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Chances of Acceptance into the Academies

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Dec 15, 2001
I'd just like to know if I would look like a good candidate to one of the 3 service academies, particularly the AFA (Air Force Academy). I'd appreciate any suggestions to make myself a better candidate. So far, I'm a sophomore in HS. 3.6 GPA. 32 ACT. Played football as a freshman. I'm doing Track this year. And I'll be doing Track and Swimming next year. I have about 50 hours of service in the community. I have my Eagle Scout Award. OK thanks!
Check out the Coast Guard Academy in New London CT. No appointments, competetive entry type of deal. Compare their stats in one of those " pick a college" books like Barrons. You might be intersested, plus the job after school is good; aviation is an option (after an afloat tour). Remember, the best deals don't have to advertise.
best of luck
The big thing USAFA looks for is the "whole person" concept. Keep up the grades, stay active in sports, and try to get into some other activities (student council, clubs, volunteer work). Being an Eagle Scout will help you out a bunch. The best way to ensure an appointment is to be recruited by one of the athletic teams. If you have any particular questions, shoot me a personal e mail. Good Luck!
Go For It!

Just to add to the other posts, start communications now with your congressmen and senators. They may have certain requirements that must be met before they will consider you for a nomination. Also look into the other, less known categories of nominations (JROTC, presidential, vice-presidential, etc.). Good Luck!
Find your AFA Liaison Officer

Hello Mogus,

Probably the most important thing you can do at this stage, besides continuing to excel at your high school career as you're obviously doing, is to locate and contact your Air Force Academy Admissions Liaison Officer (also called the "LO"). Pull up the AFA web site, under admissions, and find your LO. He or she will be instrumental in guiding you through the admissions process, including the actions you must take to earn a congressional nomination. He or she will also counsel you about your chances, and ways to improve if needed. In fact, the LO has a very large effect on your overall score when the time comes for the Academy to make their final decision on your appointment, so building a good rapport at this stage could be very helpful.

You're early in the process, and that's good! I met my LO when I was a sophomore in high school (in 1981!;) ), and he has been a close friend and counselor throughout my AF career.

And another thing...stay away from distractions, like high school girls! ;) Just kidding. Good luck!

PS....You might also want to check out any Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard units in your area. Sometimes these units will sponsor a particular student throughout the process of becoming a pilot, with a promised job in the unit upon graduation. They will even send you to pilot training when you earn your commission. The great thing about that is, if you go to pilot training on a reserve or guard sponsorship, you know what airplane you're going to fly when you graduate, so some of the normal stress of competition associated with pilot training is removed.

As other posters have said, you're doing all the right things...keep it up!

If you enlist in the National Guard (Air or Army), you become competitive with other National Guard members for appointments to the service academies. There are appointment quotas for the National Guard which go unused each year. Last year, I saw a message from the National Guard Bureau soliciting applicants for these vacancies.

I wish I had known about this 25 years ago! If either of my daughters express interest in the service academies, I'll encourage them to seek this option.

Good luck!

Slim, MAJ, Retired Reserve

I know most of the replies here are from Air Force types, but there is an option to fly Army as well. I'm a West Point guy and now a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot. Although Ill probably get out at the end of this year, I wouldn't trade my experience at West Point and in Army Aviation for anything. I even started my civilian flying while I was at West Point in the Flying Club and had a blast while my other Plebe buddies were stuck in the barracks, I was flying all over NY, NJ, CT, Mass., etc.

The good thing about the West Point / Army route is that not everyone there wants aviation like at the other academies. If you end up in the top half of the class, you will definitely get it. Flight school at Ft. Rucker is a lot of work, but a LOT OF FUN also. Granted, it's definitely a different kind of aviation, but it's great! Air Assaults at 120 kts on top of the trees at night under NVGs one disk from the a/c in front of you and behind you is quite a rush.

As for me personally, I've been there, done that, I'm ready to move on to airline flying and have been working at that for the past couple of years on the side. I now am approaching the hours needed and experience to at least get into Part 135 and hopefully into the regionals.

This path is certainly not the fastest way to get there, but it's probably one of the most rewarding and you will have a degree from one of the finest schools in the country. If flying ever falls through, trust me, you will have no problem getting a job anywhere.

You are definitely doing the right stuff. As others have said, keep up the sports, continue doing some volunteer work, focus on your grades, take some higher level classes (AP courses, etc.). Also, get into some club or something where you can run as President or "on the board" or something like that. It shows leadership and they love that. If you want some more detailed info, shoot me an email and I will be glad to help you out.

Keep up the good work and let me know if you need anything. Good luck and keep pressing on!


Your chances of admission are as good as anyone’s.

Suggest the following:

Do NOT let your grades slip, if possible, improve them.
Keep up all of your extracurricular activities.
Look for opportunities to be a leader, not just a member of the groups you belong to.
Start networking with the LO and ALL nomination sources you are eligible for as mentioned above.
Be in the best physical shape possible.
Stay completely clean--no drugs, no run-ins with the law, etc.
Start asking for letters of recommendation now. Try to get them from as many different sources as possible (i.e. don't just get them from teachers, or scout leaders, or employers--get them from all of them).

A couple of other notes for you to consider.
Eagle Scout has been analyzed as one of the best predictors of success at USAFA, so make sure this achievement of yours gets to the admissions office there. I would imagine the other service academies have similar analysis results, but cannot say for sure.

Understand acceptance to the big three service academies involves three major steps: A nomination from an approved source, acceptance by the institution, and finally passing the physical and fitness tests. The most common source of nominations are the U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives. They each have 5 allocations at each academy at any given time. They typically have 2 allocations open each year due to attrition, but this is not guaranteed. For each allocation, they can nominate up to 10 nominees. They can specify their primary nominee, who if otherwise qualified will receive the allocation, the others become alternates. They can also nominate all 10 and allow the academy to select the most qualified. In either case, the other 9 are then thrown into a pool of candidates with other nominees. Then the service academy uses this pool to fill the allocations without any nominees (typically the rural congressional districts with small populations and no applicants/constituents for the representative to nominate).

Also, remember, the service academies are just one route to a career as a military officer. I would suggest looking at ROTC scholarships, and the Guard and Reserve as mentioned before.

If you have any other questions, I'll be more than glad to answer them.

Good Luck!
Since you are a sophomore, consider a transfer to Valley Forge Military Academy, which produces a huge number of service academy freshmen every year. They DO have scholarships.


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