Varsity Letter crucial?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Ddecos, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. Ddecos

    Ddecos Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2015
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    My son dug a hole his freshman year because he started a business and was unaware of service academy's. He supervised 24 people at 14 yoa so he has a good explanation for not having a 4.0 GPA. Straight A's and great resume now. But he is so involved in ROTC and Police Explorers it's unlikely he will get a varsity letter unless he gives up one of those which would be sad because he loves those and is in leadership positions there. Do you think that a varsity letter is a crucial must have thing? He has played JV team sports, is athletic, in shape, and did very well on fitness test. Thoughts?
     
  2. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    317
    If you look at the freshmen profiles of each of the SAs, there are a number of appointees who don't have varsity letters. Also, I'm sure there are a lot of candidates with varsity letters who don't get appointments.

    The key is how can he adequately show his athleticism. JV and clubs sports may be good enough.
     
  3. davejean90

    davejean90 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    3
    The athlete activity score is worth 10% of the whole candidate score. The maximum score you can get is 800 points and to get this you need to have some sort of "all-area" award in a varsity sport. A captain in a varsity team sport will get you 700. A varsity letter in a team sport gets you 600. Participation in a varsity sport without a letter gets you 400 points. Participation in JV sports gets you 300 while no interest in sports gets you 200. Based on a Rand study from 2002, from 1992 to 2001, the average athlete activity score (AAS) for those accepted was 606 with a standard deviation of ~110, while the average rejected score was 538 with a standard deviation of ~153. Now based on what you said his AAS looks to be around 300 which is significantly below average. Now it sounds like he may be able to make it up in leadership, however, just getting a team sport varsity letter moves him up into the average AAS for accepted candidates. The big issue to remember is a great majority of the candidates he will compete against will have the varsity letter and not having one will leave him 300 points behind.
     
  4. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    317
    So if candidate participates in more than one JV sport, let's say 2 JV sports, does he/she get 600 points (300+300)?
     
  5. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2015
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    209
    Make sure he faces this issue directly during his ALO/BGO/FFR interview. I am homeschooled - no sports. I brought this up right away when we started talking about athletics. He should address the reasons why he wasn't able to participate (running a business is a HUGE leadership role) and give specific examples of how he is in top physical condition. I also mentioned this in the essays for each SA as well.
     
  6. davejean90

    davejean90 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    3
    No....just 300 for all JV sports participation.
     
  7. Ddecos

    Ddecos Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2015
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    Wow!! Am I glad I asked that question! Thanks for such a detailed and thorough answer DaveJean!!
     
  8. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    317
    Ok. Just to clarify. This is just USMA's WCS formulation, correct?
     
  9. davejean90

    davejean90 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yes, it is USMA's, but all are pretty much the same.
     
  10. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    269
    The OP is interested in USAFA and those formulas can vary between the SA's (so don't assume they are the same). I don't play the 'what are may chances' game on here but it is good to look at the published profiles of those attending an SA. They typically excel in MULITPLE areas including academics, leadership and athletics. Time management is h.s. is essential for developing your resume. If you son is participating in activities that are fun to do, but take up a lot of his time in non-essential meetings and 'busy work', it is important to see the bigger picture. Being so involved in ECA's that your GPA suffers is NOT a good thing.

    Those he will be competing against for an appointment ARE able to be successful in all of those things so it is better to do well then try to rationalize why his GPA has suffered during various interviews.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
    goforspaatz and Cerberi like this.
  11. 5Day

    5Day Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    964
    Likes Received:
    466
  12. davejean90

    davejean90 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    3
    The question is what can you focus on that will get you the greatest WCS increase in the least amount of time? If you look at the prep school programs out there, they stress ACT/SAT test prep and CFA improvement. Why? Because improvements in both these areas can have the biggest effect in the quickest amount of time. They can make up for deficiencies you can't change, such as lack of extra-curricular activities early in high school. Also, look for no-cut sports teams with a relatively low varsity letter standard. For many this is football. My DS goes to a school with one of the best football programs in the state. However the program is no-cut and to get a varsity letter you just have to get in for four downs in a varsity game. This is often achieved on special teams or during a blow out game. However you do have to go to all the practices and get beat up on the scout team during practice. This may seem like gaming the system, but it is what it is.
     
