No Science Senior Year?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by grayhansen, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. grayhansen

    grayhansen New Member

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    I have reached a predicament.

    I am currently in my Junior year in high school and am at the point where I must choose senior classes. This year I have come to a realization... I am TERRIBLE at anything and everything that has to do with science. Last semester I received a C in AP Chemistry! A C!!! I am most definitely a history, government, English kind of guy. I intend to go to West Point and my intended major is International Relations. So here is the question...

    Should I take a science senior year?

    If I did not take a science, I would definitely replace it with an AP class; probably in the field of Social Studies. Would choosing not to take a science hurt my chances of getting an appointment? Please advise.
     
  2. PAWestPoint96

    PAWestPoint96 Member

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    I would still highly recommend taking a science class. WP is a math and science oriented school and they pay a lot of attention to those grades and classes. I would recommend taking Physics (if you haven't already), and not AP if you think you'll receive a C or lower. I'm also like you and tend to lean towards history and literature, but I made sure to take 4years of math and science (even when I didn't have to). AP courses are always good, but I would think that WP would take it that you are trying to avoid a study problem by not taking a 4th year science class, which makes your academic strength look weak. Plus you're most likely going to have to take the first level of these science classes when you're at WP anyways, so might as well get yourself familiar with the material now. Hope this helps!
     
  3. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

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    Most colleges (top colleges, anyway) like to see science all 4 years, ESPECIALLY a service academy such as West Point. The service academies place an emphasis on STEM stuff (which is why all graduates receive a bachelor of science degree).

    So I'd say yes, not taking science would definitely hinder chances of appointment.
     
  4. navymomwannabe

    navymomwannabe Member

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    I concur. Science is necessary. Physics is a good idea. If you feel like you will have a hard time with it, then get a tutor early but push through the science class.
     
  5. grayhansen

    grayhansen New Member

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    I'll take standard Physics next year. Thank you guys for the guidance!
     
  6. CannotBeDisplayed

    CannotBeDisplayed Member

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    Not quite the same as not having science, but I was almost not able to take a math class this year because my school only offers alg. 1 (which I took in 8th grade), geometry, alg. 2, and pre-calculus (which I took in 11th grade), but it is generally a very bad idea to skip math for a year if you have any postsecondary plans, service academy or not. I did some digging around, though, and I talked to my guidance counselor, who found some colleges that offered online math courses. I ended up taking contemporary math the first semester, and I am taking college algebra for the second semester. Not only were they definitely better alternatives to not having a math class, but I've also learned a lot, relearned things I had forgotten, got an A in the first class and I have an A in the second class right now, and the fact that they're college classes and add a bit of a challenge looks great on my resume and service academy applications.

    You may or may not be interested in taking a college/possibly dual-credit science class, but there is nothing wrong with physics, either. I had a blast (literally, with rockets) in that class, too! In either case, I hope you figure it out, and best of luck to you in your endeavor to earn an appointment to the class of 2019! :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  7. davidhwang

    davidhwang Member

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    hey man, I was in the same dilemma as you were when I was a junior. Just like you, I lean towards history, govt, current events, etc. Just take standard physics, I got a C in IB HL biology both 2 of semesters of my junior year and I dropped it so I can take regular physics my senior year. 4 years of science is a must for any decent colleges these days, anyways. Taking a regular science class felt reallyyyy good. It definitively takes some pressure off from your senior year.
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I would like to point out that there is no way to avoid lots of math and science at one of the academies regardless of your major. My kid is like you and went the NROTC route in part because of math. He had to do two semesters of statistics at his college to complete his core math requirement and he did fine, but it was all the math (more actually) than he wanted. Be sure to consider an ROTC program as a plan B if science is really that difficult for you.
     
