Freshman Year Academic Year

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by D.H.C.123, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. D.H.C.123

    D.H.C.123 Class of 2020

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    Hello. My name is James Niemeyer. I am a recruited athlete to play Football and Baseball. I have heard many comments about chemistry and calculus being a pain. Just wondering how hard it is? I figure the 4th class students are just stressed since its their first year. I took AP Chemistry as a Junior and i understood it really well. This year I am in AP Calc and AP Physics. Do they actually make a freshman chem and calc class that tough?
     
  2. D.H.C.123

    D.H.C.123 Class of 2020

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    Just realized how poorly I wrote the subject of this thread. My apologies.
     
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  3. grevar

    grevar CGA Admissions Partner

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    Some freshmen with a really good comprehension of Chem and Calc have no concerns. For many (if not most), it is a struggle. Last year, the average freshman grade on the first Chem test was a 55 I believe. Most bring their grade up to par by the end of the semester, but some struggle all the way through.
     
  4. D.H.C.123

    D.H.C.123 Class of 2020

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    Wow! I guess I should be ready to take on more than a few challenges. Ill make sure to brush up on my skills before R-Day. Thank You!
     
  5. GoBears

    GoBears New Member

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    My son is a 4/c, and he tells me Chem was by far his hardest class. He did well in AP Chem in high school, but he had to work very, very hard in Chem I at the Academy. Even with extra help and study groups, he struggled to pull his grade up to a B- by the end of the semester. Calc was not as challenging for him, but I'm sure this varies depending on each student's personal strengths & weaknesses.

    There are systems in place to get academic support in every subject, it's just a matter of cadets taking the initiative to get help as soon as they begin to slip. From what our son told us when he was home for break, once he figured out how to get the help he needed, it was much more manageable.

    Worth noting, the classes might not be as tough if that's all you had on your plate. Factor in all of the military obligations, sports practice, mandatory community service, responsibilities within your company, etc etc.
     
  6. CoastiePilot

    CoastiePilot Member

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    Most of the cadets I see struggling in calc have poor foundation skills such as algebra, trig and logs/exponents. They are things we assume they are proficient in before they arrive and we do not spend time going over them very much. During the summer we try to identify those cadets early and put them in a foundations course their fall semester but it is a small subset of swabs.

    The other portion of the cadets not doing well are just overwhelmed by the academy experience all together not being able to manage their time effectively.

    Just my honest opinion.
     
  7. OldBear

    OldBear New Member

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    Doing well in AP classes in high school is no guarantee of success in academy classes. Freshmen have a full academic load (18 or more credits) along with sports and military obligations. Time management is essential for success, as is asking for help at the very first indication of falling behind. Many intelligent students have never really mastered study skills or 'how to learn' since material has come easily to them before. They are also not used to asking for help and tend to put that off, end then end up falling further behind.
     
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  8. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    ^^ All of that, and...

    I think for a lot of the freshmen I mentor, that "time management" is deceptively hard. Looking ahead to it, it sounds like all you should have to do is get a daily planner, then put all your homeworks and papers and exams and practices in there, right?

    Sure, but that's the END of a process of: figuring out how much your homework on p-orbitals and s-orbitals is going to take; figuring out how to actually write a paper from soup to nuts (research to printout); remembering that you have to include time for doing laundry (plus folding and ironing and organizing at a SA); you gotta eat from time to time; and you get your schedule all done this week and BAM, your roommie gets really sick and you have to fill in for her to get your squadron's/company's board up; or that second-classman in charge of company/squadron PT decides to add T/R early morning workouts.

    I frequently have to remember that many of my freshmen come from families where much of their time was scheduled for them, and where the homework burden was significantly lighter than it is in college. They really, truly have no idea how much time to allocate to homework because they've never had to do much of it. They're shocked when I tell them to plan on 25-30 hours per week of homework. Add to that, many of them have no idea how to sit their butts down and work for an hour or two at something until it is done. (This is not a character flaw; it's a habit that's built from experience, just like weight-training.) Many overestimate how "smart" they are and think that the shiny, glinting, razor-sharp edge of their intellect will slay any subject like the weak dragon it is (because it's worked before!). MOST very bright young people greatly overestimate their abilities and under-estimate the effort required to learn. (Not mocking them, just observing.) Many haven't done their own laundry or folded clothes or ironed. Many have never once written a real research paper. Many have no idea how much time to allocate for studying for a test, or how to study effectively. And you can't master this stuff until you do it for yourself - and often, fail spectacularly at it, the first few times. At the SAs and SMCs, this burden is even heavier because there are extra obligations, and there just isn't a lot of flexibility built into a plebe's/swab's/doolie's schedule. Adding to this: most adults are very good at handling their lives and getting stuff done. Many of us forget how really very hard it is to learn and practice this, and how some of the lessons we learned ourselves, were very hard-earned and hard-won.

    These are just some of the reasons why most college freshmen struggle at least a bit their first year, and some struggle mightily throughout. Even knowing all this, there is no teacher but experience.
     
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  9. tpowell729

    tpowell729 New Member

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    I was a 4/c cadet last year and i took 2 years of chemistry and AP CALC in high school. I didn't find Calc 1 or Chem 1/2 hard at all. If you put in the work then you will be fine. It's good to go into the classes a little anxious about the material, but don't think that the class will be impossible. The professors and your classmates will always be there for help; No one wants to see you fail.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's all about time management. I think it's central to doing well or struggling.
     
  11. walterd

    walterd Member

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    Everyone hypes up how hard the classes are here and how important time management are etc but really those classes are not too bad. If you do what you're supposed to do (actually reading assigned readings before class) and trust in the process you will be fine. Depending on your high school the classes here could be surprisingly hard or even watered down but just don't worry about it. No one fails out unless they try.
     
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  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    "Trust in the process…"

    hahaha, of course, some people trust that process right out the door….
     
  13. Wonderfulmom

    Wonderfulmom Member

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    They don't prop your grades up with homework and projects like some teachers do in High School. It is mastery of the topics that counts.
     

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