Class Rank

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by bearhunter66, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. bearhunter66

    bearhunter66 Member

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    OK. I am game to give this a try and start a thread. My son is applying, class of 2018. He is basically through the app process (last step is Pt III which his school owns).

    We were at KP for Open House last Friday. Captain who did the briefing ran through weightings given to Class Rank, SAT/ACTs, GPA and what I would describe as "adjustment factor" for GPA based on course work difficulty. Class rank was weighted 30%.

    Son attends a college prep school. All classes are honors, requires a 92+ to get into an AP class, etc... Total of 36 students in his senior class; all are gifted. DS is smack in the middle in terms of class rank (translate that to 50th %ile).

    Anyone have any insight (I'll also take words of encouragement) re: how class rank is evaluated in this type of situation?
     
  2. nhpdad

    nhpdad Member

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    Class Rank is only one of several factors. My DS is 2016, and barely made the top 10% of his class of 400+ students. It is my opinion that, unfortunately, SAT/ACT scores play an over-sized role in admissions. DS's scores were very good, which worked in his favor. Other than that, extra-curriculars (Band, sports) are key. Also, during the admissions process, have your son contact admissions periodically. He does not need to make a pest of himself, but try to send in any new positive development that will keep his name in view. If possible, have him do an overnight visit. Best of luck to your son!
     
  3. OldAirForce

    OldAirForce Member

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    Our son was in a similar situation, small class, many gifted students. He wasn't in the top 10% but high in the ranking. I don't remember exactly where. Anyway, he graduated in 2011. I'm sure they look at the whole person.
     
  4. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    Bearhunter, just a mom here adding on. It seems to me that the class rank question would get asked along with class size. 50th percentile of 36 would send up a signal to look deeper. Plus a 50 percenter with kicka$$ ACT or SAT scores would indicate the reality of your kid's placement. Seems like a nice problem to have, :rolleyes: Best of luck to you. My DS ( class of 15) did an overnight and found it extremely helpful.
     
  5. Privateer

    Privateer Member

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    Bearhunter:

    i am not active in this forum and havent even visited here for a while, but i can weigh in on our experience. don't have any real insight as to what will get your son or daughter in, just kind of a gut sense, because my son's situation seemed to be similar to yours at least a bit.

    (Privately) I didnt think he had a chance, but we were thrilled when he made it in, and is a plebe candidate for '17. His Catholic prep school didnt officially rank students, but he told me they evidently estimated his rank a little bit on the wrong side of the median, and that was sent with his transcript. About a 2.9 GPA. At first blush i would think a very long shot for KP. No AP courses.

    Good SATs though, 740V 620M which clearly indicate he was underachieving in HS. Still that puts him only in the middle of the pack at KP for math, albeit probably in the top 2-3% for verbal--- for what that will be worth to him in a math-heavy curriculum. He is an Eagle Scout and a so-so athlete.

    My point to you is that in my sons case case anyway, he is a fairly well-rounded kid with potential, but who still needs to mature some and put his nose to the grindstone to succeed. KP evidently saw something like that as well.

    But he definitely doesn't walk on water the way you see many parents on here describe their kids on these forums.

    I believe rigor of the HS and % they send to 4 year programs is a differentiator. Im also guessing a 50 %ile rank and a 2.9 at a good prep school is equivalent to at least a 3.5 and top 10% at a garden-variety public HS. In other words, enough to put him in the hunt.

    I think also that genuine interest in the curriculum and the career is an intangible, but I think that the admissions people may somehow have a nose for it and if they detect a kid applying who really seems excited about it for the right reasons, it can help tip the scales.

    Other things over which your candidate has little control, like geography for example, can help or hurt you. If you do your bear hunting as a resident in, say, the Wind River Range in WY, his odds probably arebetter than in if you hunt as a NY State resident in the Catskills.

    To that end, the advice you're getting about a stay on campus and your prospect knowing as much about KP and whether it is what he/ she wants is right on target.

    Bottom line, he doesn't know if he doesn't try, but I encourage it based on my son's experience so far.

    Good luck to him.
     
  6. bearhunter66

    bearhunter66 Member

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    All,
    Thanks for the comments and insights. We know there are things that we can do to improve his chances (overnight) and others that we can not impact (class rank).

    He has a 3.4 GPA (unweighted out of 4.0), and 650 Math and 720 Verbal. He does better in Science/Math (A's/high B's) but comes home looking like he has been waterboarded every time he has a Spanish or Brit Lit assignment (low Bs). I am (we are) not sweating the GPA because he is all engineer with his grades.

    His course load maybe a tad higher than the rest of his class but that is not driving the difference in class rank. He is in a very small pool with some awesome students.

