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Number of Applications Increasing

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For about the past year, all I keep hearing back from units is that they are seeing record numbers of applications for their boards.

I am starting to wonder if board applications overall are increasing, and also what affect that is having on odds. You can have great scores, great experience, and show up on drill weekends, but if there are consistently 150-200 applications each board the odds can still be rough.

This may be anecdotal, but I started applying to fighter units approximately 3 years ago. The first year was great - I had a few interviews and got really good feedback from them. Then it all dried up, even though I increased the number of boards I applied to and my flying hours and work experience increased. The best explanation I can come up with is that applications have gone way up. Starting to consider going AD if things continue like this.

Wondering if anybody has a similar story or any insight into application number trends.

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Absolutely noticing that trend as well!! I can attribute to a couple things. 
 

1.) Airlines are no longer hiring due to the pandemic/loss of demand.

2.) Top Gun 2? Maybe a few from there even though it’s not out yet.

3.) C.W. Lemoines “Make them tell you no” YouTube channel. I know this seems obscure but I’m sure many of us in the application pool follow him. He offers amazing advice and just a great dude from the videos I’ve seen. However the popularity of his channel has EXPLODED in the past year, he just passed 250,000 subscribers recently. So maybe a mix of new people being motivated or people who didn’t think they were qualified throwing an app in to “make them tell you no”. 
 

Just my .02, cheers and good luck to you! Hope to see your “I just got picked up” post soon! 

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23 minutes ago, Checksix said:

Absolutely noticing that trend as well!! I can attribute to a couple things. 
 

1.) Airlines are no longer hiring due to the pandemic/loss of demand.

2.) Top Gun 2? Maybe a few from there even though it’s not out yet.

3.) C.W. Lemoines “Make them tell you no” YouTube channel. I know this seems obscure but I’m sure many of us in the application pool follow him. He offers amazing advice and just a great dude from the videos I’ve seen. However the popularity of his channel has EXPLODED in the past year, he just passed 250,000 subscribers recently. So maybe a mix of new people being motivated or people who didn’t think they were qualified throwing an app in to “make them tell you no”. 
 

Just my .02, cheers and good luck to you! Hope to see your “I just got picked up” post soon! 

Speaking of your first point, do you think it's feasible to say that less pilots are retiring from the guard and going to the airlines (due to obvious events), therefore slowing down the applicant pipeline? Basically if no one leaves the squadron, there is no need to hire new off the street hires...

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I've noticed this as well, mainly based on rejection emails. 😆 A few years ago they'd say things like "we had over 50 applications this year and it was a really tough choice". Now they're sometimes saying "we had almost 150 applications for this board and wish we could interview you all!".

That said, there is zero sense stressing yourself out thinking about things like this which are out of your control. Try not to dwell on it. The interviews I landed a few years ago took me by complete surprise, and the occasional interview invitations I still manage to get are pleasant surprises as well. If it were easy then everyone would do it. Hope for the best but expect nothing. Hopefully things will work out, and if they don't, you'll be happier knowing you gave it your best shot. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a little discouraged each time I get the "thanks but no thanks email" or see someone here post that interview notifications went out while my phone and inbox stay silent. But I forget about it as soon as I see a new board notification posted somewhere and my heart rate picks up a bit with excitement. Try to filter out all the noise and stay motivated.

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57 minutes ago, mb1685 said:

I've noticed this as well, mainly based on rejection emails. 😆 A few years ago they'd say things like "we had over 50 applications this year and it was a really tough choice". Now they're sometimes saying "we had almost 150 applications for this board and wish we could interview you all!".

That said, there is zero sense stressing yourself out thinking about things like this which are out of your control. Try not to dwell on it. The interviews I landed a few years ago took me by complete surprise, and the occasional interview invitations I still manage to get are pleasant surprises as well. If it were easy then everyone would do it. Hope for the best but expect nothing. Hopefully things will work out, and if they don't, you'll be happier knowing you gave it your best shot. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a little discouraged each time I get the "thanks but no thanks email" or see someone here post that interview notifications went out while my phone and inbox stay silent. But I forget about it as soon as I see a new board notification posted somewhere and my heart rate picks up a bit with excitement. Try to filter out all the noise and stay motivated.

This is a great piece of advice. 

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6 hours ago, mb1685 said:

I've noticed this as well, mainly based on rejection emails. 😆 A few years ago they'd say things like "we had over 50 applications this year and it was a really tough choice". Now they're sometimes saying "we had almost 150 applications for this board and wish we could interview you all!".

