AP Scores, effect of getting low scores??

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by 7ez, May 3, 2015.

  1. 7ez

    7ez Member

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    With AP exams this week, I am becoming incredibly nervous. In the last two years, I have scored three 5's and one 4 on the exams. This year, I am really struggling though.

    I am taking AP Calculus AB, AP Physics 1, AP US History, and AP English Language. Based on practice tests I am in the 5 range for AP Language and passing range (3-4) for AP US. However I am consistently scoring 1s and 2s on practice exams for Calculus and Physics. Not to mention that the tests are both on consecutive days which is splitting my study time.

    Let's assume that in the worst case scenario I earn a 1 on my Calculus and Physics exams and pass the other two exams. How will this affect my application to the Academy? It is important to note that I have earned an A in all of my classes (so my GPA is still a 4.0).

    I only ask because my school places our scores on our transcripts, so they will see it. Will this negatively affect me in any way? Thank you
     
  2. flyingtiger101

    flyingtiger101 Member

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    Hey 7ez, I wouldn't get yourself too stressed out over the AP scores. The Academy wants to see a strong GPA, SAT/ACT, and class lineup that is challenging and shows that you're willing to work hard. AP scores aren't a factor that they officially use in the WCS academic section, so I wouldn't get yourself stressed out over them. Just focus on doing the best you can and I'm sure you'll do fine. If it's a 2, it isn't the end of your application. Best of luck to you.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You need to understand the WCS. It takes a while to get it, but here is my point of view. I am sure others will chime in.

    1. There are thousands of HSs in the nation. Your cgpa is strong, but USAFA has their own algorithm. Don't assume that it will be 4.0 for them. DSs school was a 7 point scale, and his portal jumped higher by their standard than his HS transcript.
    ~ There are some that will see it drop, and some will see it stay the same.
    2. They look at the school profile. Taking the most rigorous course curriculum will matter. You can have a 4.0, but your ranking matters too. If they offer 16 APs and you took only 4, that can hurt. If your ranking is top 15%, and 0% go Ivy than it can hurt you compared to the candidate that is ranked 20% AND 25% go Ivy.
    ~ The latter is saying that they don't award As like candy during Halloween.
    3. You have not informed us of your SAT/ACT scores. Did you take the PSAT? Are you an NMSF? They can accept a bad test day, if the other aspects offset that test. IE you scored 34 on your M and S ACT.

    WCS stands for Whole Candidate Score. Being academically smart does not necessarily equate intio an appointment, because 40% of that score is not academic. Sports, leadership, ECs, etc matter to them because it shows to them you can juggle everything while maintaining a high academic standard.
    ~ The CFA is bust 1 aspect and you bust the entire thing.
    ~ DoDMERB can be a goat rope for many.

    Finally, we don't know what state you are from. This maybe an issue for competitive states like CO, TX, VA, and not so much for Iowa, Idaho or Montana.

    Move forward, and while you do be smart and apply for the AFROTC scholarship. AFROTC scholarship boards do not talk to USAFA appointment boards. AFROTC selects nationally, USAFA is geocentric at 1st (state). It is not uncommon to get none, one or both.
     
  4. 7ez

    7ez Member

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    Thank you for the fast responses!

    In terms of class rank I am in the top 3% out of over 700. I do not know exactly how many AP classes my school offers but by graduation next year I will have taken 13 AP classes. I took the SAT in April and am getting the score report next week. I felt very confident about it and hope that I earned a good score. On the PSAT I scored a 200 so I am not a NMSF. I am from Florida so I do not know whether that is an incredibly competitive state or not.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Florida as far as I know is considered a competitive state where the MOCs talk and spread the wealth. IOWs don't expect all 3 MOCs to give you a nomination. 2 would be jump for joy.

    13 APs are a lot.
    ~ For AFROTC they DO NOT superscore SAT, nor consider your senior year. IE if you only took 4 as a Junior, than that is what they look at. Same with ECs.

    Academically you do look very competitive, but what about the other 40%. Are you in sports? Lettered? Team Captain? NHS/Student council leadership? Volunteer hours/pt job?

    As far as the PSAT goes, traditionally you just add a 0. That means you would have a 2000. NMSF is not a point score, instead it is the top 5% that took the test as juniors with you. They actually say 95% not top 5%.

    You need to be well rounded. They don't want the book smart only candidate, just like they don't want the jock only candidate.

