Home Schooler Sports Requirements?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by h117, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. h117

    h117 New Member

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    Hi,
    I am in the tenth grade, and homeschool. I am currently 16 years old. I may be able to finish school by next year by taking advanced classes. I am looking to apply to USMA, and am a bit worried because I know it emphasizes sports involvement. Back in middle school I was on the track team, but since I started homeschooling I have done no sports. I have no Varsity letter, which I know is a big deal. There are no private sports clubs in my area, either. I am an active member of Civil Air Patrol and I will be a very high rank by application time. I am wondering how big of a deal it is for homeschoolers to be involved with sports. I cannot join my local public school's team. Are there any other options? Is it even necessary?
     
  2. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Basic requirements are US citizen, SAT/ACT, and high school diploma to apply to West Point. You don't need sports participation to apply to West Point. However, if you want increase your chance of acceptance, you should play sports and earn varsity letters. Sometimes the admissions office will give you varsity letter equivalent credit - i.e. black belt in Karate, practicing 10 hours per week.

    Candidates are evaluated 60% academic, 30% leadership (which is divided into sports, teachers evaluation, leadership roles), and 10% physical.

    In your case, you need to really well on SAT/ACT, as your class rank cannot be used (unless you are in an organized home school where you can something other than 1 out 1 class ranking) on your academic evaluation.

    Achieving a high rank in Civil Air Patrol might help you with getting maxing about 10% of leadership grade, but that won't help you in other areas.

    You could run many 5k/10K races and HOPE for a varsity equivalent credit.

    It is what is as unless you live somewhere middle of nowhere, your statement of no private sports club in your area might not a big mitigating reason for not having organized sports. S

    There are many home schools kids that play sports and get accepted into West Point. After a certain point, West Point don't care why, they just want to see the results.
     
  3. BoLwife

    BoLwife Member

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    You might try searching the Homeschool2college forum on Yahoo Groups, as they've addressed the issue of homeschoolers and SA's before.

    In many states, you can legally play on a public school team, so make sure you've researched that. I know it's not the case here in NY, where I live, but in many other states it is possible. It's how the homeschooled Tim Tebow got to the University of Florida.

    Also, the idea of 5K/10K is a good one. If you could take it a step further and work up to a half or full marathon, or some triathlons, that could show a varsity-like achievement. Also remember that USMA isn't just looking at sports for the physical fitness of them, but also for the leadership that sports inspire and foster. So, in lieu of being on a team where you have to work with and lead others, you'll need to be sure to beef up your leadership credentials.
     
  4. famof8

    famof8 Member

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    Start working on all aspects of your CFA.
     
  5. Roseville

    Roseville Member

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    + to posters above, also:

    As a homeschooler, you will want to demonstrate your ability to "work well with others". The CAP should help quite a bit with that, but more will be better. Look for leadership opportunities in community service (CS is a must for academies).

    On sports: What about a local track club? Have you checked USATF for local affiliates? You can enter open meets as well, but a team affiliation would be better. You must demonstrate physical fitness in some way, and athletic achievements and consistent involvements will do this. I would not fret too much about the varsity letter, being a homeschooler - the above posters are right in that objective results are what really count. Criteria for varsity letters vary from school to school, and some don't even award letters at all. famof8 is 100% correct on the CFA - with any candidate who is "light" on organized sports involvement, they will want to see a VERY good score on the CFA. You can max most of the events with training - as a sophomore you have plenty of time to prepare.

    And because the academic portion of USMA's scoring system is 60% of your total score, and half of that is class rank/gpa while the other half is standardized test, you will want to make every effort to shine in the standardized tests (SAT & ACT - take both). Start preparing now
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I can speak to the way USNA approaches this (which is likely similar to WP).

    First, the CFA counts VERY heavily for those not involved in organized sports. Thus, you want to do extremely well on it, especially the run.

    Second, an entire summer is upcoming. Most communities have various leagues -- police, Catholic, town, etc. -- for sports such as softball, lacrosse, etc. Consider participating in one of those. Some leagues also run during the school year.

    Third, attend a sports camp this summer. There are day camps and stay-away camps. Not all are for experts; some are for beginners in a sport.

    Fourth, participate in an individual event, such as a triathlon or 5k run or something else that shows participation and interest in sports.

    Not being involved in organized sports is not fatal provided you can demonstrate that: (1) you like sports; and (2) you are in good shape. It's important to do what you can in both regards and try to ensure you aren't perceived as using home schooling as an "excuse" not to participate.
     
  7. 845something

    845something Member

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    Athletic participation does not measure physical fitness nor does not participating in sports increase the weight of the CFA in the WCS assessment.

    Not participating in sports equals a zero under that portion of the leadership potential, thereby making it extremely difficult to score well on the WCS.

