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  • Writer's pictureLTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

The Waiting Game . . . After Your Nomination . . . Before an Academy Appointment

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

The good news is that you have a nomination. But now you wait! . . . So what should an Academy nominee do during the time from about January until March or April? In short, 'just keep rowing' (or, as Coach P. J. Fleck would tell you, "row the boat").

Between the winter weather and the re-start of school, you have plenty of reasons to be a bit depressed and unsure of what to do as you wait on the 'word' about your potential USAFA, USMA or USNA appointment.

'Just keep rowing' simply means the following . . .

  • Stay postive!

  • Maintain (or even improve) your physical fitness

  • Focus on school and continue to do your best academic work

  • Connect with friends and family

  • Ensure your Plan "B" and Plan "C" are in place

  • And . . . stay positive!

Let me expand on some of these points.

Stay positive! You should be proud of the fact that you moved from one applicant in about 15,000 for each of the Academies to a nominee among about 3000. Your chances for an appointment are about 50/50. If you have multiple nominations, then your chances of achieving an appointment are even better! That means that you should continue to "row" as you approach the finish line.

All appointees will want to arrive at the Academy in good shape. To meet this goal, continue to exercise focusing on the physical fitness test (PFT) events that each of the Academies require. Keep running so that you can accomplish a three mile run easily and with little effort. Practice your pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups to allow you to reach your personal best. Exercise and sports are great stress relievers so take advantage of the benefits!

All of the Academies will require your final transcripts. Do yourself a favor and keep up the good work that allowed you to compete and win a nomination. Don't drop a chemistry or math course to avoid the homework. Instead, keep the same 'college-prep track' as it may improve your course placement at the Academy as well as helping you with your freshman academic course load. Besides, the additional homework will help you avoid thinking about earning your appointment! Just keep rowing!

Social time should continue to be part of your life. Connect with family and friends as they will provide some needed support. It is easier to 'row a boat' with others along for the ride! You likely have friends who are waiting on scholarship and college acceptance decisions so they will appreciate the mutual support. You're not alone!

About half of nominees will not receive an appointment. You should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst by having a secondary and a tertiary plan for school. One of the best is to enter a junior college, or other school, and re-apply to the Academy 'next year.' Showing USAFA, USMA or USNA admissions that you are 'doing' college-level work and are motivated to re-apply are strong indicators of success at the Academy. In the mean time, taking college courses will help you achieve the bachelor's degree that you desire.

For many others, applying for an ROTC scholarship, or simply joining the ROTC unit on campus, is an ideal alternative to allow you to earn the officer's commission that you seek. The majority of the military officer corp are ROTC graduates from schools located across the country. The point is to have a back-up plan in case your 'Plan A' does not come through this year.

Congratulations on your nomination! However, your work is not completed. Focus on 'rowing the boat' during this period as you wait on your Academy appointment. I am POSITIVE that you will be successful, and you should be too!

[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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