Course Load

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by ParkCore, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. ParkCore

    ParkCore Member

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    Hey guys, I have a few questions regarding course loads. I appreciate all answers, just saying in advance.

    Currently, I'm a sophomore in high school. I have a 3.9 GPA and a 4.211 GPA. I forget which is weighted and unweighted, but anyway, you get the just.

    I'm in all Honors classes, I'm taking French II, Engineering I, Programming I, HChemistry, HMathII, HEnglishII, USHistory, and Religion II. I also have an independent study, which gives me 9 classes rather than 8. That class is a guitar class, but I'm just doing it to get rid of my art credit so I can open up more sciences next year. I already play guitar, and have for about 8-9 years now. I also have one other class, which gives me 10 classes. I'm teaching myself PreCalculus, but I don't receive credits from it. I'll explain more in just a second. And then, ontop of that, I'm teaching myself AP Physics, which I too will probably test out of.

    So, how does that schedule look? It's the most advanced my school offers for this year.

    Onto this topic, I've opted to take all AP classes junior and senior year. I've spoken with my guidance counselor, and this is how we set it up:

    I'm testing out of PreCalc, so I'll be in Calc I next year. That's why I'm teaching myself under the guidance of the Calc teacher. I am teaching myself AP physics, as I mentioned, so I'm gonna test out of that too. So, this puts me in AP Physics II, Calc I, AP Physiology, Programming II, Aerospace Engineering, Religion III, French III, AP literature. So, for Junior year how does this look? I'll also have a 9th class on top of my standard 8, which allows me to do work on computers such as building, fixing, programming, and so on.

    So, my Senior year, we've also mapped out AP Stats and Probability, AP Physics III (will be an independent study, as my school doesn't offer it as a regular class), AP Literature II (I guess IV maybe? I don't know how that works), French IV, Religion IV, Aerospace Engineering II, some sort of programming class, and then some sort of robotics class. I will also try to add a 9th class that year too.

    Senior year is a little iffy. I'll have finished almost everything offered, and I DO NOT want a study hall. So, with that said, I might try to take my classes at the local college.

    I'm involved in several groups, like BSA, JSA, Student Organization Committee, Ambassador Program, Anthony Munoz, Community Meal Center Leadership Program, and a few others. I'm also going to be a member of the NHS.

    I maintain my own workouts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So, with my work load, I don't know if a sport can be fit in Junior and Senior year, but I'm going to try my best depending on the way the work load ends up.

    I know you're thinking that I must not have a social life, and you'd be correct.

    So, how does the academy see all of this? I know you can't give me a direct answer, but any criticism would be nice. Also, I volunteer a lot. 2-3 hours a week starting this Friday. I served 60 or so last summer. How does the academy like the testing out of classes?

    Senior year is going to be a little weird, so it's definitely subject to change. I don't know if the Physics III is an option at this point, so I'll have to wait to see if it works out. I also don't know if I'll be able to test out of AP Physics. The way it was explained to me by the Calc/Physics teacher was that he was giving me both Precalc and Physics books, and I was to teach myself. For sure I will test out of Precalc, but as for Physics, I'm not quite certain. I've pushed my boundaries at my school, and I feel they're going to limit me somewhere. I'm the type to go crazy about seizing opportunities and making things happen, so I'm going to try to push my luck on testing out of Physics.





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  2. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    Academics are looking fine, of course. A lot will depend on your standardized test scores, however, once you take them. The academies are looking for well-rounded candidates, so I think you need to find some other activities to supplement your academics. Yes, they do like organized sports, but they are also looking for other extra-curricular activities, especially where you can have some meaningful leadership positions.
     
  3. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    As you know, taking the hardest classes your school offers will put you in a good place academically. I would definitely check out local colleges/universities to see if you can test in to some of their courses beyond the basics. That said, I don't see any Biology or Earth Science in your listing and you don't want to neglect those either.

    Where is your leadership? You mention "involvement" in groups; what exactly does this involvement entail?

    Why no sport? It doesn't have to be high school football or basketball, you know. Karate, fencing, and other sports can teach you very many important skills including team work (not seeing much of that in your CV). Just working out on your own is fine, but there is a reason the SA's want to see team sports, or at least team spirited sports (so, captain of your fencing team, or head of your tennis club. Don't have sports you like at your school, start your own club! Now we're talking leadership!

    Job?
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The AFA looks for a well rounded candidate, and what concerned me about your post was one specific sentence.

