Senior Classes and Noms?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by warrior101, May 7, 2013.

  1. warrior101

    warrior101 Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am currently in the process of slating my classes for next year and came upon a dilemma. I have my seven classes that will be best for me for applying (no study hall), and then I have an open slot. My choices are symphonic band or aerospace engineering. I honestly don't know how much it would matter to AFA, but I figure it is better to be safe than sorry. If you could post your opinions that would be awesome thanks!

    On a side note (I'm sure it is on this forum but) do nomination sources (such as senators/congressmen) select their nominees AFTER the nomination application deadline? Thanks!

    PROS TO BAND:

    -Easy A
    -Not a rigorous class
    -It is a fine art (fine arts are a plus on applications, correct?)

    PROS TO AE:

    -Close to my prefered major (which is aeronautical engineering)
    -Not an extremely rigorous class
    -Weighted more for AFA?

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  2. jmk0601

    jmk0601 Member

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    if you can get a natural A in an engineering class, go for the engineering.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Well, they'd be lying to their constituents if they made their selection prior to the application deadline. Oh wait, they're members of Congress... never mind.
     
  4. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    When you provide your transcript (and therefore classes) to the academy, a person will look at them, not a computer. While the final GPA you get may slightly differ (3.734 vs. 3.700) depending on a B or not in the engineering course, the overall picture you present will differ even more depending on the class.

    Put yourself in their shoes: If you could select between the kid in band or the kid in engineering (given the rest of their profiles are identical, bar a slight GPA difference) which would you choose?
     
  5. Dad

    Dad Member

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    :yllol:
     
  6. nn139

    nn139 USAFA Appointee 2017

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    Honestly, you should do whatever class interests YOU. As with any top notch school, the Academy likes to see well rounded individuals who follow their passions and make commitments to whatever they choose to do.

    As far as weighting goes, unless the classes specifically have the word "Honors" in their title, neither class will be weighted differently. Also, I believe the academic rigor of your school, and your performance under these conditions, will have a greater impact on your Academy weighted GPA than a single class.
     
  7. ameisen_zug

    ameisen_zug Reapplicant

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    Hi everyone! I had a question relating to my senior class schedule and classes I should take. I've been thinking about this for awhile, and finally decided to ask the wise community of SAF. As my old school didn't offer AP this will be my first year taking AP classes (although I am not stranger to heavy work loads, I took 8 classes my junior year.)

    I am taking these classes for sure:

    AP Calc AB
    AP Physics
    APUSH
    German V

    I also want to mention I will be transferring to a new school for my senior year.

    I still have to choose classes for 5th and 1st period.

    5th period I have the choice between AP Euro and some sort of Computer applications class. I know the academy recommends taking Computer Science, but I REALLY want to take AP euro. (I would be doubling up USH and Euro, but I'm really a history buff, and I think I would enjoy it) but taking AP Euro would mean that I wouldn't have any sort of Technology class on my transcript.

    and for 1st period have to decide between AP Lit or another more "fluffy" class (Classical Mythology and Debate) The thing is, I don't want to take AP lit. But I'm feeling pressure from other students who are taking 5 and 6 AP classes and managing to stay afloat. I'm also concerned if I DO decide to take AP euro (which I probably will) I wouldn't be able to manage AP lit on top of all that. My counselor said 5 is usually the max he recommends, and that is for kids who don't have sports.

    Basically:

    Should I take the computer applications class or go for it and take AP Euro?

    Would I be penalized for not taking AP Lit my senior year? I'm much more interested in debate, and the syllabus doesn't look to interesting for AP lit. Plus I would hit the 5 AP class limit on top of my already hectic life, and I feel that would be the breaking point for me.

    Although I have more or less decided what I want to take, I'm worried that not taking the AP lit class will prevent me from being a 'well balanced academic individual'

    Thanks!
     
  8. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Ameisen,

    Some of the veteran posters here will likely give you more specific/accurate advice... but my first thought is about you as a senior student starting in a new school.