  9. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    This. Assuming you don't validate anything, you'll take:
    Chemistry x 2
    Physics x 2
    Environmental x 1
    Engineering Track x 3 (more science-y if you go the Environmental Eng route)

    +Math x 4
     
  10. powderhorngreen

    powderhorngreen Member

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    You said you are currently a junior. Why not take a calculus and/or physics class at a local junior college this summer. This would then put you in a great place to take AP or Honors Physics your senior year. My son did something similar to ensure he could kick it senior year in AP Chemistry and AP Calculus. (He had already taken honors Physics).
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  11. LJM

    LJM Member

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    If you're more of a social sciences/humanities guy, I would really recommend AP Biology. I'm not a huge science guy either, but if you look at the way an advanced biology course is structured, it's very similar to a social studies class. I am taking it this year and really enjoying it.

    You really need to take a science course your senior year. When I first reached out to my local liaison officer for USAFA, he directly asked me which of the three (Bio, Chem, Phys) AP sciences I was planning on taking my senior year. I didn't end up applying there, but considering the application processes for all of the academies are largely homogeneous, I would imagine it is something West Point looks for as well.
     
  12. 845something

    845something Member

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    Things to consider:

    USMA requirement to be academically qualified: 2 years of a lab science. So in addition to your Chemistry, you better have already taken a year of probably biology. If not, you need to take Physics.

    Your last impression to 1) your RC and 2) potentially someone from the Chem department reviewing your file is you are capable of C level science work at the HS level (AP without the test results is just a potentially honors HS class).

    If you take the ACT and your science score is marginal, your file definitely goes to the Chem department for review.

    You must have a SOE from a chemistry or physics teacher. What do you think your SOE is going to say from your chem teacher...

    If you think that you're are definitely going to WP, you will take Physics. Do you want to learn the material for the first time while at the Academy or would you rather have at least covered the topics once before. Remember, WP uses the Thayer method, so you'll have to "teach" it to yourself before class.
     
  13. colinmcd

    colinmcd Member

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    Well put 845something


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  14. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Two ways to look at this

    - West Point don't necessarily care about how many science classes you take as they look at your class rank first. Even for School Official Evaluation, they will accept evaluation from Chemistry or Physics taken during your sophomore year. So taking more science classes to make your transcript look balanced could hurt you if you don't get good grades.

    - If you don't take Physics and Chemistry, it can hurt you at West Point. Don't forget, getting an appointment is your short term goal, but graduating is more important.
     
  15. jackiejyp7

    jackiejyp7 Jackie

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    Hi,
    I am a 2018 Appointee and am also planning to study IR. West Point is heavily math and science based, a difficulty I also faced as those are my weakest subjects. However, a B should be sufficient, and if you are getting a C consistently, a regular science class is sufficient. Rumor is that my class will take 2 semesters of chemistry, 1 of physics, and 1 of biology all plebe year. Therefore, I can only assume they will incorporate more science and math as the years pass. Working on your weaknesses is key. Even for admissions to any other top college requires 4 units of sciences and math, or at least, strongly recommends it.
     
  16. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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  17. jackiejyp7

    jackiejyp7 Jackie

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    I am a part of the official Facebook group for my class and that is what I've been told. The admin is confirming it.
     
  18. My3Sons2017

    My3Sons2017 Member

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    Jackiejyp7, is the admin of the FB group another 2018 appointee? You will hear lots of rumors on the FB groups, so take things with a grain of salt. The two semesters of chemistry is a definite, but biology probably not unless they are changing classes for 2018 plebes. Physics also doubtful...I have a plebe that took AP Chem in HS, scored a 5 on the exam and is still taking advanced chemistry his plebe year. I would think physics would be YUK year, maybe a current YUK would know for sure.
     
  19. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    I would like to know what source is "confirming" this.
     
  20. jmvogel

    jmvogel Member

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    I would definitely take a science next year. The academies love seeing a good course load of math and science courses. Maybe something like AP Biology or AP Environmental Science would suit you better? (if your school offers them) Also, if you want to really help your chances of getting in, I would recommend possibly retaking your first semester of AP Chem, a C does not look too hot on a transcript.
     

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