How much does the academy consider with class rank?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Garu, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. Garu

    Garu New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, I'm not sure if information that answers this question is publicly known, but I will ask it anyways.

    In my scenario, I am ranked number 24/360 in my class with just above a 4.0 GPA. This is, however, the first year I have been able to take AP courses - my senior year. Grades 9 and 10 the school I attended did not offer AP courses, and grade 11, when I transferred to a public school with AP courses, I was unable to take them. My previous school did not let us choose classes so I was at a pretty normal pace for a high school junior, and my counselor strongly recommended against APs.

    So now, my senior year, I am taking 3 AP classes and have been able to raise my GPA above a 4.0. Now that you have some context (that hopefully makes sense) - will the academy consider that I am at a disadvantage in my class ranking, considering that most, if not all, of my peers ahead of me in class ranking have been taking APs since grade 10 or 11, when I was unable to?
     
  2. jordan5551

    jordan5551 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    You're top 10% pretty comfortably I'd say you're probably in good shape for that aspect of the application.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,806
    Likes Received:
    943
    Not true.

    Class ranking does matter, but so does the school profile.
    ~ You could be top 15%, but 25% go Ivy, whereas, another candidate can be top 10% and 0% go Ivy tells something to the SA.

    Nobody here can say anything either way because none of us know some major aspects,
    1. Is the 4.0 wcgpa on a 4.5, 5.0 or 6.0?
    ~ Is the class rank wcgpa or cgpa?
    2. GC has input too
    ~ They can annotate the fact that because the student transferred to the new school during their HS career that although they have fewer APs than their peers because of their prior school, when taking that into account, they are on par with their peers.
    ~~ My kids were military brats. My DD moved her junior year from a school that was a semester system to a block system. From a school that anyone could take an AP to a pre-req AP school. From a school that used a 7 point scale to a 10 point scale. It took them months to figure out her cgpa and class rank.
    ~~~ I was prepared for this with her because I went through this with DS1, only 2 yrs earlier, but the opposite only 2 yrs earlier. 10 to 7 pt scale, block to semester,etc. etc. etc. There are over 2000 HSs in this nation

    Finally, class rank, just like the cgpa and SAT/ACT are only a portion. Don't get tunnel vision. Plan for plan B.

    Garu,
    I do not want you to think anything either way. There is no crystal ball. The best you can do right now is to ask the GC for a counselor meeting and discuss what they are thinking. They know your school profile.
    ~ Seriously, any answer you get here impo using the info you posted is like the blind leading the blind. It is just too vague to give you any REAL guidance.

    My best wishes, hopes and thoughts.
    Thank you for your desire to defend this great nation.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    Pima is totally correct. This is why the academy looks at the school profile. See the level and difficulty of classes; vs the students taking them and their grades; vs what kind of colleges they attend after graduating high school.

    We've seen plenty of people on this forum talk about their class ranking as #20, 30, 40 out of 300, 400, 500. Yet, they talk about their GPA being 4.0 or above if ranked on a 5.0 scale. That would imply that almost 10% of the class are straight "A" students. Maybe they are. Some schools weight all classes the same, and the kid with a 4.0 gpa taking the minimum required state classes has a higher class ranking than the kid with a 3.9gpa who is in the IB program and is taking classes much more difficult.

    So yes, class rank is extremely important. But Einstein's Law of Relativity kicks in here. Your GPA and Class Rank matter, RELATIVE to:
    1. What classes and level of difficulty are available for you to take, and are you taking them.
    2. The gpa and class rank of the other students at your school. (Are GPA's inflated like many schools do; and does your school technically have 10 kids ranked #1 because they all have the same gpa)
    3. Where are all your peers going to college. If in a graduating class of 300-400, only 1 or 2 students go to college at a competitive/Ivy/Acclaimed/etc university, your GPA of 4.0 and class ranking of #5 won't mean much. If however, 10% of your graduating class goes to these esteem universities, your class ranking of #30 and a gpa of 3.90 could mean a lot more.
     