    The way appointments work is the highest WCS on the MOC slate wins the appointment. Once the candidate has no more slates to compete on and did not win the appointment (highest WCS) or does not have an LOA with an MOC nom., they than go to the national pool.

    Do some searching here in the nomination forums. You should be able to see how competitive it is for FL. candidates.

    You do seem competitive, and I wouldn't fret regarding this aspect....if....you also have a strong EC profile.
     
  6. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    My school offers over 20 APs but I will have only taken 6(Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, English 11 and 12, and Environmental Science) by the time I graduate. Part of this is due to the fact that I have to take 2 courses of Football every year in order to play. I also do JROTC and that takes up more courses. Will not taking that many APs significantly hurt my chances?
     
  7. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    It's actually top 1% of juniors in your state to qualify. Florida usually has a cutoff in the low to mid 210s.

    OP, you may be commended for your PSAT score. The cutoff for commended is usually a low 200. I'm not sure if commended people are technically national merit scholars or not.
     
  8. 7ez

    7ez Member

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    Thank you for your response, Pima!

    I will start looking at the nomination forum to get a better idea. I am going to start filling out paperwork for nominations as soon as I get my SAT scores.

    In terms of other ECs I have a lot of leadership, but a weaker athletic package. I have high officer positions in AFJROTC, debate, and NHS. I compete nationally in debate and will be going to the National Championships in a few weeks. I also am in charge of a committee in Beta Club (sort-of an officer position). I have completed over 350 hours of community service so far (as a Junior) and I intern at a political office once a week (will hopefully be more during the summer). I am also going to try to get a job this summer.

    I work out regularly but haven't done any school sports... I have done Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 8th grade and after taking one year off in 10th grade will be returning (this time in the Adult classes). I signed up for YMCA soccer this Spring but the season was cancelled. So now I have been scrambling to find other ways to prove athletic potential. I will be trying out for the Cross Country team and participating in their summer conditioning. I have already been in contact with my ALO and was told that a high CFA score can potentially offset a less than average athletic package. Thoughts?
     
  9. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    Sports fall under your extracurriculars score and the CFA is separate. Most schools have sports that don't require a try out, you might want to look into one in case cross country doesn't work out.
     
  10. 7ez

    7ez Member

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    Yep I know the CFA is separate. What I meant was that since sports fall under extracurriculars and if a candidate has a perceived lack of athletics, then usually admissions will look at the candidate's CFA scores to determine if he/she is physically ready. This is what I got from my conversation with my ALO but I could be mistaken. I will look into the no-cut sports; good idea.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    frenzy,

    My bad regarding NMSF. Our DS1 was an NMF. I thought it was top 95 percentile. It has been a long time since I dealt with that aspect.
    ~ I will say getting that in his pocket also meant a lot of merit from all of his college choices. In some cases it meant that he was free ride without the AFROTC scholarship.

    7ez,

    Frenzy is correct. The CFA is a separate portion of the WCS. It actually is one of the smallest portions of the WCS.
    ~ FYI, the most troublesome aspects of the CFA is pull ups and the BB throw.

    Our DS did not do traditional HS sports. He was a 2 time State TKD champ, and a Jr. Olympian Bronze medalist. He also was a life guard with 23 saves. USAFA accepted these aspects as sports. However, they also asked for a letter from his TKD Master and the YMCA pool manager detailing the athletic training.
    ~ He did okay on his CFA. If memory serves me. He had a 7 min. mile, 95 sit ups, 89 push ups, 13 pull ups, 77 BBall and I want to say 8 sec shuttle run. He did not bust any section
    ~~ Max if I recall correctly is 5:30 mile, 95 sit ups, 89 push ups, 18 pull ups, and 100 for BBall throw. Can't remember the shuttle. DS knowing the max for sit ups and push ups followed the advice here. Knowing the max he stopped, allowing him more rest time. If he did 100 sit ups he still would not score any higher than 95.
    ~~~ FORM matters.

    His best sitting SAT was 1390, best sitting ACT was 33 or 34. He was in NHS, FHS, Latin Honor Society, volunteered with Houses for Humanity, church, etc. while also working as a Lifeguard.

    I say this so you start to understand that this is as competitive as an Ivy. I do not try to frighten you, just try to make you cognizant of the caliber of candidates, and if you know you have a weak spot in your resume, fill it now. Get your lifeguard license, and apply for a job this summer to show you have athletics. If you have yet to practice pull ups, start now for your CFA.

    This is a marathon roller coaster ride you are embarking on. Don't leave anything on the table.

