Some questions from a parent

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by ncbill, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. ncbill

    ncbill New Member

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    As the parent of the candidate, I'd appreciate any advice.

    Like many, my son had trouble with the 'basketball throw' part of the CFA and ended up repeating that part of the test twice.

    Both those re-tests were at the request of the regional rep (sorry, I don't know the correct title).

    After the last test (IIRC, in January) that part of his admissions portal changed to green ('on file' for the CFA)

    However, last week when he called his regional rep he was told he didn't pass the CFA, and that they only changed him to 'on file' with the CFA on the portal so that he would not attempt to take the test again.

    Is it normal to receive no communication from the rep if you haven't passed the CFA?

    I know they don't release minimum standards for individual portions of the test, but is it policy not to tell the candidate that they didn't pass the CFA?

    When it was changed to green on his portal after the last try he assumed everything was O.K. with that part of admissions.

    I don't understand why my kid simply wasn't told 'you didn't pass the CFA' back in January.

    Thanks for any feedback - he'd still like to re-apply.

    And congratulations to all those who have received their appointments!
     
  2. 845something

    845something Member

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    Priority usually goes to completing actions for candidates that are going to get in, but the short answer is no, normally there will be correspondence to tell a candidate they failed. The normal procedure is to not allow a retest, so the majority of candidates see the green on file once they complete whether they passed or not. With that said...

    Two possibilities that normally should happen when a CFA is failed:

    1) check the candidate correspondence in the portal. There might be a letter there saying they didn't pass the CFA and the file is closed.
    2) there was a letter mailed that says they didn't pass the CFA and their file was closed.

    What you are not going to get is an email or phone call telling your DS they didn't pass the CFA unless it is in response to a phone call or email that your DS initiates.

    What could have happened if that wasn't the case:
    1) the RC was trying to get a waiver for the CFA based on a really close score and an otherwise strong file (assuming the RC offered two re tests, your son probably had a strong file). That review could take awhile and they may still be waiting for the full admissions committee to make a determination. You indicated that the RC says your DS failed, but didn't mention anything about his file being closed yet. More likely though is #2...
    2) the RC intended to have the letter sent out/file closed, but for one reason or another it slipped through the cracks and the RC would catch it shortly as they move to finalize actions on all the 2018 files. Most RCs have started traveling for the spring already, so their time with their technicians is limited and it's tough keeping up with all the correspondence for admitted 2018, closing out the rest of 2018 files (QNS and DQ), and new 2019 candidates while away from the office. With the medical deadline coming soon and then shortly thereafter the college decision deadline, expect more closure mailings to go out.
    3) if your son only retook the BB throw portion of the test and not the whole thing (can't tell from the wording above "ended up repeating that part of the test twice"), it might have triggered a whole other set of issues that the RC had to deal with...and might make a reapplication a waste of time. You must take all 6 events each time you test or retest the CFA. Anything less is either an inability to follow directions or a matter of integrity, neither is good for the candidate.
     
  3. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    The response above was a good detailed explanation.

    Many candidates do not pass the CFA and the basketball throw is the major single source of failure.

    My son (now a Cow) at WP initially did not do well on that event as he practiced for the CFA. We bought a basketball and practiced that event every day for a 4-5 weeks. His results got much better quickly.

    As a Field Force Rep for two Congressional Districts I see this problem every year. This year we lost a very good candidate due to push-ups. It is rare for someone to fail the CFA IF-IF-IF they prepare for the test over time. I tell my candidates to train for the test for several weeks and take it for practice 2-3 times. Then they must work hard on any event that is below standards.

    I am really not meaning to be overly critical but-In the vast majority of cases, failing the CFA is totally the fault of the candidate. Admissions is going to spend their limited time on candidates that are successfully meeting the many standards.
     
  4. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I have seen a good number of very athletic candidates fail CFA because they didn't practice. Had a kid that pretty much maxed strength events - pull ups, push ups, sit ups, run, but came close to failing the basketball throw and failed the shuttle run. Ran the mile around 6 minutes, so he had the speed.
     
  5. Iowa 73

    Iowa 73 Miner

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    Could you please post the failing scores? From others on here I know that 49' is a failing score. I just had my DS try this over the weekend, and his best attempt was 60'. We will be practicing through the summer, but just curious to know what the cutoff is.
     
  6. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    The minimum scores are not released on purpose so that candidates don't aim for "good enough." They should be trying to "max" everything. If a candidate gets at least the average on any given event he/she will not fail the CFA.

    Also, technique is a huge part of the basketball throw as those athletes who don't normally throw balls in their sports (ie, my DS is a swimmer) will need to practice more than say a soccer goalie.
     
  7. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    My DS also failed the BB throw and was told to retake the whole test when he could throw a minimum of 55 feet. He had done really well on the other portions but just "assumed" that he could throw the BB. How wrong he was. It is a lot of technique. He practiced and practiced for several weeks, even to the point of hurting his arm. Then one day it sort of all came together and suddenly the ball was going, 60 ft, then 70 ft. It takes practice and anyone who doesnt heed all of the warnings on this site should be wary of the test. The second link at the top is "Oh No the Basket Ball Throw" for a reason. Good luck.
     
  8. AZ2018

    AZ2018 New Member

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    My son did well on the CFA but his worst category was the basketball throw. You do need to practice the BB throw but our best advice is to try to throw it like it is a football instead of a baseball. My son couldn't get any distance until he put a little air underneath it. Seems counter-intuitive to give it more arc to get more distance but it works. Good luck
     
  9. Iowa 73

    Iowa 73 Miner

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    Thanks. My DS will keep practicing, but should be in good shape on this event.
    Only area where he has to definitely improve is pull ups. He can only do four right now, but we will get him up to nine by the end of August.
     
  10. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    This is why West Point applicants need to Physics during high school. I can't do it any more, but I remember the old cannon problem of what elevation angle will provide maximum range.
     
  11. ncbill

    ncbill New Member

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    Thanks for your reply!

    Maybe the RC was seeking a waiver, since my son was was told he'd be on the wait list had he passed his CFA.

    I'm assuming his file was closed, but I'll have him check the portal.

    He has not (yet) rec'd a letter about failing the CFA - he was truly shocked when he talked with his RC last week, so perhaps that just fell through the cracks.

    And I'm sure he did whatever the RC asked in regards to his CFA retest, so any ambiguities (per your #3) is due to my misinterpretation.

     
  12. paulycowgirl

    paulycowgirl ProudMomPaulycowgirl

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    Our DS took the CFA the first time after working all summer in a physically strenuous job, so he thought he was "fit enough" to pass. He failed the shuttle run portion only. They posted a letter on his USMA Portal, but he wasn't checking it often at that point, so it was his liaison who informed him. Fortunately, USMA offered him the option to retake the CFA. Unfortunately, it was after he had been in a dirt bike accident and undergone surgery. We all thought it would be impossible for him to pass it. But this time he trained specifically for the CFA ... three times a week for five weeks. He took the CFA one day before the deadline they gave him and not only did he pass, but he improved in 4/6 areas! Proof that it certainly pays to practice!
     

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