What would happen if I got a C in a class?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by usafa2022, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. usafa2022

    usafa2022 Member

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    I'm WAYYY in the hole in my poorly-taught Algebra II Honors class (HS sophomore). Finals week is next week, I currently have an 85% in the class, and I have a test in two days. I spent the whole semester generally doing the classic "ingest and regurgitate" thing where I would get past the units and then forget everything, and now I realize that I don't know half the material.

    When I start applying to USAFA next year, just how bad would it be to have a C in this class, assuming I have four A's (two honors) and two B's (both honors)? I'm not sure what the GPA would work out to be on this one, but it's my understanding that it would be pretty devastating on my transcript. I know admissions depend on a variety of other factors besides academics, but I want to know how it would affect that side of it.

    Okay, now back to cramming and wondering why I couldn't have just kept my focus. This is NOT going to happen again next semester.:bang:
    :blowup:
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Do your best, and press ahead...

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. usafa2022

    usafa2022 Member

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    Well, that's what I'm doing at the moment. But I want to know what the repercussions would be if it wasn't enough.
     
  4. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    If we're all honest, the truth is that none of us knows for sure beyond "it's not going to help you." As you well know, admission to the service academies is based on academic, extracurricular, physical, and medical factors that all feed into a "whole-person" score. So the impact of one class is going to depend on things like your SAT/ACTs, extra-curriculars, leadership experiences, sports, and oh by the way two more academic years of grades. Steve's advice really is the best we can offer. You never want to get yourself into a position where you're sweating one "little" grade because it never, ever, comes down to one little grade.

    If you do some checking you'll see I'm a college biology professor now, and I keyed into your "poorly-taught Alegebra II" comment. I can't/won't challenge your judgment. But I can tell you that students who do poorly often blame factors other than themselves - the teacher, the textbook, the course, the subject - and students who do well often credit their own hard work. (There's actually research on this.) My point here is that, often, students can do a lot better simply by making themselves responsible - even if the teaching really is terrible. Form a study group. Ask your teacher for extra instruction. Ask another teacher for extra instruction. Find problem sets online and do those until you can do the hard ones, then do some more.

    Good luck.
     
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  5. Coach62

    Coach62 Member

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    Too late to worry about that now. Can you find an upperclassman to tutor you? Just use this as motivation to double down and do better.

    You should also try and diversify your resume'. Do more volunteer hours. Join another club, one where you could be an officer. Work your butt off. Class rank is very important. What sport(s) do you play? Track is an easy one to excell in. All it takes is hard work.
     
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  6. Coach62

    Coach62 Member

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    That is excellent advice Longagoplebe!
     
  7. Hopefulcadetmom

    Hopefulcadetmom Member

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    Khan Academy is also an excellent resource....
     
  8. MD2020

    MD2020 Member

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    It is my understanding that they look at your year end grades and not quarter to quarter grades. So as long as you bring your grade up by your 5th quarter (year end all 4 quarters plus your final grade averaged) you should be fine.
     
  9. usafa2022

    usafa2022 Member

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    I run track and XC. Also working on my Eagle in scouts and moving into leadership positions in my school band. Need more volunteer stuff though.

    Tutoring is looking like a pretty good option right now since I know so little of what was taught, and I could probably get someone to do it. Really what it comes down to, thought, is finding the motivation to do better. There have been many nights this fall when I knew I should have been studying, but couldn't bring myself to because I was so disinterested in my classes. I often felt I didn't care about the material and had other things I would much rather be doing. I understand I will need to change that if I'm going to make it into USAFA and excel once I'm there, but at this point I need to figure out how.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  10. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    usafa2022--I have a lot of respect for you for admitting that you need to improve your study skills. I also struggled with this in high school. In all honesty, I think quite a few current USAFA cadets have had problems with this in the past. IMHO, it's not hard to figure out why. Most of us didn't really have to work hard to get A's in high school, so we got away with less-than-optimal study habits.

    As you said, that doesn't cut it here. Even for the geniuses, the sheer quantity of work that is due (coupled with other time commitments) is often enough to cause trouble. Is it possible to re-learn good study habits here? Yes, definitely, but it is quite likely that people who try this will end up on academic probation (GPA < 2.0) before they figure out how to study right. Trust me--Ac Pro is not a good situation to be in. There's a whole lot of nasty stuff you have to deal with if you get on Ac Pro.

    Having said that, you have a great deal of time to improve your study habits. I would encourage you to start doing so now. To be honest, for the time being, you could probably get away with bad habits if you wanted to. However, I can promise you that dedicated study practice will pay off a hundredfold if you do end up coming here. Think of it as an investment--add a little money to the account each day, and ~3 years from now, you may well be able to withdraw it in the form of GPA points. Definitely worth it. :thumb: Good luck to you, and in the words of a certain former cadre of mine, "earn it every day".
     
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  11. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    Wildblueyonder,

    Can you provide specifc examples of what strong study habits are (based upon what you've seen and experienced)?

    Thank you.
     
