Type of work at USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by usnahopeful2014, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. usnahopeful2014

    usnahopeful2014 Member

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    So my girlfriend's father is a Naval Academy graduate and I was talking to him about his experiences there and he said the single greatest challenge that any mid there faced was not the amount of work (as AP/honors students we are used to it and he said its something everyone had to adjust to once there), but the TYPE of work. He said the kids who's high schools did not "adequately prepare" them struggled immensely and were most prone to drop out. Now i've been to several info sessions and to USNA itself and they make it sound like if you get in, with all the extra academic help offered it seems impossible to fail. Can any current mids chime in as to the difference between their high school experience and their experience at the Academy, was it what you were expecting? And how easy/hard is it to access help with your academics if struggling?
     
  2. jscam87

    jscam87 Member

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    Not a current Mid here (Older than the girl's Dad most likely) but you may or may not be asking the right question. Any individual class is not the problem. It is the whole thing that causes a problem. You HAVE to take a sport, and you HAVE to attend. You have to go to bed with lights out. You HAVE to attend the home football games. The Mids who succeed can plan. They balance things. Nobody tells you how to spend your time, and there is not a lot of time to figure it out. Yes, there are PLENTY of EI (Extra Instruction) opportunities, and a school can rightly brag about it.
    If you are pulling all nighters now to pass exams, having your parents remind you of school projects, or skipping practice to meet other obligations you are not getting ready for the Academy experience.
    The smartest student won't get through if they don't want to be there. The extensive application and interviews are an attempt to screen those people out and increase the odds of Graduation. I don't know who is putting out that it is impossible to fail. You have every chance for EI if you get behind. The trick is to ask for help right away. If the USNA info sessions are saying it is 'easy', they are doing you no favors. Easy to get help, sure. Putting a positive light on things? Absolutely. Want to know why they have such an extensive support system? Because you'll probably need it.
    Good luck.
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    USNA is different today than when your girlfriend's father or I attended. At the time, although there were programs to help you succeed academically -- it was somewhat of a sink or swim approach. Today, there is greater recognition that even really smart kids may struggle academically at USNA for any number of reasons (see below) and there is greater emphasis on getting you help early and often. Across the board (academics, athletics, conduct), the view is that, if you really want to be at USNA, they will ensure you succeed -- but you have to put out the effort to do so, they won't carry you along.

    That is not to say that, occasionally, USNA makes a mistake and admits someone who really can't hack it academically. But those cases are very rare. By and large, you get in, you CAN do it academically, you must want to put in the work.

    People struggle for a number of reasons. First, many kids didn't have to do a lot of homework or work that hard in h.s. USNA classes are hard and, if you don't keep up with the work, you will start falling behind and it's really hard to catch up. Second, there is so much else going on other than academics and the pain for failing in those (chow calls, come arounds, room inspections, etc.) is more immediate than the pain of failing academically. Third, you take a lot of hours and there are few/no easy classes. Fourth, you must graduate in 4 yrs and must pass certain courses to graduate. And lots more reasons.

    I think the biggest shock to most mids is that they really do earn Cs, Ds, and even Fs -- this for people many of whom have never earned any grade less than B. Their 3.89 high school GPA turns into a 2.32 USNA GPA. No one thinks it will happen to him/her but, after the first semester, one out of every two mids stands in the bottom half of the class and most of those are earning less than a 2.5. That is a rude awakening.:eek:
     
  4. Kero

    Kero Member

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    Also not a current mid but not that far off, but like everyone else said no individual class is hard and if you can manage your time on your own ie: doing a sport, working, and other EC's in high school, then you probably will find that managing time at the academy is easy because they tell you when and what you should be doing at all times. The people who really struggle academically, more than just an individual class, are the people with no study skills who pull all nighters multiple times a week and still have absoulutely no retention or get nothing done.
     
  5. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 Member

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    Your gf's father is wrong. AP/honors won't "prepare" you for anything. You might be slightly more used to the rigor, but taking 1-3 AP classes is not the same as taking 18 USNA credits plus everything else. You will get B's and C's. The average QPR is well below a 3.0, add in that most kids probably took AP classes during high school and had well over a 3.0 (look at the class profile to be sure) and you'll realize that people do fail. The amount of everything that gets thrown on you is what makes people leave, nothing is easy and everything has to get done. If you can't do one of the many things that need to be done, you leave.

