Academic separation boards

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by oldcorpsdad, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    My DS told me today that the first wave of academic review boards decided to separate a bunch of cadets for poor grades. He says they were told that there would be a few more separations announced in the next few days and he noted that it seemed like more than last year. Unlike other colleges, very few get to be on the 5 year plan and there is only a small opportunity to make up a class or two in summer school. Take the hard classes and learn to study before you show up. The redbook (online) has the GPA you must maintain to stay each year as well as the GPA required to graduate.

    He also noted that they were told that in addition to building a new barracks over the next few years, the Academy received additional funds to start renovation of one of the older barracks next fall. They will be emptied out at the end of this school year.- good news. The bad news is that as a result, all of those cadet companies will now be jammed into the remaining barracks so that they should expect 3 cadets in every 2 man room (cramped) even as upperclassmen until the renovation is complete.
     
  2. Sawndog

    Sawndog Member

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    Yes, this is all true.

    For new cadets entering USMA, reviewing material wouldn't hurt. I personally think the 2 biggest factors toward academic success here is motivation and time management. Those are the two factors a lot of people lack around here, which reflects on their GPA. Also, if we do what our teacher assigns us to do, the readings, practice problems, etc., our grade should be in the A-B range pretty easily in a lot of classes. I followed this and managed a very strong GPA my first semester (higher than my GPA in high school ironically).
     
  3. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    The same thing happened 10 years ago when they renovated Sherman and Lee.
     
  4. Roadking

    Roadking Member

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    DS asked me to arrange more tutoring for him in calculus and chemistry for the next 5 months leading up to R-day. He wants to have a firm foundation in these subjects, as the first two years seem to be loaded with math and science. Can anyone with experience (current cadet or alumni) tell us what the most difficult classes will be in year one? Can a plebe get help with his studies or just pray that you get a smart roommate? LOL
     
  5. PBA

    PBA Member

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    This might help you

    http://www.usma.edu/curriculum/SitePages/Home.aspx

    I heard physics can be tough
     
  6. another13mom

    another13mom Member

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    The Center for Enhanced Performance, (http://www.usma.edu/cep/SitePages/Courses.aspx) offers a slew of classes in time managment, study skills and reading comprehension/speed improvement. In addition, Additional Instruction (AI) is offered by each instructor as requested by a student. Some companies also designate a particular cadet tutor for classes such as chemistry and physics, where more students have difficulty.

    For plebe year, your cadet will take a math profeciency exam during Beast to help determine his or her best placement in terms of the math progression each cadet must complete. Some will skip ahead, some will review or learn pre-calc., some will start with Calc. I. Also, most plebes take Chemistry. A few, who have tested high (also during Beast) on a language ability test, will be placed in a language during plebe year. These cadets will take Chemistry and Physics together during Yuk year.

    Hope this information helps. I know my cadet, who did well in high school without necessarily completing homework (lots of yelling by mom over this), realized that he needed time management and study skills to be successful in college and during course assignments in Beast, voluntarily signed himself up for a study skills class with the CEP, which he took for the first 8 weeks or so of the fall semester. We were thrilled that the CEP was available to teach skills we obviously failed at over his high school career.
     
  7. M2inOR

    M2inOR Parent

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    It's important for your cadet to ask for help as soon as he realizes it is needed. Grades are posted almost daily, and most cadets will pay attention to their progress in each class.

    Help is available at the department level as well as the company level. Within each company, several cadets may be formally designated to assist with homework and tutoring. My cadet was a physics tutor, and was quite proud that all passed physics the first time around in his company. There is a semi-formal certification process for cadets within a company for designated tutors. This is one of several extra duties for the cadets in addition to getting their own work done.

    The last thing cadets should do is to wait too long to ask for help. Don't wait until grades are already in the toilet. If grades are trending downward, buckle down and seek help.
     
  8. SeaMars

    SeaMars Member

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    The help is available, and they want you to succeed.