That said, there is zero sense stressing yourself out thinking about things like this which are out of your control. Try not to dwell on it. The interviews I landed a few years ago took me by complete surprise, and the occasional interview invitations I still manage to get are pleasant surprises as well. If it were easy then everyone would do it. Hope for the best but expect nothing. Hopefully things will work out, and if they don't, you'll be happier knowing you gave it your best shot. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a little discouraged each time I get the "thanks but no thanks email" or see someone here post that interview notifications went out while my phone and inbox stay silent. But I forget about it as soon as I see a new board notification posted somewhere and my heart rate picks up a bit with excitement. Try to filter out all the noise and stay motivated.

Echo the dude above that this is good advice, but I don’t look at it as if I can’t do anything about it. As ANG looks harder to get into, AD looks more appealing. I know some dudes have completely ruled out AD, but for me it is still on the table.

The way I’ve decided to handle it is setting an age limit. I figure after 25 or 26 the ANG odds will only go down, so it’s time to submit the AD application.

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I am in the same boat as you. I remember applying about 3 years ago to a fighter unit and they said they had a record number of applicants. It was somewhere around 40 applicants. If only my application were half as competitive then as it was now *sigh*
 

Active duty is looking more and more enticing especially considering they’ve apparently made the drone track separate from the manned track. I’m going to take a few weeks and study up on it, I’m getting impatient to get in. I would recommend looking at it as well. 

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Posted (edited)

 

There was a thread on this earlier this year. I found it inspiring. 

I subscribed to CW Lemoine when he had around 3000 subscribers. There was a huge spike when he got into DCS and it has been like that ever since. His advice is still great, glad to see his channel is prospering. From the units I have talked to about this regarding this subject, the number of candidates that are competitive is remaining about the same. Anyone with actual experience able to give any input?

 

Edited by H_G

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40 minutes ago, H_G said:

 

There was a thread on this earlier this year. I found it inspiring. 

I subscribed to CW Lemoine when he had around 3000 subscribers. There was a huge spike when he got into DCS and it has been like that ever since. His advice is still great, glad to see his channel is prospering. From the units I have talked to about this regarding this subject, the number of candidates that are competitive is remaining about the same. Anyone with actual experience able to give any input?

 

Exactly I’d like to see the breakdown of competitive applications vs. the number of apps for each unit being skewed higher cause a lot more guys and gals are now shotgunning apps out after finding out about the guard, but don’t have very competitive apps

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I find it hard to believe that the units who are receiving 150-200 applications have had 150-200 visitors in preparation of the board. The unit that hired me didn't look at apps under PCSM of 80 and STRONGLY recommended a visit. So that has to eliminate a huge chunk right off the bat. Then remove all those apps over an 80 PCSM for folks who didn't visit unless they have some sort of crazy life experience and had a 4.0 GPA in mechanical engineering at MIT (or something) or are prior service. There was only 1 or 2 guys on my board who interviewed out of 20 that didn't visit prior to the board and one of them was a prior enlisted that worked at Edward's in flight test in some capacity.

Pair all of that with the fact that probably 6% to 9% of the apps are folks who love the idea of becoming a military pilot and haven't even started the process or don't have a degree or have no life experience.

Go visit.

Make connections.

Fix your short comings.

It took me 3 years to get hired by the unit of my dreams. I visited 4 times over 2 years and they were located across the county for me. I spent thousands of dollars of dollars i DIDNT have so i could know the pilots at my unit. I changed my life to make this happen - if you want it bad enough you can too. The ones who don't get hired are the ones who quit - and if they quit applying for a slot they probably would have probably quit UPT too. Cheers guys and best of luck! I hope this helps.

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22 minutes ago, mightymighty said:

I find it hard to believe that the units who are receiving 150-200 applications have had 150-200 visitors in preparation of the board. The unit that hired me didn't look at apps under PCSM of 80 and STRONGLY recommended a visit. So that has to eliminate a huge chunk right off the bat. Then remove all those apps over an 80 PCSM for folks who didn't visit unless they have some sort of crazy life experience and had a 4.0 GPA in mechanical engineering at MIT (or something) or are prior service. There was only 1 or 2 guys on my board who interviewed out of 20 that didn't visit prior to the board and one of them was a prior enlisted that worked at Edward's in flight test in some capacity.

Pair all of that with the fact that probably 6% to 9% of the apps are folks who love the idea of becoming a military pilot and haven't even started the process or don't have a degree or have no life experience.

Go visit.

Make connections.

Fix your short comings.