    Remember, you are not just working to become qualified, you are competing to win an appointment against the others with the same nomination usually based on your WCS. If you want to do that without sports, you need to be extremely strong in all other areas of your application (test scores especially since they will also count as your class rank based on your national percentile). West Point is not going to take pity on you because you were homeschooled and say there is no sports available. There are plenty of homeschool candidates that make it work by finding sports, AND they have plenty of other candidates available who meet their definition of a well-rounded candidate to chose from. The choice is yours on how to proceed - just realize that your decisions have consequences as to the likelihood of you gaining admission.
     
  8. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Not for argument, just for my own enlightenment

    The typical high school student has seven periods over four years with some classes switching at semester break. That would expose a student to over 30 different instructors, with maybe 30 different teaching styles. He/she probably plays multiple sports over several years with any number of different coaches.

    The OP is home schooled and wants to cut a year off of his education. That would put him at 16-17 years old and ready to apply for a service academy. He will have had 3 years of instruction by his mother or father.

    I know that some home schooled kids are absolutely brilliant. The OP is probably one of those. But to me it seems part of the whole academy process is dealing with coaches and teachers. Being a high school athlete can be rewarding, and it can be frustrating. Many are the kids and parents that have bad experiences with both teachers and coaches.

    A home schooled student would have neither. I doubt that his math, English, and science teacher would have anything but glowing things to say, and there wouldn't be any class rank to worry about.

    I do not think the lack of sports would have much effect on the application either, but would be very detrimental to a typical high schooler wanting an appointment.

    So to apply this thinking to the original question, I do not think the lack of sports would hurt. I would hope though that the academies would look for summer baseball, club soccer, AAU wrestling, mini-marathons, YMCA basketball, etc. in a home schooled application.

    None of this is intended to inflame or upset anyone, but it made me wonder if being home schooled is actually an advantage in the academy application process?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  9. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Home schoolers.....

    Interesting thought on this.

    Every year one or two homeschoolers are accepted into each of the SA. And they are able to compete well with the other candidates. Generally speaking, these homeschoolers come from rural areas where they work and learn on a daily basis within their family. Their MOC has very few students who apply for a SA appointment and the competition is low as compared to the Eastern Seaboard. Now this may or may not be your case, I do know across the board see one skill homeschoolers lack; social skills. My sister has home schooled all four of their kids. They are smart and eager to learn, however they don’t know how to socialize with kids their same age outside their church and family. This skill can be learned! How it affects a Cadet? I don’t know. Cadets live; work and play with someone in close proximity 24 hrs a day. Matter of fact, Cadets don’t exchange much information about their standings with each other due to the fact they are competing against one another for their goals. This is why sports are so important at SA. It brings out the competitive edge, fosters, team work, conflict resolution and leadership.

    My sister’s son lost his first job at Mickey Dees, because he “back talked” his boss. He got away with it, with his parents, but the real world is less forgiving. My sister had a tendency to tech the ACT/SAT rather that learn up to these tests, even though they'll did very well.

    Remember you adapt to the Army, not the Army adapt to you.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  10. 845something

    845something Member

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    Let me spell this out a little clearer:
    Leadership Potential is 30% of the application. It is an average of your Extracurricular Leadership, Athletics, and School Official Evaluations. For reference, each SOE has to come from a different individual, so at best, at least 1 for homeschoolers will come from non-parents. Let's put some hypothetical numbers to the equation (100 max points each):

    Homeschooler:
    EX: 70(they may do a lot, but can't get the really high value leadership positions because they aren't in a normal school)
    AT: 0 (in this case because of no sports participation)
    SOE: 100
    Average is 56.7

    Normal HS:
    EX: 60 (OK leadership, but not stellar for sake of making a point)
    AT: 60 (say they played sports, but didn't earn a varsity letter)
    SOE: 80 (again, mediocre for emphasis)
    Average is 66.7

    That is a 10% difference out of the total leadership potential score (100).

    When applied to the WCS, that lack of sports is now amplified to a 30 point difference (WCS = 6xAcademic + 3xLeadership + CFA) and that is against a mediocre candidate who would already have a tough time winning a vacancy. How much better would they need to score on the SAT/ACT to make up the difference? Well that all depends on what that mediocre candidates class rank is and what they scored and how those numbers plug into the algorithm.

    There is no one secret to being successful in gaining admissions. There are plenty of pitfalls, like not playing sports. By the metrics, you are better off going to a smaller academically rigorous school that prepares you to do well on the standardized tests, doesn't rank, and allows you to compete for more higher leadership positions in Extracurricular and Athletics. The challenge becomes what do you do with your abilities given your individual situation in order to be the best possible candidate in order to win your appointment.
     
  11. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    There are some secrets - reading admissions material, acting on advices given, and being humble.

