Within the academics part of WCS

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Sutter93, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Sutter93

    Sutter93 Member

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    Within the academic section, which is 60% of the whole candidate score, how important are each factors that go into it?

    Does class rank have more importance than grades and do both of those hold more importance than test scores? I was lurking in the West Point forums, and I found an old thread where someone posted that the SAT are heavily weighted in the WCS for West Point or something like that. I was just wondering if it was true for the AFA too?

    Also can anyone tell me how I look in academics?

    So far, my GPA is about 3.2 unweighted and 3.43 weighted. Those are just freshman and sophomore years. Yikes, I know. But I am currently holding a 4.0 first semester of Junior year, and it would be 4.83 weighted. I also take the most advanced courses available to me.

    My class rank so far is 114/578, but I expect it to improve. And excluding freshman year grades (UC GPA system), my class rank is 46/578.

    My SAT scores are 720 in math, a 690 in CR, and a 700 in writing
     
  2. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    Hey Sarah!

    I am not sure exactly, but I do keep hearing that class rank is VERY IMPORTANT! Because even if you have a low GPA but a high class rank, that still says something, either that your school is competitive or hard but you're still one of the top or that your school is not really great, but you're still able to be one of the top!

    And your class rank looks fine, top 20%! Your SATs are stellar!! And since you took the advanced courses, maybe the academy will reconfigure your GPA to something higher?

    And, I too would like to know how much weight they give to each factor of the Academics part of WCS. :D
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Not trying to make this an oxymoron, but don't you find it pretty difficult to have a LOW GPA and a HIGH CLASS RANK??? Now; if you happen to have a class of say 100 students; it's possible to have a 3.90 gpa and a class rank not in the top 10%. But if you're in a typical graduating class of more than 200-300; it's pretty difficult to have a high gpa without being ranked pretty good. And to be the other way; high rank and low gpa; would mean that you have a pretty bad school. Some will say that are "More Competitive"; but that's not really possible. All schools, no matter how much they care and are considered Better or Competitive; are still a business where money is important. And if top 10% of the students have a gpa of 3.3; people are going to get fired at the school.

    Your 3.2 gpa is about correct for being in the top 20%. That sounds normal. I doubt you're going to find a 3.2gpa in the top 10% class rank. And I doubt you'll find a 3.7 gpa ranked #100 out of 400. mike....
     
  4. dtkdarnoc

    dtkdarnoc Member

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    until

    you get to the academy, when you can pull off being on academic probation and top 25% at the same time!:thumb:
     
  5. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    ^^^ Hehehe ...sounds like someone's getting fired! [/endjoke]
     
  6. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    I apologize for bringing up this somewhat old thread, but I found something on this site.

    It says...
    I got this from http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Get-into-The-Air-Force-Academy&id=616793

    but I'm not sure how accurate this site is...

    Anyway, I see you have pretty alright GPA and class rank. I mean compared to other very competitive candidates, it looks a little weak. But you have great SAT scores, but according to that site, it may not help you so much?

    I really don't know though. I'm hoping someone can answer the question that Sutter brought up

    Because I'd really like to know as well. Thanks!
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Scores for the academy are a composite. It's a combination of many areas. Saying that class rank is more important than something else, such as gpa, is not something that can be answered directly. I know many people want to know what their chances are, but you're not going to get an answer. Sorry, but the answer doesn't exist. You need to combine your class rank, gpa, SAT/ACT, class difficulty, school profile, athletics involvement, leadership involvement, extra curricular involvement, volunteer time, and so on to get a total score. And even then, there is no magic number that says if you reach this level, you get an appoint. You are not competing with 10,000 other applicants directly. Your "main" competition is with getting a nomination with others in your state and district in your state. And/or competing with others in other categories eligible to offer nominations. So, if you can give me your entire profile; and that of your school; and that of all others in your state who are also applying to the academy, then maybe I can tell you within a 20% level of accuracy, what your chances are.

    Obviously, there are those that are in the "No Brainer" club. They are the 4.0 gpa student, taking all AP classes or in the IB program, ranked #1 in their class, who have varsity lettered in numerous sports in numerous years, and kicked butt on the CFA. They've also scored 32+ACT and 2100+SAT, went to boys/girls state, class officer, 200+ hours of volunteer time, and so on. These students have an almost guaranteed chance of getting an appointment. But they are probably in the top 1-3% of all applicants. But even they have to get the nomination.