  12. JestFutureFalcon

    JestFutureFalcon Member

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    Just from personal experience strong study habits include: spending more time studying. That's all there is to it really. People with "poor" study skills are the ones who don't study and rely on lectures for their information. I come from a school where only 30 percent of students are math proficient (aka our school is essentially retarded), yet a select few people still manage to get good ACT scores. Why is that? They FOUND resources to help themselves succeed instead of half assing their way through a class and blaming it on a teacher that they didn't do good on a final. If you want good study habits, be accountable for yourself because nobody else will. That way, you won't be able to say "I can't do this because I had a bad teacher." but you will be able to say "I busted my tail for this grade." I know bad teachers. My whole life has been filled with bad teachers, but imagine a picture of the flower growing out of a crack in the concrete. Be that flower.

    That said, OP you need to make sure you ace algebra because you get thrown headfirst into real math at usafa. I looked at the curriculum for a bio major (what I want to be) and I would still have to take 4 calculus classes (aka algebra 2 on steroids that are on steroids). Having a good algebra background is crucial to success in higher level maths. I recommend using the class textbook and teaching yourself the material or spending a lot of time on YouTube for lectures
     
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  13. usafa2022

    usafa2022 Member

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    Good advice. The YouTube lectures are a good idea, and as a previous poster said, Khan Academy has some decent ones. I haven't used anyone else's vids much before, so I'll start looking around for them.

    As for the algebra class I was talking about, I'm slowly but surely regaining control of it. I had a test today that went fairly well, and my teacher is releasing a detailed study guide for the semester final. Fortunately, it's looking like my grade likely won't be a C after all. That said, it probably won't be an A either, and my knowledge of the actual math is pretty lacking. If nothing else, my lack of focus in this class will serve as another reason to keep working on my study habits in the future.
     
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  14. Replevin

    Replevin USAFA Alumnus

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    PMFJI The best advice I received about studying was to do it in an empty classroom in Fairchild Hall or the 6th floor of the library. This was a long time ago so the situation may have changed. You can avoid a lot of the extraneous activities that go on in a cadet squadron/room during Ac Call. Nothing bad, it's just cadets are varsity players when it comes to procrastinating.
     
  15. Coach62

    Coach62 Member

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    You seem to have a really good head on your shoulders. I hope you make it. Find what works for you studying wise. I'm in my 50's now and sometimes face the same issue. I found what works for me is to sit on the lanai (back porch for those of you not in FL). Shut the doors so I can focus. I also find going to the local library really works, just to get away from the distractions of the house.

    That works for ME. Find what works for YOU.
     
  16. Voyager20

    Voyager20 Member

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    Quizlet is amazing - just google "quizlet Algebra 2". Then rollover the selections - some folks have already loaded extensive flashcards. You are able to print them in a form of a table, glossary or flashcards.

    Khan Academy is excellent!

    Lastly, do a ton of practice test problems. Ask your teacher for some practice tests or go over old tests. In addition, if you use a textbook that is online then these textbooks often have chapter section quizzes and end of chapter tests. Taking practice tests helps you determine where your weak areas are so you can target that material.

    Good luck.
     
  17. JestFutureFalcon

    JestFutureFalcon Member

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    I used the ACT prep app on iPhone. It's useful for studying act stuff but it also has practice tests for specific subjects (math) and sections (such as geometry and algebra). It was a ton of help because after each test it has have explanations for each question and the best thing about it is that it is free. Not endorsing it in any way though lol
     
  18. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Short answer: a "C" grade is not going to devastate you...don't focus upon it. Yes it will lower your GPA but...if it's the only "C" grade and the rest are "A" and "B" grades...your GPA has to be in the 3.50 or higher range. Focus on the "total picture" and not just one class.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  19. Letsdothis

    Letsdothis Member

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    A C in your sophomore year is not the end of the world. Just learn from this experience and make it your last C. With that C, your class rank does slip a bit. Work your tail off to raise your class rank the next two years. Good luck. You can do it!
     
  20. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    Jest, while I know what you mean by this, I think it's dangerous to oversimplify things. I have found that it can sometimes be genuinely difficult to find time to study even if you are willing to do so. Bearing this in mind, three of my suggestions would be:

    1. Make and keep a calendar/schedule. It can be online or paper, and the format really doesn't matter. What does matter is that you adhere to it. If you indeed end up coming to USAFA and are experienced with using a calendar, you will find it much easier to keep track of 19 different briefings, training sessions, and (the biggie) academic deadlines.

    2. Know your capabilities, and don't spread your time so thinly that you have to compromise your activities. I am not saying not to push yourself--frankly, applicants can't afford NOT to push themselves--but be realistic even as you strive for the impossible. Make sure to put your most important priorities first, and above all, NEVER compromise your academics.
    With regard to USAFA, athletic or military performance problems can get you in big trouble, but they usually won't put you at risk of being sent home. On the other hand, cadets are disenrolled every year for serious academic issues. I'm not saying that a failed class or a semester on Ac Pro (academic probation) equates to a one-way ticket out of Colorado, but it's a good idea to get in the habit of taking every class seriously, even in high school. This attitude definitely pays dividends here.

    3. Never, ever be afraid to ask for tutoring or extra help, even if you're not quite sure whether you need it or not. Two types of people who do really well at USAFA are a) natural born geniuses, and b) those who seek help whenever they think they might need it. I don't need to specify which of these types is more common here. ;)

    This is in no way an exhaustive list, but I hope it helps a little. I invite any other former or current cadets to add their own suggestions to the list as well. Please feel free to ask me if you have any more questions, and I will be happy to try to give you answers. :D Good luck! :thumb:
     
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