Course Validation

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by johnpaulspa, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. johnpaulspa

    johnpaulspa New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    6
    I've been looking into which courses I could validate when I go to the academy (hopefully! Still a candidate!) next year and from my research I've found that some classes can be validated with AP scores, and others with placement tests. I would like to be able to validate as many as possible so if anyone knows which classes you can validate with scores and which you need to test into and which you must take at the Academy, I would love the information.

    Specifically I'm interested in the followings classes which I will have completed.

    AP World History
    AP Environmental Science
    AP Psychology
    AP Calculus AB and BC
    AP Spanish Language
    AP US History
    AP English Language
    AP Physics 1
    AP Physics 2
    AP Physics C
    AP Biology
    AP Computer Science
    AP Chemistry
    AP Statistics
    AP English Literature

    As well, I was wondering if its possible to place out of Calc. 3 in the placement test if I know the material. Thanks for any insight you can give!
     
  2. johnpaulspa

    johnpaulspa New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    6
  3. SkiesToConquer18

    SkiesToConquer18 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2014
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    3
    That is not a definitive list of courses you can validate. From my experience, talking with people in their respective departments is a good way to validate a course if you have an AP/IB/Dual Enrollment transcript with good grades. I took an IB course which allowed me to validate biology and a dual enrollment English course which allowed me to validate English I. I was also able to skip Spanish I (2 semesters) by talking to the Department Head. Chemistry, Physics, and Math have specific placement test that you must do well on if you want to validate.
     
  4. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    380
    Validating classes is a great thing and can help make the courseload more manageable for techy majors. Just keep in mind that you don't really want a loaded schedule during the first (or even the second) semester. You will be busy enough even without a loaded schedule.

    I probably could have validated the math course I was placed in for my first semester, but I didn't try because I knew my other courses would keep me more than occupied. Looking back, it was one of the best academic decisions I have made here so far. As my Academic Advisor has told me, everyone is guaranteed to be here for at least four years before graduating. There's no reason to try to finish everything early, especially if it comes at the expense of your USAFA GPA and OPA (Overall Performance Average).

    In short, just remember that you don't need to take everything in high school. I applaud your efforts--I did pretty much the same thing myself--but keep in mind that you can find yourself in trouble if you hyper-load your academic schedule, especially if you do it before you actually realize what you're getting yourself into. I would suggest that you take advantage of validation credit, but also be careful you don't skip courses you need review on or accidentally set yourself up with a schedule you can't manage.

    Good luck to you! :thumb:
     
  5. Craig

    Craig Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Messages:
    515
    Likes Received:
    95
  6. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    169
    John,

    It looks like you could be in a good position to double major. If this is something you are interested in then it is imperative that when (and if) you complete basic training you express your intentions upon meeting with your academic advisor for the first time.

    Sometimes validation credits can fall through the cracks and the only way to ensure you get the credit you deserve for certain classes is to visit the academic department responsible for said class(es) in person and negotiate the validation with them. It is also imperative that you have a sealed copy of your AP test scores on your person which you can bring to the Academy. The reason being that you may end up scheduled in your first semester for a class or classes that you should have validated, but for some reason the registrar does not have a record of a particular AP test score. Thus you will have hard (sealed until you let the registrar open it!!) evidence that you deserve the credit. If you do not immediately have your sealed test scores on hand to present to the registrar then you will most assuredly bust the lesson 5 deadline to rearrange your schedule (because you'll have to wait until your test scores are mailed in) and will subsequently be forced to retake a class.

    I was put into the exact situation I described above and only saved myself from wasting time taking a class again because I happened to carry sealed transcripts from a previous college. That being said, WildBlueYonder is absolutely correct when it comes to the challenges of being able to balance a tough academic workload with other freshman responsibilities. There were a number of classes I elected to retake and others which were fulfilled by validation/transfer credit. This is why it is so important to speak to your academic advisor in depth about your academic plan upon your first meeting. He or she should be able to help you construct a schedule to "feel out" the first semester of freshman year without taking particularly rough classes.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Sam2018

    Sam2018 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    68
    How can you get a sealed copy of AP courses? I thought they needed to be sent directly from the College Board. DS will have 14 AP courses completed by the end of his senior year and he is just having all the scores sent to USAFA.
     
  8. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    169
    Maybe the hard copies aren't a thing anymore. In the 2009-2010 time frame you would request your scores be sent to specific schools and I'm pretty sure you could request hard copy scores for yourself. I could be wrong though, since that was a while ago.
     
  9. johnpaulspa

    johnpaulspa New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    6
    @AFrpaso You read my mind.

    This forum, yet again, proves itself more informative than I could wish for. I actually do plan on double majoring if I can, and my goal is to do so in astro and math. I was inspired by someone who did just that and loved it. He also was on the swim team so that is encouraging because he was able to double major AND play a time intensive sport. If there is anyone who has any experience with double majoring or with a major in astro or math and has any advice they would like to share, I would be most appreciative.

    Also, will I be prepared to pass the Physics, Calc, and Chem placement tests if I was able to score a 5 on the AP exam? To those who have taken these placement tests, how difficult were they and what kind of study could prepare me for them? Thanks again to everyone on this forum for being so supportive!!
     
    AFrpaso likes this.
  10. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,578
    Likes Received:
    799
    Astro and Math should be "easy" double majors.

    For those set on a course of study not quite so Mathy, remember that it may in the long run be a great assist to your GPA NOT to validate these beginning courses. Your grade will (probably) be higher, a real boost to your GPA when you are struggling through that dreaded Chem 215, or Organic, or xxxx (whatever you are not too happy about). I had one son who validated and one who did not. I don't think either regrets his choice.
     
  11. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    169
    Funny you should mention that. I actually switched from Astro to Applied Math after my sophomore year at the Academy. Most likely as an Astro/Math double major your math degree would be "Applied Math with a focus in Astronautics" as apposed to a pure math degree. A pure math degree involves much more theory which may or may not help you with your space interests (and adds a lot of classes). There is a lot of overlap with engineering degrees and their associated applied math focus. I suggest downloading the USAFA Curriculum Handbook (a quick google search should give you a link) and review the requirements for the two programs.


    Please feel free to PM me with any questions regarding either Astro or Math. I have connections with both departments.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016

Share This Page