  5. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    154
    My DS has over 5.3 GPA with 10APs but still not 10% of his class, his school does not officially rank so think SA ranked him with national using his SAT score, which is better for him, so ranking is important but depends on competitiveness of your high school?
     
  6. strakerak

    strakerak Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    15
    To be honest, it depends on your school as well. My school has some crazy rank system, where SAT Scores, Football, Baseball, Extracurriculars that are school sanctioned, NHS, volunteer hours, and so much more go into the rank, which brings up a lot of suspicion on my end, since I have seen kids fail classes, retake them, and outrank other students. This is why your school profile is viewed. If you see kids with competitive GPAs go to a state school and kids with slightly less than competitive GPAs but competitive things outside (or inside) of the school, that can have a HUGE effect. I got decisions from schools the DAY AFTER my transcript was submitted, which makes me think of how much my resume and leadership achievements went into play.
     
  7. littlepatriot

    littlepatriot Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    29
    Does it make a significant impact on your application if your school does not send students to top tier schools? While my school isn't a total cakewalk, we also hardly ever send students to out of state universities.
     
  8. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    154
    Think the SA has high school profiles and ranks schools and candidates accordingly to competitiveness of school. Don't worry too much be the best you can at your school, take hard core honors/AP classes do well on ACT/SAT you have control of that:)
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    Your school is what it is. The academies deal with every type and possible school in the country. Including home schooling. Unless you're planning on talking your parents, or you're a parent thinking of changing your kids school, most of these questions are moot.

    I'm a firm believer in worrying about the things you can affect and change, and not worrying about the things you can't. Sorry to be blunt. It doesn't matter what the academy thinks of your school. It is your school, and that's what you have to work with.

    All you can do is to take the most challenging classes offered and do your best in those classes. If you still want to do more, then take some summer classes at your local community college. But unless you're in a position to choose a different school to attend, what the academy thinks of your school is not important. You can't change that. Make your goal to be #1 in the class and a 4.0 or higher if the school has a 5.0 gpa. If that isn't your goal, then sorry, but I can't advise you. Same with sat and act. If your goal isn't a 36 on each test and 800 each for sat, then I can't advise. Perfection should be the goal. Reality is, you vs all your competition. And unless you can tell me how all your competition is doing, we can't tell you how you stand. Best of luck. Worry about what you can control. Not what you can't.
     
    Eagle15 and ForGod&Country like this.
  10. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    154
    I read couple times on this forum potential SA applicants say they could not take AP classes cuz their school did not offer until senior year? I think if school does not offer maybe one can take classes at local community college? I know a kid who took AP classes online & took test? Better to have challenging AP/IB classes. During my son USNA interview they asked about all his AP classes & his score.
     
  11. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    131
    What it tells me is the school with zero Ivy's definitely had less money to spend for college. My DS went to a HS with zero Ivy's and 650 in his graduating class. If the SA looked at his HS profile and judged him based off of that stat, they received semi-meaningless data. Luckily there are other data points that predict a students SA
    success.

    I am not beating you up for you pointing this out (or the SA). Just pointing out I don't see a lot of value specifically on where the graduating class goes to college. The reality is our DS got a fantastic k-12 MN education. I'd go so far and say good luck getting a better K-12 education. It's all about how much you challenge yourself. About 20% of the graduating class were full time college students for 11th and 12th grade. But no one went to an Ivy. In short: that stat is pretty meaningless to me.
     
    3boysandadog likes this.
  12. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    154
    Candidates only compete with kids within your district, unless your district has kids from top high schools or boarding schools like Andover guess graduating stats don't really matter. However when you have two students with same WCS maybe competitiveness of school might have more weight??
     
  13. MABlue

    MABlue Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    118
    @Blessedmom Thanks for the shout out to Andover! My BGO did in fact tell me that competitiveness of the school would certainly factor in, but more so in what percentage of graduates end up going to a four year university.
     
