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LNGH

What are my chances - civ to fighters

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It feels like it's been way too long but I finally have my scores together to post one of these, so here it is:

Age: 25

Flight experience: 131 hrs, PPL, time in your standard training aircraft (172, Warrior, Cherokee), some time on floats, and some time in R44s. HP and Complex endorsements. I'll be starting in to my IFR in the next couple of weeks here.

Civilian work experience: Systems analysis for a couple of aerospace companies, one in hardware the other in avionics

AFOQT: P 99 / N 99 / AA 99 / V 97 / Q 96

PCSM: 99

Degree: BS Mechanical Engineering

And this is where we get into the bad. My GPA is pretty abysmal. It's about the lowest I've seen on here. There are factors and things that contributed to it but at the end of the day I made choices and they were wrong. I've learned from it and improved. There's not much to say other than I own what I did and it's not who I am now. What I do for my civilian job is fairly academic and I've been pretty successful in it.

Other things:  I played lacrosse, varsity volleyball, and varsity football in high school. Intramural hockey and broomball in college as well as an intercollegiate boxer (2-2). I also have a minor award from a very short stint in NROTC. 

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You're a shoe in. Work experience and good scores off-set the GPA. Especially since you have a mature story of how you learned from it. Just rush units and don't be a weirdo and you'll get picked up quickly by fighters if you interview well.  

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Thanks for the feedback. I've just been worried that mistakes I've made in the past that I've grown from are going to end a lifelong dream of mine. Any advice on things I could do (especially short term, applying to Duluth this month, but long term as well if it doesn't pan out) to help show improvement?

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your numbers look solid. As far as applying, don't put all your eggs in one basket. When I was applying around, every single chief pilot I spoke with told I should cast a wide net. Take priority in getting in the seat you want prior to location. Cold call squadrons and talk to people. Also don't be a tool. We had a guy stop by not to long ago to visit the squadron. He seem to be more worried interested about office-ring crew dawgs and boomers around instead of figuring out if he would be a good fit. 

Good luck. Also, I have a list of Chief pilots I contacted while in search of a military home. PM is you want it. My list is mostly heavies but there are some fast movers in there. 

cheers 

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9 minutes ago, LNGH said:

Thanks for the feedback. I've just been worried that mistakes I've made in the past that I've grown from are going to end a lifelong dream of mine. Any advice on things I could do (especially short term, applying to Duluth this month, but long term as well if it doesn't pan out) to help show improvement?

TBH,  most fighter squadrons wont give a sh!t about the GPA. Especially if you have a solid job with a solid company. It would be different if you were flipping burgers. Just write a well crafted cover letter explaining your situation, how and why you learned from it, etc. As I said, it doesn't really matter because of your scores and sports. Will you get invited to every interview for fighters? No, but you'll get a lot of invites. If you are hell bent on showing improvement on GPA, then just go back and get a masters. IMO, that's a waste of time and money and might make you lose focus. Keep rushing, interviewing, and polishing up the interview and you will get picked up in under 2 years, unless you're a fvcking weirdo. 

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@CharlieHotel47  Thanks, you should have a PM from me in a second here. I've been out to one unit a couple of times but I'll go ahead and give the "how to rush units" thread a re-read before I go to me next one, just in case. 

@Desk Jobs Suck Understood. I've considered that masters route but you're right, it's probably a waste. All I really want to do is fly and if fighters don't work out I may widen the search to heavies too. I'll give it a couple of years of full time effort into fighters before my game plan changes though.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Desk Jobs Suck said:

TBH,  most fighter squadrons wont give a sh!t about the GPA. Especially if you have a solid job with a solid company. It would be different if you were flipping burgers. Just write a well crafted cover letter explaining your situation, how and why you learned from it, etc. As I said, it doesn't really matter because of your scores and sports. Will you get invited to every interview for fighters? No, but you'll get a lot of invites. If you are hell bent on showing improvement on GPA, then just go back and get a masters. IMO, that's a waste of time and money and might make you lose focus. Keep rushing, interviewing, and polishing up the interview and you will get picked up in under 2 years, unless you're a fvcking weirdo. 

And you know all of this how? Seems like in another thread you’re still very green in the interview process, but I digress...

I 100% disagree on the part to not get a Master’s. I, too, had a low undergraduate GPA, but I offset that with a high GPA for my Master’s. You will need the degree later on to promote, so why not go ahead and get it done? If that makes someone “lose focus” during the interview process, then UPT probably wasn’t cut out for them anyway.

