What's it all about?
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:
The AFA will request that the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB) initiate the medical examination process for you.
Your Evaluator Air Force Liaison Officer (ALO) will be assigned and listed on your candidate portal.
The person designated to submit your transcript (or transcripts, in the case of a college student) will be notified via email.
Plus, the AFA application checklist will be displayed showing your progress with all key application steps.
Within two weeks of completing the Candidate Kit, DoDMERB will send you an email. They will direct you to create an account on the DoDMETS website (as shown in the example below). On the DoDMETS site, you will complete an extensive medical questionnaire and they 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 the ALO will not be located near you so a video platform will likely be used for the interview.
The submission of the Candidate Kit will initiate a display of a dashboard or "Checklist." As you will note in the accompanying image (below), 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.
In previous years, a candidate could not submit their Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) scores through their Evaluator until she/he submitted the Candidate Kit. That has now changed in 2023-24. The Evaluator is now sent an email request to conduct and record the CFA immediately after the candidate completes and saves the Evaluator's contact information in the application. An important note is that AF Admissions expects a candidate to complete the CFA by the Candidate Kit due date.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 503.515.7406 or use my contact form on this website.]