NOTE: This post references the BOT Guide from 2015, but the information should still have value.
When I was putting together my application I completely overlooked this attachment until about three days before the application deadline. Every time I would read this attachment I assumed it was meant for those who could not use SharePoint and would instead have to email their application to AFRS. My error almost prevented me submitting in time, and in turn, could have prevented me from being selected for my board (15OT02). In my opinion this should be the first attachment of the BOT guide because it provides a general overview of what is required for the application.
The gist of the current application process (as of 15OT02) is as follows:
The entire application is consolidated into what AFRS calls “packets”. Their terminology causes a lot of confusion for some, but it essentially means placing all of the required documents in a pile and scanning them into one PDF file. There are of course more high tech ways of doing this, but that is the general idea.
The number of packets will vary from applicant to applicant, but AD applicants will have a minimum of three and no more than seven. I used four (three mandatory plus award source). The packet names are as follows:
- Board Application (mandatory)
- EPR (mandatory)
- Waiver Document (as required)
- Source Document (mandatory)
- Award Source Document (as required)
- Prior Service (as required)
- ALO Addendum (as required)
In my opinion this is THE MOST IMPORTANT PACKET. I have no inside knowledge of the board process other than what I have heard, but my personal perception of the process is that the board reviews all information presented to them by the staff. The staff will either download or print your entire application and prepare the application for the board. When the board is doing their thing, they will review your record, give you a rating, and move on.
The reason I think this is the most important packet is because I think this packet is the core source of the board’s information. In fact, I personally believe the board does not even see any other packets unless they specifically request for them. This is why I believe the most important document of your application is your OTS Applicant Profile, because you are essentially translating your record into a format which is most easily processed by the board. I will do a separate post on the OTS Applicant Profile.
This packet contains the following documents:
- OTS Applicant Profile
- Page 6 of the AF56 (commander’s page)
- Letter of Recommendation
If my theory is correct, do you see why I believe those documents are the most important? Equally important is how you present those documents within the packet itself.
I used Adobe Pro to combine all of my EPRs into one document. The BOT guide stated to order them from most current on top to [oldest] on bottom.
Source Document Packet
Here is what my BOT guide told me to include, and what I actually did.
- Questionnaire 1 – deleted instructions and used actual digitally signed files).
- Questionnaire 2 – same as above
- AFOQT web printout – used the web site provided to download my scores a few days before submission.
- ABM web printout – I was a non-rated applicant so almost omitted this one, BUT DO NOT OVERLOOK IT! Go to the web site and plug in your AFOQT information and the web site will provide you with the document. Applicants who overlooked this for the 15OT02 NR board were contacted by AFRS and asked to send it in.
- PCSM web printout – I did not use this.
- Transcripts – I received a PDF transcript from my college and used that. Be careful because mine was so full of security features it almost added 10 mb to the file size. I did some techie magic to shrink it back down to normal.
- AF FM 56 – I scanned the entire document. Scanned because mine had wet signatures/initials.
- PPL/CPL – NA for me.
- vMPF Data Verification Brief – PDF’d a few days before submission. Now called Career Data Brief.
- vMPF Record Review Update – PDF’dda few days before submission.
- Commander’s Master PF/LPIF w/ AFPC response – Included. I did not include the letter from my commander requesting the Master PF review (as stated in the BOT guide).
- AF FM 422 – as downloaded from AF Portal.
- Rated Age Critical – NA for me.
- Approved Weather Officer – NA for me.
- ALO Addendum – NA for me.
Award Source Document Packet
- The guide says only to include those not in EPRs and I complied with one exception.
- I have a AF Achievement Medal that did not make it into my EPR and I think it significantly added to my application, so I uploaded it. Because I uploaded one, I uploaded all (one other AFAM and two AFCMs).
- I had a few other awards/recognition’s which did not make it into my EPRs (Wing USR of the Quarter and BMT Most Outstanding Airman) so I went ahead and scanned those as well.
- Some people on the forums did a memorandum stating what all was included and why, but I did not. Two reasons:
- Time was short.
- I did not think it was worth the effort because I didn’t think the board would look at it.
The other packets
That was it for me. I did not use any other packets, I only submitted four.
So what exactly do you do with these packets? I looked at each packet as a task to be completed prior to submission. The EPR and award packets were easy so I did them and didn’t review them again until the end. I used the other two to maintain the big picture on what I needed to work on.
The final page of Attachment 9 tells you exactly how to name the packet file. Don’t be an idiot like me, 1234 on the example is the last four of your SSN. I almost messed that up.
Mine were named:
- “LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME 1234 app.pdf”
- “LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME 1234 award.pdf”
- “LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME 1234 EPR.pdf”
- “LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME 1234 srce.pdf”
One last comment I have is about the PDF quality of your documents. Regardless of if the board reviews digitally or by paper, the document you provide will be reviewed at the quality (or below) of the document you submit. For example, if you scan a clean document but your scanner adds smudges, the board will see smudges. Due to this I used the Lexus of scanners to create my packets. This is also why I used a lot of actual PDF files and patched them together with Adobe Pro.
On the note of quality, I also used Adobe Pro to ensure my LOR and OTS Applicant Profile were searchable. I don’t know if it contributed anything but it is something I thought about and took time to do.