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  • Writer's pictureLTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

It's October: what are you doing for your Service Academy applications?

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

The summer is over, school has started and you're busy with different activities, homework and sports. But, how are you progressing on your applications for USAFA, USMA and USNA?

The 'ideal' answer to this question varies for high school seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen. Let's take a few minutes to review your current status for your high school grade.

For a high school senior, you are in the very 'thick' of it. You are ideally preparing to submit your Candidate Kit for the US Air Force Academy, or you have finished your application for the US Naval Academy. You should be well prepared to take the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), if you haven't already completed it. And, of course, you must submit applications for all of the nominations for which you are qualified.

Most congressional members require applications for nomination to be completed in the early fall. The earliest are in late September with the majority due in October. Some will be as late as November. Their deadlines will dictate your priorities as you must deliver your application on time. No one accepts late nomination applications. A Senator or Congress member may define the process in any manner they desire, including using on-line tools, email submissions with attachments, or simply, the US Mail delivery to their office.

As a senior, take the time to outline your schedule to meet the deadlines for nominations. Plus, keep in mind that lots of seniors start seeking letter of recommendations (LORs) for their target schools in late autumn. Move quickly to complete the necessary LORs for your nominations as well as the ones that may be submitted for USAFA. Work diligently and respectfully with your teachers, counselors, coaches and others who will provide the recommendations. They are providing a favor so be sure to show your appreciation.

There is a lot to accomplish so I recommend making the application process a daily activity. Set aside an hour or so each day to work on your personal essays, complete the different sections of the applications and follow-up with your recommenders to ensure they are able to provide the LORs in a timely manner.

For high school juniors, the previous paragraphs should provide a roadmap of what you can start in the springtime. LORs are an ideal project to initiate early. Also, you should be preparing for the CFA now. Running and practicing pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups should be part of an extensive workout routine. It is never too late to add supplementary activities and leadership opportunities to your resume.

For sophomores and freshmen, start preparing now: improve your physical fitness, enhance and expand your credentials and start reading about the profession that you will enter upon graduation from USAFA, USMA or USNA. Biographies, first-hand accounts and other literature provide good insights into the military as a career and lifestyle.

As a senior, junior, sophomore or freshman, just get started and focus on your goals to earn an officer's commission through the US Air Force Academy, US Military Academy or US Naval Academy.

Lastly, no matter your current status, you might consider working with an admissions coach. A coach can provide cadence, advice and expertise around applying, preparing and entering a US service academy. A freshman and a senior can both take advantage of a coach's knowledge and experience.

[I would welcome a chance to discuss details with you. I offer coaching services to pace and prepare you (and your parents!) for the entire Academy application process. Contact me at chris@cbbrechin.com and/or 503.515.7406]


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