    GA-14classof2020app likes this.
  14. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    154
    Hi there I have few of my friends children at Andover, Groton, George & Hill.
     
  15. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    444
    My RC hinted that the percentage of graduates going to a four year college affects how class rank is valued for WCS.

    My view is that the Whole Candidate Scores also takes a holistic approach. The SAs are attempting to be objective by using a point system to evaluate candidates, but not everything can be quantified in a simple way. A valedictorian is a valedictorian, but can we say that a valedictorian from one school is equal to valedictorian at another school? Is it reasonable to assume or give more point to a valedictorian at a large school that sends most graduates to a four year college is better than a valedictorian at a small school that sends only 25% of graduates to a four year college? The simple answer is yes. The absolute answer is maybe.

    I often remind myself and others that SA admissions is about getting it right, not getting it perfect. With 15000 initial applicants with less than 6 months to come up with 1400 offers, SAs can't address all the exceptions. Kids with higher SAT/ACT tend to do better in college, but not all and they are exceptions. But how do we figure out which candidate with low SAT/ACT will be the exception? Being a FFR for 10+ years, I have seen many unfairness in the SA admissions process, but such is life. My DD might not make a varsity sports team at her school that she is good at as this team is very competitive, whereas if she went to a different school nearby she would probably been a four year varsity letter player as this school is small and the team is not competitive.
     
  16. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    131
    I do not doubt that the average test scores are rather high at your listed schools. :) Therefore it is logical not to critically judge class rank too closely at those HS's. Parents pay $56K for Groton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groton_School . I think it is safe to assume the student's family culture expects them to do their very best just we do in our family culture. Groton students also have the financial backing to later send them to an Ivy. So schools that focus too heavily on this Ivy attendance metric (and Ivy's certainly do) are bypassing a lot of high achievers. I'm not saying the SA's do. But I propose Ivy's do. They are private colleges so they can do whatever they want.

    As I mentioned, my DS came from a school and district that simply does not have a desire, funds, or whatever to go to an Ivy. It's not in his HS areas culture. So the kid with a perfect ACT, probably won't apply to an Ivy. If he does, he might be rounded down because they don't see a lot of Ivy history. More often than not, that perfect ACT student will take a free ride to the State Flagship or local private college. As the test scores do indicate, the average student certainly isn't in the same league. It goes without saying there will be stellar students inside of many schools (with more concentration in your boarding school examples). I propose many students are overlooked in that average ranked HS because the Ivy's pick the low hanging fruit and the Groton's of the world have admission relationships that definitely plays apart as to who gets in. Welcome to life (perception and relationships).

    While I am philosophizing, I propose THE most important factor in a quality education is a family culture that is both nurturing and driven. Putting it another way, so long as schools have the funding in place, I will go so far and say you will experience an equal caliber of education. In my example, HS kids in the district can and do take full time UofMN in 11th and 12th grade. It's why my DS validated biology 1&2, Chem 1&2, stats, calc1, and a few more classes that I don't remember. I propose Groton and the $56K price tag cannot compete with college level course work.

    As you might guess, it irks me to see that Ivy metric examined as a litmus test. Forgetting the SA and colleges for a moment, too many people look at HS rank as a prediction of how their DS or DD will do. I don't believe this is the case. The areas general education culture will have very little to do with the outliers (the cream of the crop that mandates they do their very best). To have equal footing, those "average" districts have to have programs in place to support the very best education and that will not result in higher average test scores. The family culture needs to be in place. For the average not-so-driven students, more money for programs does not help. Sorry for the rambling... That topic is near-and-dear to my heart. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  17. Sam2018

    Sam2018 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    68
    I agree. I honestly don't have a clue how many in our HS go to Ivies each year but I would guess the number is far less than those accepted or who could be accepted if they applied. The opinion here is why spend that kind of crazy money on undergrad. If a degree from Harvard or Yale is important do your graduate work there. Most don't want to go that far from home when we have very good, mostly less expensive schools in state.
     