    IMHO 4 AP classes is more than enough for anyone. Leave some time in your life/schedule to take some stuff that interests you too. And time for activities you enjoy. Time for clubs you can participate in. And JUST as important... time to enjoy your senior year and being a kid!

    You sound like an exceptional young person, and soon enough you may well be an exceptional cadet in the military. In the meantime, don't forget to smell the roses and have some fun.

    Good luck!
     
  9. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

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    I'm pretty sure that USAFA wants you to have 4 years of high school English. Since you're already taking APUSH, instead of doubling up on history, maybe it might be better to take AP Lit instead of AP Euro. That being said, since you're schedule is already really hectic, you might want to try to take a non-AP English class instead of AP Lit. All of the classes you are for sure taking are all A LOT of work so giving yourself a break in English isn't a bad thing.
     
  10. Raptor16

    Raptor16 Member

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    In terms of AP course load, I was able to balance 8 classes--6 of which were AP, with sports, activities and fun. It was difficult no doubt, but doable. However, like you said, YOU know yourself better than anyone. If you feel like you can/can't handle a specific load go with your gut.

    For the specific classes I think it's kind of a toss up. As I understand it, you only have the choice between AP Euro/Computer for one class and AP lit/Debate for the other. If so I would go with what you're more interested in between AP Euro/computer and if it was me, I would go with AP lit as that gives you an oppertunity to validate if you get a 5 on the AP exam. Hope this helps! :thumb:
     
  11. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    First and foremost, any institution that is hiring/accepting applicants is looking for the person that pushes their limits and succeeds, not the one that bites off more than he can chew.

    If you know that you can juggle all of those classes, go for it. I personally think that 5 should be an absolute max on AP classes if you want to still have a job, do volunteer work and ESPECIALLY if you play sports (they take up a LOT of time!). Also remember that they want to see a student that can excel in many areas: including everything from English to history to computers to math to speaking and leadership skills. If you think you are nearing your breaking point, don't gamble your grades on it.

    Now, as a graduating senior, I can give you a perspective from my school:

    AP Lit is a VERY hard class. Our kids read something like 8 novels, and write papers on all of them as well as testing and writing and the whole sh-bang. It is not for the faint of heart. I personally picked AP Language and Comp over it, which involved no reading (although last years class did have to read a novel and write a paper on it) and just lots of easy writing.

    AP Physics B and C are different classes, and you did not mention which one you are speaking of. A private high school near mine offers one AP Physics class that is a combination of Physics I, Physics B and I believe they take the B test. Physics B is mostly Physics I mechanics and a brief introduction into a few topics including nuclear reactions, electricity, magnetism, photon interaction, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics etc. Physics C is, more or less, less topics than B but MUCH more in-depth.

    AP Euro was an introductory class in my school (meaning we never had it until this year) so the teacher was not as tough on us as she should have been. That being said, however, I can tell you from other people's experiences in nearby high schools and from my opinion after taking the AP test that AP Euro covers a LOT of information. Again, it is not impossible, but you must be prepared to make time lines and study guides in order to digest the amount of memorization required. Several students who took APUSH last year and APEuro this year told me that the APUSH test was much less broad and therefore easier.

    In my personal opinion (which most of this post is) my java comp sci class I am taking this year has been invaluable to me because I had no formalized education in coding before this and the teacher is very accessible. Also, my school does not have a debate class but does have a debate team that I was unable to join because I was working part-time and participating in many other activities. I would have loved to have join the debate team.


    The easiest way to make your decision will be to think of this: what am I learning from my classes, sports, extra-curriculars, jobs, etc., how am I spending my time, and what can I take from these things that USAFA will want to see in their cadets? You should push yourself for sure, but don't sacrifice your extra-curriculars for GPA, and don't sacrifice your GPA to slack off.
     
  12. ameisen_zug

    ameisen_zug Reapplicant

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    bmw17: Thank you for the insight. I have 3.5 of the 4 required of English for graduation. And for some reason My school has 'Debate', 'classical Mythology', 'technical writing', and a few other classes listed for English credit. We don't seem to have an "English I" English 2" like my old school.