Edited by cagg011
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, cagg011 said:

And you know all of this how? Seems like in another thread you’re still very green in the interview process, but I digress...

I 100% disagree on the part to not get a Master’s. I, too, had a low undergraduate GPA, but I offset that with a high GPA for my Master’s. You will need the degree later on to promote, so why not go ahead and get it done? If that makes someone “lose focus” during the interview process, then UPT probably wasn’t cut out for them anyway.

Geez, what is with all the combative applicants these days? First of all, nice ad hominem. You contributed nothing to this thread except counter my point, seemingly because "I'm still green". I've scored alternate positions, so while I haven't been picked up yet, I know a thing or two. But I digress.... YMMV but I'll say again, the fighter units I've come across do not care about your GPA if you have good scores, and are a good dude while rushing. That makes all the difference. Personally, I wouldn't waste time getting a masters if you know all you want to do is fly. If you are struggling getting interviews, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate and get that masters. His scores are stellar. I don't see him needing a masters to get interviews. As I said before though, YMMV. And it most certainly can make someone lose focus during the interview process. Master programs are pretty intense as are rushing/interviewing. In no way does it make someone "not cut out for UPT" just because they want to focus on one part of their life. You are way off base on that assumption. 

Edited by Desk Jobs Suck
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35 minutes ago, Desk Jobs Suck said:

Geez, what is with all the combative applicants these days? First of all, nice ad hominem. You contributed nothing to this thread except counter my point, seemingly because "I'm still green". I've scored alternate positions, so while I haven't been picked up yet, I know a thing or two. But I digress.... YMMV but I'll say again, the fighter units I've come across do not care about your GPA if you have good scores, and are a good dude while rushing. That makes all the difference. Personally, I wouldn't waste time getting a masters if you know all you want to do is fly. If you are struggling getting interviews, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate and get that masters. His scores are stellar. I don't see him needing a masters to get interviews. As I said before though, YMMV. And it most certainly can make someone lose focus during the interview process. Master programs are pretty intense as are rushing/interviewing. In no way does it make someone "not cut out for UPT" just because they want to focus on one part of their life. You are way off base on that assumption. 

Considering I was someone who went through the interview circuit and was successfully picked up by a fighter unit, I’m pretty confident I have a better grasp on the the whole process than you do. When I say that getting a Master’s helps, guess what, it worked for me. Also, I know exactly what UPT is like, and I can say without a doubt it’s far more rigorous than most Master’s degrees.

There’s nothing wrong with someone wanting to better themselves or what they can bring to the table. If that calls for getting a Master’s then yeah, let him go get it to offset his low undergrad GPA. He’ll make it work if he wants to interview badly enough. 

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3 minutes ago, cagg011 said:

Considering I was someone who went through the interview circuit and was successfully picked up by a fighter unit, I’m pretty confident I have a better grasp on the the whole process than you do. When I say that getting a Master’s helps, guess what, it worked for me. Also, I know exactly what UPT is like, and I can say without a doubt it’s far more rigorous than most Master’s degrees.

There’s nothing wrong with someone wanting to better themselves or what they can bring to the table. If that calls for getting a Master’s then yeah, let him go get it to offset his low undergrad GPA. He’ll make it work if he wants to interview badly enough. 

  1. Did I say I was more credible than you? No, I said I still have some pointers I can give out even though I'm still in the circuit. 
  2. YMMV. Worked for you, might not work for someone else. The guy is an engineer in the work field. How much of a difference will the masters make for him? Might be diminishing returns. 
  3. Never said a masters program is more rigorous than UPT. People can have priorities. 
  4. I am in no way telling him not to do it. I told him he should go back if he thinks that the low GPA is robbing him from interviews. 
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10 minutes ago, cagg011 said:

Considering I was someone who went through the interview circuit and was successfully picked up by a fighter unit, I’m pretty confident I have a better grasp on the the whole process than you do. When I say that getting a Master’s helps, guess what, it worked for me. Also, I know exactly what UPT is like, and I can say without a doubt it’s far more rigorous than most Master’s degrees.

There’s nothing wrong with someone wanting to better themselves or what they can bring to the table. If that calls for getting a Master’s then yeah, let him go get it to offset his low undergrad GPA. He’ll make it work if he wants to interview badly enough. 

@Desk Jobs Suck has quite the mouth on him for someone who hasn't even been hired by a unit. I'm sure he'd be a real pleasure to fly with. Probably why no one has given him a slot, considering the only requirement is to fog a mirror.

