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An early what are my chances (Mid 20s edition)


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Greetings!

 

I'm very early in the process but I wanted to know if I'm in a realistic situation where I can make this push for fighters.

 

Age: Just turned 25

College & GPA: 3.70ish in a Sociology major

AFOQT: Not taken yet

PCSM: Not taken yet

LORs: Board member from the CA POST commission

Flight Experience: PPL w/ 120 hours with plans of completing my CPL by next year

Extracurriculars: Competitive/Non-Competitive Swimming for 10+ years (not in College, my university did not have a swim team unfortunately) & Snowboarding/Skiing for 10+ years (I've met some interesting people through this but nobody that I could think would give me a LOR).

 

 

I plan on taking the tests in Spring of next year but prior to then I want to know if 2 factors are going to preclude me from fighters specifically.

#1 - My age, I might not be pushing 30 but I've read a post here talking about how the average age of applicants is like 22 or 23 and I feel that by the time I show up I'll be 26 and will spend years chasing "No's" because I "should've been making this push earlier" until it's too late or be pushed to go AD.

#2 - Distance; I'm lining up a career with Federal Law Enforcement but the problem is that due to the locations available I may end up hours away from the unit/state. How much of an impact could that be? I've heard some stories of units only sponsoring people who are residents of their state (specifically I heard this one about Texas).

 

Edited by Shadows
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#1: You're still in the goldilocks zone IMO. Similar to you, I started this process and took all my tests at 25, and got picked up for fighters of the street at age 26. Age is very unit dependent, some prefer young guys out of college, while others see value in someone with more life/professional experience. Through this process I've seen several people get picked up for fighters at 28, 29, and 30. Furthermore, this may vary by year as units decide to hire young one year and balance it out with an older hire the next. Overall, If you are competitive in every other way, I do not see age as something that will negatively impact until maybe 28. That gives you a solid 2-3 years to apply/rush as hard as you can. Come interview time, you may very well be asked why you didn't start earlier or pursue an AD commission. Have a real and honest answer ready and it should be a non-issue.

On that note though, why wait until spring to do your tests? Definitely give yourself 2-3 months to study, but you should want to get them done ASAP, as the last thing you want to be doing is trying to harass a recruiter to schedule you in time for the spring "batch" of boards. I made this mistake peak-COVID and wished I had started it earlier.

 

#2: Echoing above, but this is again very unit dependent. IMO, the general rule of thumb is that local ties can always help you but the lack thereof won't necessarily hurt you. I've been at several rush events and interviews where it felt like there was the only one or two guys from the opposite coast, but they were still invited out the same as the local guys. If the unit really likes you, they're not going to care where you live, as long as you can convince them that you're willing to drop everything and move there when that time comes.

Sometimes though, with all other things even, they will go with a local guy as a tiebreaker. You can't control the board's selection process and there's really no way around that except to be yourself and show why you'd be the best fit for the squadron, both on paper and in person.

 

I can only speak from my own experiences, but this is what I've found through the process thus far.

Long story short, I think just about everybody in the "circuit" has had these same concerns at some point, it's only natural. Though I wouldn't let either of them prevent you from pursuing this with your full effort, and given your current situation I certainly don't think either would preclude you from getting a slot. 

Good luck!

Edited by NABO
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Posted (edited)

Thank you for your detailed reply NABO!

Seeing as how things could potentially work out for me I'll indeed be making this push. I still am a tad concerned that I may not have many extracurricular activities in my life that would wow people. As a result I'm struggling to think about what would make me appear good enough to interview outside of just getting to meet the people when they have open meetings.

Based from what I've read it seems like the general advice is to go to open get-together of the squadrons that you want to join and just be social with the people (basically "rushing"). One squadron I read said that they don't do individual tours and they invite "selected candidates" for the weekend of interviews. In this case how would you introduce yourself before applying? I did notice that other squadrons have, at least this year, wrote that they were considering visits and you were able to call to schedule it.

 

Edit: Managed to find a podcast about rushing squadrons. Pretty much answered my questions. In a way the process isn't convoluted and seems pretty straight forward. Just gotta pick up the phone and call the relevant point of contact it seems.

Edited by Shadows
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