Value of GPA?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by USAFAUSMA, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. USAFAUSMA

    USAFAUSMA Member

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    Hi,
    I am applying to USAFA class of 2018,
    I go to a very challenging private school and work extremely hard, my SAT scores are >2300 (taken it once), but my GPA is roughly at a B+. Will the actual difficulty of the school be taken into account so as to compare with GPAs at less rigorous schools, or is the low number enough to make me non-competitive academically? I was not selected for USAFA Summer Seminar, but I was accepted West Point SLE; SS required me to give my GPA while SLE did not, so this gives me some concerns about the weight of the number on its own. In the pre-candidate questionnaire USAFA does not ask for a school profile, and simply asks me to put my GPA without any transcript or context.

    In brief, I'm wondering if admissions might look at my sub-3.5 GPA and give me a low score in the academic category simply because of that number.

    Thanks for any thoughts!
     
  2. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    The short answer is no, it won't be a problem at all. For more information, search around on the forum a bit, this has been discussed several times here
     
  3. USAFAUSMA

    USAFAUSMA Member

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    Thanks for the response. I'll take a look around, it's just a bit difficult to use the "search" feature since it returns phrases like "gpa" too frequently to display any results at all.
     
  4. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

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    don't get you knickers in a twist quite yet. They do ask for school profile for the actual application. They also take into account the difficulty level of the classes you have taken and may alter your GPA from the one your high school gives them to make up for these factors. I didn't have the perfect 4.0 GPA that some kids had in high school either so I do think that admissions takes all things into consideration.
     
  5. nn139

    nn139 USAFA Appointee 2017

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    Maybe this will be helpful:

    Unweighted GPA: ~3.8
    Academy Weighted GPA: 4.0

    I literally took the hardest possible course load available every year.
     
  6. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Since each high school is different, USAFA looks at the school's profile and adjusts your GPA accordingly. They consider the % of grads attending ivy league schools, average ACT/SAT scores, the number of AP/IB classes offered, etc. so a candidate is not penalized for attending a challenging school or overrated by being enrolled at an 'easy' school. As was said before, focus on what you have control over instead of what you cannot. Also, do your best for YOUR benefit, not because it will look good to admissions. Best wishes. :thumb:
     
  7. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    For other students reading this, take some difficult classes at a college while in high school. In MN, it's an acronym called PSEO. At our high school, no one went to an Ivy yet they graduated 650 kids. So the risk is, some USAFA algorithm might not see a high school as difficult when compared to other high schools in your area. But the reality is there are zero Ivy accepted students in our HS because of demographics (not intelligence). Demographically speaking, many families in our area are self made (small business owners). They don't see the value of an Ivy @ $200K. I surely didn't see the value. I diverge...

    Since my DS went to college for two years while in high school and got all A's, that verified that he can handle college courses. At the same token, if you go to the "best" high school in your area full of Ivy groomed kids, you too can go to a university and prove you can succeed academically by getting A's in college. There definitely are competitive high schools that do not like grade inflation; they make darn sure there isn't a lot of all A students.:wink:

    As a benefit, getting A's in challenging college courses while in high school helps you get an invite to the Scholars program. About 5% of the USAFA kids get the opportunity to take classes from some World Class accomplished instructors. My DS is blown away by the instructors and how the classes stretch him academically. There are some brilliant kids in that program. I've met some of them and I could never compete with their raw brain power. Impressive! IMHO, the Scholars program is a better education that any Ivy.:thumb: I diverge again. :redface:

    Anyways, I think going to college while in high school really helps a student get into an academy. It also helps students get into any reach college that you desire.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  8. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

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    ^ Very true, however it really depends on your high school. In my personal experience, some of the classes offered at my high school have a more challenging curriculum than courses offered at the local University. That being said, I went to a very good, competitive, public high school. Just something to think about.
     
  9. Dad

    Dad Member

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    It is interesting that most people find their high school 'competitive' and 'rigorous'. The point is that USAFA has a method of leveling the GPA issue for all schools. Is it perfect? No. However, they have been doing it for over 50 years now. USAFA is pretty darn good at it. They also accommodate the homeschoolers, students attending foreign schools, etc. Just take the most rigorous and challenging classes that you can handle (including college classes). That will benefit you regardless if an appointment to USAFA is in your future. Remember, college is only 4 years (in most cases :smile:), but your career is 40+ years. Do your best, find what you love, and you will never 'work' a day in your life. Best wishes. :thumb:
     
  10. USAFAUSMA

    USAFAUSMA Member

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    Thanks for all the responses, I think I understand that system better now. I've always taken the courses I want to take without considering whether I'll be able to ace them, and those tend to be the most difficult available.

