What can i do to improve my chances?

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by acadmful, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. acadmful

    acadmful Member

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    Hello everybody,
    I am a homeschooled student who is looking to apply to the CGA. I have been taking math and science classes at my local community college since my freshman year of highschool. I have so far accumulated over 35 college credits just in college level math, chemistry and biology. I am currently in calc 1 and will have done calc 3 by the time i graduate. I am also planning to take college level physics before graduating as well. I currently also have a 4.0 gpa in all of these classes. I have also been taking debate classes for the past 3 years and plan to continue with it until I graduate.

    Aside from school, i volunteer weekly at an environmental center, compete in competitive martial arts and fencing, play piano, and will be an eagle scout in a few months. I am also part of the phi theta kappa honour society in my community college, and have made the deans list for the past 2 years. I got a 31 on the ACT (33 english, 35 reading, 27 math, 28 science) and will be taking the SAT next month.

    My main question is: as a homeschooled student, how do I compare to other students since I can't get things like class rank, varsity letters, ect. Is there anything you guys would recomend to make me more competitive?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. proudofmyboy

    proudofmyboy Member

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    Need a boost to the ACT Math. Look for a team sport you can play out in town.
     
  3. acadmful

    acadmful Member

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    Thanks for the advice, I definitely agree about the ACT math part, I am hoping to get a higher score in the SAT. However for team sports, I am part of a competitive fencing team where I have qualified for the MI junior olympics, I swam for 4 years on a swim team until i was a sophomore when I had to stop due to injuries, but before that I qualified for the MI state championships 3 years in a row. Do you think this is good enough for the academy?
     
  4. Chuck20

    Chuck20 Member

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    I agree with what proudofmyboy says. Have a look at the early action averages for appointments and plan to exceed them. Team sports are desireable as CGA wants to know you are a team player today - fencing may be considered more of a solo sport even though it is part of a team. Being part of a club or society is not enough, leadership in the club or society is required. Whatever you do outside of academics seek to get awards in it - such as the piano playing, compete in state competitions and audition for local orchestras that need a piano player.
     
  5. FALgarand

    FALgarand Member

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    Don't worry about the team vs. individual sport debate. More impressive is your achievement in whichever sport you're in -- success in Junior Olympics may look far more impressive than being team captain at an uncompetitive school (and to be clear, there are many schools where earning a varsity letter or even being team captain isn't much of an achievement). Still, you do not list much that demonstrates specific leadership roles. Eagle Scout is great. As already pointed out above, though, you should try to seek leadership roles, even in current activities. For example, my oldest who was admitted to his SA, in addition to football, excelled in martial arts and spent the last two years of high school as an instructor on weekends at his dojo - it was how he found a leadership role in an individual sport.
     
  6. grevar

    grevar CGA Admissions Partner

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    And so you know, each year, several highly qualified home-schooled applicants receive appointments. And, the ones I know of are doing very well as cadets. I have no facts to back this up, but I have heard that the CGA looks more favorable on home-schooled applicants than other SA's. I could be completely wrong about that, but that's what I've heard.
     
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  7. objee2020

    objee2020 Member

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    Hello! I'm not an admissions officer or anything but I was admitted to class of 2020 (and will be attending!) I'll give you a brief overview of what my application looked like, and what you can do.

    You are taking a lot of really high-level courses, which is awesome. I was in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at my school, which is considered the most rigorous high school curriculum in the country. I also did really phenomenally in IB. You're doing well in STEM courses, which is what the academy will care about the most. I tried to take the best math and science classes I could, and in addition to taking a full IB schedule, I filled my elective with STEM AP classes, such as physics and environmental science. Challenging yourself with a rigorous high school schedule will show colleges you likely can handle the rigor of the academy - just looking at 4/C example schedule will show that it's a lot to handle. Doing community college courses show you can probably handle it, so good on you!

    My ACT is comparable to yours. Honestly, I believe colleges nowadays are recognizing that standardize testing is not a complete reflection on your ability to be a good leader or a capable student. Being at an academy is not easy - it is a challenge that people have to work very hard at. Some kid who may have had a 4.0 all through high school and scored a 35 flawlessly on his ACT could be the same one struggling to maintain a 2.0 at the academy. In simpleton terms, colleges are recognizing that high school is very different from college. The good thing is that you're taking college courses and are prepared for the level of difficulty that classes at the academy will offer. I scored a similar score in math, but my great grades and involvement in school balanced my application out. I also was captain of the sport I intend to participate at the academy. Of course, I would try to retake the test and see if the effort if studying makes your score go up. But don't stress about it and being taking it more than 3 times - many kids at my school stressed about their score for colleges, and it ended up just being a waste of time, as their admissions officers told them they didn't admit them for their good scores - it was other qualities they brought to the school.