It took me 3 years to get hired by the unit of my dreams. I visited 4 times over 2 years and they were located across the county for me. I spent thousands of dollars of dollars i DIDNT have so i could know the pilots at my unit. I changed my life to make this happen - if you want it bad enough you can too. The ones who don't get hired are the ones who quit - and if they quit applying for a slot they probably would have probably quit UPT too. Cheers guys and best of luck! I hope this helps.

Current situation bites with not being able to get out and visit units. But still 100% spot on. Helps put those big numbers into perspective. 

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Would you guys say the drastic increase in apps is across the board or mainly for fighters vs. heavies?

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4 hours ago, Ghost_17 said:

Would you guys say the drastic increase in apps is across the board or mainly for fighters vs. heavies?

Its probably across the board. Everything is becoming more visible in recent years. 

 

23 hours ago, Terminator5lf said:

Exactly I’d like to see the breakdown of competitive applications vs. the number of apps for each unit being skewed higher cause a lot more guys and gals are now shotgunning apps out after finding out about the guard, but don’t have very competitive apps

While it may be interesting, what use does that information serve? If a unit had 150 apps and 20 of them were "competitive", how does that change your plan of attack? I just dont think its something to spend time worrying about. If you want it bad enough, it shouldn't matter how many "competitive" apps there are. Dudes get invites with less than stellar apps because they put in the work to visit and get to know the unit. The only thing that matters is that you do everything in your power to make your own app as competitive as possible, and put in the foot work to make sure you stand out at the unit. 

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I have to ask OP what are your AFOQT scores, PCSM score and TBAS score? Also did you do the Bogidope application prep?

I'm not trying to sound hostile or call you out. I'm just curious. I'm sure it's competitive as hell but I wonder if a guy has all 90s on the AFOQT and a PCSM score of 76+ and great TBAS he should be a top 20 select for an interview.

I haven't been able to take the AFOQT due to COVID my testing date was cancelled. But talking to my state's officer require it seems the average tester scores in the 50s to 70s on most of the sections. I'm also surprise by the amount of threads I see on here and reddit where applicants did use any of the online practice tests just used the books. I wonder if the average candidate applying half-asses it and has all 70s on their scores and doesn't get an interview, while the 20 that do have 90s across the board.

Again not accusing you just a theory.

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6 hours ago, JohnClark said:

I have to ask OP what are your AFOQT scores, PCSM score and TBAS score? Also did you do the Bogidope application prep?

I'm not trying to sound hostile or call you out. I'm just curious. I'm sure it's competitive as hell but I wonder if a guy has all 90s on the AFOQT and a PCSM score of 76+ and great TBAS he should be a top 20 select for an interview.

I haven't been able to take the AFOQT due to COVID my testing date was cancelled. But talking to my state's officer require it seems the average tester scores in the 50s to 70s on most of the sections. I'm also surprise by the amount of threads I see on here and reddit where applicants did use any of the online practice tests just used the books. I wonder if the average candidate applying half-asses it and has all 70s on their scores and doesn't get an interview, while the 20 that do have 90s across the board.

Again not accusing you just a theory.

98 Pilot, 92 PCSM, 60 hours

From some recent boards (3 fighter boards released interview decisions in the past week), it seems the average hours and subsequently average PCSM of those selected to interview has gone up.

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On 7/24/2020 at 10:58 PM, JohnClark said:

I have to ask OP what are your AFOQT scores, PCSM score and TBAS score? Also did you do the Bogidope application prep?

I'm not trying to sound hostile or call you out. I'm just curious. I'm sure it's competitive as hell but I wonder if a guy has all 90s on the AFOQT and a PCSM score of 76+ and great TBAS he should be a top 20 select for an interview.

I haven't been able to take the AFOQT due to COVID my testing date was cancelled. But talking to my state's officer require it seems the average tester scores in the 50s to 70s on most of the sections. I'm also surprise by the amount of threads I see on here and reddit where applicants did use any of the online practice tests just used the books. I wonder if the average candidate applying half-asses it and has all 70s on their scores and doesn't get an interview, while the 20 that do have 90s across the board.

Again not accusing you just a theory.

