whole package?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by sarah, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. sarah

    sarah Member

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    Does anyone know how the USAFA recalculates GPA? My son has about a 3.4, but his school is incredibly competitive (small prep school, 50 in his class he is about 12th or 13th). He has all A's and B's, but obviously mostly B's. He has consistently taken the highest math and science available, AP Calc and Physics this year (senior year).

    Captain of the rowing team (rows year round) and very involved in extracurricular engineering/robotics competitions. SAT's at or above the 75 percentile.

    Does the school take the time to look at the difficulty of the school? I know they look at curriculum . . .Thanks!
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The academy requires a school profile to be included with the application. One of the reasons is for exactly what you're talking about. They look at the student body, where they tend to go to college, grades, etc... But certain things like AP classes and the IB program are the same all over the country. So they already know the difficulty of the classes; unless he's taking just "Normal" classes at that school. Usually there's no such thing as a "School" being more difficult than another school. It's the classes that can be more difficult. Where it gets tricky is when you're at a small school that doesn't have the IB program; has little or no AP classes; and not similar honor's classes. The academy doesn't want to penalize an applicant for not taking classes if they aren't available to them. But yes, the academy figures in all these things when scoring the academic portion of the application, gpa, etc...
     
  3. sarah

    sarah Member

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    Thanks for responding. What I meant by harder is that the school gives out very few A's. The top 5% or so of the class "only" has a 3.7 or 3.8. I'm not sure son's counselor will point that out.
     
  4. usafa84

    usafa84 Member

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    The Academy does recalc GPA's for whom I do not know. My son applied from a school with a grading scale 93-100 is an A. He was also in all AP classes. The Academy did not recalc his nor the two valdictorains from his school that applied as well. My son had a 4.22 GPA and was declined. His two friends 1 male and 1 female who were the Vals were also declined. One friend took an appointment to West Point and the other took an appointment to the Naval Academy. My son only wanted Air Force and did not apply to any other services. He took his Full Ride to Notre Dame and is doing AFROTC and loves it.
     
  5. sarah

    sarah Member

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    Thanks. ND AFROTC is on my son's short list.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    They have their own system, and Mike is right it has a lot to do with the school curriculum. One part of the gc review is for them to give a % that go to Ivies, privates, 4 yr state, 2 yr and nothing. If your school says 75% go to Ivies, than it could be re-weighted, but if it states that it is the avg to their stds, than maybe not. Your counselor will have a form to complete, so it will be shown. It is not like a general letter of rec, it is also statistically based. They will also place in the transcript how grades are weighted, down to every % point, for std, honors, and AP, along with the % of students that take each level. It is not just 1 sheet of all of his grades, it is an overview of the school too.

    Our DS also had ND, I would say ND in some cases maybe harder to get in then the AFA (not insult AFA). The reason why is a part of the selection criteria for AFA is based on location, ND is private and thus, where you come from has absolutely nothing to do with acceptance.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I'm not quite sure how a "SCHOOL" can give out "X" amount of "A's". If you are taking the IB course/classes or the AP Classes; those are the same classes that are being taught in all other schools with those classes. Also; any other classes that are taught at your school must have a means of scoring the class.

    Now; it could be that your school has very few "A's" received by their students. But this could be because teachers aren't teaching to the same level as other schools and the students don't score as well on the tests. Or that the teacher put MORE EMPHASIS on other sections of the class other than exams. I.e. Most schools have something like 70-80% of your grade comes from tests/exams; and the other 20-30% is for participation, homework, labs, etc... Your school could be issuing more weight on the non-exam parts of the class. But the actual classes; especially among those around the country who take advanced type classes; are generally the same class and information.

    P.S. Pima; one thing I've discovered over the years, is even the private colleges/universities care about where you come from. They are marketing a product just like everyone else. Diversity is very important to them. If you were from Idaho; and there were absolutely NO STUDENTS at ND from Idaho; you actually would have some brownie points working for you in getting accepted. You still need to meet all the other requirements for them to accept you, but if there's 2500 applicants who have been narrowed down to being "Acceptable"; but they only have 1400 slots; you being from an "Under-Represented" area "Can" play in their decision. NOT WILL; just CAN. Same with race, gender, and other attributes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  8. sarah

    sarah Member

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    It's just that there is no grade inflation at this school whatsoever. Extraordinary teachers with high expectations and they give tough tests. I have a friend who taught math at this school, went to another private school and was not allowed to give tests he had given at our school because "they were too hard".

    The plus to this is that I have hear dozens of times from kids returning to visit that the first year of college is actually easier than high school they were so well prepared.

    Thanks for all the info.
     
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Just an aside regarding Notre Dame and other private universities:

    ND is NOT a need-blind school and the ability to pay full fare can weigh heavily in acceptance. A family that we know had twin sons my boys' age and one of theirs got into ND, one did not with identical grades and SAT score less than 20 points different out of the 2400 possible. Turns out, one had a full NROTC scholarship (accepted) and one did not (rejected). Weird.

    Sometimes I think that in addition to the tangibles - grades, test scores, recs, etc., the service academies look also at the intangibles: willingness to take on the biggest challenges (school + sports + work), demonstrated true leadership (not "club president" necessarily, but say, promoted at a job to a supervisory position), and perseverance over the long-term or despite intense adversity or despite lack of common opportunity.

    Just my musing though...
     
