Academics

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by littlefish, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. littlefish

    littlefish New Member

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    I've taken a lot of AP math and science courses in high school (and done decently well in them), but I don't really consider myself to be a "math person." I was wondering if there was anyone like me (more liberal arts-focused) who could speak about the required STEM courses at the Academy? Are they annoying/overly difficult/get old really quick or is it the same type of thing as high school where you just take it and it's fine?

    It's kind of a point of concern for me so if anyone could help me out I'd really appreciate it, thanks!
     
  2. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    You will take a year of Chemistry, Engineering, some Math, too. No avoiding it. Chemistry is a particular bear for some students, even those with STEM majors.

    Even English Majors at USAFA earn a BS, not a BA.

    I would not equate any class at a Service Academy to any high school class. That's asking for trouble.
     
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  3. zachtx

    zachtx Member

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    They will not give you an appointment unless they know you are capable of completing the curriculum.

    That being said, everyone in DF wants you to succeed. Instructors give you their personal cell phone numbers, they are always available for EI, and are always willing to help you. I wouldn't call the physics/chem/engineering classes fun, because I'm an econ major, but if you're willing to do the work, then they are all defeatable.
     
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  4. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    Because you are earning a BS regardless of the degree, you are required to take a number of science and math oriented classes. These classes include Calc 1 & 2, Physics, Chemistry, Intro to Engineering, Intro to Computer Science/Programming. You will also be required to take a language. Those tend to be completed your freshman year unless you come in with credits for them. I don't know how many levels of Physics and Chem you have to take, as my cadet is a freshman right now. You can get credit for some of these classes if you get a high enough score on your AP exam (it takes a 4 or 5 depending on the class). Also, they will place you where they think you belong and what they think you can handle. They look at your high school grades, your SAT and ACT scores and your AP scores. Even if you are a fuzzy major, they may place you in an honor's science class or start you in Calc 2 or 3. They want to challenge you and make you work. The one thing they don't want to see is someone coasting.
     
  5. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    If it helps, here is a particular Freshman's classes for this spring semester...

    Chemistry + Lab
    Physics + Lab
    Intro to Engineering
    Calculus 2
    Economics
    (Sophmore) English 214

    Plus...
    Airmanship
    Combatives/Boxing

    That's 18 credits plus Labs plus a couple of other courses, and also the normal cadet military training responsibilities. This freshman is not a "gifted" student and hopes to pursue a tweener major that sits between STEM and fuzzy.

    So yes... it's extremely challenging and little wonder that a high percentage of cadets find themselves on AC-Pro at one point or another during their time at an SA.
     
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  6. Graduation2016

    Graduation2016 Member

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    Not trying to be off topic or anything but @MedB what do you mean regarding a tweener major? I am researching the different majors and have not come across that terminology before.
     
  7. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    For example Geospatial Sciences... not STEM but not entirely fuzzy either.
     
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    College courses were a lot different than my HS did most courses. Much more emphasis was on self-study and preparation. Many courses expected you to have completed the lesson before the lecture/discussion. Some teachers made this work better than others.

    As to STEM courses, it depends on how good your fundamentals are, how quickly/easily you pick up stuff, and your instructors. I'm pretty good at STEM stuff, but enjoy history more. I did some more techie oriented courses before declaring my major. The intro level courses tend to hammer the basics hard, while more advanced courses tended to be less volume of work but with more stuff they assume you'll know/consider.
     

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