    Perhaps it's a generational thing, ran into too many candidates that believe somehow they are special or they will be the exception. I could count in one hand that candidates that were appointed that were true exceptions in my last 10+ years as a FFR. Very simple, unless you are an exceptional person, , you can't create more time. If your GPA/class rank is low, earning another varsity letter, volunteering more hours at a local soup kitchen, and/or start a club at your school are not going to change your GPA/class rank. Focus on improving your weakness, not focus on improving your strength.
     
  12. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    That sounds like private schools (at least in my area). I believe the percentage of graduates to going on to college adds to the value of class ranking.
     
  13. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    I wanted to follow up on this with a question, as you are very knowledgeable about West Point's process. I understand that under the generated score, if there's no varsity letter (to make it simple let's assume no outside sports equivalent accepted), you lose the possibility of scoring points on that aspect of the Leadership ranking. And I understand that a good score on the CFA does not substitute in numerically for that hole in the Leadership score.

    However, could it be the case that if Admissions is on the fence about someone -- let's say they have a competitive WCS even without organized athletics -- a stellar CFA can set their minds to rest about the applicant's ability to physically "hang" at least, and it could be important? This is what USNA folks have told me but maybe the West Point process is different?

    Thanks!
     
  14. Roseville

    Roseville Member

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    h117,

    You might want to have a look over at the USAFA section of the forum. There is a thread there about homeschooling, and there are at least a couple of posters who are at or parents of children at AFA and were homeschooled through high school.

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=37046
     
  15. 845something

    845something Member

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    Your question, while valid, is unlikely. If your WCS is high enough and you are qualified, you get an offer. Doesn't matter if you do outstanding or OK on the CFA. Your CFA is the least important piece of the application, which is why it is only 10%, and if you pass it, it means you should be able to make it physically at WP.

    Chances are, if you have no sports when you do the initial candidate questionnaire, then your second step kit/main application won't open and won't even have the opportunity to take the CFA anyway. There are about three types that have a possibility of getting to the application with no sports:
    1) the academic superstar with great extracurricular leadership who the RC thinks will be strong enough to win their district or a national spot even without sports - a very small group of near perfect test scores. Throw in a few from districts that just don't produce that many candidates and this plays out when you look at the class profile - there are maybe 2% that didn't play sports or around 25 total.
    2) a mistake in the initial review, also a small group, often done by computerized processes. Most self select out once they research more about West Point anyway.
    3) the candidate that won't leave them alone so in the end it's easier to let them complete the application even though they will be nowhere near competitive. Chances are they won't become 3Q because the RC will block the medical exam since they aren't competitive. And even if everything is complete, their file will be the last to get qualified (lowest in priority) and often promptly sent a rejection letter/TWE.

    Don't get me wrong, RCs will work with their candidates right up until the point they say "I can't...", which is usually followed by an excuse. It's the wrong attitude and they don't have time for it, nor does the Army. Yes, varsity letters are good, team captain is better, team captain at a large school/multiple team captains are better still. But if those options aren't available, club sports work, and in fact, the best and often recruited athletes play solely on highly competitive club teams. An RC will work to get a candidate Varsity and even team captain credit when possible for those teams. Don't overlook martial arts as that counts as athletics as well with earning a black belt the equivalent of a team captain. This doesn't even scratch the surface of possibilities. There are so many possibilities, there is NO EXCUSE to not earn at least some athletic leadership points. If you find yourself without sports, you need to contact your FFR or RC and figure out a course of action...the earlier the better. Just don't start with asking if it is OK not to play sports, saying you can't because of reason X, or saying that you'll pass the CFA because you work out and that will make everything OK.
     
  16. time2

    time2 Member

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    The reality is that 90+% of the class at service academies will have been involved in varsity athletics in h.s. (see the stats from the WP & USNA sites listed below). Being physically fit is a BIG part of these programs and you don't have time to learn how to be an athlete after you start the program.

    That being said, it also means that about 10% of the incoming class did NOT participate in varsity sports........so yes, you can get an appointment without them. I won't speculate on those factors since none of us are actually on the admissions committe to know what does/doesn't count.

    http://www.usma.edu/admissions/SitePages/Class Profiles.aspx

    http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/_files/documents/ClassPortrait.pdf
     
  17. BoLwife

    BoLwife Member

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    Also keep in mind that although 10% of the incoming class doesn't have a varsity letter, it's quite likely that most of the 10% still play sports - just not earning a varsity letter, which in some schools is extremely competitive or political. I would imagine that the actual percentage without ANY athletic participation is extremely small.
     
  18. BoLwife

    BoLwife Member

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    Also keep in mind that although 10% of the incoming class doesn't have a varsity letter, it's quite likely that most of the 10% still play sports - just not earning a varsity letter, which in some schools is extremely competitive or political. I would imagine that the actual percentage without ANY athletic participation is extremely small.
     
  19. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    ...



    You can say that again.
     
  20. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    Thanks for the quick and helpful response.
     

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