    For what it's worth, I personally know of applicants who had close to 4.0gpa's who DIDN'T receive an appointment; while others with a 3.7gpa DID receive an appointment. Why? Because the 3.7gpa student was better "well rounded", while the 4.0gpa student ONLY had grades going for them.

    And I will ask again, as I did in my 1st post, give me a scenario where a student had a HIGH class rank and a not so good GPA. Or a kick butt GPA and didn't have a High class rank. Are you telling me that even with a graduating class of 100, that you can have a class rank of better than #5 with a gpa of say a 3.4??? If you tell me that is easily possible, then I will say that is a pretty screwed up school academically. And a student with a 3.95 gpa and not so high class rank, would come from a very weak school academically.

    Sorry, but you're not going to get a direct answer to the question of: "Does class rank hold more importance than GPA; and do both carry more importance than test scores?" because there is no direct answer to the question. GPA's fluctuate from 4.0 unweighted to the 3.4-3.6 unweighted. Class rank fluctuates from #1 (top 1%) to the top 20%. And applicants with the exact same scores or higher can be rejected or accepted, depending on ALL the other facets of the application process and nominations. mike....
     
  8. Runningman2014

    Runningman2014 Member

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    Christcorp is right in all accounts. They don't use some secret mathematical formal that if you had it you would be able to plug in our information and see if you got in or not. They are looking for a person who is “well rounded”. So, the best advice is continue to do your best in school, participate in some sport, extracurricular activity, job or all three if possible. In these things give it your all and hopefully you will be recognize as captain or some other leadership position. Also, help out in your community and your school. However, don’t spread yourself so thin that you allow your grades drop you need to bring up your gpa and class rank. This will show them (the selection panel) that you have leadership abilities and that you can manage your time wisely which is very important considering time is something you will have very little of at the Academy. If you don’t do a sport or even if you do start preparation early for the CFA events, then you can blow those events out of the water. I thought I would be ok in the CFA because I had done cross country and track for 6 years and was able to do more push-up and pull-up in middle school than the means. However, I didn’t keep up with doing push-ups and pull-ups on a regular basis during my high school career. So, I was rather weak regarding strength. I was ok for the running portion but I epically failed the upper-body portion the first time I took it. Start doing push-ups and pull-ups during your free time and during quick homework breaks. I really recommend this during quick break from homework it gets your blood pumping makes you more awake and alert while doing your homework. (Especially helpful if you are a procrastinator-even though this is something that if you suffer from you need to work on) If you don’t run start out with a mile a day for a week and gradually work your way to 3-5 no problem. I know people who through perseverance went from not being able to complete a 400 to being able to do a 5k race in under 24 minutes in less than 3 months.
    Also Christcorp is right as far as the grade thing goes too. It is impossible to have a low gpa and a high class rank and vise versa. My class come close but still wouldn't reach it. There are about 3 students in my class who have over a 4.0 weighted gpa (over 3.93 unweighted gpa) that are not in the top 10%. The reason for this is due to the fact that we have a very competitive small class of only 52 students.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Actually, I can see why the disparity of low gpa and high rank exists. For the OP it is not going to make them happy. In many schools, if you are GIFTED you get to jump in earlier to advance classes in HS. For example, in VA, the gifted kids take APs earlier than the avg kid. Gifted through middle school will be eligible for w classes as a freshman, non-gifted cannot. Honors and APs are weighted higher, thus even the B in honors will rank higher than the A in std. The weighted gpa will place you higher in rank. Not every school allows a student to take an AP right out of the gate, some require that they take a lower level course. In NC, you take Biology honors, and then you can come back and take AP Biology. In VA if you are gifted and the school agrees you take AP Biology, and that is the only Bio you have. If the OP is in a state like VA, they could take AP Bio right out of the gate, did poorly, but the weight placed them higher up in class rank.

    The reason this is not good news for the OP is due to the fact that they are going to view with the SAT scores they have the brains, but not the drive.

    The positive for them is that they are only a JR and the AFA likes to see upward trending for gpas. For the OP I would strongly suggest applying to SLS, because that does help when applying to the AFA.