    I won't share details, but I'm not making that up.
     
  11. stella

    stella Member

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    One thing that could help you is this:
    Have other graduates of your high school gone on to USAFA, USMA, etc. and done well? If so, it seems that that type of track record helps as the high school's history of preparation for the rigors of academics at the academy is solid.

    It certainly does not guarantee anything, but it also would not hurt to find that in your high school profile, students are regularly accepted into the academies.

    As for acceptances at one summer seminar or another...don't put much weight in it. Getting into a ss is NO guarantee of admission or significant head start on an appointment, just is not getting in to summer seminars is no bar to doing so at all. There are several posts on these boards from people selected for summer seminars but unable to gain an appointment, or not selected for a summer seminar, but now happily at that same academy.

    S
     
  12. USAFAUSMA

    USAFAUSMA Member

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    A couple kids were accepted a few years ago, but class of 2017 is the first anyone from my school will have attended USAFA, that I know of.
     
  13. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

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    honestly, they can't really judge you based on other people from your high school if no one went to a SA. Based on the number of slots that each congressperson has each year limits the possibility of having loads of kids from each high school at any given SA... in addition, you wouldn't be penalized if there was little to no interest in SAs from previous students in your high school. In my personal opinion, the comment suggesting that your high school's record with SAs can impact an individual's application just seems to be pure conjecture. So don't get nervous if no one from your high school has ever gone to a SA.

    Sara,

    the Academy WILL get a high school profile. Your high school sends it to USAFA with your transcripts. It's part of your application.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Of course they have a school profile. A school profile has nothing to do with the stats the candidates had from previous yrs, i.e. Naviance program.

    They have a profile because even traditional colleges look at the school profile.

    The school profile will come in your sealed transcript. It will include:
    1. Percentage that:
    ~~~ Go Ivy, 4 yr Private/OOS, 4 Public, 2 yr, and workforce.

    If you are in the top 25% and 50% go Ivy, it tells them the school is academically competitive. If their profile says 0% go Ivy, 10% go Private, 10% go 4 yr IS, 30% go 2 yr and 50% go workforce, it is not racking and stacking as high in their minds.

    2. Avg SAT/ACT
    ~~~ I.E. higher scores is typically reflective of a stronger academic program at the HS

    3. IBS/AP/AICE programs
    ~~~ Percentage of students that take these courses.
    ~~~ How many classes they offer,
    ~~~ How the program works ---some schools kids can take AP over Honors, some schools kids must 1st take Honors, than they can take the AP class later.

    4. GPA weight and scale
    ~~~ Some scales are 7 pt for an A, some are 10 pts.
    ~~~ some weight APs at 4.5, some at 5.0, some at 6.0

    The profile of the school is there, unless nobody from your school applies even for a 4 yr college. It is just the SA's way to level the playing field across the board.

    I.E. If you have a 4.68 wcgpa, and the weight is 6.0, plus a 10 pt scale. It would be different than a candidate that has a 4.38 on a 4.5 weight and a 7 point scale. They both take the same classes.

    You would admit the lower cgpa, because of the scales would be a stronger candidate academically. The school profile is how they would get to that assumption.
     
  15. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    No system is perfect. I am a firm believer that the caliber of high school education has nothing to do with how many people attend an Ivy or even the percentage of college grads Unless we are talking about some poor areas where teachers are babysitting more than teaching.

    Let's pick on a MN school called Blake. See http://www.blakeschool.org/data/documents/admissions/12_college_choices.pdf to see where these kids went to college. It's easy to be impressed. :)

    I propose that the school reputation is what really opened up the doors for these kids. In order to attend some of these colleges, you need DEEP wallets. Since a lot of the parents have deep pockets, they can afford to go to the Ivy's. So more and more students are chosen to the exclusive colleges because of the history of the deep pockets. It's a cycle. School ratings are based off of average . I don't care about the averages. I care about how my kids do.:wink: Putting it another way pick the top few kids out of a lot of these schools and they would not get a better education at "Blake" but they will have an easier shot at attending a higher ranked college.

