Help signing up for high school classes

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by thomasl, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. thomasl

    thomasl New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    My son is in 8th grade, and my son and I meet next week with the school counselor to plan his high school schedule. He ask me about USAFA, I told him I don't know a lot about it, but I thought form what I have heard that it is a great program. The problem is, It is a huge school, so the counselor meet with about 15 at a time. It is hard for them to really put much thought into the kids. We are trying to do I little homework ahead of time.

    Now he is in Chamber Orchestra. There is know way he can play soccer, Orchestra, and JROTC. They all will not fit into his schedule. So he will have to drop one of them. He said if he drops one he would like to drop Orchestra. Is that the best move, or does it really matter in the big picture?

    He has already taken honors Algebra 1 this year that will count on his high school GPA.
    Math would give him: They don't have Functional Analysis.
    Algebra 1 H
    Geometry Pre AP
    Algebra 2 AP
    Calc Pre AP
    AP Computer Science A
    AP Calc

    Science
    Biology Pre AP
    Chemistry AP
    Physics Pre AP
    Physics C AP

    English, they have listed 1, 2, 3, and 4
    There are options, but that is what the counsular put down. I am sure we can change it if need be.

    Socials Studies
    Human Geography AP
    World History AP
    US History AP
    Government/Economics AP

    Pro Communications, and Psycolagy

    Spanish 1, and 2

    JROTC all 4 years
    Soccer all four years
    Club soccer since he was 6. He will continue club soccer.

    I told him it looks like a tough schedule, he said he can handle it. He could take classes in the summer if it would help. I know he is taking health this summer coming up. He could take Spanish 1, and 2 in the summer, if 4 years of Spanish would look better.

    If anyone has any suggestions please let us know.
    Thanks
     
    AROTC-dad likes this.
  2. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2015
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    449
    http://www.academyadmissions.com/ad...ants/all-applicants/academic-preparation/#tcc

    The link is from the USAFA Admissions website

    Per the Dean of the USNA Math Dept
    This is a 47 month STEM based program. (The same applies for USAFA)

    If he loves the orchestra he should do it, but IMHO SAs value athletics over music programs.

    If there is one issue all these young men and women have it is they are so talented but they have to eventually turn down some things to make others work
     
  3. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    368
    Welcome to the beginning of a wild ride!

    From the USAFA Admissions website, your DS (dear son) should meet these academic requirements:

    To be academically competitive for an appointment to the Academy, we recommend completion of the following high school courses:

    • four years of English (with a college preparatory class in writing)
    • four years of math (strong background in geometry, algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus)
    • four years of science (lab-based and should include biology, chemistry and physics)
    • three years of social studies (to include a course in U.S. History)
    • two years of a modern foreign language
    • one year of computer study
    (http://www.academyadmissions.com/admissions/the-application-process/academic-performance/)

    Broadly speaking, you'll see the advice repeated over and over, on all the SA boards: take the most advanced classes you can, but not such a staggering load that you can't succeed. That means there's some flexibility. If (for example) your son is strong in math, then he may do very well in all those AP courses, but if he's weaker in English, then taking standard (non-AP) English and earning an "A" is better than AP English with a grade of "C." Note that the admissions requirement reads "four years of English" not "four years of AP or honors English." Who knows what the sweet spots are? None of us. Not a one of us, because the admissions "sausage factories" of the SAs (service academies) are not available to us.

    I serve on my college's admissions committee and we get these questions ("What should my DS/DD take?") all the time. The best answer is, the courses that will challenge your DS AND allow him to succeed grade-wise. There are very, very few "fatal" course choices your DS can make. Earning a "C" at some point is probably not fatal. Meet the requirements above (and the others posted on USAFA's admissions site) and your DS will be eligible for an appointment. Whether he gets one depends on factors in and out of his control.

