Foreign Language

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by TrackStarFalcon, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. TrackStarFalcon

    TrackStarFalcon Member

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    I am an upcoming Junior in High school and I haven't taken any Spanish classes. This is because I am taking band for all four years and am taking Pre-engineering and other engineering based classes. How important is knowing a foreign language? Will taking Spanish online for two years be ok. Is Spanish really a big deal in my application? Is four years of band including 1 from middle school good for my application? Because if it's not I might as well quit it and take Spanish for the remainder of my high school career. Right?

    Please help I'm worried. Thanks in advance
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    My 1st question would be: What does your entire schedule look like. Reason I ask, is because there are hundreds/thousands who take full load AP/Honors classes or the entire IB program, and they still have the ability to take elective type classes such as band, chorus, JrROTC, art, etc... I know my son on average, 8 classes per semester.

    I don't have the complete recent class (2016) profile yet, but here's a link to the class of 2015. Shows what the average cadet had/did in high school. http://paulryan.house.gov/UploadedFiles/USAFA_2015.pdf

    To answer your question about a foreign language in high school when applying to the military academies. There isn't a specific requirement. However, the academy has certain academic recommendations. Remember, they are looking for the most "WELL ROUNDED" individuals. According to the Air Force Academy Catalog, (Click on the link in my signature block for the catalog), it recommends the following to be competitive:

    To be competitive for an Air Force Academy appointment, we recommend you complete the following high school courses at a minimum:
    • 4 years of English
    • 4 years of college-prep math (with coursework through pre-calculus and a strong background in algebra and trigonometry)
    • 3 years of social studies
    2 years of a modern foreign language
    • 4 years of science (chemistry and physics are strongly recommended)

    That doesn't mean you MUST take them. However, for every area you are weak in, you better be so much stronger in another area. Not trying to discourage you, but you have to realize that the academy wants the BEST of the BEST. More than half of the cadets coming in are in the top-10% of their high school class. They average a 3.86 gpa. They are ALL taking AP classes or are in the IB program. Now, the academy understands if your school doesn't have all these opportunities. That's why they require your school to send them a "School Profile". It lists all the class that are available. Then the academy can see what classes you are taking. Even the big schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc... most use the same application. It's called "The Common Application". After it gets through asking about your name, address, family, and financials; the first question it want answered is your ACT/SAT scores AND the AP classes or IB Program/Classes you took. They then get into the rest of your classes, extra curricular, etc... And just about any advanced academic setting will include foreign language.

    Now; does this mean you must drop band to take spanish, french, german, or whatever? Only you can decide that. But remember; the stuff the academy "recommends" for you to be "COMPETITIVE" is higher than the MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS for the academy. But it's usually much LOWER than what most candidates/cadets have. E.g. Academy recommends Pre-Calc, but most candidates/cadets have had Calc. I recommend you find ways to take all of the hardest classes you can manage.

    Also; you must find time for athletics. Band is good, and it's an extra-curricular which is important. So are numerous other clubs and activities. But those AREN'T athletics. You need to be doing varsity sports or non-high school equal. "No, youth soccer isn't equal". But national/state/etc... competitive sports can be an equal. So remember; the academies want the most well rounded person. I have seen 4.0gpa students who almost ACED the SAT, not receive an appointment, because that's all they had. They didn't have anything else to round them out. Best of luck to you. Mike....
     
  3. TrackStarFalcon

    TrackStarFalcon Member

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    Mike,

    In my school we have 6 periods. Next years schedule looks like this:

    1. AP English and Composition
    2. AP US History
    3. Honors Chemistry
    4. Honors Algebra 2
    5. Wind Ensemble (4 years)
    6. I'm not sure with this one
    - its either Spanish 1 or Drafting 1 or another Math class (Honors Pre-cal).
    And an online Spanish class if I make my 6th class a Pre-cal or Drafting.

    Yes I am involved in athletics. I plan to do cross county(11th and 12th Grade) and maybe wrestling(11th and 12th grade). I will be continuing on track until I am a senior.

    I haven't taken my SAT/ACT yet but I will take it soon. The advanced courses at my school is very tough. My problem is my GPA which is a 3.58. I really gave it my all to receive that grade.

    I am also a Civil Air Patrol Cadet. Just got sworn in last week. Working hard to receive my Mitchell.

    -National Society until end of high school.
    -650 hours of volunteer service. 2 time Gold Presidential Service Award Recipient.

    Yeah and thats it. I guess it would be better to start taking Spanish for my junior and senior year. And probably additional spanish online classes to help me out. And I have to really work hard to get a 4.0 this year. You do not discourage me. I know everyone has a 4.0 while I only have a 3.5. But I am trying hard as I can. I hope the Academy sees me for my hard work. Thanks Mike for posting valuable information for me this really helps me alot.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I said the average gpa is 3:86, which means some r lower. U r correct that AP classes r hard. They r suppose to be. It's the same with AP at any school. It's a shame that your school doesn't allow more than 6 classes. Best of luck to you. Mike.
     
  5. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    Wait a second...How is it that you can even GRADUATE hs without having taken at least 2 Foriegn Language classes? It is a requirement for graduation in my state and every state other I've gone to school in. It's not an option, take it or don't graduate, there is even talk of bumping that requirement up to 3 classes in a Foriegn Language. I assumed that it was the same across the board, but it must not be if you haven't taken any by now. I am curious, where do you live that having taken a language in hs is not a requirement for graduation?
     
  6. Bourdeau

    Bourdeau Member

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    I'm kind of curious myself, at my old high school in Texas it was mandatory to take 2 years of a foreign language, but since I went to a tiny 1A school they only offered Spanish. Ay Nimodos..
     
  7. TrumpetTennis

    TrumpetTennis Member

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    +1. That goes so far to say that there are 50% above that and below that as well. To the OP--try not to get lost in the numbers game--you will drive yourself mad. I was so into numbers last time around that I would ponder the score of my ACT while I was taking it...just do your best b/c that's all you can do--don't be super concerned about your competition, just be aware. :smile:
     
  8. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    If you were my DS or DD, I'd recommend you drop band. Additionally, I'd recommend you take a summer class (or 2) at your local college. That might mean you need to apply to your local community college a few months in advance.

    You should graduate with pre-calc AND Spanish. Stretch yourself! Also explore with your counselors how to attend Boys State. If you fall short of getting into your dream college such as a SA, at least you will be smarter with the above approach. :)

    Finally. Start taking your ACT. You don't want to wait until the last minute.
     

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