    Be aware w/r/t advance planning, the the curriculum is under review right now. Bill Durden has been leading a curriculum review this year that is looking at what cadets really should be learning, is it being taught the right way, and how much time should it reasonably take. [Current cadets are taking a lot of surveys for each class, logging prep time, degree of difficulty, etc.] I don't know whether the changes will be implemented for this fall or next, but they're in the works.
     
  9. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    Sherman and Lee have been renovated?
    After seeing them several years ago, I seriously thought that they would be the first on the list to renovate.
     
  10. M2inOR

    M2inOR Parent

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    Compared to some of the other barracks, Sherman and Lee are quite modern and well equipped, but that's not saying much at all.

    My son is now in his 2nd year in Lee and with one year in between in Sherman.

    He says, "it is what it is..."
     
  11. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    My Firstie has been in 2 man rooms with 3 cadets for most of his time there. Last semester, he was able to be in a 2 man room with one roommate because of the position that he held in his company. Now he is back to 3 in a 2 man room for his last semester.
     
  12. SeaMars

    SeaMars Member

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    ... which seems to be the perfect attitude for a future Army officer.
     
  13. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    They decided to renovate Scott, which makes little sense considering that Grant is literally falling apart.

    As far as classes go, definitely try to validate chemistry. If you can do that, it opens up a lot of space to take language early, etc. and removes one of the most time consuming plebe year courses. As far as math/history/english, validation has its risks and rewards; the advanced math is much more difficult than the typical plebe math, but it opens up one free slot. English 102 isn't very difficult and validating will allow you to knock out philosophy plebe year. Plebe history is mostly a haze but isn't too difficult, MilArt (the advanced course) is typically a firstie class and requires more work. The CEP classes, from everyone I have talked to, take up more of your time attending and practicing than they save you, so most people I know dropped them in the first few days. That is not to say they aren't excellent courses, but just be warned before you sign up for all three during beast.

    This is the first I've heard of the curriculum review. We have been filling out time surveys all year, but I did not know they were considering changing the curriculum/course structure. I'd be all for dropping the engineering track requirement and/or Physics II
     
  14. Roadking

    Roadking Member

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    Thank you PDB88 for taking the time to answer our questions. I will search some validation threads to get up to speed on this process, but can I ask you a couple of questions...If chem is validated during beast, then no chem plebe year? I assume second year would have a more advanced chem/science class. What are CEP classes? When you say sign up for courses during beast, can I assume that the plebe has input into his first year of classes? Thanks.
     
  15. Roadking

    Roadking Member

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  16. jrobertschmidt

    jrobertschmidt Member

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    Thanks for the great info on this topic. My wife and I worry about our DS learning the necessary time management skills to be successful if selected to West Point. Good to see there are good resources for a Plebe to stay above water.
     
  17. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    You are given the opportunity to take several validation tests during beast. If you score high enough and/or have AP credit in a similar course, etc., you may validate the course. The criteria is different for each academic department. For some courses, validating means you are done with that class forever. For example, if you validate chem, you never have to take a chemistry class at west point. Others bump you into the next year or semester course. For example, validating english gets you out of en 101 and into en 102, a semster earlier than your peers. Validating calc gets you out of ma 103 and ma 104 and into advanced multivariable calculus, which ultimately allows you to wrap up your math requirements a semester early.

    As far as the cep classes are concerned, they will take you to a briefing given by the cep department. They will tell you about the courses they offer (reading speed, time management, and critical reading if i remember correctly). Then you have the opportunity to sign up for those courses. They are worth half a credit and last 10 weeks. As I said earlier, most of the people I know who have taken those courses felt they were wasting more time in the course than they were gaining by taking it. They dropped out (no penalty) and enjoyed the extra hour of free time.
     
  18. SeaMars

    SeaMars Member

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    Son validated some classes. It has freed up some time for him, but it was a tough plebe year - advanced level courses mostly with upperclassmen, so hard to form study groups. On the whole, he has said it's worth it.
     

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