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  • Writer's pictureLTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

Summer Plans & Academy Admissions

Updated: 12 hours ago

Take advantage of your 'summer' time to expand your résumé

If you desire to attend one of the US service academies -- USAFA, USNA, USMA, USCGA or USMMA -- then this summer is an ideal time to expand your résumé, prepare for the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), explore the details around earning a nomination and apply to the academy directly if you are entering your senior year in September.

New seniors will focus on 'paperwork' this summer. New juniors, and younger students, will focus on preparation, especially around physical fitness as well as adding experiences and leadership opportunites that will enhance your qualifications for the US Air Force Academy, US Military Academy, US Naval Academy and the other two US service academies. Seniors, as well, will also continue to prepare for the CFA and strengthen your qualifications.

Candidates must create and stick to a workout routine focused on improving in all six CFA events, especially running. Build upon your ability to run one mile at speed as well as establishing a foundation of running 10 to 15 miles per week comfortably. The summer weather and the absence of school should allow you to establish an effective fitness routine. Always find 'time' to workout, and commit to continuing your fitness through the next school year.

To expand your résumé, look for leadership and team engagement through community service hours, summer camps, workshops and other opportunities to create impactful experiences as well as opportunities to lead an activity. Serving as a staff member for a children's camp, for example, should provide some great experiences as well as numerous chances to organize and lead different activities. The list is long, but you must search for pursuits that are both enjoyable and worthy of your time. These kind of activities will provide ideal and enriching experiences that you will likely share in essays and interviews as you work through the application and nomination processes.

Often, with my students, I recommend looking over a calendar of the summer months: June, July and August. Use a week-to-week review to find windows of time that will support different activities, such as volunteer hours, work at a local day camp, athletic preparation and other opportunities to expand your resume. Be proactive -- use your summer time effectively.

Seniors will find that they will be able to open up online applications in the May to July timeframe. If you did not apply the academy's summer program, such as the USAFA Summer Seminar or the USMA Summer Leaders Experience, then you will be required to complete a pre-candidate questionnaire (or PCQ). This online application will be used to determine if you are qualified to apply to the academy. As with your other plans for the summer, establish a routine to work your way through all of the application steps. Personal details, essays, recommendations and much more are important components that you will need to address.

One last item for Seniors: schedule an SAT or ACT (or two) for the summer. All of the academies 'superscore' the results so you will find this time to be an ideal opportunity to prepare for the test and improve your scores. My blog about the SAT and ACT discusses planning and strategies that may interest you. Do the research and find a location that supports a 'summer-time' test for you.

The summer provides lots of opportunity for relaxation and fun. Enjoy it! However, for a academy candidate, it is an ideal time to prepare and apply for US service academies. Commit to be proactive and make your summer plans now!

[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 . . . along with helping you plan your summers! Contact me at chris@cbbrechin.com, 503.515.7406 or complete my contact form on the home page.]

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