Science Classes

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by tonk002, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. tonk002

    tonk002 Member

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    Today I received a mailing from USMA, which was basically a big brochure. It gave a recommendation for courses one should take to be competitive for admission. One section said that a candidate should have completed 4 years of science over high school, two being lab sciences. I already completed my two lab sciences: honors Bio and Physics. I am a junior now, and was not scheduled to take a science this year, but will take chem next year. I was planning on taking french 4 next semester, so I would have four years of french. If I took french four this year, I would take Arabic next year. Would it be wise to take geology instead of french 4, so I would have four years of science, or should I stick to my original plan. I am a very good humanities student (history, language, and English) but I'm not a great science student. I do manage B+'s or A-'s in science, though. Should I take more advanced humanities courses and do well, or take another science course to meet the four year recommendation? Advice from 2015 candidate would be great, especially from those who have received their nominations. Did you all take 4 years of science?

    Thank you for your help.
     
  2. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    I'm a cadet mom and I will tell you what my cadet did in high school--Honors Earth Environmental, Honors Biology, Honors Chemistry, Honors Physics, and AP Physics. I would not skip a year taking a science or a math. My cadet is taking chemistry this semester at West Point and it's a real booger.

    West Point asks candidates to have a chemistry or physics teacher complete an online form for their application. I can't remember if a biology teacher was included in the choices or not, but I don't think so. Someone can correct me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  3. AKH

    AKH Member

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    You're right Dixieland, a Biology teacher was not included in the possible teachers for the Science evaluation, only Chemistry or Physics instructor.

    I took Honors Bio, Honors Chem, Honors Physics, and I'm now in AP Physics. I think you'll be missing a lot if you don't take four years of a science, and I would even consider making it an AP course or your equivalent. Personally, my AP Physics course has been one of the few classes that has challenged me and forced me to buckle down and truly study effectively.
     
  4. abeastlybeast

    abeastlybeast USMA Class of 2015

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    Since West Point is so math and science orientated, I would definitely aim for taking 4 years of science. I took Honors Biology, Honors Chemistry, AP Physics B and now I'm taking AP Physics C my senior year. Even if the classes are difficult for you, if you show great effort and manage at least a B, that's a good thing. Language is not as important to West Point as science and math.
     
  5. FBItomboy007

    FBItomboy007 Member

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    I would definitely echo what others above me have said. I took/am taking Physics, Honors Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Physics, and AP Chemistry (yeah... I really like science). Even if you are not a strong science student, however, it will put you at an advantage when you get to West Point to have taken these classes, as you will have to take two semesters of both Chemistry and Physics. I would definitely make sure to take at least one year of each of these in high school so you don't start behind you classmates. Good luck to you!
     
  6. jake s

    jake s USMA Cadet

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    I guess I'll be the odd one out on this discussion-- I am not taking a science this year (my senior year). I took honors physical science as an 8th grader, honors biology as a freshman, honors chemistry as a sophomore, and honors physics as a junior. I was going to take AP Chemistry, but after I recieved my LOA in mid-July I figured that two AP classes were enough for my senior year.

    Don't forget to enjoy your senior year a little bit, too-- the next four years will suck at times and will be extremely tough academically, physically, and mentally. Enjoy the company of your family and friends and your last year of being a civilian.

    You really can't go wrong with your decision, though. It is all about your personal preference and which class you will get more out of. Taking another science course over taking Arabic will not affect your application or your chances of admission a great deal in the long run.

    Just dont decide to skip out on a science class here, a math class there, blow off goverment class, and take underwater basketweaving as an elective. Then you might have some problems!
     
  7. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Food for thought:

    This is going to sound harsh but..... If you are not science oriented or do not like science or are not good at science then you should think long and hard about pursuing an appointment to West Point.
    At least, understand completely what will be REQUIRED of you in terms of science in order for you to graduate.
    You will take Chemistry both semesters, your freshman year. During your sophomore year you will take Calculus based Physics. You will take A LOT of advanced Math - Calculus and above.

    Please have a clear understanding that these are not electives for certain majors but rather requirments for all graduates. If you choose not to take challenging science classes in high school - i.e. Chemistry, Physics, Chem II, Physics II, AP Chem, AP Physics then you run the risk of a) presenting a 'weak' application or b) not being as prepared for the rigor required as you should be.
     
  8. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Technically speaking, from an admissions standpoint, you will meet your required science courseload with either plan. The minimums that a candidate should take are chemistry and physics (as lab courses), plus biology. In the event that a school doesn't offer Chem and physics, admissions will accept a Biology lab course as a substitute. Having a plan to take all three means you have essentially hit the "high points" of the science curriculum.

    In my day, we had to take biology as a freshman and then, if we chose to do so, AP biology as a junior or senior. So my record had bio twice plus physics and Chem.

    Either plan is not a bad one. USMA is indeed a liberal arts curriculum, and in recent years has shifted more that way. It used to be that the engineering track was a 5-course sequence for non-engineering majors. That has been reduced to 3 courses, with the two vacancies being replaced by a second year of computer science (IT) and a second year of foreign language.

    Rather than worrying about how much more science to take, I would recommend that you take care to excel in your science classes, regardless of which course of action you choose. Hard work in chemistry will pay huge dividends plebe year, as it will be fresh in your mind.
     
  9. tonk002

    tonk002 Member

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    @Just a Mom- It is true that science is not my favorite class to be in during the day. However, I continue to try hard in all of my science courses (like my other courses), and do fairly well - just not as well in my history and language courses. As I am only a junior, I still don't know if WP is right for me, even after visiting. It is a long process that takes time. BUT, after visiting, I found that the political science program was outstanding-a major that I want to pursue. At any rate, after visiting both WP and some Senior Military Colleges, (mainly Norwich University and North Georgia College and State University), I know that I want to attend a military school, whether that be at an academy or a SMC.

    Scout Pilot-I sent you a PM
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2010

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