D in a college Calculus Course

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Clay29631, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. Clay29631

    Clay29631 Member

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    I recently got my acceptance letter for the class of 2019. I am a college student and it states that my appointment is conditional. I have all A's in my other classes which are English, a Petroleum Engineering class, Macroeconomics, and an Honors Seminar. I'm scared that my D in Calculus may cause me to have my appointment rescinded. Any advice or comments as to what may happen?
     
  2. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    I have heard that Admissions will only seriously reconsider an appointment decision if you fail a class. However, I would definitely try to earn a C instead since a D is pretty close to failing.

    IMHO, it's definitely worth it to find a math tutor and get some extra help and practice. There's really nothing wrong or embarrassing about being tutored--I have been told that USAFA cadets request tutoring help all the time (I think it's called EI, or Extra Instruction). I, too, have occasionally consulted a tutor if I had a particularly irking question about a particular problem or concept. In fact, I think everyone who has gotten an appointment has done the same thing, otherwise they wouldn't have been so academically successful. :D

    (When you get enough posts, PM me. I have studied Calc for a while now and would be happy to help explain things if that would be beneficial to you. ;))
     
  3. Freefall

    Freefall New Member

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  4. Clay29631

    Clay29631 Member

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    @wildblueyonder I think I might be able to pull it up to a C, but that might be a long shot... It's not that I don't understand the material, it's the way the teacher grades and how his tests are. He sets us up for failure by making the test material totally different from the homework. He doesn't go over homework and is not very wiling to help students understand the material. Not to mention, the amount of questions he puts on the test for the allotted time is way too many. You can get all the work correct but if you don't write a paragraph about why you used a certain formula he will almost give you no credit for that question.
     
  5. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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  6. Md mom

    Md mom New Member

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    Puzzling ... There are candidates who received TWE's who successfully completed Calc 1 and Calc 2 and yet you have been given this wonderful opportunity and have waited this late in the game to try to figure out how to pass ?
     
  7. MiddyB

    MiddyB Member

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    Easy Md mom. 1. In no way is that comment constructive or helpful to the OP. 2. Admissions has obviously seen fit to appoint him based on MANY factors throughout his life, many of which I'm sure you haven't a clue about. Do not determine he is undeserving based on one grade. 3. Not all college calculus classes (and calculus professors) are created equal.

    Now, OP! I hope you have tried to seek help with this before now as college finals are just around the corner. If not, all I can say is seek it now and study your butt off as if your life depends on it. As my father always says, "Try your best and you will have nothing to be ashamed of." You say you have A's in the rest of your classes? Depending on how many credit hours I would say your semester GPA won't suffer below a 3.0 if you keep a D. I'm pretty sure USNA won't take back the appointment if you manage a C or even C-, and it's unlikely at a D, but likely if you fail. Also, keep in mind that if the class is difficult and your peers are struggling too then there will likely be a curve to your grade, meaning your D might turn into a C. Best of luck.
     
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  8. Md mom

    Md mom New Member

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    Truly apologize for the negativity . This is an amazing group of leaders . Not only do I wish you the best but thank you all for your hard work and determination .
     
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  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    MD Mom, it's ok! Your question was justified, if not exactly a pat on our OP's back.

    OP, what steps are you taking, right now, to bring that grade up? How do you propose to do better at USAFA, where the classes are harder?
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Agree with MiddyB and fencersmother. Seek out help at USNA when you first realize you might be having a problem. It's there for the asking, and further it's expected of you to ask.
     
  11. Clay29631

    Clay29631 Member

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    I have been getting help from tutors and such all semester. However, what we are given/covering in class and on homework to study is not what is on the test. 90% of the class is not passing and I believe this is a reflection of the teacher, not the students. What else is bad is that the grading is subjective by the teacher.
     
  12. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    I am not in your situation, so I have no way of knowing all the information. However, based on what you've mentioned, it seems like a pretty clear (albeit tricky) situation to me. I am guessing that one of the following two scenarios is true, most likely #1.

