Question for current AFA cadets

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Zach42014, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Zach42014

    Zach42014 Member

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    I'm wondering how hard the curriculm is at the AFA. I work very hard to get the grades I have now and want to make sure I'm not going to get in over my head. I take AP Physics and Calculus but I do struggle some times with some of the material. I work very hard and maintain a B in these courses. Although my grades are "good" 3.7 GPA and I'm ranked in the top 10% of a class of over 430 I'm wondering if the academics at the acadmey is a whole new level. I will work hard if I get into the AFA but I definitely don't want to wash out.
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Of course it's a whole new level. It's called "College". The only time where I've seen college be a little easier for new students, was just the first year or so for students who experienced 4 years of IB or a curriculum of all AP classes. But even that only lasted until about the 3rd semester. It's college, it's suppose to be hard. And it is going to be harder that high school. Now; if you're asking if it's harder than traditional colleges, the answer is yes and no. Most classes are the same as a traditional university. However; you have 2 things that make it a lot harder than a traditional college/university.

    1. Time: You've also got an entire military life/training that you are doing at the same time. And because of this, you don't have as much free time. Your entire day is pretty well booked up. The good thing is that your first 3 years there, you're not allowed to leave campus except on weekends and holidays. (Seniors can come and go pretty much any time they aren't in class or a scheduled formation)

    2. The academy requires approximately 140 credit hours to graduate instead of the traditional 120+/- hours. And you MUST do it in 4 years. There is no 5th year. You do it all and graduate in 4 years, or you don't graduate. But because your time isn't yours, you spend most of your free time during the week doing homework and other school work. So most everyone makes it through ok.

    Remember; you're not the first to go through this. Others have, and they've made it. Do some get there and realize it's either not for them or it's too much? Yes many do. The average class entering their freshman year is about 1300 students. Normally, about 50-80 will not make it through BCT. (Basic training the first 6 weeks). On graduation day, the average who gradutate is 950-1000. So there's about a 15% that choose to or can not finish. They usually figure this out in the first 2 years.
     
  3. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    Right, the academics itself isn't too hard. It's the balancing of various other activities that make it difficult at times.

    Trust me, you won't be in over your head... freshmen year isn't too bad and it'll ease the transition into sophomore year where it gets real ;)
     
  4. Zach42014

    Zach42014 Member

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    Scale of difficulty

    So on a scale of 1-10, how hard are the academics compared to how hard you "thought" they were going to be. I understand about the time committment based on all the other duties all cadets are subject to.

    We all have friends who seem to breeze through academics; I wish I was one of them :>) Again, if I get accepted I want to put to rest the "fear" of not be able to handle the academics.

    What happens when you are on academic probation? are you tutored or just restricted?
     
  5. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    i didn't know how it was going to be so i just went with it. Have some confidence in yourself.. you will do just fine.
    Put that fear to rest... it's really not what you should be fearing about as of now ;)

    AcPro: Restricted, weekend Academic hours depending on the squadron, other little things depending on the squadron like weekly reports, etc..
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Were you planning on going to college if not accepted to the air force? If yes, then it's the same thing. What makes it difficult, is as CadC mentioned, all the other military activities involved. But that's a double edge sword. The military part adds a lot to your plate. However, the military part takes away most of your off duty time mon-friday. So that means you'll have plenty of time to do the homework and classwork.

    Think of it as how do you compare the IB program or a full course load of AP classes to regular classes that the majority of kids are taking. That is how you can compare the Air Force Academy to a traditional college. Or; equate the academy to an ivy league school. They are more difficult than a traditional college; however for numerous different reason.

    But now compare the positive side. Imagine that you were put into the IB program or taking a full load of AP classes. It might seem to difficult. Now, image that your parents grounded you from all activities during the week and you weren't allowed to go out except on weekends. Well; then you'd have plenty of time to do that IB program or full AP course load. Well, that's how it is for the academy. Until you're a senior, you're basically restricted to the academy Monday-Friday. When you're no in class, you're pretty much just there. You're not going to the mall, going to a movie, going to your girl/boy friend's house, etc... So you have all the time in the world to do your homework and classwork.

    On a positive side; there are a lot of IC (Inter-Collegiate) athletes who not only has the same exact classes as you; with the same amount of homework and classwork; etc... but they even have LESS TIME because after classes, they are usually training/practicing for 2-3 hours each day. And yet they survive too.

