Ask Me Questions! Q&A From an OTS Selectee
I have posted the majority of information I wanted to post, and it looks like most of you are benefiting from the information. I still have a few months until I leave for OTS so post some questions or requests for other posts! Life is crazy busy as always but I will do my best.
UPDATE 5/27/2016: Most people just email me questions and I answer them. If I get a FAQ I do a post about it so this post may be more of a snapshot in time than a reference-able FAQ.
Q: How were your test scores/GPA? Also, how far in advance of your board did you start compiling you documents? Specifically, the AFPC Master PF review?
A: My scores were P80s/CSO90s/ABM90s/AA70s/V70s/Q63 (I can’t remember exactly and don’t have my score sheet handy. This was under the old version (S I think). My GPA was 3.69. IMO you should shoot to have your Master PF review memo back from AFPC around the three months out from submission deadline. Once my commander requested, it came back from AFPC about a week later. Three months is the sweet spot. Six months is too early (especially if boards are delayed) and one months is probably too late (strictly for peace of mind, but also if there are complications). My commander said October in preparation for my January submission deadline so that’s what I did, and it made a lot of sense for me. Start your OTS applicant profile and personal statement as early as possible, but don’t do the formal paperwork with signatures (LOR, FM 56) until just before submission.
Q: I am planning on applying after I receive my first EPR next year so my question is, what advice would you give a relatively fresh A1C as far as being competitive? Also, I have a non-technical degree which, from everything I gather, bumps the difficulty up a bit.
Thank you again for the great info!
A: During my career I always strove to be the best at everything I did. Luckily for me, I was noticed and it paid off. As a young Airman your first job is to complete your CDCs and get qualified at doing your job (either formally or informally). If you want to stand out, do this fast, do it well, and do it with a positive attitude. After you are qualified and finish your CDCs, you will need to seek additional responsibilities and get involved in your community. Notice I did not say “volunteer.” In my opinion it is more beneficial to get involved in a cause you are passionate about and make a difference. When I was an Airman this happened to be the Base Advisory Council because there were a lot of things I thought could have been done better, and I wanted to make an impact. The typical volunteer opportunities are great, but it is hard to stand out from your peers if you are volunteering by doing the same things they are doing. Do something unique, that fits you, that again, makes an impact.
If you are good at what you do and are truly the best of the best, you will easily stand out to your leadership. Your leadership will put you in positions to be successful, put you in for awards, help you achieve SrA Below-the-Zone or other professional goals, and the rest should fall into place. At that point it is a matter of seeking mentorship from everyone you trust and respect, listening to their advice, and incorporating them into your daily life. Work hard on every aspect of your application (AFOQT, LOR, interview, etc), and like I said, the rest should fall into place. If you don’t get accepted the first time, try again. Failure is something that has matured and developed me into the person and leader I am today.
It is hard to gauge the importance of your degree without knowing what you are aiming for. I don’t think the major alone makes a difference on your board score. I believe every aspect of the strongest packages are formulated along a common purpose or goal. If you have a non-tech degree and want a job in space, you may have a harder time defining your purpose. If your goal is to serve your country as an officer in any field, your degree will apply or meet the requirement just like any other. GPA is probably more important than your major.
The last little bit of advice I will throw in is to be yourself. Never lose sight of who you are because you have a goal and are competing with your peers. Be a good person, be respectable, and be an example. The will carry you much farther than an undeserved SrA BTZ stripe.
Q: Does anyone know the process of being one year away from obtaining your bachelor’s and applying. Is it a waiver and how many classes is considered a year?
A: Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-2013 states:
3.2. Eligibility requirements for Officer Training School (OTS). OTS applicants must:
3.2.2. Have earned a baccalaureate degree or higher or must meet one of the following conditions:
126.96.36.199. Is within 365 days of graduation from a college or university that is regionally or nationally accredited and is listed in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System located on the website http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/, maintained by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.
When you apply, you will need to upload your official transcripts to prove you are within 365 days of graduating. I think the way they verify this is based on the number of credits you have toward your degree. If you are in a four year 120 credit program, 90 credits would be within 365 days as long as you stay on track. If you don’t stay on track and can’t finish your degree within one year of completion, you will risk losing your slot to OTS.
The key to this would be communication with the AFRS staff. I would make yourself a conservative projected schedule for class completion and apply when you are safe to apply. I would hate to be in the situation where you are scrambling to get your degree done right before you leave for OTS. Whatever you do, just be sure you talk to the staff (Rose) to know you are safe. They will have other information I do not have, if applicable, because I never went through this (my degree was conferred).
Q: Sir, I am filling out my Form 56 and I could not remember the details of a traffic I had several years ago. Do I absolutely have to put that in there? I requested my driving record from the DMV but it only shows information from last three years. Please advise. Thank you!
A: The big picture is the board wants to get a feel for who you are, so include what you need to include to tell them who you are. For your situation it will depend on what the traffic incident was. If it was just a minor ticket it is up to you, but if it was a major accident or a DUI I would definitely include. If you don’t have all of the details, just use your best estimate and provide as much information as you can. Whatever you do, just ask yourself if you are doing the right thing or misleading the board. If you consider yourself good to go, you should be good to go. At some point it is a matter of integrity.
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