    Is it that you don't, have a social life and play sports because your academic curriculum is so rigorous you can't manage both at the level you are currently maintaining? If that is the case, I would suggest you be what a typical candidate is like....take the most rigorous course load offered and be active in sports and ECs. The fact that you are trying to teach yourself classes to test out of them and get ahead is not necessarily the best path. The SAs will look at your school profile, thus, they will know what is available to take and what percentages of kids get to the level you intend to be at upon entering your senior year. I am not saying coast, but many kids will burn out at the rate you are going, especially if they have no free time to just be à kid...hanging out with friends playing PS4 and going to the Friday night FB games.

    Not only will academies want to see a well rounded candidate, not just book smart, but the MoCs will be looking for that too. Your Plan B, college and AFROTC scholarships will look at that too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  5. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    This is the part I would be concerned about. Keep in mind this is from the experience that my DS went through and each case is different but not having a sport in his resume hurt him.

    My DS had great academics and EC but no sport. He knew the consequence of that and prepared himself for that outcome. He did not get a nom and therefore didn't get a direct appointment. He also worked worked out every day but that just makes you fit it doesn't make up for not having a sport on your resume. He was lucky enough to get a AFA Prep slots and is loving every minute of it but he also said BMT was extremely hard physically and like I said he was a fit and strong kid going into it.

    In short the AFA does give out appointments to candidates that don't have a sport on their resume but you put yourself in a VERY, extremely small group of people. Why make it harder on yourself?!? You're a sophomore you have time to make the changes you need to fit this in.

    As for not having a social life change that fast. PIMA used to say this years ago but I don't think she has said it in a while so I'll say it for her. This process and the life you're choosing is a marathon not a sprint don't burn yourself out you Jr year in HS. You have a few years left to be a kid, live and love life just don't do anything stupid.:thumb:
     
  6. ParkCore

    ParkCore Member

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    Ah yes, I was just speaking of academics here.

    Leadership, I have a lot. I do maintenance on aircraft for my flight school, and I'm a pilot. I started a group to help benefit the local VFW by community service. I do several clubs like Boy Scouts, Community Meal Center Leadership, Student Organization committee, being an ambassador for my school, and a lot of other leadership programs like Anthony Munoz. I also volunteer a lot.

    Sports, I have too much on my plate for next year and senior year, because of the advanced courses. My school is very rigorous. It's either school or sports in the AP classes. I was a varsity wrestler and right guard/buck linebacker for the school football team. I'm running track this year.


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  7. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    ParkCore -- if I were you, I would find the time to continue in track or wrestling or some other sport. Academics are definitely important, but placing out of classes will not prevent them from making sure you have 6 classes per semester (as my DD discovered) as a doolie.

    Below are the stats for class of 2017. Note the percentage for Athletic Letter. Not saying you have to letter in a sport, just saying that the academy puts a high value on athletics, especially team sports.

    ACTIVITY % OF CLASS
    Athletic Letter Award 79
    National Honor Society 69
    Scouting 23
    Class President or VP 18
    Boys/Girls State or Nation 17
    Valedictorian/Salutatorian 11


    -- Proud Mom to USAFA 2018 cadet
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Any academy will expect you to handle a rigorous academic environment AND a sport, even if it's just intramural. Might be time to get used to that now and perhaps cut back somewhere else in what appears to be a very busy schedule.
     
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Park, last I checked, Physics is a LAB science. How are you going to "teach yourself Physics" at home?

    Don't get me wrong, I homeschooled all my kids and we did lots of science stuff at home, but... PHYSICS? really???

    What is one of the most important attributes at any service academy? TEAM WORK. I don't see much team here, and if you can't make time for a social life, you may not be a great fit at USAFA.
     
  10. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    One of the other comments I feel compelled to make is this: don't assume that you will "pass out" of any subjects at USAFA, especially if you are teaching yourself from a textbook.

    Not questioning your ability to learn and perform, just want to make sure you understand how things work.
     
  11. ParkCore

    ParkCore Member

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    Don't take this all as my mind is set for exactly what I have written. I never do anything in a future standpoint relating to academic scheduling for sure. It's unpredictable. The teacher I like may leave, and I might lose interest because the new teacher is terrible and so on. So, it's only the beginning of this year. I think I might've overdone my concern on not having enough time for a sport. It's possible to have a sport, and I'm going to. At the time I posted this, I was really busy. But, I suppose it's about making time rather than having time. I don't like not having a sport, and I'm beginning to realize this because I really miss football. My wrestling team goes all out with long meets on schooldays, so I'm probably gonna do something like track, cross country, and any other sports they offer that amounts to similar time as football. So, I appreciate all of your posts. But I do know teamwork, and I am only a sophomore. Things always change. You never know anything for sure relating to academic scheduling.


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