    Ambition: Thank you for the well versed reply. I would totally take AP lang and comp, but my school only offers AP Lit. Although I'm sure I could manage to get out of that class alive with at least a B (while taking EURO ans USH), it would probably be the cherry on top that would burn me out before I even start college. If I took it without, I would probably do fine.. Do you know if I would be able to use APUSH and APEuro to validate anything? I already have 3 1/2 years of English, but if taking AP lit means validating, it would definitely be something to consider.

    I will also talk to some of my sisters friends who have taken the class with our schools teacher. If they seem to like it, and the homework load isn't to heavy, I will consider.

    I was told "AP Physics". It will be the first year it will be offered at my school, and next years class will be the guinea pigs. That may or may not be a good thing.

    I'm planning on doing school sports fall and spring seasons, along with CAP, ROTEX/Roteract and youth chorus. I really don't want to have to put any of my other activities at stake for the sake of an AP class. Thus why I am treading on water when it comes to picking out this years schedule.

    Thanks Again!

    MedB: Thank You for the compliment. I'm really worried that I'll burn myself out this year. I might just take one of the 'fluffy' classes my school offers for English to give myself room to breathe and prepare for my applications. I'll talk to some of my sisters friends about their experience with this schools AP classes, and hopefully I can gain some insight. You do make an important point :)
     
  13. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    I think there is nothing wrong with taking a "fluffy" english class when you have that many APs already. I opted not to take AP lit and took "college writing" instead, which was the biggest joke of a class ever. It allowed me time to do very well in my other AP and honors classes (AP Calculus and my schools first year of teaching honors physics are the big ones I remember, my school did not offer many APs when I was there). I was playing year round tennis, traveling to tournaments about twice a month, as well as CAP, National Honors society, and marching band and I wanted to enjoy my senior year, not burn myself out.

    As for validating, here is a link with info on that (scroll down and be sure to read the notes annotated at the bottom) http://www.academyadmissions.com/the-experience/academics/grading/

    Classes in the 300s are all majors classes except for stats, which is required in some form for everyone, so it looks like your history classes would not be helpful unless you are going to major in history.
     
  14. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Symphonic Band... have you been in marching or symphonic band your entire high school career (albeit different schools)? Do you have a real desire to continue on playing music in your adult life? Have you considered the musical options at USAFA?

    All those academic courses are great, but the musical courses are important too, to your development as a well rounded person.

    How about a paying job? maybe instead of "extra courses" choose to get a job in the off season (or on-season if you really want to drive your parents crazy)? Or maybe a volunteer position at your local library or fire department or nursing home? Sure, these are not academics but they will make you a "fuller" person.

    Just suggestions from an old mom.
     
  15. musi

    musi Member

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    Next year I'm scheduled for Ap calculus Bc, Ap comparative comparative govt., Ap English 5, Honors French 5, Theology, and band/Rotc. I am scheduled to have an off period but would it be better for me to take computer science or chem. 2 Ap
     
  16. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    musi: do what you can handle. I had two periods off my senior year so I could do well in my classes but still remain committed and competitive at tennis. If you have a full schedule, there is nothing wrong with a free period to help stay caught up. I used mine to run and do homework and it was SO nice having that little bit of extra time.
     
  17. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    I was a test student for my first year AP Euro course. Let me tell you, not fun. It requires a lot of work and can be anywhere from very easy tests to majorly overboard ones. If you take AP Physics, you won't be able to validate anyway BUT the class is very useful if you plan on majoring in something science ish.

    I believe you are able to validate Lit, Euro, and USH but don't quote me on that.

    Also I would like to add that nothing can give you a better perspective on a particular class at your school than to ask for the opinions of people who have taken the class and then taking into account what else they do with their time.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  18. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

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    I would suggest taking debate or something... tacking on AP Euro would be A LOT and you don't want to stretch yourself too thin.
     

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