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11 minutes ago, GDAL said:

@Desk Jobs Suck has quite the mouth on him for someone who hasn't even been hired by a unit. I'm sure he'd be a real pleasure to fly with. Probably why no one has given him a slot, considering the only requirement is to fog a mirror.

You guys sure think highly of yourselves. I'm out. 

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On 7/2/2019 at 10:33 AM, LNGH said:

My GPA is pretty abysmal

Can you quantify abysmal? I am in a similar situation as you. Low GPA in a difficult major, but high AFOQT scores. 

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52 minutes ago, Charlie_100 said:

Can you quantify abysmal? I am in a similar situation as you. Low GPA in a difficult major, but high AFOQT scores. 

I'm in a similar situation as well. For reference, I have a 2.52 GPA in mechanical engineering with relatively high AFOQT and PCSM. I would call that abysmal especially if you are trying to be competitive lol  

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I think we can all learn how to better communicate better on these forums.  Both sides seem a bit hostile from my third party perspective.  Let's all help each other out!  Cheers.

And LNGH:

You're young, you have arguable the best AFOQT and PCSM scores that are possible to achieve.  I believe while GPA is a factor, you shouldn't have to worry in this case as long as you are able to explain to the board your situation and how you've learned from it (ie: you worked two jobs while a full-time college student).  This will speak on your work ethic and diligence, because hey, we all don't have parents that pay for our college and can get 4.0's. Best of luck to ya!

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What are your chances? Pretty Good

On paper everything seems certainly good to go. Things I think you should focus on (aka things in your control now):

COVER LETTER AND RESUME! (custom for each unit you apply to). Seem to get underplayed but when a lot of people go through your package to make a decision these can make or break you if they are crappy.

Interview prep. Get ready to answer the questions about your GPA. You get C's in college yet UPT is 10 times more intense and rigorous, why should we believe you are going to make it through the UPT courseload? May not ask that exactly but be ready for something like that. I had a 3.075 GPA and never got asked about it so...Obviously prep for all the standard questions as well.

Being yourself. It seems easier said than done but in a strange squadron bar surrounded by 30+ people you never met, half of whom are competing against you and the other half are basically interrogating you, it can be difficult to show your true colors. It's a fine line between trying to show yourself off and being arrogant. And another fine line between being a humble good listener vs being a reclusive quiet weirdo. In my opinion it takes practice and going to interviews will help even if it doesn't work out at that unit.

Most importantly, don't get frustrated if you dont get picked. I can't explain how much it is about timing, throw your apps out to every unit possible! One year we had 5 people apply for 3 slots and the next year we had 40 super qualified people apply for 2 slots. From talking to other units that seems to be the norm. Sometimes you are going up against Albert Einstein meets Bob Hoover, and the next year its Sloth from the Goonies.

Best of luck and these are just my opinions from my experience so hopefully they can help!

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The above is pretty good advice/insight. To the OP, What’s your GPA and what major? It may not be as dismal in the grand scheme of things as you think it is.

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@Charlie_100 @brabus It really is dismal. My major is Mechanical Engineering but it's low enough that that doesn't justify it.

@Ligma Thanks for the advice. I've been mulling over in my head the best way to answer questions about that and I know the best answer (and the truth) is that I own what happened, I've learned from it, and that's not who I am anymore.

@jonlbs Thanks for the advice. I've got a cover letter and resume prepared but I'll iterate over it a few times. I know it's a long process, frustratingly so but I'm glad I'm at the point where I can at least start applying and stop watching boards go by.

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1) Don’t focus on the negative. Certainly be prepared to answer the question about GPA, but don’t keep circling back to that point in conversation. Emphasis your strengths. Your sports background, test scores, current job, and continuing pursuit of aviation training shows you’re at least a fairly smart guy and work hard to meet goals.  Clearly the GPA does not define your intelligence or ability to work hard and succeed, but it will beg the questions of why (and what’s different about you now?)

2) Visit units before the board if you can. You’re resume sounds great; maybe the GPA puts you on the fence of getting an interview.  Visiting prior creates an opportunity to show dudes who you are as a person and that may be all it takes to move you into the interview pile and for them to care even less about your GPA. 

 

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Thanks for the feedback. I've been by one unit a couple of times and am trying to schedule a visit with another. Unfortunately I won't have time to visit Duluth before that package goes out. I definitely intend to get out and visit at least once to everywhere I apply.

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