    Your ALO is also part of the WCS. Listen to them because unlike us they know your competition. If they are like flieger and Christcorp they have years of experience regarding those that were appointed and not appointed from your area.

    Again, if you know of any medical issue, get in front of it now. Allergies, asthma, vision, etc. will be part of this equation.
    ~ Too many candidates impo wrap their selves around the nom process and do not give any attention to the medical aspect.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I forgot to say don't start filling out the MOC nom package as soon as it opens up.

    Instead, take time and prepare the best package.

    MOC nominations are not rolling. If their drop date is 9/30, than nobody will be offered a nomination until 10/1. Submitting early could hurt you for multiple reasons.
    1. SAT/ACT offered in Sept, but you submit in July may not be placed in you file for various reasons.
    2. Same for updating ECs, be it sports, or volunteering.
    ~ You risk a chance that the new info is not placed in your file.
    3. Most MoCs require essays.
    ~ Use the summer to edit/re-edit your essay.

    Send it at least 2 weeks prior, signature required preferably. Contact them a week out and ask if they have it. If not you can resend again and make the drop date.

    This also allows you to move froward with plan B...ROTC scholarships. NROTC boards start meeting in the end of Aug. It allows you to work on college applications,

    If you have a medical issue you can use the summer to get your records in order.

    Spend the summer training for the CFA/PFA since you are not in any sport currently.

    Before school ends contact the teachers required for recs. for USAFA

    JMPO, but the more proactive you are, the less pressure you will feel.
     
  13. 7ez

    7ez Member

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    Thanks again Pima. Great advice as usual!
     
  14. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    I don't think so. I only had a total of 4 AP classes and 2 honors classes. I got straight "A"s in all of them (up until this year-looks like I'll get a B in AP Calc). And I was offered an appointment to USAFA. So I wouldn't sweat it. As long as you do well in your classes and have strong EC's (JROTC and Football are good!), you should still be competitive :)
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I don't disagree, but at the same time I do disagree.

    Blanket statements/comparisons can hurt for many reasons.
    1. Candidate pool sizes and stats change yearly.
    2. School profiles differ.
    ~ For example, there are many APs offered, and some impo are BS. Human geography or something like that is not the same as taking AP Euro, World, USH, Bio, Chem, Physics, etc.
    ~ Some schools make it harder to max out the APs. Our DSs school required students to take Honors Chem before they could take AP Chem., same was true for Physics, Bio, heck even APUSH (NC). Our DD was in the AICE/IB program in VA. She could and did take AP/IBs over the honors course. Thus, she had a lot more under her belt than her brother.

    That is where the GCs evaluation and school profile comes into the equation. They were state how many APs are offered, the requirements needed and the % of students that take those classes.

    Now, yes they are going to see that to play FB you are required to take PE courses. Our DS2 HS was the same way. PE was not mandatory for school, but it was if you played a sport. Hence, why part of me does agree with baileydb.

    I am not slamming JROTC, but I will say when my DS went down the USAFA and AFROTC scholarship path, 7 AFJROTC cadets also applied. 2 non-AFJROTC applied (DS was 1). Our DS was the only 1 to get all 3 MoC nominations. 2 received AFROTC scholarships. They both were non AFJROTC. We were told part of the reason why was because while AFJROTC cadets were taking JROTC classes, which was considered an elective, our DS was loading up with more AP courses, carrying a higher wcgpa and class rank which helped his PAR portion of the WCS, along with an SAT/ACT score that was much higher than the median avg.

    Thus, as much as we are here to support every applicant/candidate it must be said for every anecdotal story in support, there are anecdotal stories that do not support.

    For a better glimpse into the answer, I would search this forum for posters from your state at the very least before I took a deep sigh of relief or go Oh Sheeaaatt! Look through not only USAFA threads (hint) look on the appointment list and try to find a poster from your state...pm them), but also peruse the nomination forum and ROTC threads.

    The more you research for your area, the more you will feel comfortable. The more you research, the more you will be able to ask questions to not only your ALO, but your PMS for AFROTC. They will see you did your homework and respect that you understand how the WCS works. Additionally, it may assist you when it comes to writing all of those essays. Instead of giving the I have wanted to be an AF officer since 5 for your essay, you maybe able to pull out something deeper and more thought provoking because now you understand they want the whole package.

    Again good luck.
     
