Is there more to it than academics?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Callmewojo, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Callmewojo

    Callmewojo New Member

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    I'm a junior in high school with a GPA over 4(top 10% in my class) and a 31 on my ACT. I've played baseball for four years with three varsity letters and have about 20 hours community service, including a spot on the National Honor Society. I've been talking to my dad who was a lifer in the Air Force and he told me that the academies looked a lot for leadership and community service, which he says I lack. He says I need more leadership to add and I really am not sure how I would get started on doing that. However my brother is in the Army and he works with grads and tells me that I'm nearly at all the requirements. I'm not sure whether or not I should start rushing to get a lot of community service hours or if it's even too late.
     
  2. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    If you are a 3 yr varsity baseball player, is becoming team captain a possibility? (if you are a Junior, how do you have 3 varsity baseball letters? Isn't it a spring sport?) Also, you are in the NHS, can you run for an officer position or chair a committee that will give you leadership and community service? You don't necc. have to join more clubs, if you can take leadership roles in the activities you are already involved in. Your Dad is correct, they want to see well rounded candidates in the areas of academics, athletics, leadership, and community involvement.

    I would also keep taking your ACT. 31 is a great score, but you still have time and room to improve!
     
  3. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    If baseball and National Honor Society are your only activities, then I would definitely try to add more extracurricular activities to show that you are well-rounded (not just school and baseball.) Check out the type of things current cadets and grads participated in: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/what-are-my-chances.14787/

    Do you have church mission trips that you went on? Could you volunteer at the hospital? Help at the Boys and Girls Club? It's not just West Point that wants to see other activities, it's civilian colleges too. (Remember, you need a Plan B if West Point doesn't happen.)
     
  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    I agree with your father.

    20 hours of community service after 2.5 years of HS is very light. Its great that you have done it, but seek out a lot more hours.

    Seek out (or create) leadership roles in athletics, school, clubs, volunteer activities, etc.
     
  5. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    Student council? Class officer? Start a tutoring program and you run it.
     
  6. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    Will it be a problem is DDs school does not have a student council and does not participate in the National Honor Society? She attends a very small high school (only 44 students in her junior class) and they do not foster academic competition among the student body. My DDs school also does not offer letters for sports. She has earned a High School Athlete award on her own from the United Equestrian Federation for 9, 10, 11 and will earn it for 12th as well next year. Her leadership comes from being a youth leader at church teaching 4th grade students, and she has also been the VP, historian and scribe of the Latin Club. She is a student mentor for new 6th graders guiding them through their first semester at a very rigorous school, teaching them study habits, note taking and efficient time management. The only other thing she can count as leadership is being a member of the school Life Team which represents the school in the community and helps run and set up the student body events such as teacher luncheons, dances, music department concerts and graduation. She has also been a girl scout for 12 years and earned the bronze and silver award. She will earn her gold award by the end of May. Does her leadership profile look competitive enough?
     
  7. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    Dad - lifer in the Air Force - gets you Presidential nomination. That's good. But no guarantee.
    3 yrs of Varsity Baseball - as was stated above - become team captain
    31 ACT - excellent - but don't sit on it - take it again - what's your math score? Get that up as high as possible. If it's not now the highest part of your ACT, stop and study nothing but math.
    Go to your state's American Legion Boys State website and see if you can still get a slot. Hurry.
     
  8. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    She should look into the equestrian team at USNA!! Don't know what discipline she rides, but worth checking out! Anyone know if the give blue chips for the equestrian team?
     
  9. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    Blondie1, yes we know the USNA has an equestrian team and so does USAFA. We were mainly looking for information regarding whether or not she would be competitive to get into the academy if she does not have access to NHS, student council or even lettered sports. It seams as if the class profiles include large percentages of lettered athletes, NHS and offices held on student council. She really has no access to those, although the USEF is a letter for equestrian athletes, do the academies count that as lettering in a sport even though it is not through the high school?
     
  10. topnotch

    topnotch Member

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    I highly second Boys State participation if it is not too late. My son was similarly qualified as yourself academically, athletically and volunteer/leadership wise. However he had NY Boys State on his aplication, not only as an attendee but as active participant who ran for and held elected positions of leadeship, mayor then county exec.
     
  11. MammaMia

    MammaMia Member

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    @FalconsRock - she is doing well maximizing her opportunities within her unique situation. If her school does not offer NHS, they can't fault her for not being a member. GS Gold Award is quite an honor! Congrats to her and keep up the great work.
     