    I am not taking anything away from Blake. The parents understand the game. Blake and other schools like it opens doors because of the system that is in place.

    For other high schools like where my DS attended, the great equalizer is going to college in high school and getting A's. If not, the odds are stacked against you. As I said, my DS graduated from a school with 650 seniors. One kid got perfect ACT's and great grades. Yet he didn't get into some Ivy's. Why did he get turned down? I don't have all of the answers because I didn't read his application. But the great "leveling approach" that is used has it's flaws. Zero the year before attend an Ivy so it's tougher to prove you are worthy. I propose if he went to the University of MN for his last 2 years of high school and got A's (and he would have), he could "prove" he was worthy.

    The reality is no system is perfect.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  16. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

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    This is true however I think the school profiles filled out by high schools say how many people GOT IN to the Ivy's and other very "impressive" schools rather than how many people actually went (not entirely sure about that though.) I know several kids from my high school who got into an Ivy League or other such school but it was just not an option for them, financially.
     
  17. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I'm sure you know how much effort it takes to do a great job on an Ivy application. It's a massive amount of work. If you don't have a couple hundred Grand for an Ivy or your parents are not shelling out the $$'s, most won't apply.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    MN Dad,

    Take TJ http://www.tjhsst.edu/

    This is a public HS. Kids have to test to get into this HS. This school has been ranked in the top nationally for eons.

    I recall reading a few yrs ago the avg SAT out of 1600 was 1560 (1st sitting). Think about it, if you score 1500 in one sitting you are considered the dummy in the class.:eek:

    That is why the school profile matters. Although TJ is a public HS, and Fairfax high schools are also ranked nationally, you need to place into the equation. Fairfax student might be top 50% with 3.78 cgpa, and the TJ kid could have the same. They are both public school students in the same county, but the profile of the schools will be completely different.

    Additionally, from what I recall, the profile is % accepted to Ivy, 4 yr, 2 yr, etc. It is not matriculation.

    ~~~ I was a nosy Mom, at our DS's HS it was different than our DD's HS. You ordered the sealed transcript and it was your responsibility to mail it to the colleges/SAs. (DDs sent directly from the HS, you never saw it, but the verified it was the same info) I ordered an extra to see what was exactly in it.

    This is what I found inside.
    1. Transcript with all classes, grades, PSAT/SAT/ACT dates and scores.
    2. Grading weight ---std, honors, AP, Jump Start
    3. Grading scale 7 pt
    4. Rank weighted and unweighted
    5. Requisite system for Honors and APs
    6. Percentage taking AP,
    7. Amount of APs offered
    8. Percentage of students on free/reduce lunches.
    9. Athletic programs/ ECs offered at the school (NHS, FBLA, etc)
    10. Shot records

    For SA's and some colleges the GC is also required to submit paperwork. DS's GC informed me personally for the AFA, that is when they asked how many were accepted to Ivy, 4 yr, etc. This is the electronic file, just like the recs. No candidate ever gets to see it unless they are sitting right next to them when they open the portal.

    Thus, the AFA back in 07 had info coming in two ways. The hard copy from the HS sealed transcript, and the electronic info answering specific questions that the GC has access to from the prior yr.

    Honestly, just because nobody from last yr didn't get appointed, or if ten got appointed it really doesn't have as much of an impact as one might think.

    For example:
    The past few yrs the AFA has appointed @1350 candidates. The yrs prior to that they appointed 1650. There are other factors. Many which a candidate controls.

    That is not in the profile regarding % going Ivy for the SA. CFA...it is all or nothing. Bust 1 portion, max the rest, and you still BUST the CFA. BSA Eagle scout. Traveling team for swim or soccer, etc. ALO rec.

    I will agree $$$ is an issue. Look at Ivies, legacies are part of their admission process, just like the CFA and ALO rec is part of the SA process.

    JMPO, if you know you have given 100%, and at this point what you should be doing is getting Plan A, B, C and D in order.

    Many next yr will get TWEs. They will have to go to Plan B. Plan B is usually is AFROTC scholarship. AFROTC is different. They do not include your SR yr in HS for ECs or gpa. They don't superscore SAT/ACT. They don't use the CFA.

    Don't get stuck in tunnel vision. Don't wait until Oct. to start the AFROTC paperwork because the 1st board meets in Dec. It is First In, First Out. By Nov. when you complete it you could have thousands in front of you. You might not meet the 1st board because they can't get through that many applicants in one board, thus when they only have 4 boards, and you missed the 1st. You will now only have 2 more tries to be re-boarded, than 3.

