Academic Rigor of High School?!

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by santech14, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. santech14

    santech14 New Member

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    Hello, I'm currently a freshman in high school, who's interested in attending the U.S. Naval Academy. As I was looking through the FAQ's of the admissions page, I came across how USNA takes into consideration the caliber of a candidate's high school, as well as the percentage of students that go onto a
    2-4 year university.

    I currently have a 4.0 g.p.a., ranking 1st in my class, and I'm about to take Boxing in place of my Martial Arts class that I quit. However, since I come from a rather "mildly rough" town in California and attend a school that doesn't have the best reputation, I'm very concerned about this. I have the option to transfer to another school next year, one that is better than my current high school, but I would leave most of my friends in doing so.

    Does the academic rigor of a candidate's high school really make a significant difference, such as all other things like extra-curricular activities and G.P.A. in applying to the academy?
     
  2. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Academics make up 60% of your whole candidate score (class rank, ACT/SAT scores, AP classes, gpa, EC, leadership, etc). Take the ACT/SAT as many times as financially possible - you may do better on one vs the other. Take the hardest classes you can wherever you attend high school, focusing on the hardest math (calculus) and sciences (chemistry/physics). The academy will look at your school's profile (% that attend ivy league/college/community college, # of APs offered, etc) and adjust your info based on that. Try to get on a sports team and letter. There are a lot of factors in your WCS -- where you go to school isn't always in your control, but what you DO while in school IS to a degree. Good luck!
     
  3. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

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    Santech, I believe they consider the rigor of the classes your school offers simply so they know in context the classes you take. If there's a student who takes 3 AP classes at a school that only offers 3, and a student that takes 3 when they have a dozen offered to them, it could make a difference. Just because your school isn't "as good" as some others won't be detrimental, so long as you do well...USNA just wants to know the type of school you go to.

    That is how I interpret it.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    +1. It's to level the playing field, not to give someone at a "better" school an advantage.
     
  5. santech14

    santech14 New Member

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    @Melitzank. Thanks. That made me feel somewhat relieved. I'll be sure to take the most challenging courses to make up for my school's reputation.
     
  6. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    The other thing to do is to really work to get good standardized tests, whether SAT or ACT. The Academy relies a good deal on test scores precisely because schools across the country vary in rigor.

    It's important to know that lots of students who will apply to USNA will be taking test-prep courses to boost their standardized testing scores. Does that mean you have to spend huge amounts of money to try to take a commercial test prep course? No. A lot of those courses basically just take students through a test prep sequence set forth in books like Kaplan or Princeton review. I would advise: (a) checking out the SAT and ACT websites to see the practice tests; (b) either seeing if your school or local library has test prep books, or even buying them second hand on Amazon; (c) take some practice tests to get a sense if you will be better at the SAT or the ACT -- and to motivate yourself to practice so you will do better and better; and (d) read as much as you can -- in addition to targeted test prep books, just reading, reading, reading will improve your vocabulary and verbal skills immensely.

    You've got a couple of years so you can really maximize your chance to do well on the standardized tests if you chip away at it (especially during the summers).
     
  7. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    Would also recommend you sit down with your college placement counselor and start working out your curriculum for your high school years so that you can be reasonably certain that you will get the courses you want and need. The SA's all award Bachelor of Science degrees, and that should be a big clue that they are going to load up on math, science, and engineering courses, probably for the first two years. In high school you should take algebra II, plane geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, chemistry with lab, physics (with lab if available), and do take the best grammar course(s) available. As noted above, it is important that you take on the most rigorous courses available, preferably AP.

    Look for leadership opportunities in and out of school: eg, student government, team captain, Boys/Girl's State or Nation (check American Legion), Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership (Kiwanis), Boy/Girl Scouts, CAP, JROTC, Junior Marines, Sea Cadets, so on. The SA's are looking for young people who can be trained to be leaders, so they are looking for young people who have some leadership training and experience.

    BTW, start working on a fitness regimen that fits in with any sports in which you are participating, and be sure to include distance running and upper body strength work.

    Start now to learn as much as you can about the service academies in which you have an interest; go to their websites and find out what visitation programs they have and when they will be available to you. For example, NAVY has STEM programs available to students entering grades 8,9,10, and 11 which are accepting apllications for this year's programs. The Naval Academy Summer Seminar, open to students entering 12th grade, will start accepting applications for this June's sessions after midnight tonight. If you are aiming to be a varsity athlete at NAVY you should visit <www.navysports.com> to find the schedule of sports camps that will be available.

    Sometime in the next couple of years you should plan to visit the service academy(ies) that interest you. While the academies are quite similar, there are some significant differences in their programs, and it is important to you that you know what you are pursuing and whether it will be good fit for you.

    Start taking the SAT and ACT exams this spring, but be certain you study for them. The academies super score the exams, meaning that they will give you the advantage of your best scores regardles of whether the score is from the ACT or SAT. Candidly, your math scores are more vital than your verbal scores, but get them all as high as you can. AIM HIGH! You are pursuing a high value, fully-paid scholarship to highly ranked schools - which looks better to you, a 26 or a 34?

    Make contact with the local offices of your US Senators and your Congressman so you can get on the mailing list for any service academy events they may be hosting. You can get lots of information regarding their requirements for receiving a nomination. Your MOC's are the biggest source of nominations in the process; out of approximately 6,500 nominations awarded annually per DOD academy, about 5,000 will come from the Senators and Congressmen. You really need to apply for every nomination for which you are qualified; you never know which one will serve you best - and thai includes the Vice Presidential nom which is available to every US citizen AND IT DOES WORK! I have known two candidates who have gotten appointments via the VP nom.

    There is a series of books available that address each of the academies with the generic title The ------ Academy Candidate Book. The books will provide you with lots of information regarding the subject academy as well as the service it serves; eg, Air Force, Army, Navy... etc. You may find them in the academy gift store or from Amazon.

    I hope that gives you some ideas for your spare time for the next couple of years. It may seem awfully early to you, but there is a great bit for your to do and the time will pass much faster than you can imagine. Best wishes to you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    ^^^^ Excellent post. You ought to add it to the stickies somewhere.
     
  9. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    Thank you, Kinnem, and your post reminded me that prospects should also be looking at the ROTC programs as they offer scholarships to some of the best universities in the country, and officers from ROTC compete very well with the academy grads. If you truly are committed to serving your country, this is a very good way to earn your commission and degree.
     
  10. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    +1000!

    I'm bookmarking this thread!
     

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