In any organization, there are acronyms that the people involved have to learn. And there are acronyms in general life that everyone is expected to know, like NAACP, AARP, NSA, CIA, FBI. There are even words that have come into general usage that started out as acronyms: RADAR, SCUBA and the like. Well, in this process of United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) application, these acronyms can be confusing and aren’t even necessarily intuitive. So here are 8 helpful acronyms I’ve learned in our process so far.
ALO—Academy Liaison Officer. This is an important person in the application process. He or she is your ticket to information about your application and the process in general. Once you are a candidate, you have to have an interview with your ALO in order to pass your drug and alcohol certification. And the ALO only wants to talk to the applicant. They want to know that your applicant is serious enough to talk to their ALO on their own.
MOC—Member of Congress. Many people in America probably don’t even know who their Members of Congress are. They are your senators and the Congressman (or woman) representing your district. They are the all-important people in the application process. If you do not receive a nomination from one of them, then you have to depend on the president, vice president or a military-affiliated nomination, which are harder to come by. Each MOC has a committee that reviews applicant files and interviews viable candidates. If you do not receive a nomination, you cannot receive an appointment. It’s a lengthy and complicated process which, I think, serves to weed out those who aren’t truly motivated to attend a service academy.
LOA—Letter Of Assurance. This is a really cool thing that an exceptional candidate can get if they are desired by the Academy and meet all the qualifications. If you do not have a nomination, you are a “pre candidate” and can receive an LOA saying that as soon as you get that nomination, you will get an appointment. The Academy will send this LOA to the MOCs, which could help them make the decision in your favor during the nomination process.
DD, DS, DH, DW—Dear Daughter, Dear Son, Dear Husband or Dear Wife. This is kind of a funny one that I came across on the military service academy forum that I frequent. People never use names. They will talk about their DS just getting his acceptance, or their DD in the application process.
DODMERB—Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board. This is an all-important body that will decide, after they review your official medical exam, whether you will qualify medically or be disqualified. Everyone has to go through it, and it is rigorous.
CFA—Candidate Fitness Assessment. Another all-important step that every candidate must go through. It is pass/fail, all or nothing. It has to be administered by specific people in a very specific manner. If you fail the CFA, you cannot get an appointment.
EAP—Early Access Program. If you initiated your application between March 1 and July 1, you are eligible for the EAP, which means that you can hear in January whether you will receive an appointment or not. We just heard this morning that our DS has qualified for this program. Yay!
TWE—Thin White Envelope. This is what nobody wants to receive from the Academy. If you get the TWE, it means that you will not be receiving an appointment to the Academy at this time. It means that there is only one sheet of paper in that envelope, rather than a packet of information about what you do now that you are an official appointee. I think that every time I go to the mailbox between whenever DS’ app is mailed and January 31st, my heart will be beating just a little bit faster.
I hope that helps educate you on a few things that you might encounter along the way.
Does anyone have any others they’d like to share?
picture of Academy seal via blogs.gazette.com