Testing out of classes at USNA?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Aircrew, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. Aircrew

    Aircrew Member

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    Good Evening Everyone,

    My question is: what benefit(s) does testing out of classes Plebe year give you? It the service assignment are based on grades wouldn't it make more sense to keep the standard classes and get better grades? Further increasing your chances to get the assignment you want? All answers would be greatly appreciated . Thanks!
     
  2. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    Well, this is from an Army mom whose cadet validated all the plebe-killer classes at WP and has a very different course schedule from most of the freshman around him. He says the next-level courses are easier than the standard courses because they aren't taught freshman-firehouse style and are more interesting/engaging than courses with repeated material. His grades are not suffering at all. Also, validating out of classes will enable him flexibility in his 4-year curriculum, including the ability to double-major much more easily given the slots freed up from not having to take those courses. I'm thinking this will the same across academies.
     
  3. hthp37

    hthp37 Member

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    When my son was a plebe he validated a fair amount of classes, I want to say 22 credits but don't quote me on that. In hindsight, he's glad he did but he says it made for a slightly more miserable plebe year. He did survive although he feels his gpa may have taken a slight hit for it. His 3rd class year however, has been maybe slightly easier than some of his fellow youngsters as he is done with a lot of the tougher math and physics reqs. for example. At USNA it does give you some flexibility entering 1st class year as you can shift your focus on to graduate school at many of the Balt./D.C. Universities or double major.
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    It depends on how many validate. If it's 2-3 then it mostly opens up a lighter schedule down the road. If it's many classes that are core courses it moves along and opens up double majors, a minor or VGEP (grad school) programs for 10-20 folks a year.
     
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  5. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    Good idea in theory. In practice, it really doesn't happen this way. I see it all the time at my college (which is a lot like the SAs academically - very selective, rigorous, smaller number of majors and programs). Freshmen all take a math placement exam. They can opt to take the course below the one into which we place them. In fall 2014, 121 of 762 incoming freshmen did exactly that. Of those 121, 52 earned a C or below. Now, these are not slackers or students who need developmental math - they're choosing algebra instead of pre-calc or pre-calc instead of calc I. No, what's happening is simple human behavioral economics. "Whew, I'm in an easy math class! I aced this in high school! Now I have more time to devote to biology/ultimate frisbee/my boyfriend (etc.)" They don't do all the homework - because they already know this stuff, right? They don't study as hard for the exams. But this is college algebra, and college pre-calc, and so on. By the time they get the feedback on their first exam as a C or a D or an F, it's often too late to salvage a good course grade.

    It comes up every year, multiple times, on all the SA forums: if I validate a class, should I move ahead or stay back? I say this from experience and with the benefit of data (yes, from my college, not a SA). We (all of us institutions of higher learning) are really good at figuring out what our students are ready to learn. If you take a placement exam that puts you in calc II or III, we're not just hoping you do okay - we know you can succeed. The advantages to taking a remedial course turn out to be few or none, whereas the potential costs are enormous. Contrast that with moving ahead, where there are still potential risks (but the same risk to your GPA), but also potential enormous benefits in terms of opening up different course tracks, the possibility of doing research with one of your professors because you now have the time, and additional courses that could help your service selection. Validation is a gift. Take it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
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  6. md403

    md403 Member

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    we have had several of our sponsored plebes validate several classes through out the years. One that stood out tested out of his entire plebe year studies. Setting him up to work on his MS from Johns Hopkins as a firstie. Since his orders to flight school were not until February after graduation, we was able to complete his MS BEFORE flight school. As a prerequisite for MAJ/LCDR is to have a some sort of Masters, he basically was set for his boards (he was promoted below his zone for LCDR). By validating his classes it allowed him to have a less stressful plebe year. He currently is a test pilot and not looking at jumping ship to the commercials until he has his 20. As he tells me, they actually pay me good money to go have fun flying jets.
     
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  7. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Agree with a lot said above. However, a M.S. IS NOT a prerequisite for O-4 (LCDR) -- if it was A LOT of LTs would not be promoting. It is something that is looked for more heavily at the O-5 (CDR) board. Getting it done earlier might open up other billets/jobs that would have been taken up by trying to get a M.S. (presuming you did not try to do it on your own time).
     
  8. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    What md is referring is called VGEP, Voluntary Graduate Educational Program. USNA website and google has plenty of info. If you are selected for this there is additional amount of time earned and also you will not head off to flight school or your ship until this is completed (there are limits on how long it can take). My room mate as well as 2 team mates did this program. Great deal! Every service looks at Masters differently. They can influence things at certain boards and can be "unofficial requirements" for others. I had plenty of friends make 0-4 with a Masters. Most were either in a program already or slated to attend one when this happened. Had plenty of friends complete Masters while on Active Duty by going to night classes (as I did) or have the service pay for it with that being your job (there are often follow up tours in certain billets for this route). Both are great options, but it all depends on what your life goals, family, career are all doing. Eventually one will make sense to you based upon those factors.
     
  9. serendipityRN

    serendipityRN Parent

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    Renewing an older thread with the same questions....Ds could potentially validate Physics 1&2, Calc 1&2, English, Government, Psych/human behavior, and French 1-4 based on his AP scores thus far and where he is in each of his current classes. Are there some of those classes that he should consider not validating due to the benefit of taking them specifically at USNA? My concern if he takes a class he could test out of is that he will assume he "already knows it" and not put as much effort into the class and do poorly just because of over-confidence. Even with a challenging high school course load, he has never really had to put much time into studying or homework. He expects USNA to be challenging and whether or not to validate everything he can is a question that arose on the part of my DH (who thinks he shouldn't validate everything he can) versus DS who does want to validate as much as possible.
     
  10. usnagrad1988

    usnagrad1988 Member

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    I went to NAPS, so I essentially had the exact same classes there as Plebe year. I chose not to validate anything and get good grades and have an easier time Plebe year. On the other hand, a good friend of mine validated a lot of courses and was accepted into Georgetown his 1/C year to take graduate level classes. On another note, if you decide to be a Bull Major, Economics was a good choice for me. When I came back to USNA for shore duty, I applied to a number of graduate schools in the DC and Baltimore area to work on my MBA at night. University of Baltimore ended up giving me credit for 28 of the 30 prerequisite hours, due to my Econ classes and Calculus.
     
  11. dakine

    dakine Member

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    GPA is huge. So, definitely put yourself in a position to achieve a high GPA. That said, my mid used all of validations he could.

    An issue to consider is whether validation gets you completely out of a core requirement - or just places you into an honors class. For example, do you validate completely out of plebe chem - or does validating place you into honors chem? In this case, its kind of like half-validating yourself into a harder class. On the other hand, you might validate completely out of a language requirement and put yourself in a position to minor in a language.

    Lots to consider, but now you have something to think about during plebe summer!
     
  12. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Let the process play out and see what he ends up validating. Your DS can talk with an Ac Advisor and upperclass who were in similar situations and make the best decision for himself. Those who validate many classes early on work with Ac Advisor immediately to help map out a major, see where they can push forward with this schedule, etc. He will take a Calc test during PS or right before for validation/placement. Same with Chem. Languages we also took a validation/placement exam during PS.
     
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