• LTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

The Class of 2024: 'Secrets' of Their Success

Three young men are preparing to start a new journey with their classmates. All three (like the others in the entering class) worked diligently to earn their appointments and ROTC scholarships. In fact, I had the privilege of working with these three (as their coach) to prepare, apply and win their place as members of the Class of 2024.

What was their 'secret'? What was their recipe? Can other students use the same one to earn an appointment or scholarship? There seems to be a common misconception that a 'secret' recipe can be used to earn an appointment or scholarship.


There isn't!


All three of 'my' students have different backgrounds and stories to share. They each took unique paths in earning their appointments and ROTC scholarships. However, each one used common elements that allowed them to achieve their success.


The elements are:

  1. Self-discipline

  2. Hard work

  3. A plan for success

To earn an appointment to the US Air Force Academy, to graduate from the US Naval Academy, and to become a successful Army officer after graduating from the US Military Academy, one must have self-discipline. It allows you to wake-up early for a workout, it ensures you complete a school essay in a timely manner, and it drives you to prepare for the next club meeting that you will lead.


"Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period," noted the famous Notre Dame football coach, Lou Holtz. Dwayne Johnson, the popular actor, stated that, "All successes begin with self-discipline. It starts with you."


As with building muscle, self-discipline is learned and then practiced to improve your ability to drive yourself to achieve bigger and better things. All of my successful students have shown me this trait and continued to improve as we worked through the application process to earn an appointment/scholarship.


Preparing for and then applying to these scholarships takes hard work. Successful candidates complete the application steps in a timely manner. They work very hard to improve their performance on the individual events that make up the Candidate Fitness Assessment and the ROTC physical fitness test required by each of the military services. Each applicant works diligently to maintain a strong academic performance in the classroom and to prepare for the ACT or SAT. In my coaching endeavors, I see my students stay on task and challenge themselves daily to improve in all areas: athletic, academic, and leadership.


Lastly, a successful candidate will create a plan and follow it. It is flexible, but it allows a student to focus on the 'next' set of tasks. A good plan covers all areas of preparation: athletic, academic, and leadership. When combined with self-discipline and hard work, a strong plan allows an applicant to complete definitive and positive progress toward the goal of earning an appointment/scholarship.


Congratulations to my two appointees and Army ROTC scholarship winner! They should be proud of their success in earning their appointments and scholarships. All three followed different paths, but each one possessed the 'unkept secrets' of self-discipline, work ethic and planning to reach their goals.


You can do the same! Let's discuss how we can shape a path to reach your goals.


[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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Lt Col C.B. Brechin - USAF, Retired  /  chris@cbbrechin.com  /  503.515.7406