    Eagle15 likes this.
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,806
    Likes Received:
    943
    MN Dad,

    I understand your point, but as others have stated it is part of their process, and the same would be true for most college admissions.

    I am someone that believes that a problem in our education system is socio-economic and I believe the SAs believe this too, hence why they have the diversity program.

    It is also a reason why the GCs submit their input so it can give a better background of the school too. It is not just ranking. As mentioned before SAs do have kids that are homeschooled or attend schools that do not rank. That GC report would address your scenario, but from a different aspect. They would see that if the top students are attending U of MN as seniors or have limited amount of APs being offered than they would not ding the student. However, if the school offers a ton of APs and the majority of students take them, while the applicant does not it says something to them.

    Plus, remember that appointments start at a geo-centric level 1st, meaning your congressman. This in theory places them on even footing since they are not competing with kids like NoVA where they have high caliber high schools.

    It is not me that created the system, I was just the messenger repeating what I have been told by multiple people, including the GC at my kids HS regarding the school profile is part of the official transcript.

    Finally, what my true goal was to state to posters that we cannot and should not state to people any type of chance with such very limited information. It can give false hope. Whereas, stating the process allows them to digest the process and at that point they can view situation with all of the info that they have at hand.

    Seriously, when it comes to the school profile aspect, if I had a penny for every candidate that in the beginning says I go to a competitive school, I would have been a millionaire already. It may be competitive in their eyes, but not from an admissions aspect because they are looking at that schools profile and your ACT/SAT.
     
  19. billyb

    billyb Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    31
    The academies know how to compare HS vs HS pretty well. They have been at it for awhile. I think they are pretty darn good at figuring the disadvantage (or advantage) of kids that aren't at the same HS for 4 years. They probably deal with that more than most colleges b/c of military brats that apply. My personal example...I went to normal HS for the 1st 2 years and then joined one of the first ever IB programs in the country for the last 2. Unfortunately for me, almost all of the kids in the IB program were in it for the first 2 years as well so they had much higher GPAs than I did due to all of their courses being honors courses. When I was applying for USMA my class rank was just above the top 50% (yep, 50%). My SAT was probably top 2% of the country. Due to my low class rank (mainly due to moving into the IB program late) I was a little surprised that I got into so many great colleges. I asked the guidance counselor and she told me that in my IB program 30% of the kids got into IVYs/MIT/Duke/Stanford/CalTech. The AVERAGE SAT score for my graduating class was in the top 10% of the country. With those stats colleges forgive a lot. She also noted on my record that I was disadvantaged due to coming into the program late. Note: sometimes those low class ranks on the USXA profile don't mean the student was not very smart.
     
  20. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    131
    Hi Pima, per my post above in bold, I wasn't shooting the messenger. :) It is what it is. I'll take a penny away from you... My DS and DD didn't go to a competitive HS (ranking).:bleh2: But rather both our kids got a quality education. It was there for the taking and they took advantage of what was offered. My point with the Groton example was that they simply have a MUCH higher average test scores and they are more college bound because they shed the unmotivated families. The same could be said about your NoVA HS suggestion as being stellar. Now too many unmotivated families can be detrimental to everyone (even the best and the brightest). That's when education turns into expensive babysitting ($18K spending per pupil at inner city schools). Shy of hiring new parents for the troubled youth, spending more is a waste. Unfortunately, most kids in middle America HS coast. Yes, that also happens at USAFA (a.k.a. "2.0 good to go").

    I think where you go to HS is semi-meaningless so long as there are opportunities and the schools are full of motivated teachers. "Averages" are dragged down by family cultures that don't care and don't represent the education they actually receive. Hence, I'm suggesting our "average" ranked school district in MN is extremely good. It has not held back our kids. I propose they have tapped their maximum potential. In other words, the $56K Groton price tag could not add any value.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016

Share This Page