Freshman Science

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by DictatorDom14, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. DictatorDom14

    DictatorDom14 Member

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    Hello all! I'm currently an eighth grader, and (obviously) will be entering high school next year. I am eligible to apply to go straight into Honors Biology as a freshman (it's usually a sophomore/junior class). Now, obviously I'm going to apply and see if I get in. But I'm just wondering, is getting somewhat lower grades (lower 90's or higher 80's) in an advanced class better than doing perfect in a normal class? I'm not saying I plan on doing bad or anything, I'm going to work as hard as humanly possible. But still, just as a general question, would it be best to do AMAZING in a normal class, or good (but not straight 100's) in an advanced class?
     
  2. Jen4lyfe

    Jen4lyfe New Member

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    You should definitely try your hardest to make great grades especially if its going to be Honors . You could still do great in a standard class but you may not feel challenged enough . I take Bio honors now (sophomore), and it's more in depth then standard Bio believe me. If you really wanna do honors Bio I say go for it. Starting out with honors is a great start for your freshmen year. I'll be a junior next year and I'll have nothing but AP and Honors , and my conselor told me its not a good look when you aren't making above average A's and B's in AP and Honors .
     
  3. osdad

    osdad Member

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    Should you take the toughest classes or get the best grades? Short answer: Yes!

    The academies want to see candidates who have taken the toughest curriculum and excelled.

    But don’t take classes or do activities because you think that’s what admissions wants to see. Your interests will undoubtedly change over time. Do stuff that interests you. Not only will you do better but won't have regrets should you chose not to go to a SA or don't get in.
     
  4. gonavy91

    gonavy91 Member

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    The first obvious question, which may be tough to answer in 8th grade, is "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

    I was accepted to USNA, but instead of taking Honors Physiology my senior year, I instead chose Teacher's Aide, which meant a lot of time in the batting cages. I had intentions of becoming an Engineer one day, which I majored in and I still work in that capacity today, so I knew that I had no desire to take that class.

    Likewise, my daughter was struggling in AP Chemistry. After watching her, I agreed with her that engineering was not for her, so she withdrew from AP Chemistry her last trimester and substituted Personal Finance elective, since she was going to enter college as a Finance major and Army ROTC.

    In other words, yes you need to always take the Honors/AP courses if you are an Honors type of student; but, you don't always have to take "every" honors class.

    Likewise, if you want to go to USNA, then you should participate in sports (preferably Varsity) and clubs, hopefully evolving into a leadership role.

    Additionally, you should stay in good shape so that you can complete the fitness test with a good score.
     
  5. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    Make sure you take classes that are prerequisites for Plebe core classes so you can get yourself into classes like AP Chem and AP Calculus junior and senior year. Having some prior exposure to those courses will help quite a bit.

    Otherwise, take a challenging curriculum, but don't sweat it that much. Freshman year isn't all too important, and it's sort of the year where you can freely experiment with what you want to do in high school as far as ECAs and sports are concerned.
     
  6. DictatorDom14

    DictatorDom14 Member

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    Thank you all so much for your answers, every one of them is very helpful! And gonavy91, I have been reading up on everything Naval Academy and Navy like a maniac for the past 7 months. I actually got a personal trainer last summer and go to the gym 4-5 times a week. And I've taken up running, and am working hard so I'll be a valuable member of my High School's Cross Country Team. I'm a natural waterbug, too, and have been contemplating doing my high school's swimming. Also, just as a general question, what are ways to practice for the basketball throw? I don't fully understand it in general, and the Internet hasn't been that helpful in explaing how to prepare for it.
     
  7. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    To be honest with you, the basketball throw is a requirement peculiar to USMA, and not generally considered by USNA. You should be reasonably proficient, but don't go crazy over it - put your focus on the rest of the CFA.

    There is a book on the market called something like "The Candidate's Guide to the Naval Academy" that will give you a major insight into USNA and the selection process, plebe summer. ac year, etc. Highly recommended
     
  8. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

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    There's a good thread on here with helpful tips for te basketball throw, it honk it's stickied on the USMA forum.
     
  9. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    Going back to the OP, now is a good time to sit down with your college placement counselor and discuss your plans regarding the service academies. Lay out a curriculum plan that ensures that you will be able to get algebra II, pre-calc, calc, chemistry with lab, physics, trig, and a high level English grammar and composition courses, AP where applicable and honors otherwise without overloading or having to skip one because of timing, etc. If you have irreconcilable conflicts looming, look into taking the course at a local community college. USNA is going to look for these courses in your transcript, and they as much as tell you that if you check out usna.edu/Admissions. More importantly, having had these courses will help you with the academics you will encounter.
    Also, I STRONGLY recommend you start taking the SAT/ACT exams in your sophomore year and do your best to get your math scores especially above 700 (SAT) or 30 (ACT). The current word is that USNA is stressing SAT/ACT scores and Class Rank, while backing away a bit on the GPA because of the multitude of methods to calculate the GPA.
    Best wishes to you and your peers - now, take maximum advantage of your early start!
     