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  12. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    Thank you MammaMia, we are trying our best. I have been reading all the gpas, test scores etc. My DD has an unweighted 3.98 and a weighted 4.85 GPA but is ranked #8/44 which is only in the 18% of her class. It may be a silly assumption, but I hope they take into consideration the small class size and the fact that the school only offers all honors classes without electives. It's a tough school, but she loves it there.
     
  13. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Callmewojo. I would answer your question with a question. Why wouldn't you continue to improve your application in any way possible?
     
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  14. MammaMia

    MammaMia Member

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    @FalconsRock, I'm sure they will take the small sample size into consideration when looking at class rank. Her grades look excellent. DS has played a sport at the national level for many years, which limited his available time for ECs outside of sports and NHS, and still got an appointment to USNA (yes, I check out other boards too!). Sounds like the Life team your DS is involved with gives her the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and initiative - those things are important even in a small school. I think a lot of it has to do with telling her "story" in a compelling way that acknowledges some of the limitations of being in a small school, but shows how she has made the most of it and is ready to take it to the next level.
     
  15. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    Your school sounds very much like my kids' school. They offer no electives, no AP classes, only Honors Classes, no Student Council, no NHS, no club officers and a class size of fewer than 20. My DD was able to get a NROTC and 4 year AROTC Scholarships (she did not want to attend an academy) and DS currently has appointments to USNA and USMA. They looked for opportunities for leadership outside of school and became informal student leaders at school that the faculty recognized. They both did have sports, however, so that was the only difference. I would say your DD definitely can be competitive!
     
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  16. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    Thank you all for the replies. It looks like she is on the right track. I will pass this on to her and tell her to keep trucking along.
     
  17. 845something

    845something Member

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    Gold Award is equivalent to Eagle Scout which is a top extra curricular leadership activity for USMA. Going to Boys State/Girls State won't add much, but making it to Nation would. Something to keep in mind.

    Athletically, the lack of a varsity letter/sport will make competing tough. First and foremost, your DD needs to communicate the lack of in school sport opportunities to their RC. In that same conversation, they need to indicate how they have made up for that. Athletic leadership carries the same weight as extra curricular leadership (note, leadership, not physical fitness), so missing it will significantly bring down your DD's overall leadership assessment.
     
  18. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Your DD leadership accomplishments are just a part of it. If you attend any admissions briefing, you will learn that the candidate evalation is borken downt to 60% academic, 30% ledership, or 10% physical. The leadership evaluation is broken futher down into leadership activities, sports, and school official evaluation. So with some baseline leadership activities, a better return on your DD's effort is improving academics, not another club or sports. The admissions office can grant varsity sports equivalency -based on competitiveness, time involved, and etc. So a candidate who is a black belt in Karate that spend 10 hours a week would more than likely get a varisty letter equivalency.
     
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  19. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    845something, my DD does have a athletic letter equivalent from the United States Equestrian Federation which she earned in 9,10,11th grade and will earn again her senior year. She spends over 250 hours a year training and competing combined in her sport. Her school does offer sports such as football, basketball, soccer etc. but they do not award letters for any athlete. With her commitment to riding, there is no time for other types of sports. She does keep physically fit by running and doing p90X on the days she is not riding. Her academics are stellar, so no problem there. She was just worried about her leadership, but it looks like she is OK there too. Her SAT/ACT scores are competitive as well. She is mounting up and getting ready for the ride of her life applying to the USAFA. Giddyup!:wiggle:
     
  20. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    FalconsRock, remember USNA will look at school profile heavily. If she is in a class of 44 and 10 of those end up at Ivies or similar type schools that pulls alot of weight. School profiles will probably really help her here. Also, not having a school sport might be a hit, but she has so much other great stuff. I think its key that her coach from equestrian really highlight at what level she is competing and her leadership skills she has shown. Also teacher and girl scout recommendations for things that demonstrate her ability to work within team activities and lead. I imagine as a GS awardee she has led lots of projects and events. Even though her school might not have certain things I would imagine she has tons of experience through other avenues that can demonstrate her leadership ability. Equestrian is an ECA at USNA, so no Blue Chips.

    OP, you have a great resume. I think you know the areas you could use a little boost in. Continue to push on the ACT scores. Also, focus on leadership things. They don't have to be formal things like team captain, they certainly help though. You can lead volunteer things for your team like helping little leagues out, holding clinics, etc. These are volunteer opportunities and leadership challenges if you step up and coordinate and lead them. Habitat for Humanity over the summer, food pantries, soup kitchens, animal shelters, church volunteer outings, etc. All chances to volunteer and step up to lead. I think if you want to be an officer and go to a SA, absolutely apply.
     
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