• LTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

What is the Purpose of the USAFA Candidate Kit Due Date?

You may have just opened the U.S. Air Force Academy application or "Candidate Kit" and saw a due date. The problem is that this date is not January 31. You may be wondering: what does this date mean and why does it exist?

In simple terms, the Candidate Kit due date is USAFA's way of 'pushing' candidates to accomplish many of the major applications steps in a timely manner. Procrastinators may not like this four-month window, but it allows the AF admissions team to pace delivery of the key pieces of the application. All of these pieces must be completed by January 31, the application deadline. Completing the Candidate Kit initiates other important components of the application process.

When you complete the kit, four important items are initiated:

  1. The person designated to administer your Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) will receive an email noting the URL to use to record your scores.

  2. The AFA will request that the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB) initiate the medical examination process for you.

  3. Your Evaluator Air Force Liaison Officer (ALO) will be designated and listed on your candidate portal.

  4. The AFA application checklist will be displayed showing your progress with all key application steps.

For the CFA, USAFA requires that your evaluator record your scores within 48 hours to taking the test. Effectively, this restriction essentially requires that you wait to take the CFA until you submit the Candidate Kit. Personally, I think this restriction defeats the purpose of a common physical fitness test for four of the service academies (i.e., USAFA, USMA, USNA and USMMA). One option is simply to ask your evaluator to 'change' the recorded date of the testing if you decide to take the CFA prior to completing the Candidate Kit. A score is a score so there is no reason to wait to take the test.

Within two weeks of completing the Candidate Kit, DODMERB will send you a medical questionnaire to complete and return. The returned information will be reviewed, and you will receive notice to schedule a local set of examinations: a physical exam and an eye exam.

Another important detail will be revealed after the kit is returned. You will learn the name of your Evaluator ALO along with her/his contact information. You should reach out to the ALO in a timely manner to schedule your interview. I recommend that you attached your résumé to the note along with any other details you might want to share. Note that ehe ALO will not be located near you so a video platform will likely be used for the interview.

Checklist used for USAFA Candidates applying to the Academy
Air Force Academy Application Checklist

The submission of the Candidate Kit will initiate a display of a dashboard or "Checklist." As you will note in the accompanying photo (above), the checklist provides a status on the important components of the application process, including academic transcripts, your ALO interview, a nomination, required recommendations and your DoDMERB medical. A red 'x' or a green 'check mark' indicate the absence or completion of the task. All tasks must be completed by January 31 of the year that you plan to enter the Academy. These tasks include recommendations from the teachers that you listed, completing the CFA, conducting your interview with you Evaluator LO, and finishing your DODMERB medical and eye exams. Refer to your copy of the 'Instructions to Candidates' for more details.

One last point: after you return the Candidate Kit, you should to update your Admissions team (Blue or Silver) on any new events, awards or similar additions to your résumé. For example, let's imagine that you earn Eagle Scout, or you are awarded a varsity sports letter in December after returning the kit in November. Send an email to the admissions counselors noting the update, and if possible, attach some type of proof, such as a copy of the award certificate or similar corroboration.

Good luck completing your Candidate Kit. The due date requires completion of all steps outlined; however, the application deadline is still January 31. Keep up a good pace, and you will be successful!

[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 . . . including creating an admissions plan to complete the Candidate Kit! Contact me at chris@cbbrechin.com and/or 503.515.7406]

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