Seriously Need An Answer

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by JohnDough, May 1, 2015.

  1. JohnDough

    JohnDough New Member

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    I am currently a freshman in college. After receiving my LOA from West Point in October, I received and accepted my appointment in February of this year. However, I have had a really rough semester.

    As I was asked by West Point, I enrolled in pre-calculus. My school is notorious for its terrible math program, and I am not just exaggerating or complaining. I have turned in all my assignments on time, gone to several tutoring sessions, and visited with my teacher to understand the material better. I am doing well in my class work, but the class is weighted heavily towards exams, and I have done poorly on them. I have my final exam this upcoming week, and it is looking more than likely that I will make a D in the class.

    I have spent so much time stressing over this class. I know this question has been asked here several times, but I am terrified to ask my admissions rep; can someone realistically give me an answer as to whether this will affect my admission? I have worked so hard this past year to get into West Point, and the thought of losing my admission solely because of this class truly keeps me up at night.

    If it helps, I have As and Bs in my other classes, including an A in chemistry. And most of the class is online and I can prove how much time I've actually spent on it, because the hours are logged.
     
  2. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Yep, I can give you an answer because what you describe is what my friend's son just lived. My friend's son called his FFR and told him there was a very real possibility of a D. (this was in Chem 2). All semester this has been a killer class, but one particularly bad test grade suddenly made the grade between a C/D instead of a B/C. FFR called the admissions rep to inquire and was told that it was very likely not going to be a big deal, but to keep admissions informed. In the meantime, this kid worked with tutors, met w/ the teacher multiple times, and basically did everything he could to avoid a D. If he scored below a 70 on the final, he'd have a D in the class. Preparation paid off and he made an 88. You are smart to be concerned, but hiding what is going on from admissions doesn't do anything but make you anxious. Call your FFR if you don't want to call your RC, but they will see your grades in a few weeks regardless. Wouldn't it help you get through finals if you knew you were not going to get your appointment pulled? I know that it sure helped my son to know--er, oops, I mean my friend's son. :rolleyes:
     
  3. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    This experience will actually help you at West Point. You now know from experience that you have to seek help at the first sign of "trouble". You did all of the things that West Point wants cadets to do during the academic year when they are struggling in a class---seek help, meet with the professor for extra assistance, find a tutor, work as hard as you can on the material. Unfortunately, many cadets wait until it's too late to take those steps. Your tenacity will serve you well at West Point.
     
  4. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Continue to get EI, pay for a tutor if necessary.

    But do alert the proper folk.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Just out of curiosity, what is your intended major?

    The reason I ask is if it is engineering or STEM and pre-calc is an issue, it might become a bigger issue once at WP. We are not talking Calc II or statistics, but pre-calc. That is a foundation class.

    Good luck. I am positive you will do fine once there, because you have illustrated your academic motivation, but be prepared for what you may face once at WP.
     
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  6. JohnDough

    JohnDough New Member

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    I'm currently a political science major. I have never exactly excelled at STEM courses (but I have always passed them), and this was my first time ever taking pre-cal. However, my school's math department is actually terrible. For this particular class, most of the "teaching" is actually done online, through a program; in the lecture, the teacher only reviews what the program had taught us for the week. To make things worse, there are around 80 people in my class, which makes meeting with him a pain that I suffer through.

    I have remained proactive, attending extra tutoring sessions with my teacher at least twice a week, and I always turned in my class assignments ahead of schedule. The problem is that the school doesn't care whether or not I pass, because failing a required course means more money for them. In fact, a huge percentage, if not the majority, of current pre-cal students have taken the course in the past. I am at a huge state school (25,000), the teachers are understaffed, underpaid, and overworked, so they are generally apathetic.

    The only reason why I have any hope is that, since the class is online, there are logs of everything I have done. I can use it as proof to West Point that I was not just slacking.
     
  7. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    John, I think the concern is that your math aptitude is not strong. Pre-cal is a class most take in high school...so that is worrisome for future success. I truly don't think you have to worry about losing your appointment, but certainly you should be in touch w/ WP now. You'll be tested during CBT and placed in the appropriate level math class for the AY. There are foundation classes for those who require them, so you'll be placed appropriately. HOWEVER, West Point is very STEM heavy as you get the basics underway. My 2012 majored in German, but his first two years required Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, etc. Before your final this week, I strongly suggest you find a teaching assistant or someone at the college tutoring center to help you. Your class sounds no different than many of the university foundation classes...so while I realize you are not making excuses, you need to get out there and figure this out. It's great practice for next year.
     
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    John, please, whether true or false, please, stop blaming the teachers, the school the program. You are in the class and it is the 21st century, EVERY resource is available to you: tutors, peer tutors, online courses, free virtual courses, local math whiz down the street... It will not be any better at USMA or anywhere else. Your success depends 100% on YOU.

    No more whining. Succeed despite all the negatives. Succeed. No more blaming someone or something else. It's your problem: fix it.
     
  9. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    I’ve been following this thread and thinking about it for a bit. In most cases students are in a state of trauma when they transition from a high school classes to college level courses. Generally, they were not prepared for the challenge and equipped with time management, study skills. At WP it is no exception and to a degree or two higher. Math, Chem and Physics are historically the main reason for first and second year students to be separated. Then comes behavioral issues due to academics pressures is the second reason for separations due to acting out from the frustration and realization they may fail at their goal. At WP they expect you to already have a strong foundation in these subjects and expect the cadets to adopt the “Thayer Method” of study. If you do not have this foundation already established you will struggle and it’s a slippery slope from there. They do have all the necessary resources to assist you in finding success but ultimately its up to you. Your confidence seems to be weak in yourself and this can be troubling if you enter WP. You will not find much comfort from your fellow Plebes since you are all competing with each other to survive. If you don’t believe us, find a cadet and ask them.