    As for the ECs (extracurriculars), again, there's no better or worse activity. JROTC is not inherently better than orchestra, which is not inherently better than soccer. Activities in which DS can achieve some leadership position - whether first chair or team captain - will help him. But the SAs are not looking for robots, either. People who have lots of volunteer experience, or who play band or orchestra, or lead a community theater group (etc.), can be just as good indicators that the person behind them is a well-rounded young person with stuff to accomplish, and potentially a good officer. JROTC may give your DS a leg up early in his USAFA days and give him a taste of military discipline, but remember that the large majority of kids going to SAs do not come from military schools or JROTC and do just fine.

    Do some poking around this site and the links Cerberi and I posted.
     
    EOD/SEALmom likes this.
  4. 5Day

    5Day Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    445
    2 years of a language is the minimum for any competitive college. He should consider taking Spanish all 4 years. English you want honors and/or AP.
    My DS took algebra 1 in 8th grade also, he was able to take geometry and algebra 2 his freshman year. This is allowing him to take AP Calc BC (2nd year HS Calc) as a senior. If math is your DS strength this may be an option at his HS.

    And I agree with @Cerberi SA value athletics over music. Which is not necessarily the case with other selective colleges.
     
  5. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2014
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    290
    The activities become important. Not enough to participate. Need to try to run for positions, class treasurer, works for example doesn't always have to be President. Same with sports, participating is nice, but Captain or Co-Captain is what counts.
     
    Cerberi likes this.
  6. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    448
    I have a current candidate to USNA, and also an 8th grader aiming for either USNA or USAFA.

    My 8th grader is also in marching band (tuba), currently taking algebra honors and is a Sea Cadet. She also plays softball on a club team and track through school.

    For her, band is practice before school (zero hour) and is also a class during the day. Band class eats up possible electives, but she loves it.

    Have you looked into Sea Cadets or Civil Air patrol instead of JROTC? If either of those have battalions in your area it could free up some of your son's schedule, allowing him to do it all without giving up orchestra. Our Sea Cadet battalion meets for drill one weekend a month (plus a few other days throughout the year), and the once a month drills are easy to plan for. My daughter's coaches understand and don't have her on the game roster for drill weekends. Same with chess club tournaments, they just don't put her on the roster.

    Summer school will be your friend, and I would suggest taking as much summer school as your son can. In our district they only offer summer school for required classes or if a kid failed a class. In my DD's plans, she will take PE and "personal financial management" (required by state), and anything else that's offered during the summer. If you're lucky and your school offers math or English during summer, it's definitely worth doing. Although you might have to remind him when that alarm clocks goes off early on a summer morning while his buddies sleep until noon, haha!!!

    Good luck to your son. Boy, I wish I'd known about this forum when my candidate was in 8th grade!
     
  7. thomasl

    thomasl New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    You all are a great help. I am printing all this out so my son can look over it. This info will give him questions to ask the counselor next week. I know he will never quite soccer, that is one of his passions. He is Co-Captain now.
    His Orchestra gets in the way of him being Captain. I think he had not said anything about giving it up because he thought we would be upset. I told him it is up to him, considering he has a reason for giving it up. He could still take lessens, and play in church. He will have to make a decision about JROTC. Other classes he would like are Debate, but no room on the schedule if he takes JROTC
     
    EOD/SEALmom likes this.
  8. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    448
    My daughter wanted to take at least one art class, so she dropped German this year so she could take art. She can pick German back up in 9th grade.

    He will find room for electives, but they might not be until junior or senior year.
     
    thomasl likes this.
  9. thomasl

    thomasl New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    He was in CAP for a year when he was 12. I think he was to young. The other boys wear 16, and 17 years old. It was all about Aerospace. At the time it was way over his head.
    Our summer classed don't have any Pre AP, or AP classes. This school is tough. Large # on Asians. Most of them go to tutoring, and study all their life. Most don't get involved with sports. They try and take all Honors classes to get class rank. If you are in sports, and other activities I don't think a kid could be in the top 10% With a 4.0 maybe top 25%. lol I just told my son to quit worrying about the others, and take things he enjoys. You are only a kid once.
     
    AROTC-dad likes this.
  10. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    448
    Good advice! They're only kids once.