    Yes, it helps if you are an academic brainiac. But you don't have to be. The number one thing to learn/develop is "TIME MANAGEMENT". If you can learn how to organize your time vs tasks; and aren't A.D.D. and easily gets distracted from what you should be concentrating on; then you will be fine.

    Academically, the first year is pretty easy. They are overloading you with military stuff, so they back off a little with academics. 2nd year; according to MOST opinions, is the most difficult academically. The 3rd year is better because you are working mainly on your major. 4th year is a blur. So many things happening; putting in for assignments; summer trips; basically finishing up required classes; excitement; anxiety; etc.... You go to sleep in September, and when you wake up, it's May and you're graduating. It's like; "How the hell did I get here?" Best of luck. mike....
     
  7. CranoOrden

    CranoOrden Member

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    "The first year is easy academically..."

    I don't 'completely' agree. Yeah, my GPA and OPA was good at the end of the semester. However, it's as challenging as it needs to be for each person. If you come in validating classes, you'll be put into sophomore core classes or advanced major/minor classes. Also, if you come in with a good AcComp and you have good grades at Prog you can get into the scholars program. Some kids have a hard enough time with just core. Kids I know just got kicked out for grades. So if someone thinks they can just "walk-through" freshman year...good luck.

    Between scholars class where I turned in a paper (6+ pages) by lesson 6, Spanish 222, and EngrMech, not to mention scholars Chem110 last semester (hardest class of my entire life), my freshman year, academically at least, has certainly not been "easy."
     
  8. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    im having a hard time seeing where someone said it was flat out easy. It can be hard at times but, for most people, freshmen year is a good transition into sophomore year academics. Looking back i thought having 5 classes was hard. Wish i could get that back!
     
  9. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    What's a typical schedule like? I mean, when do classes, military things, and homework time happen?
     
  10. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    Classes start at 0750 and run until 1630 for those with a 7th period class. After that is usually athletics, then dinner, then ACQ. Between classes is a good time to get ahead on homework.
     
  11. fruitytooties

    fruitytooties Member

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    On the appointment booklet there appears very few spare time between classes, the schedule appears to stack 7 classes very tightly. How do you find time to do your homework? Are some of the periods off periods?
     
  12. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    yes there are off periods
     
  13. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    If you're familiar with a block scheduling type system that's basically what AFA uses.
    Two type days - M days & T days. 7 periods each day.
    Son's schedule first semester was something like this (might have days confused) --
    M day, per 1&2 PE class for part of semester, 3 Engineering, 4 Behavior Science, 5 language; off 6&7;
    T day - per 1 Calc, 2 was off, 3&4 Chem, 5 language, validated swimming per 6&7 so had them off; also had intramurals on Tday.
    This semester -- M day 1&2 was water survival for part of semester but he validated so he has them off; 3 language, 4 comp science, 5&6 PHysics; 7 off; T day 1 is Calc, 2 is English, 3 language, 4 Eng Mechanics; will have PE 5&6 second part of semester, 7 intramurals
    Lunch is between periods 4&5. Each period is approx 50 min or so.
     
  14. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Well, I had my lowest GPA my 1st Semester. Academically, the 1st semester is easier, but the transition to academy life causes a rough transition for some.
     
  15. packermatt7

    packermatt7 USAFA Cadet

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    Schedule for one of my days:

    1-2 Chemistry (Double Period)
    3: Russian
    4: Behavioral Science
    5-6: Physics (Double Period)
    7: English Lit

    Opposite days I only have Russian and Calc 2.

    Yeah it's tough. You have to balance academics and military all the time as Freshman. Try to validate as much as you can when you get here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  16. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    One big difference I've noticed is that instructors don't "teach" as much as they do in high school. More preparation is required before class, and if you're unprepared, much of the day's lesson could go to waste. Also, it can get difficult to find motivation to actually do work when there's a lot of stressful things on one's mind.
     
  17. Sutter93

    Sutter93 Member

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    What kind of classes can you validate in your first year?
     
  18. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    You can validate into Calc II, advanced chem class, advanced compsci class, and advanced English class, I think. If anyone else has anything to add/change go for it.
     
  19. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    theres a whole bunch... physics.. econ the list goes on..
     
  20. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    Is there any way to validate Calc II, or is that the absolute highest? I'm taking Calc II currently at a community college, and I had about 50% of Calc II material covered in my Honors Calculus class last year.... It would be a bit frustrating to have to cover the disk and washer method a third time....
     

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