    1. Your professor is "green". Perhaps this is one of his first classes, and he wants to make sure to adequately challenge his students. Or maybe none of his students has ever respectfully and thoughtfully told him that his teaching style can be frustrating. If I were in your situation, I would talk--privately--with the professor, and explain that I was struggling with the tests even though I was studying hard and doing all the homework. Ask for his advice; tell him you really want to earn a good grade in this class and are willing to work hard for it. If he is a legitimate teacher, he will listen and try to assist you. You may be surprised at how much a short, candid conversation can help! :) A couple of years ago I was in a similar situation with one of my own teachers. I had the same conversation with her--she encouraged me to keep up my efforts, and told me she was satisfied with my progress so far. I ended up earning an A in that class--probably one of my proudest A's. :D

    2. Your professor really doesn't know how to teach, and/or is so set in his ways that he won't even consider reevaluating his methodology. Bear in mind that the only way to arrive at this conclusion is by trying #1 first. This latter possibility is the more difficult scenario, since you are still in his class and certainly don't want to accidentally "tick him off". In this case, I would go directly to the dean/department chair and talk, again, privately. Explain your concerns, your efforts to resolve the situation on your own, and your professor's reaction. As long as you are careful not to sound obnoxious or whiny, he/she should be glad to help or at least offer advice.

    Just my $.02. Keep in mind that I do not have all the facts myself, so this is just a suggestion to consider. Good luck to you, and I hope you and your professor are able to work out the difficulties you are experiencing. :thumb:
     
  13. Clay29631

    Clay29631 Member

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    Just wanted to update you guys and let you know that my transcript cleared with admissions and I am ready for I-day! Thanks for all your help on this subject. I ended up receiving a "D" in my calculus class but A's in everything else.
     
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  14. 84grad19dad

    84grad19dad Member

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    Congrats Clay! Not much help , but I can relate. My hs french teacher was in a horrible car accident and missed most of my year. When she got back she was angry with the world and upset that we had not progressed via subs all year as she would have liked. I was the only student enrolled who passed her final and barely with a D. It kept me from being valedictorian :( In the long run I learned life lessons from her which have proved more valuable by far than the french has :)
     
  15. Clay29631

    Clay29631 Member

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    @84grad19dad Thanks! For some reason my math teacher was the same way! Seemed like he had a chip on his shoulder. Only a few people passed the class. Never had below a B in a math course before until now.
     
  16. Wild Blue Yonder

    Wild Blue Yonder Member

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    Congrats Clay! DS was a math major at USAFA, he really liked all of the instructors and professors in the department. Like others have said, reach out for EI when needed.
    From the Original WBY...
     
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  17. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    The "D" gave you the opportunity to work the "Dilemma.". Good training for future classes.
     
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  18. 84grad19dad

    84grad19dad Member

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    I agree with all. I was hinting at learning how unfair it is to impose my personal stoof on innocents. Goodness knows I've had some stoof. It made me a more compassionate and better leader. :)
     
  19. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I might suggest you sign up for EI IMMEDIATELY when classes begin in August. Do not wait until you are "in trouble." Really, I mean it. Get the extra help immediately. Even if it is just for review, a Dilemma in Math in your 4* year is not going to do you any favors going forward.
     
  20. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    I suspect that OP will be placed into Calc 1 after the placement tests during BCT1. Fencersmother is right about EI - do it! But that advice isn't just for Clay29631. ANYONE having any trouble in a class should search out EI. It's expected and highly encouraged at USAFA. Seriously, there is no stigma with getting EI (unlike at some high schools and universities.)

    I've heard wonderful stories about the instructors at USAFA. One cadet's Calc prof would drive in at 0530 three times/week just to help her understand the lessons. She ended up with a B in the class - after she was averaging a 1.7. Another cadet, who had below a 3.0 for the first 2 years finally decided to get EI and pulled his GPA up to a 3.5

    So, to all new appointees: GET EI EARLY AND OFTEN! Do not wait until its too late.
     
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