    Midwest likes this.
  16. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    I think it's just another case of every candidate is different and unique. What got me into USAFA this year may not be enough to get someone else in next year. Thus why I specifically say frenzymando should be competitive. Obviously nothing is 100% guaranteed, and stats change yearly. In my experience, only 4 AP classes was enough to get me in. Yet I am sure there are others who had 10+ APs who didn't make it this year. While I firmly believe everyone who gets into USAFA earned it, there is still a bit of luck involved IMO. I guess all we can say at this point is to do whatever works best for you individually. For myself, I wish I could have balanced more AP classes, but I knew that with my schedule, that would be pushing my own limitations. Now there will be people on here who can tell you how they or their DS/DD were able to balance X,Y, and Z and AP classes, volunteering, sports, clubs, etc....and that's awesome for those who can do that. For ME, though, I had to set my own limits. So frenzymando, don't get intimidated when you see others who have tons of APs and such. They are working according to their limitations, and you are working according to yours. Again, it's not 100% guaranteed that you'll get in; it never is. All I'm saying is it CAN be done with only a handful of AP classes.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree it can be done with a few APs. I was just sayingg if you don't know what state they are from, it may be giving false hope from an academic guidance perspective.

    IE the candidate might be in CAP, or BSA earning their Eagle Scout. It might be to their advantage to drop JROTC and pick up another AP because now they have a stronger EC profile and their weakness was PAR. It might be not advisable if the unit can offer them a ROTC nomination if the MoCs talk, because even though only 20 can be charged to ROTC, it is still another slate before they hit the pool.

    There are a ton of IFS. ALOs are there to assist in the process. They typically have many candidates and they can see where the OPs weaknesses lie when compared to their other candidates. ALOs will also submit their own report that is part of the WCS

    It keeps coming back to the WCS, and this is not just about frenzy, but 7ez too. I don't want them assuming anything. It appears by their own post that their ALO is concerned with regards to the athletic portion of their resume, even though they hold leadership in JROTC and NHS. A less than rigorouse curriculum can come back and bite them.

    If their PSAT follows the norm they will have @2000 SAT, which is competitive for direct admission, especially with 13 APs. Prep is typically not offered to candidates with competitive academic profiles and low sports/ECs/leadership. That option might not exist and their plan B will rely on AFROTC scholarship, but the problem now for them is AFROTC selection is NATIONAL and they do not super score the SAT/ACT. Their intended major matters. AFROTC scholarship selection overall rate is the same as USAFA @16%. Type 1 and 2 4 year as a non-tech major that gest it is under 50 nationally. Very frightening stats if you need the scholarship to attend college.

    That is where I am coming from now. Have the dream, but be prepared for the reality of the competition. If not signed up for the May and June SAT/ACTs do so now. If you have not sat down with the GC do so now. If you have no athletics and no PT job, look into something like lifeguarding because it shows more than working at Target.

    Honestly it mimics ADAF for promotion boards....fill every square.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I truly respect your opinion, but I have to say something. I hope you take this as advice and not offensive.

    Your comment about your limitations stroke a chord in me.

    I don't know your career goal, nor am I asking for you to share it, but I can say as a parent that watched their child attend and wing via p
    UPT, they forced him to push his limitations more than he ever thought possible. You need to be ready for digging in deep.

    You need to realize that what you think your limitations and what they demand might not meet. Their demand will always superceed.

    JMPO, I think some that do not commission occur because the illusion and reality of USAFA were not a match. That match aspect might be academic, social, or a number of things. I think many get wrapped up in the process and glory of an appointment, but never spent a minute researching what their life will be like as a cadet.

    Again, I respect your perspective, but the AF is the AF. No matter how long your AF journey exists your opinion of your limitations will not matter to them. They have set the bar, and if you don't meet it, than they will have no problem cutting you. The cliche service before self exists for a reason.

    I love the AF. I breed AF blue, but I also have no misconceptions when it comes to cutting personnel.
     
    Sydney C. likes this.
  19. Rocko

    Rocko Member

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    I've heard the phrase "I Bleed AF Blue" but this is a new one for me... That is truly living the lifestyle Pima! :rockon:
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Auto correct changed it for me, but I guess for me I also BREED AF Blue since our DS is an AF brat and is an O2!:wow:

    That being said I don't think I am alone in breeding AF Blue on this site. A decade or so ago Rand did a study....guess what they found out? Many military members were miltiary brats. Gen. Short, Gen Iverson, Gen. Gould all had AF brats.
    ~ Gen. Short and Gould have 2 AF brats.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015

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