Uddit - U.S. Air Force Academy - Class of 2013

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In the end I learned that we don't always get to determine what comes into our life, but we always get the choice of how to respond to it.

I have wanted to go to a military service academy since I was a freshman in high school. I discovered that such a college could help me realize my dream. After graduation, I hope to become a contracting officer or a test pilot—and then an astronaut.

Hometown: Jamaica NY

High School: Public

GPA: 3.85 / 4.22 (weighted)

ACT: 25

Major: Aerospace engineering

Goal: Become a test pilot and astronaut

College

Status

U.S. Air Force Academy Attending
Case Western Reserve University Denied
Clarkson University Accepted
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Accepted
Florida Institute of Technology Accepted
U.S. Naval Academy Accepted
Freshman Year Update

I expected the academics to be tough at USAF Academy and they are. But I learned that the more time and effort I put into an assignment, the more confident I was about the assignment and the better my grade. I have met all types of people, including some of my closest friends. Some of my plans have changed—especially what major I would like to do. Aerospace Engineering seemed to be the perfect choice, but as time passes I have decided to focus on Systems Engineering-Space Systems. I feel I am receiving not only a great education but I am also learning how to manage my money, time, and health.

Sophomore Year Update

From major classes to core classes, my studies have been amazing and tough. At times I had to get extra instruction from the professors, but with their help I was able to master the material. I have been doing a lot of great stuff with my aerospace engineering major, especially with the FalconSAT program, where Academy cadets design, build, test, and operate space satellites. Over the summer, I was able to remotely pilot a ScanEagle aircraft, which is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Proving I was up to Air Force standards

My hopes of attending a military academy really kept me motivated to work hard at my academics and extracurriculars. Although my ACT test scores were not what I hoped for, I ended up ranking third in my senior class of 351. I became highly active in the Air Force ROTC, rising to the position of Wing Commander with leadership over 268 cadets. I also did a two-year data analysis internship at a major airline. I think this hard work demonstrated to the academies that I was up to the challenges of their rigorous curriculums.

Military academies are not like other colleges

I was fortunate to get admitted to my first choice, the U.S. Air Force Academy. It will be different from other colleges. Cadets are scheduled from morning to night. Participation in athletics, classes, and meals is required. Cadets are required to live in the dorms all four years. I won't have nearly as much freedom as I would at other colleges, but I look on the experience as an investment in my future. I will have a job waiting for me when I graduate while other kids will have to look for a job. I also won't have any loans to pay off like other students. And finally, I will make friends who will be there for me during college and long afterwards.

My ups and downs

My first setback actually occurred when I applied to a nanobiotechnology internship at Cornell University in the 11th grade. I had my eye on this internship since the 9th grade. I worked extra hard to get accepted only to get a rejection letter. It was a heartbreaker. But the rejection made me work harder academically, civically, physically, and socially. In the end I learned that we don't always get to determine what comes into our life, but we always get the choice of how to respond to it. I resolved my setback by getting accepted to the Air Force Junior ROTC Aerospace and Technology Honors Camp at the University of Oklahoma.

Another setback was my nervousness when I took the ACT and not doing as well as I had hoped. I had to study better and harder to get the grades I needed to get into such prestigious schools.

What I learned

Never give up and take all the opportunities you have. I ran into many obstacles but navigated through them. I didn't let anything hold me back from getting into my two dream schools.

I started writing my essays in the summer just to be ahead of the game. Once I wrote one essay then all the other application essays were easier, including scholarship essays as well.

The money factor

The U.S. Air Force Academy is a federal academy which means my education is fully paid by U.S. taxpayers.

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