    That being said, AP is as good as it gets in high school so do it anyway. Just understand that its not going to be any easier for you, everybody else is already doing it.
     
  6. usnahopeful2014

    usnahopeful2014 Member

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    I think my question here was quite misunderstood (as were my statements about "impossible to fail" and AP classes. I was asking this question under the impression that every candidate knew about the packed USNA day. Not saying I know what it'll be like, because I'm not there, but my day is already a 6am to 11 pm day between (personally) school, track, lifting, martial arts, and homework, I'm used to being constantly busy. My only question was asking about the type of work/type of classes based on what he said. I understand it's a shock doing lots of terribly difficult classes with a sport and all the USNA formalities+ people yelling at you all the time. If that doesn't sound like something you can handle don't go. But if you are like me and you think you can handle that, you are just wondering about academic help should you need it :wink:
     
  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Some of the things they mentioned to BGOs . . .

    A study skills program

    Peer-to-peer tutoring

    An academic center of some sort (sorry, I've forgotten the details) dedicated to helping students with academic issues

    And there's always EI (extra instruction) from the professors themselves. Profs at USNA are there first and foremost to teach (not write articles or do research). Thus, they make themselves available during the day, after school hours, and -- as necessary -- on WEs.

    I've never heard anyone at USNA complain that there wasn't sufficient academic support. The key is recognizing early that you need the help -- it sounds obvious but for folks who have NEVER needed ANY extra assistance, recognizing that you're struggling and going for help is actually harder than it sounds.

    The first four-week grades usually cure that.:wink: If you are unsat in any course (D or lower) or overall (that can vary by year and company, but typically it was a 2.2 or below in my day), your squad leader, company commander, and company officer will all be on your case, in a good way, to get help. It will be required.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    USNA Center for Academic Excellence

    :thumb:There is indeed a great place to get help, along with EI, peer help, company volunteers (i.e., Physics majors who volunteer to help strugglers), tutors for varsity team members, academic advisors for varsity teams, mid's own academic advisor, etc. As pointed out in previous posts, there is plenty of help available. There are many threads on here about time management and the key role it plays in keeping all juggled balls satisfactorily in the air.

    Here's the link for the Ac Center. I've known many mids who've taken advantage of it, and the staff is experienced in dealing with plebes. I've also pasted in text from the home page. They're also on Facebook!

    And, I would bet the other SA's have similar dedicated faculty and staff.

    http://www.usna.edu/AcCenter/

    Class of 1963 Center for Academic Excellence
    Mission

    The Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), also known as the Academic Center, supports the mission of the Naval Academy by providing the highest quality academic support programs for all midshipmen seeking to improve their academic performance.

    The Center administers four programs: Plebe Programs, Academic Counseling, Learning Skills, and Tutorial Programs. Brief overviews of these programs are available here. The Annual Review provides an in-depth discussion of the activities of the Center.

    "The Academic Center staff includes the center director, Dr. Eric Bowman, four program directors, a reading and writing specialist, a mathematics specialist, a chemistry specialist, and a Navy Lieutenant Commander assisting in the Learning Skills Program and the Plebe Advising Program. Staffing also includes part-time faculty liaisons, hourly tutors and more than 60 midshipmen group study leaders.
     
  9. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 Member

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    This is all very true, except you now have 6 weeks for your grades to sink. UNSAT for upperclass is 2 Ds or 1 F. It may or may not be 1 D for plebes (I luckily never had to worry about that), and below 2.0 CQPR is UNSAT as well so don't get in a whole. Add SEL to the list of harassment.
     
  10. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Time Management is the Key. Learn that and it is half the battle:thumb:. Do not be afraid to ask for help. You will be assigned someone in your Company who will monitor your progress. Talk to them. They are not Orcs. They went through the same thing.
     
  11. tallbutshort

    tallbutshort Member

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    I went to a USNA info night a couple months ago and i remember one of the mids saying there's no such thing as busy work at the naval academy. I don't know about your high school, but at mine most of my classes that aren't either a math or a hard science class have homework that really isn't challenging or thought-provoking, it's just time-consuming. At USNA, it is.
     
  12. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Real important at the Academy, REALLY REALLY important in the Fleet.
     
  13. usnahopeful2014

    usnahopeful2014 Member

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    TIME MANAGEMENT, got it! :thumb:
     
  14. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 Member

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    Truth
     

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