    Look into sea cadets, it's an amazing program. Three of my kids are in it, one started at age 10yrs, and he loves it. Doing that instead of JROTC would free up school schedule. http://www.seacadets.org/
     
  11. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    1,383
    Likes Received:
    1,028
    You have been given great advice above. One more thing he can start working on is preparing for the SAT or ACT. Start building the necessary vocabulary and familiarization with the test formats early. This one thing can be a great equalizer in a competitive high school. There are usually pretty good books at the library to get started.
     
  12. thomasl

    thomasl New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    It is very stange, we don't have a Sea Cadet program. We had looked into it. Fort Worth is the closest. That would be a long drive from Plano.
     
  13. thomasl

    thomasl New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    I will be sending him to SAT/ACT classes starting this summer. These classes are very expensive. I had no idea.
     
  14. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2015
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    208
    I'm not trying to discourage you from those classes, just making you aware there are free/low cost options as well. Also, there's no substitute from getting an ACT prep book from the library and taking the practice tests under testing conditions. Take as many as you can, as the test hasn't significantly changed for a while now. I saw questions from a 2014 prep book on the real ACT. SAT's a different story. But a quick search will get you a lot of books/websites that can support your DS's preparation. Best wishes!
     
    SDMom2019, EOD/SEALmom and AROTC-dad like this.
  15. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    1,383
    Likes Received:
    1,028
    +1 Spaatz...
    Here is a free website for prep for the SAT as well. It is highly regarded as it is produced by Khan Academy, a non-profit organization supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among others.
    It may be a little advanced for your son right now, but the price is certainly right.

    https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat
     
    EOD/SEALmom likes this.
  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,577
    Likes Received:
    799
    OK mom.... relax.

    You have your 8th grader's entire high school academic career mapped out already. This mother would not make her incoming freshman take any SAT/ACT prep coursework (MAYBE the summer between soph & jr years, if there is an apparent or obvious need). Plenty of kids combine sport (soccer), orchestra (even marching band!), and JROTC, and even add in a part time job and volunteer work. Time management is the best skill your child can learn. And, the ability to make all those things work, and work well, will be something USAFA will look for when he makes his application.

    I do suggest he look again into CAP or Sea Cadets or whatever is available in your area.

    And for you, please! RELAX. Your 13-year-old will benefit from it and you may still have hair when he turns 16 and decides to study horticulture.
     
    goforspaatz likes this.
  17. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    448
    @fencer, while I agree with you that there's plenty of time to figure it all out and to relax, I also know the guidance counselors at school want a "map" of the 4 year high school plan. Freaked me out a bit when my first kid was in 8th grade too.

    To the OP, just know that you're not stuck with the 4 year plan, it can (and will be) be changed/revised every year. They just want you to have all the graduation requirements planned for. You're a step ahead if you son is thinking SA.
     
  18. Row2020

    Row2020 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    263
    it's not too early - DS flubbed/fluffed off the entrance/placement exam. As a freshman he placed himself behind the 8 ball to get into the honors classes which were the building blocks to get to AP. However, he was unwittingly was following the path of "taking the most challenging courses" FOR HIM. He went from average to AP and SA or no SA the growth has been amazing to watch.
     
    AROTC-dad likes this.
  19. thomasl

    thomasl New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    I am just going by What the school councilors recommended. The said sit down with your son and map out a plan. It can aways be changed. When the school class is around 1500 kids things fill up fast. I would be very sad if I did not put my best foot forward in helping him do something he really wants to do. He is not worried about the load, but Their's only 7 periods a year. It he only wanted Soccer, and Orchestra it would not be a problem. He wants JORTC. I will let him take Violin lessons so he can play in church. He could change his mind, because he will still be in Orchestra in the 9th grade for his Fine art credit.

    Please don't beat me up, just trying to help my son. I want him to know what he is getting into.

    Great info
     
  20. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    1,383
    Likes Received:
    1,028
    You are doing a great job...no one is gonna beat you up! You are doing what all of us parents have done in the past. We all want our kids to reach the highest potential. Your son happens to want to aim higher than average!
    Bravo! :D
     

Share This Page