  13. Dadof2

    Dadof2 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    138
    My DD is a Plebe at USNA. She did not have a varsity letter, in fact did not participate in any sports at school. She did have many years of dance and great grades, leadership experience and the rest of the package. My DS has several varsity letters, was captain in two sports and has grades and leadership experience similar to his sister, but didn't take as many STEM courses. He recently received his TWE from USNA and is going with plan B. So a varsity letter/team captain status is definitely a plus, but in our experience, not a crucial must have. If he can get the varsity letter, he should. Getting into an SA is extremely competitive. He should do as much as possible to prepare if it is really his dream and give it his best shot. Take the toughest STEM courses he can take and do well. Continue to work on physical fitness scores. I'm sure you've seen all the posts from fantastic candidates that don't get in, so make sure he works on plan B at the same time. Good luck.
     
  14. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    davejean90 raises good points. One of them is the rules for winning a varsity letter. These rules vary from school system to school system. It's possible the rules where you are, are stacked against getting a varsity letter at this point. Be sure you understand the rules of the game before deciding on a course of action.
     
  15. D-10

    D-10 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    What about travel teams?
     
    seacadetmum likes this.
  16. davejean90

    davejean90 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    3
    The issue with travel teams is the confirmation if the claim. Varsity letter awards are confirmed by a school official. This seems to have more weight with Service Academy admissions than the travel teams. I know there are some sports such as hockey and soccer, where the travel programs are sometimes more competitive then the high school programs, but I think you may want to play high school for a season to get that letter.
     
  17. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    444
    For West Point, the regional commander can grant varsity letter equivalent for non varsity/club sports. Can't answer what qualifies as it is the RC's discretion.
     
  18. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    136
    How big of a hole did he dig? Can he get back into the top 20% of his class?

    A lot of people will probably disagree with me on this, but imo sometimes you have to do things you don't want to get what you do want. I played a sport in that I did not enjoy for 3 years in high school. I invested a lot of time in the sport and I would have rather been doing other things with that time. I played the sport even though I didn't want to because I knew it was important for getting into a SA; similarly I studied things I didn't want to study to earn high grades because I knew that was important for getting into a SA as well. I don't regret playing a sport I didn't want to nor do I regret studying things I didn't want to. I wanted to attend a SA more than I didn't want to play the sport or study. Does your child want to attend a SA more, or does he want to be in Police Explorers more? If he wants to attend a SA more I think he should strongly consider playing a varsity sport. He doesn't need leadership roles in 2 extracurriculars. You get the same number of points for being an officer in 1 club as you do for 2. You get more points for being the president in 1 club than for being an officer in 2 clubs. Choosing 1 non-athletic extracurricular and excelling in it is the way to go imo. It is worth noting that both of the studies above indicate that you get more points for a varsity letter in basketball, football or baseball/softball than you do for a varsity letter in other sports. 600 for the aforementioned sports, 500 for all others. Your child is sitting at 300 with his JV letter, so basically lettering in football, basketball or softball/baseball will give him 1.5x the points lettering in a different sport will. That may be something to consider.
     
  19. seacadetmum

    seacadetmum Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    11
    Lurker here...
    What if your district doesn't offer the varsity sport your kid participates in? My dd is a junior Olympic diver for a club team but our high school only has swimming. Can her coach vouch for her?
     
  20. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2015
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    454
    The magic formula for determining who gets in and who doesn't isn't known by anyone on this board and undoubtedly varies SA to SA. If it were known - the 'what are my chances' threads would be easy to answer.

    It also depends on your district/state and who you are competing against, diversity goals are also considered (and diversity is broader than race/ethnicity), and 'other' areas that no one outside of admissions can say for sure how much weight they carry

    The SAs are all aware of club/AAU sports programs and will take them into account especially if the school doesn't offer them. And though people will point out that people get appointed without varsity letters - they are the minority. Right or wrong - being involved in sports matters to SAs.

    The SA's are academically focused on STEM. And if you aren't bringing a stellar academic resume, you best be bringing something else to the dance that stands out. Is running a business at 14 and managing large teams enough to explain away a poor (relative to the candidate pool) start? No one here knows. Can standardized tests get you over the hump?

    The SAs like compelling stories, but saying a 14 year old managed a business and had 20 direct reports while attending high school and being actively involved in JROTC and Police Explorers ....just make sure that is written so it's also believable to the reader - you will get a chance with the essay and the interviews

    If you are applying to an SA and/or a ROTC scholarship - you are swimming in the deep end of the pool. Read the TWE threads to see the amazing folks that didn't get appointments. Many of those amazing folks had incredible resumes and did not start off behind the power curve as freshman.
     

Share This Page