    This is the time to get your ducks in a row, and understand how every option has different requirements, including the impact of a cgpa.
     
  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I agree with most of your post, except for this last paragraph. Few if any of the high school kids in our high schools attend college during their high school years. Yes, we have more than our fair share going or being accepted to Ivy league type schools as well as the military academies. The main factors weren't college classes. It was: AP classes; IB Program; Class Ranking; and High ACT/SAT scores. THIS COMBINED WITH Sports, Extra Curricular Activities, Volunteering, Leadership, Team Participation, etc...

    I've seen a LOT of people get turned down for the academies and for the Ivy/Type universities. Including those with the 2300+ SAT and 34+ ACT. Including those with College Credit during high school. Matter of fact, one this year and last year I know of who was turned down with those types of grades AND College Credit during high school.

    First and most importantly, if you want the BEST Universities in the country, including the academies, then you have to take the most challenging classes your school has to offer. It is better to be in the IB program or take ALL AP classes, than to take "Normal" classes and take college classes part time or in the summer.

    Second: Be ranked very high in your class. If you're sitting there with a 3.95 gpa, and you're ranked #60 out of 400, then there's something very questionable about your school. The universities and academies would rather see a 3.95 gpa ranked #8 than a 3.98 ranked #40 both class size of 300.

    Third: The great equalizer is the ACT/SAT scores. That is the only consistent between ALL the high schools in the country. If you have a 3.98 gpa, ranked #15, and a 27 Composite ACT, then I will have very little respect for your school. If you have a 3.89 gpa, ALL AP or the IB program, ranked # 7, and you have a 32+ composite ACT score, I have a MUCH HIGHER opinion of your education.

    Forth: Whether you are applying to Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or the academies, you better have LEADERSHIP experience. You better be the president of some club. You better be a class officer. You better be a team captain. You better be in charge of some clubs, fundraisers, community involvement, etc... Any/All combinations of these examples.

    Fifth: For all the academies and many universities, you better we involved with athletics. Not just 1-2 years. You need to be able to demonstrate that you know how to work together as a team. That you can follow directions. That you are goal oriented as a part of a collective. That you are physically fit. etc...

    I do agree 100%, that as for civilian universities, if you meet the MINIMUM STANDARDS, and have the MONEY, I can guarantee you 100% acceptance into ANY school of your choice. WITHOU EXCEPTION. If you are paying out of your pocket, 100% of everything, and have NO scholarships, grants, loans, etc... for ANY EXPENSES, then yes, I can guarantee you into any school that you meet the standards. Schools aren't just looking at getting paid, they are looking at their endowment. They are looking at boosters and alumni. And if you are a legacy, then that's even easier.

    But for all the other university/academy scenarios, I don't believe that going to college while in high school is all that impressive. Not according to my experience with a lot of individuals going to some pretty impressive universities and academies. Not unless they have all the other attributes covered that I mentioned.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Maybe I am reading this wrong.

    However, if I am reading it right, you are saying for admissions they know the ability to pay for the applicant, and this was a factor.

    FAFSA does not open until Jan 1st sr yr. ED results are usually around Nov. sr yr.

    If you know IVY aps like Princeton, Harvard, etc. they are not common apps. You can't apply because you want to. It is like an SA, they have to open it for you.

    It is stats, legacy, not ability to pay will be the factor. 75% of Ivy students have FA.

    I agree if you are a legacy you have a better shot, but the 41 page application our DS was sent from Princeton did not place that in the equation.

    The meet and greet for Notre Dame he was invited to by them, stated finance was not an issue in their decision factor. 100% of students would get 100% FA if needed.

    They stressed that the essay was a word count, and they didn't have the time to read every essay if they went over it. I think it was 500 words. They stressed that every essay was scanned and re-printed for admissions board. If it ended mid sentence at 500 word count, that is all they would read! :eek:

    Not once in his application process was he asked to give financial details regarding the ability to pay.

    Mike, I adore and respect you. You know that! I am parting ways here if you say that an applicant for college that can pay with no FA will get admitted over an applicant that needs FA.

    Maybe it is the colleges my kids applied to, but FA for 18 will open Jan 2014. ED/EA decisions will be offered starting Oct/Nov 2013. I don't follow your premise if you have the money, meet the stds you will get accepted.
     

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