AP Classes

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by edthomas123, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. edthomas123

    edthomas123 Member

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    Hi I'm currently starting my junior year in high school and I know that I will have to start applying to the academies towards the end of the year. My school is a small catholic school that offers little AP classes. I'm currently taking AP physics 1 and AP US History and plan to do well in them. Senior year I plan also to to AP Physics C AP World History and AP Calculus. Since my school is small I've read that I should take all the classes offered but the ones I'm not taking are english based and english is my weaknesses in school and I know I won't do well. Will this affect my application at all or not? I currently have a 3.9 GPA as well.
     
  2. ElectedTuna

    ElectedTuna Member

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    I know I'm only a candidate, but from what I've read in the forums most people have said that it's better to do well in an AP class than to ace an easy class. The Academy is a rigorous college and they want you to take courses that reflect this. You don't have much to lose with a 3.9 GPA, I'm sure your grade in the class can't be that bad if you put in effort.
     
  3. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    If you're concerned you won't do well in AP English, that's exactly the reason you should take it. It will not be as difficult as a college freshman class, and will better prepare you for success no matter where you go.
     
  4. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    DD, who is a C4C, came from a small public school - graduating class of 23 (started with 28, but several moved during the year). Her high school offered no AP or IB courses; however, the school has agreements with a community college and a couple of four year universities to offer a tremendous variety of dual credit courses. If this is a possibility at your school, look into it. Either way, you do need to pursue higher level English classes. Have you taken the ACT/SAT yet? If yes, how are your scores, especially in the English area? If not, you need to be taking these as soon as possible and as many times as necessary to earn higher scores.
    Although college credits do not transfer to the Academy, they do help you validate courses.
     
  5. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    Following up on Capri's post - my DS who is also a C4C came from just the opposite end of the spectrum. His graduating class was right at a 1000 and the high school had over 4000 students in grades 9-12. The class curriculum book resembled a medium sized college. My DS really took advantage and challenged himself taking at least 16 AP/IB courses. It took a hit on his GPA a bit and he finished in the top 10% instead of the top 10 overall, but it prepared him well as he validated 7 classes this year. I think the advice you see over and over on this board is to challenge yourself as the Academy will look at the strength of your courses and give their own weight to it.
     
  6. edthomas123

    edthomas123 Member

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    Yeah my school just combined with another because both were so small but there is a college down the street where I plan to take course next semester as they offer them to us but I'll look into the AP Composition and writing which is the only english AP course my school offers thanks for the advice. I haven't taken the SAT or ACT yet I'm planning to take those in January. But my PSAT english scores were around 650 out of 700
     
  7. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    Maybe you're not as bad in English as you think. You will only become better by doing.
     
  8. edthomas123

    edthomas123 Member

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    Yeah I'll look into AP composition and writing which is the class my school offers and talk to my guidance counselor about what to do. But thank thank you for the advice I just want to make myself the strongest candidate for USAFA and USNA as possible
     
  9. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    As another example, I took dual college credit at a community college for English my senior year instead of AP English Literature because the curriculum looked more valuable to me (my weaknesses were in writing itself, not reading/analyzing literature). I don't think it hurt me at all as my GPA was recalculated from a 4.0 unweighted to a 4.34 by the academy.

    I say pick the course that will challenge you and help you improve your weaknesses. As many have said and I'll reiterate, getting into an academy is the first step, getting to graduation is a whole other challenge and the more you look at high school as a chance to improve yourself, the better off you will be wherever you end up
     
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  10. edthomas123

    edthomas123 Member

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    Ok thanks for taking the time to read my post and reply and I'm gonna look into dual enrollment for english to better myself.
     
  11. Badge250

    Badge250 Member

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    123: You seem very hesitant to commit to the AP English and dual enrollment. You keep saying "I'll look into it." From your original post it seems your concern is it hurting your application. There are other ways to affect your application in a negative way than by just getting one low grade. If your school offers AP class and you don't take it, that could definitely affect your application. I say your better off taking it and doing your very best, getting extra help if needed. If your school offers the AP class and you don't take it, you should be ready to explain why you did not take it. I want to help you by challenging you to not "look into it" but commit to it. I truly believe taking these courses will make you the strongest candidate for USAFA. It will push you to be a better student and stronger for your future. I wish you the best!
     
