate your advice.
 

Billberna

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AmWorks, I don't think you over think things. Rather, you fit the description of a classic extrovert. You involve others in your thought processes, and bounce your ideas off of other people to accomplish a task. Everybody has a different path to getting their thoughts down on paper, and you did post earlier that you wanted to open a thread about the essay writing. So keep it up - others will come upon this thread and get inspiration for their essays, too. I think it is a good thread topic. We're thinking about our essays at our house, too. Right now my DS is working on his "personal statement" for our Congressional Representative. Everybody has a unique story to write about.
 

America Works

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For the second essay prompt, I am planning on writing a day in the life of a cadet. I believe it gives me the opportunity to show the admissions board how I would fit in at the AFA. I found really great information on a what a typical day for a cadet looks like. I want my essay to model a real day at the AFA while demonstrating my experiences, perspectives, and talents.
 
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