    I am telling him (and myself) that he is competitive and don't sweat what you can't change. We are both frustrated by his school. They have zero experience with MA applications so it is an uphill in terms of timing, recommendation letters, submitting data in paper (USMMA) or electronically through a federal system (USNA, NROTC). They are trying but it is a case of square peg in round hole.

    Figured if we could not change the class rank, we may be able to influence how it is described. Met with and asked that the school profile be modified to better describe and differentiate class rank. School has 99.X% college placement over the last 2 decades so there has to be a way to write the profile and make the case that class rank is an apple/orange comparison vs a traditional high school. We'll see.

    Privateer: Mostly done in Alberta. We live in PA.
     
  7. KP13Mom

    KP13Mom Member

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    Bear hunter-

    DS was very fortunate that his HS guidance counselor's secretary was on the ball but he also assisted in supplying addressed envelopes, submitting items before the deadline and graciously and politely following up on items. He did all he could to help the process along. The office was familiar with the other 4 academies but had never had a student attend KP. The following year 2 students from our HS attended KP.

    We are also from PA and found that the KP Admissions office, for our region, was very helpful in assisting with the follow up of items sent from our HS.
     
  8. Privateer

    Privateer Member

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    Bear hunter: I hear you about the HS. That was similar to our experience. I was steadfast and insisted my son take responsibility for the app process himself but I confess to obsessively reminding him. The EagleProject he had done was consummate training for that! He literally made some of the various deadlines by a day.

    Sounds like your son has already met a lot of those deadlines, so that is huge--- I believe the application/nomination process, the sheer detail of it--- acts as a big filter in itself.

    We haven't had a lot of contact with our son, but he tells us it is challenging, especially calc. I believe it, given his middling performance in HS.

    He is eating up the introductory marine engineering coursework, and had the good fortune to test out of English for the first tri, which is nice. Overall he says the Jesuit training served him well, but he understands he needs to step it up. We'll get the rest of the scoop at parents weekend.

    I don't think anyone is a lock applying to aservice academy, but from the sound of it your son sounds like he has the right stuff.
     
  9. AMF

    AMF Member

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    As some have posted already. Class rank is not that important as some HS don't even report class rank. In addition, most quality universities have a grading system of high schools, so a high rank in a lesser school, may have less value than a lower rank in a better school. In addition to academic numbers they want an applicant who:

    -Always took the most challenging classes at his/her HS
    -Participated in extracurricular activities...demonstrating some level of accomplishment helps
    -Undertook additional activities outside the school environment. Club sports, Boy/Girl Scouts, jobs, etc.
    -Volunteered in the community: Religious work, charitable work, corporate/government internships.

    In short, as is repeated often on this forum, KP requires an unprecedented amount of time management skill from day zero. Those who demonstrate success while juggling many activities during HS, are best prepared to handle the demands of KP.

    Good luck
     
  10. bearhunter66

    bearhunter66 Member

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    Overall, we believe he is a qualified whole person candidate (what father doesn't). I'll skip the bragging but he has paid his dues in sports, scouts, church, and community; demonstrated leadership roles in each.

    I was talking with him yesterday about this forum and the question I posed and he said something interesting. He knows that he could do better in the classes that he is required to take (vs the ones he elects) and have a higher GPA/class rank but it would come at the expense of his other obligations and commitments. My initial reaction was that this was an excuse but having thought about it, it is not an unreasonable response to his competing priorities.

    Appreciate everyone's insight. Feels like class rank may have a high weighting "on paper" but it may not shine as much in the final analysis.

    He'll do his CFA in the next week or so with his HS Athletic Director. He is in good shape but that basketball throw is pretty strange. I'll open a new thread and post his scores.
     
  11. AMF

    AMF Member

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    Bear

    Here is a quote for you from a long tenured sports coach at one of the top d3 schools in the country, during a recruiting visit:

    We asked him, "what's better 95 avg in non AP classes, or 85 average in AP classes".

    His answer, "if you want to REALLY improve your chances of getting into this school you need a 95 avg in AP classes"!

    Point being, KP wants busy applicants without sacrificing academic results.

    It sounds like your DS has many of the key qualifications.
     
  12. USAFAUSMA

    USAFAUSMA Member

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    To answer the OP's question: I go to a school just like that, I'm probably not even in the top 50%, but I got an LOA already from USMA. All I can suggest is show them how tough your school is by scoring a 1500+/1600 SAT and they'll understand the class rank dilemma; if you effortlessly score higher than the top 10 at a 500 person school, they really can't devalue that using a comparison to just 35 other students! I think it's cases like that that give the 1% or so of students who aren't in the top 40% of their HS class. Good luck!
     

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