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  12. KP2020Dad

    KP2020Dad DS - USMMA '20

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    Just my personal opinion....I don't think any student should overload their coursework with AP/IB courses. My DS knew he wanted to go engineering at Kings Point so he took IB Math, IB Computer Science, IB Chemistry, and IB Physics during his senior year. He took the regular English and History classes. It was more important for him to maintain his GPA without stressing even more than "normal." Whatever path you take, just work hard. Good luck.
     
  13. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Hard to find anyone in a smaller class than my twins' homeschool class of .... 2. No AP/IB/Honors etc. but they did take classes at two local 4 year universities starting at age 16. If this is an option for you, do not neglect it. Excellent preparation.
     
  14. edthomas123

    edthomas123 Member

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    Yes I am taking classes next semester at the local college that my school gets discounts for so it's only $40 a class so taking advantage of that opportunity my school offers and for AP I'm talking my my guidance counselor and am most likely taking the english course senior year
     
  15. edthomas123

    edthomas123 Member

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    I'm not hesitant I'm am worried but planning to take it next year I'm taking advantage of the local college that's giving students at my school classes for only $40 and planning to take trigonometry and other courses over the summer.
     
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  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Each individual has to decide for themselves about their course load. Is it better to have HALF AP/IB classes and the rest regular, and have a 3.9+ gpa; or is it better to have all AP/IB classes and have a 3.8 gpa? For some, they are in the "IB PROGRAM". This is different than taking IB CLASSES. When you're in the PROGRAM; ALL of your classes are IB. You all have what are called CAS hours. This is a couple hundred hours of creativity, activity, and service hours. Includes a lot of community service. There's also an end project; sort of like a thesus paper or dissertation. This is all required if you're in the IB PROGRAM and are striving to get the IB Diploma. Getting the IB Diploma is a step above just taking AP or IB classes. I think in 4 years of my sone being in the IB PROGRAM, he was only allowed like 1 elective class per semester. Your classes are picked FOR YOU. You don't have a choice. The 15 year old in Colorado, Wyoming, Florida, London, Tokyo, Paris, etc. are all taking the same identical classes. (For the most part). Hence, why it's the INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE Program.

    But each person has to decide for themselves if they can handle that course load. I can tell you first hand, that both my kids were in the IB Program. Mandatory schedule. But when they graduated high school, college was a breeze for them. My daughter when to the University of Wyoming. Her freshman year was almost a repeat of high school. She was able to validate most of her classes. She finished her Bachelor's degree in just under 4. My son, who attended the academy, had absolutely no problem with the academy his first 2 years. "Academically". He finished the first year at the academy with a 4.0 gpa. That's because the IB program not only had the courses he saw at the academy, but it really taught him and my daughter how to study, time management, researching skills, study skills, etc.

    I'm a big proponent of the IB program. But it is definitely something that each individual has to decide for themselves. It can be very time consuming. It was challenging for my son to be in the IB program, also be in varsity sports all year long, as well as be a class officer and involved in a number of clubs and activities. But he was able to pull it off. If you can take all AP or IB classes, or even get into the IB Program; then you definitely should consider it. But if you struggle to maintain a 3.8gpa in regular classes, you may want to limit yourself to only some AP or IB courses.
     
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  17. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    Christcorp -

    I guess it really depends on who you talk to about IB program v. classes. The advice given to my DS by his ALO and others was for a SA he needed to take as many AP Math, Sciences and Engineer courses as possible and they preferred AP over IB. They suggested he take IB classes for the Arts and Languages as they were given more weight. In the end, he did just that and focused on AP for his maths and sciences and then took IB classes for English and Foreign Languages (in those he could take the IB class and sit for the AP exam). I agree that he seemed well prepared for entering the academic part of the academy.