  10. usafa84

    usafa84 Member

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    About ND.......My son was accepted into ND long before the scholarships rolled in. ND does NOT give merit scholarships. All students are accepted on merit. Average ACT score past year was 34. ND does give financial based schoraships, however ours wasn't going to cover the 51,000.00 a year tuition. You can receive outside scholarships. ROTC covers all but 10,000. Room and board. That is type 1. Good deal if you can get other scholarships to cover room and board. Son also gets 300.00 a month (tax free) stipen. 900.00 a semester for books and all his uniforms were free.

    Sarah, if your son would like to ask any questions please feel free to contact me. My son's dream was USAFA and that is what he worked towards since the fifth grade. He was heart broken when he was not accepted. God had a better plan for him with an education of his mind but of his heart as well.
     
  11. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    I understand what you mean about the grading. My son goes to a public school that offers weighted grading (5.0 for AP classes only). However, for AF he had to submit his non-weighted grades, so for all those classes, his grades were converted down to a 4.0 scale. But those teachers use the weighted scale to say that basically, A work in a normal class will receive B grades in those classes. With no curve or scaled scores and if no one in the class gets an A, then too bad. Meanwhile, all the other schools in our area do not offer any type of weighted grading. Those teachers then tend to feel more that since there is no advantage to taking an AP class (in GPA) that they have to make the grading easier. So if the highest score on a test was a B, the teachers would scale it up to an A. But when it comes to comparing for AF, those kids would have higher GPA's.

    Similarly, my son has taken several college classes, which he doesn't get any kind of weighting for (they're not even figured into his GPA at all) through his school, and I was kind of surprised that AF didn't figure them into his recalcuated GPA either.
     
  12. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    USAFA84, I think I wasn't clear. I just meant that at some schools, ability to pay can enter into acceptance offers. At the Service Academies, that particular aspect doesn't enter into the consideration. Apologies for rambling there.
     
  13. usafa84

    usafa84 Member

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    Marciemi I understand your frustrations. We went through that last year and are headed for it again with our daughter.....ah the dread overcomes me! My son was in 33 honors and AP courses in 7 semesters in highschool. He also took a class at the University which his school gave credit for. In some ways I wonder if it would better for some students to take "normal" classes and get the easy A's and be able to put that 4.0 on their application. My daughter is in a new highschool this year, due to yet another move. She is in all AP classes minus the photography class she is taking. Parents said that was unheard of at the school. I sometimes wonder if we are hurting our kids having them push themselves academically. It was for the best for my son who walked with 5's on AP exams and clepped out of his Freshman year at ND. Thats with them not counting one of his 5's saying he had to take at least one freshman level English. They also did not count is 4.0 from the University because his school gave him credit already, so watch that with your son taking college classes. We had no clue.
     
  14. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    Thanks for the info. Could you clarify your quote above? Obviously we're hoping to avoid the civilian college thing, but if so, what do you mean they didn't count the 4.0? GPA or credits? The way it works here is that 4.0 credit hours (ie his Calc 2 class) at a college shows up on his transcript as 1.0 high school credits, but with no grade, only pass/fail. So with your son they didn't allow those 4 credits if I'm reading it correctly? By the end of this year, my son should have 22 credits from the colleges he's attended (while in HS). Obviously if he gets in an academy it doesn't matter, but if he goes to a civilian school I'd be really frustrated if they didn't count!
     
  15. usafa84

    usafa84 Member

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    I am sorry if I was not clear. (hate typing) My son had an opportunity to be enrolled at the Univ. of Dayton. The prof. came to his school and taught the class at his school. The students had to follow the syllabus and class schedule as if they were on campus. Son got an A in the class thus 4.0 GPA from the university. His highschool gave him credit in his GPA for the class. Notre Dame won't give "dual credit". If we had known that we would have asked his highschool to not count the course on his transcripts thus he would get "college credit". Best of luck to your son.
     
  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    My kids each had 46 credits from the local university when they finished their high school years. Most of the colleges my sons looked at accepted their credits since they had actually GONE to the college for coursework. College work done in a high school is oftentimes considered just advanced placement.
     
  17. usafa84

    usafa84 Member

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    I guess we were really lucky. My kids were well challenged within their private school. We had many adjunct profs. with phd's come and teach a variety of AP courses. Truely a blessing. I would not want to pay community colleges for classes we were already paying tuition for. It did allow for more outside time for their community service. Your kids must have been amazing, fitting it all into their schedules! I hope it is going well for them.
     
  18. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    At least here and the last state we lived in, the school district pays for them to go to the college. We had to pay for his parking pass ($42) and if he keeps any of the textbooks, we have to reimburse them, otherwise they pay everything. I do agree that it's really challenging to juggle. Both years my son has taken his college classes (about 20 minutes away) in the middle of the day, so he goes to the HS, then drives to the college, then back. I agree also that 46 credits is really incredible. I think my son getting 20+ is the most anyone's done from our school.
     
  19. aggie83

    aggie83 Member

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    In our school district in Texas, you have to pay regular tuition to the community college (and in our school specific instance, that was out of district tuition rate) for dual credit classes and pay for textbooks. However, the community college rate was still less than the major state college tuition rates (like Univ. of Texas or Texas A&M).

    Since the information we were given from AFA said no dual credit courses were accepted by AFA, our son just chose the AP route.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    In our old district they have what is called jump start (CC classes offered to top students) Our DS did that, and we earned quickly it was a huge mistake, since the school actually weighted the GPA higher with AP's than the CC classes. :confused: So read the fine print if this is ever offered to you.

    As far as the AFA, it is true that they will not give credit, but it helps for validation of a course.
     

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