    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
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  10. JohnDough

    JohnDough New Member

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    @fencersmother I don't even know why I am replying to your comment, because I have no reason to justify myself to you. But I know in my own heart how hard I have worked this semester in a class I'm not skilled in surrounded by teachers who only view me as a paycheck. I never gave up on the class, because this appointment means so much to me. I understand that I will take extremely difficult STEM classes at the Academy, and that I am not someone with a STEM background. The only point I have stressed is that things will be much easier for me at the Academy knowing that my teachers actually care about my success. I am willing to work very hard to achieve my goals.
     
  11. JohnDough

    JohnDough New Member

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    I know that West Point will be a very difficult experience for me during the first two years, but I believe that my determination and work ethic will carry me through. I knew exactly what I signed up for when I accepted the appointment. Being that I have already spent a year at college, I understand all the basics of time management, studying, and other important traits of college life. I am thankful for all the words of encouragement I have received on this forum, because they helped relieve a lot of the stress I was feeling over my situation.
     
  12. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    I love youthful optimism. Sure there will be plenty of teachers "P's" at WP who will care about your success. Dont oversell it. They are all people like everyplace else in this world. They come from a bell shaped curve of the human race. Some will be great, others you will hate. Some will be helpful, others will not. Some will be highly skilled at teaching, others not so much. Some will be excellent role models, some will be relieved of their duties and suddenly disappear. In the end it is up to you to succeed. The first day you will learn: Yes Sir, No Sir, No Excuse Sir. Unlike many high schools and some colleges, effort isnt rewarded at the academy. Results are rewarded. Life is tough.
     
  13. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    John, the point fencersmother and others were subtly trying to make is that pre-cal is not a "STEM" class. It's a basic math class. I'm trying to figure out how you got out of high school without it, actually. My 2012 didn't take Calc, but he did take pre cal and stats...but I don't know anyone in recent years who got out of our high school without pre cal. Visit the Khan brothers this week before your final...maybe they can help. You are apparently someone the academy really wants--whether for sports or something else you bring to the table--or else you would not have received an LOA. Figure this out as best you can for your final and then move on.
     
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  14. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Hang in there, JohnDough. Good luck on your finals.
     
  15. JohnDough

    JohnDough New Member

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    I went to a small high school, and they only required 2 years of algebra, one year of geometry, one year of chemistry, and one year of trigonometry. They offered physics and calculus, but I didn't take them because I didn't plan on attending the Academy until I had already graduated. That probably set me back a bit, but I'm working to overcome my struggles. This summer I plan on getting a tutor and extensively studying the classes I will have to take my first year.

    I honestly just believe that the thought of losing my appointment clouded my mind, and made learning a lot more difficult for me. I scared myself into viewing the worst scenario possible, and the negativity affected me deeply. When I become a cadet, I will have to learn not to feel so dismayed by pressure, because it will just make me feel miserable and cause me to not enjoy my time at West Point.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Exactly mom3boys. I also was trying to figure that out too. My 2 youngest were like yours (precalc and stats). In VA our state colleges are very competitive for the most part and pre calc would be needed to gain admittance unless the applicant had a hook.

    John,
    I am not trying to insinuate anything against your academic background, it is as mom3boys stated for many of us, unless you were going off to an art school or some LAC, every kid we know took pre-calc in HS, along with physics. It was just common if you wanted to have a strong chance to get into even the IS college, let alone OOS colleges that you needed to have precalc and another higher level math, such as Calc or Stats. Thus, it is a little startling to us that you didn't have that foundation set before college.

    Additionally, I am sure you will fight for it, but I think you are missing another point. Your math foundation is not there yet, and we are trying to politely open your eyes that your peers will have that foundation and the Profs are not going to slow down the course load for you to get it.

    Everything Math and Science is compounded on that foundation which you have yet to grasp. I get it is an online course, and maybe what it is now is that you have not had any math courses since your junior year in HS and you are rusty at it. Hopefully that is the case, but if it isn't than while you are home until I Day, I would spend the time not only staying physically fit, but studying math everyday. If you also have not completed advanced science courses, you might want to study those areas too.
    ~ I am assuming you didn't take Physics in HS, because I know for my kids you could not take it without at least concurrently taking Pre-Calc, but optimally had already completed Pre Calc.

    My best thoughts are with you, and please realize the comments were not meant with malice.

    xposted with JohnDough
     
  17. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    Go check out Khan academy for math. That may be all the additional help you need. He goes through the math in a sequential way with lots of practice problems for you to work on. If you are disciplined to do this everyday, you might not need a tutor. It will prepare you for the Thayer method of learning.
     
  18. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    John, I was trying not to criticize you since you are on your way to success. My point was to MAKE YOUR OWN SUCCESS.

    I wish you the best of luck!
     
  19. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    What is the "Thayer Method" of study?
     
  20. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Google it. Basically, cadets do all reading, learning and work on their own, then go to class and ask questions. Cadets need to be self-motivated and request additional instruction when they are struggling.
     

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