I would really curb this type of thinking before your AFOQT and start sending out apps. Ive got a 92 pilot, 93PCSM and 500+ hours and I probably get every fourth interview. I've been at units with guys who have everything above 90 on the AFOQT and 99s on pilot + PCSM and they don't get everything they apply for. Obviously I'm not on a board, or I wouldn't be having this conversation, but every unit is looking for something different, and you never know what it is. You might fit the profile exactly at one unit, and miss by a mile with another one. As it's been stated above, you really just have to visit the units you want, and cross your fingers on the rest. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/26/2020 at 2:31 PM, goodflightcowboy said:

I would really curb this type of thinking before your AFOQT and start sending out apps. Ive got a 92 pilot, 93PCSM and 500+ hours and I probably get every fourth interview. I've been at units with guys who have everything above 90 on the AFOQT and 99s on pilot + PCSM and they don't get everything they apply for. Obviously I'm not on a board, or I wouldn't be having this conversation, but every unit is looking for something different, and you never know what it is. You might fit the profile exactly at one unit, and miss by a mile with another one. As it's been stated above, you really just have to visit the units you want, and cross your fingers on the rest. 

Can’t stress this enough. For some context I had P99/N99/AA99/V97/Q99 and 99 PCSM, 3.8 undergrad, 4.0 grad GPA both in engineering, industry experience etc etc and got 2 interviews after being told no for maybe 10 other apps I’ve sent out mostly fighters, and maybe a 135 and 130 sprinkled in. So as people say low score isn’t automatically disqualifying, high scores aren’t automatically qualifying either. I wasn’t a believer before, but it’s extremely important to connect and meet the guys at a squadron you really want to get into. I’m lucky the first time I visited the unit I’m with now was at my interview. I felt super at home and I was pretty much cheesin the whole time during my interview because I just thought it really fit me well. 
 

Somewhat related, I think we as a community of current/prospective guys online should shift from the mentality of “Am I good enough” to “How can I improve myself even more”. You can’t control who else is applying but you certainly can control how well you present yourself, so as long as you are being the best you can possibly be, that’s what’s good enough. 

Just my 2 pennies in time of coin shortage. Best of luck gents and ladies. 

Edited by 1nfrequentF1yer
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I wonder if between forums like these and the Movers of the world that the Air Guard is no longer the best kept secret in the country, as it was in the pre-internet days.

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I'd like to chime in on this great discussion. My comments reflect my own journey so please take with a grain of salt. I've read many comments regarding AFOQT scores and the accompanying scores. Throughout the years of reading this forum, I've seen many comments (not on this thread) to the likes of "my Pilot and PCSM score are in the low 90's, do I even have a chance?" and it makes me cringe every time. If those two factors were solely what gets an individual hired then yes, definitely, you are probably in the top 10%(guessing) of people who achieve those scores and you get the job. Thankfully they're not the only factors. In my experience, far from it. 

I took the AFOQT in 2013 and my Pilot score was 67 and PCSM 70 (75 flight hours) and the other scores as equally average. Applied to units like crazy and got hired at my very first interview and got interview offers at about half of the other units. Average scores and low flight hours, you may ask, how did I get a job? I had a good attitude, and I put that across in my application and cover letter. I wasn't prior service and I hadn't graduated college either. Numbers on a page don't define you. You're selling yourself, and if you use those numbers as a crutch, the other areas of your application will be lackluster.

I get it, 2013 was a lifetime ago now in the world of UPT hiring cycles and changes. Still, I believe what I said to be truer than ever. 20, 50 or 150 applicants you have no control over, and it assists you no way thinking about it. You have to tell the board who you are in your application. Why you. No BS, be humble and be human. You get that golden opportunity of a cover letter for a reason. Trust me, if I can do it, any single one of you can. 

 

Good luck, apply like crazy and don't look back.

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AFOQT scores are only one factor...we have skipped hiring lots of people with high 90s because test scores are not what gets you the job. They certainly are a factor in getting an interview, but so are several other things (cover letter, LORs, meeting you in person prior to interview weekend, etc.) Good advice from Cav.

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2 hours ago, brabus said:

AFOQT scores are only one factor...we have skipped hiring lots of people with high 90s because test scores are not what gets you the job. They certainly are a factor in getting an interview, but so are several other things (cover letter, LORs, meeting you in person prior to interview weekend, etc.) Good advice from Cav.

 

With a high emphasis on meeting you in person.  Scores are great and all, but only one small part of the equation. 

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On 8/2/2020 at 10:15 AM, SocialD said:

 

With a high emphasis on meeting you in person.  Scores are great and all, but only one small part of the equation. 

100% agree but I think I can speak for most people here has been extremely challenging for applicants the last few months.  I got one virtual, one in person interview, and couple of phone screeners with units this year I had met in person before the Covid-19 lockdown but I can't recall anywhere I was taken seriously that I didn't go to a UTA weekend at least once in person.  I've met plenty of other applicants during past visits who had way better scores, way younger, way more flight hours but were insufferable to be around.  Visit as many places as possible and don't be a douche/be yourself once this pandemic passes.  

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