A few days ago

Air Force Academy?

hi I am going to be a freshman in high school. i want to go to air force academy. i am going to be taking geometry next year and i get straight a’s and occasional b’s. i will play tennis in high school and will do volunteer work. i don’t have a perfect vision, i wear contacts but can i still become a pilot? and also what types of classes, activities should i do to get accepted in to the air force academy? thank you

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A few days ago

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JROTC is perhaps the best activity to prepare you for an academy. Many of the instructors are graduates of military schools (my one of my instructors was a graduate of the Citadel, for example). I know that JROTC isn’t always the most popular activity in school, but it will open up many doors even if you decide to pursue a non-military career.

Be sure to keep up your grades and participate in many activities, but don’t overwhelm yourself. When you reach your junior and senior years of high school, you’ll want to take higher level math and science, so be sure that you’re schedule will leave plenty of time to study. Also, the military needs people with many different talents, so don’t overlook activities like band, foreign language clubs, and student government.

If you are extremely serious about becoming a pilot, talk to a doctor to see if you are a candidate for LASIK surgery– the price of the procedure can be high for a high school student, but it is possible to save up for it while a student (my sister paid for her own surgery at 17!). Do some of your own research about the benefits of vision correction and present your finding to your parents along with a plan of how you’d like to save up for it (babysitting, yardwork, etc.). You never know, they might chip in to help. Even if this isn’t an option for your right now, don’t give up! There are plenty of opportunities in the military for people with less than perfect vision.

Finally, don’t rule out all of your options. You can’t control all of the factors that come together to form an appointment to a military academy (you might be the best candidate, but that doesn’t guarantee an appointment). There are lots of great colleges and universities out there that train some of the best officers in the military. Also, the flip side is that not everyone succeeds at the academy nor is every academy graduate a superior officer to those who attended civilian schools. The bottom line is, do well in school, keep your options open, never be afraid to work hard, and you’ll have a great start! Best of luck to you!