Freshman year courses

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Tmoneyg32, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. Tmoneyg32

    Tmoneyg32 New Member

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    What do First year cadet's courses consist of regardless of their major? What is the difficulty compared to AP courses in High School?( I know they are different, but work load and rigor wise) How heplful ate classmates and Instructors?
     
  2. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Much will depend on what you validate during BCT.

    Essentially: Math, English, Science, Foreign Language, plus Phys Ed, maybe one or two more.

    You will not choose your schedule; that is done for you, without your input.

    I have heard students say it was faster paced than their high school AP courses, similar to IB, faster/tougher than Community College/Dual Enrollement, a "piece of cake" (Not too many of those), "as expected", and everywhere in between.

    How helpful should your classmates be to you in your studies? You're not going to share homework. Extra Instruction is available and encouraged; go before the need becomes insurmountable.

    Much of the information you seek, particularly about coursework, is available on USAFA's website.
     
  3. cezme

    cezme Member

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    A busy freshman year, all cadets take placement test and they are placed at the appropriate level of Math. Chemistry, Physics, English, History Foreign Language. They have study groups and extra instruction.
     
  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    You are expected to read and understand the material prior to the lesson. That is the biggest difference I saw, from high school. My HS was a bit more "spoon-fed." If you listened carefully in class, the homework wasn't that important (unless it was graded). At USAFA, the work you did on your own was the majority, and lessons covered important parts of it or checked for misunderstanding.
     
  5. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    Rigor: Depends a lot on the high school you came from. For me, my high school was incredibly weak in the sciences and very strong in english, so I found USAFA english classes to be very easy, while the level at which the science classes were taught was much higher than high school (although I still didn't have too much trouble, since math/science are my strengths anyway).
    Work load: Very different. In high school there were a lot of assignments that would help pad your grade going into tests, at USAFA there may be some graded homework sets, but a large portion of the grade is the GRs (graded reviews aka important tests) and finals. The homework is more to help you check your understanding and might be worth a bit, but generally not much. This basically means the work load is what you make it. If you understand the material, you can get away with doing very little (for me this was chemistry, I just understood it so I didn't have to do much, just show up and take tests). If you are struggling, then going in for extra help, asking for extra problems to work etc..is a lot of work, but will be necessary to do well.
    Helpfulness: Both are very helpful. Instructors are very available and willing to help and if you go get help early, there is no reason not to do well in a class. Study groups are also common and helpful.
     
  6. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    As previous posters have noted, depending on which, if any, classes you validate, your freshman (4C) classes may vary, but will still have science, math, and maybe English. DD validated several, including Chemistry and is in Organic her first semester.

    The following is the USAFA website, and contains a link to the 2015 - 2016 curriculum handbook (the most current on the website) which details the required core courses, "typical" 4C classes, as well as a wealth of other information about the academics at the Academy.

    http://www.usafa.edu/?catname=Dean of Faculty

    DD mentioned that her courses are not necessarily harder, since she had taken 14 - 17 college credit hours each of her last six semesters in high school, on top of "normal" high school classes, sports, and other extracurricular activities, but were covered in a lot more depth, for which she was glad. You also need to be prepared before each class since pop quizzes can be common. Between the academics, military training, D&B, and other expected activities, you do need to have a good handle on time management to stay ahead.
     
  7. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Another thing to consider, especially if you are on the cusp of validating Math or Chem or other: While it seems to go directly against your history and nature, it is sometimes better to take the lower level class "over." With the quick pace, you are likely to score better in the lower class, padding your GPA later. This is controversial though, since some ppl think it better to take the tougher course right away. Your mileage may vary here.
     
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Depends on the class. I found the work load in the higher level classes to be about equal. I decided to not validate calc 2, since I only understood 80% of it...and left calc 2 knowing 80%, with an 80%. Granted that was a class with a sub par instructor, but it seemed the intro level classes were more demanding of conformity to detail and less helpful to getting questions answered.

    If it is a foundational class (calc) and you understand barely over 50%, I'd say retake it. If you are just Shakey on a few details or are not going to really build off of that class (chem for a fuzzy major), press on.
     
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Good advice, Raimius.

    I recall my boys commenting that their calc text was the same they'd used at Local 4-Year U, but they covered at USAFA the same material in eight weeks as they covered in a whole semester at Local U.

    As an offhand note, son notes that in his masters program, the same text is used for graduate level statistics as was used undergrad at USAFA.
     

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