    The one factor common to both of our DS's was they challenged themselves while in high school.
     
  18. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Well, you are correct that it depends on who you speak to. Especially considering that there are so few IB schools in the USA, many people, including ALO's, don't know much about them. But the academy admissions treats both IB and AP classes similarly. They treat IB Chem, Physics, trig, calc, etc. the same as AP. IF, you have access to an AP Engineering class, then obviously that would be good. Considering there is no such thing as an IB Engineering class. And remember also; many; can't say most, all, some, etc. but MANY (High percentage) of those taking IB, ARE IN the IB PROGRAM. As such, those kids will NOT TAKE ANY AP classes generally. Unless they picked one for an elective. The IB program is structured such that your classes are picked for you. It's international. ALL Kids around the world take the same classes.

    But, if you're not in the IB Program, then you can mix and match. But the highest level IB Math is going to be weighted the same as the highest level AP Math. Assuming we're comparing apples to apples. Not all schools offer ALL the AP classes available. Not all schools offer the IB Program. In the USA, there are 37,100 high schools. 26,407 PUBLIC and 10,693 PRIVATE. Of those, only 891 have the IB Diploma Program. Only 1744 schools (Including middle school) offer SOME IB Classes at all. That means, LESS THAN 10% offer ANY IB Classes; and ONLY ABOUT 3% offer the IB PROGRAM. So, you can see how unique it is, and not as well known. But trust me, the academy knows EXACTLY what the IB program is. Even if your DS's ALO isn't as familiar with it.
     
  19. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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    IB = "I'm Better" :cool:

    (a friend of my DS who was an IB alumna told me that).
     
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  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Can't say I really agree with that. IB is simply "Different". It's hard to compare apples to oranges. AP and IB classes are "Advanced" classes in a subject matter. The IB program however, is advanced classes in ALL subject matters. But it also includes social and community involvement and development; as well as learning on a global basis. E.g. Instead of localized classes, it includes world literature, world history, etc.

    Because it's a very strict program; 30,000+ high schools and only 800+ have the IB program in the USA, it requires IB certified teachers. These teachers make additional money. Thus, many teachers and teachers unions don't like the program. The tests, exams, scoring, etc. isn't done at the local level, so curving grades and other potential improprieties aren't as prominent. Almost 1700 universities recognize the IB Diploma. (Students also receive their local state approved diploma of course).

    Having spent more than 20 years in the military, something very similar I noticed were the DODDS (Department of Defense Dependent Schools); also a number of "International Schools" around the world where children of "Foreign Nationals and Workers" could send their kids to school when stationed overseas. DODDS and the international schools had standards and requirements that were recognized and standardized across platforms. This way kids would not be at a disadvantage when they got back to their home country and back to a traditional local school. Most times, the kids who attended DODDS and International schools, did much better and were ahead of those in local Public/Private schools. The IB program is similar in that regard. It has a set of standards, curriculum, etc. that is standard throughout the world. More than 140 countries have IB schools.

    But it isn't uncommon for some kids to think they are better, "Academically", than some others because they are in the IB program. That attitude isn't promoted by the organization or the local school, but it obviously happens. In my state, Wyoming, there are only 2 public and 1 private high school in the entire state that offers the IB diploma program. If you're in the IB Program, it's natural to feel a bit different. When my kids started in 9th grade, our middle schools were 7,8,9th grade. High School was 10,11,12th. But if you were in the IB program, you started at the high school in 9th grade. That automatically moved you to "High School" a year sooner than your peers and friends you grew up with since elementary school. But most kids; especially those who go the full course and receive the IB diploma, do not think of themselves any better than anyone else. My son played 6 years of football, 3 on varsity. 10 years of soccer, 3 on varsity. He played on the same team as the kids he grew up with, lived in the neighborhoods, hung out with on weekends, etc. but they weren't in the IB program. So maybe your son's friend was a snob; but most aren't.
     

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