  10. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

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    Oh boy, I just re-read what I wrote. It's supposed to say "...the basketball throw. I think it's stickied on the USMA forum." Sorry, I wrote it on my phone and it auto-corrected.

    I strongly recommend taking APUSH and/or AP Language if you get the chance, DominicDom, it really helps with your writing skills and you'll be writing at a pretty high level by the time you get out of those classes.

    And if you can't take the SAT/ACT sophomore year for some reason, at least take the PSAT, because it helps identify your weaknesses and strengths.
     
  11. 2017KNR

    2017KNR Member

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    Also, make sure you're taking technical sciences. Biology as a freshman is pretty standard, but upon that, get a good progression started. For example, I took Biology as a freshman, Chemistry as a sophomore, AP Chemistry and Physics as a junior, and then AP Physics as a senior and I feel like I've been prepared pretty well! Don't forget Calculus or AP Calculus!
     
  12. DictatorDom14

    DictatorDom14 Member

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    Thank you all so much. Since I'll be moving during the summer, I have an appointment with my new high school's guidance counselor next week. I'll be sure to mention all of this to her. Also, does USNA look at volunteer work and community things you do? Or do they mainly just look at school activities?
     
  13. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    They'll consider everything you give them. Volunteer work, ECAs, community activities, employment, etc. So list it all.
     
  14. Aspiring_Midshipman

    Aspiring_Midshipman Member

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    Also, with Honors Biology you will be more prepared for the Biology SAT II, either the Ecological or Molecular format. SAT Subject Tests are good supplements to your transcript. Service Academies don't require them but many civilian universities do. Good luck. :thumb:
     
  15. jalusna2016

    jalusna2016 Member

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    Start early on the AP track so that by your senior year you have had AP Chem, AP Physics, AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP English and AP History. Whether you end up at USNA or College the AP courses prepare you for a challenging curriculum, and can give you the opportunity to validate out of course work at USNA or through AP testing in College. Also a big factor to think about is how much the AP Courses help you with your class rank. I know that every High School calculates them differently toward your GPA but my understanding is that the majority of schools weigh AP work into your class rank. It is an important consideration if USNA choses to move away more from GPA to class rank.

    As a freshman it can be intimidating to go out for some leadership roles. Just do it. Try out for class officer, join some clubs you are interested in and be an officer or committee chair etc. It will get your reputation started as a reliable leader and hopefully lead to more leadership roles through out your high school career.

    If you have not already find something you are passionate about and start volunteering. It is more impressive to see something you have longevity in than a few hours here and there in several organizations. Recommendation letters from these sources are usually more impressive because after so many years together they feel very invested in your future. My DD loves animals and through a patient of my husbands began volunteering for Bat World in 5th grade. Go figure but the largest bat sanctuary in the world is here in Texas. DD became their assistant at educational vet seminars, zoos, museums, etc. It was kinda funny but at her interview for her Congressman Nomination the board mostly asked her questions and talked about that.

    Have fun and don't get into trouble. Believe me these years go by soooo fast!
     
  16. DictatorDom14

    DictatorDom14 Member

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    My mother works for a hospice company, so I know many retirement homes and hospitals where I can volunteer. Also, I've been looking at my new high schools list of clubs, and two interest me very much, but they both meet on the same days. One is their Mock Trail club. The other club is called the [Schools Name] Navy National Defense Cadet Corp (NNDCC). Would joining the NNDCC look better for the USNA? Would it be appropriate to post the clubs website on here?
     
  17. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    For future reference, NNDCC is also known as NJROTC. Same program, except the operating costs are covered by the school instead of NSTC. Not a difference you should worry about at your end, though. NNDCC is still able to give the same JROTC nominations as NJROTC.

    NNDCC should be a class in your schedule, not a club. Perhaps you read incorrectly.

    Try both things out. See which one you like. Do what you want to do. If you have a passion for it, you will excel. If you excel, USNA will notice.
     
  18. DictatorDom14

    DictatorDom14 Member

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  19. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    That is interesting. I suppose without the Navy footing the bill, the school has more leeway with how they implement the program.

    Anyhow, my point is: Don't do something because you think it'll make you more competitive for USNA. Join an activity that you genuinely enjoy.
     

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