    My advice to you is involvement. Your essays on your application will matter...I can't tell you how many times I wrote, rewrote and had my essay edited by my mother (who has an English degree is and is a professor, so I lucked out there.) So think in terms of why you want to go to an academy (besides "serve my country"), what you will provide to the academy in terms of involvement, and how you plan to leverage your time at the academy. Ask yourself: Can you rise to the occasion for a challenge? What will the academy provide you in terms of a career? Why the Coast Guard, and not AF/Navy/Army/MM? What majors and opportunities at the academy irk your interest? And most importantly, what will make you make an outstanding officer of the Coast Guard?

    Of course, do the optional essay and start making an impressive resume to upload (with your sports record, grades, ECA's, jobs). You mention you'll be an Eagle scout, which is awesome. Do activities that help the community as an Eagle scout, and lead and plan activities that your group and community can get involved in.

    Also, sports. I'm not sure how physical the sports you participate in are, or if the academy offers them, but if they do then I would try contacting the coach and expressing early your interest in joining the team at the academy - a lot of the time coaches can put in a good word if all the dominos in your application line up (good grades, impressive leadership, desire for challenge, etc.) The PFE will be an important element of your application, so prepare by running 2-2.5 miles a day if you can (it will make running 1.5 practically a cake walk), practice push-ups and form, and I would practice doing 2 minutes of non-stop sit ups. In part of even myself preparing for Swab Summer, I'm physically preparing every day - I would do the same for the PFE to apply!

    I would also advise you to contact your admissions officer (you can find them based on region) and introduce yourself, and ask any questions. It is a good opportunity to get your unheard voice into your application and you can express how important going to CG could be for you.

    I hope I provided good info. Again, I'm not an admissions officer, but I can speculate why I was admitted and what made me "stand out". If you want any additional info, feel free to message me!
     
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  8. Chuck20

    Chuck20 Member

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    I think that it is great that you are asking this question ahead of time so that you can prepare the best application.
    For future forum reader information I grabbed the EA stats for the 2018, 2019, 2020 classes and included them in this post.

    Here are the EA stats for last 3 years, PFE went up and some of the academic scores.
    ref: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/early-action-statistics.46339/
    713 Applicants
    196 Appointments

    Of the 196 appointees to the Class of 2020...
    53% AIM Graduates
    Average SAT Scores: 678 CR 682 M 627 W (includes converted ACT scores)
    Average HS Rank: 12% (includes reported and calculated HSR's)
    Average GPA: 3.84 (all reported GPA's are converted to a 4.00 scale)
    Average PFE Score: 230
    45 U.S. states are represented plus U.S. citizens living in Belgium, Italy, Kuwait, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

    Early Action statistics have been approved for release...we're looking forward to bringing in another great class!

    648 Applicants
    171 Appointments

    Of the 171 appointees to the Class of 2019...
    50% AIM Graduates
    Average SAT Scores: 707 CR 679 M 627 W (includes converted ACT scores)
    Average HS Rank: 12% (includes reported and calculated HSR's)
    Average GPA: 3.87 (all reported GPA's are converted to a 4.00 scale)
    Average PFE Score: 229
    37 U.S. states are represented plus U.S. citizens living in the District of Columbia, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

    Here are the EA stats for 2018 class
    Early Action statistics have been approved for release...we're looking forward to bringing in another another great class!

    968 Applicants
    251 Appointments (60 Conditional, 191 Full; as of 2/4/14)

    Of the 251 appointees to the Class of 2018...

    34% AIM Graduates

    Average SAT Scores: 691 CR 663 M 620 W (includes converted ACT scores)
    Average HS Rank: 14% (includes reported and calculated HSR's)
    Average GPA: 3.85 (all reported GPA's are converted to a 4.00 scale)
    Average PFE Score: 223
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
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  9. acadmful

    acadmful Member

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    Thank you very much to everone who gave an answer! Also could anyone tell me how to message someone directly, I still can't find out how?
     
  10. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    Click on "Private Conversation Inbox" at the top right corner of the screen. Then click "Start a new private conversation," and type the username of the person you would like to PM.
     
  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    You need 10 posts for the PM function to be available.
     
  12. acadmful

    acadmful Member

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    Okay thats why I am not seeing that option, thanks for letting me know.
     

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