    Now my 0.0187465 cents regarding PAR...
    1. The AFA will re-weight your gpa...your school may say that your wgpa is 4.17, but the AFA in their regs will deem it as 3.93 (throwing numbers).
    2. It is not only the gpa, but the rigors of your curriculum. Fill it with honors where you get A's when AP was available where you could get a B will not help. They desire to see you push yourself hard, they want to see that you never took the easy class when it was available.
    3. They also look at the school profile. You can have a 3.43 and be number 300 out of 600 and still get in...TJ in VA is the number one hs in the nation (@60% go IVY or very high caliber...Notre Dame not one is going to a CC or DeVry), it is a magnet and you must apply and test to be accepted. The rigor of that school will be looked at differently than a school where only 1 kid gets into an IVY, and 60% go State, 20% go CC and 20% go technical.
    4. You can be valedictorian with a perfect gpa and SAT, AND still not get in with noms from all of your MOCs. The reason why is because 40% is calculated in from other areas. Valedictorians are based on gpas, appointees are the WHOLE candidate. Lower gpa, class president, Lacrosse captain and holding a part time job means more to them than the perfect SAT.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  10. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    So what the website said isn't true then, that the AFA just sees the SATs/ACTs as a pass/fail test.

    Now I'm curious to see where Sutter got the info from, that West Point heavily weights the SATs in their WCS.

    I'm sorry, but I am still confused to how the WCS works though. If points are given for certain things, then they must give more/less weight to certain things. If they see a person with a perfect GPA who took all the advanced courses availible, do they decide, "Okay, these people get this much points for their GPA" , regardless of what their SAT scores were or what other extracurriculars they hold?

    I mean, of course if they only had grades going for them, in the long run the points would add up and they wouldn't have enough points needed for an appointment, but does the AFA assign certain amount of points for something...

    or do they look at everything first and then give points, as in they would see and decide "Oh this person has a 3.6 GPA, but they took all the advanced courses and also they come from a low income family so they had to take on two extra jobs, so it was probably more difficult for them to find time to study but they're obviously bright and would have had higher grades if their situation allowed them to, lets give this person as much points as we gave the 4.0 student"

    And if they do that, do they decide, "Okay the max number of points we can give for GPA is #, and the max number of points we can give for the SAT is #"

    Or maybe no ones really knows how they do WCS, but I just have to trust that the AFA will look at everything so I just have to make myself really competitive without worrying about how much points they assign to something?
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Of course the air force assigns points to each area that you test in. However, it isn't as simple as that. E.g. You are in texas, I am in Wyoming; you and I BOTH have a 3.95 gpa. I receive 250 points and your receive 210 points. WHY? I took the IB program and every class was basically an advanced class. You took 2/3 AP classes and 1/3 traditional classes. Then, looking at the class rank, I am ranked #1 in my class and so are you. I get 100 points, you get 75 points. WHY? My graduation class is 500 students and yours in 300 students. Then they look at the class/school profile and determine which school pushes harder, has opportunities for more advanced students, etc... Now, let's throw another twist in here. You go to a small school in a very low populated area of texas. Your school doesn't have AP classes or the IB program. Should you be penalized for that??? It's not your fault you live there and have to go to that school??? They will take that into consideration also. Matter of fact, the 3.8 gpa in the small school with absolutely no advanced classes could get more points for that section over a person with a 3.90 gpa who HAD advanced classes available, but didn't take any of them.

    Yes, the SAT and ACT is a bit more standard. But each area is graded separately. Obviously, they can't use a composite score. I could have a 30 ACT and you have a 32 ACT, but I aced the math which is more important to the academy. The SAT and ACT are definitely scored and awarded points more evenly for all applicants. But when it comes to your gpa, class rank, and so on, it's very subjective. 1) How good is your school? 2) What classes are available? 3) What classes did you take? 4) How are your teachers, student/teacher ration, etc...? 5) Were you home schooled? And the list goes on.

    Yes, the air force academy awards points. But if you're looking for some checklist or formula to help you figure out your score; well it's not going to exist. At least not where you will see it. SHOULD a 5'10" 135LB male get the same points for the mile run in the CFA as a 6'4" 190LB male who runs it in exactly the same amount of time? There's a reason the academy is subjective.

    Does the academy; air force, army, navy, coast guard; put more emphasis on certain things than others in the scoring process? Yes, most certainly. Will I tell you what they are? No. Why not? 2 reasons: 1) I want you to concentrate on being the best "WELL ROUNDED" person you can be; without trying to game the system in certain areas. 2) Those "CERTAIN THINGS" that the academy puts more emphasis on can and will be different for each individual applicant. For one student, their GPA might have more emphasis put on it compared to their class rank; "Because of their school". Whereby another student might have more emphasis put on their SAT/ACT because they were home schooled and didn't have a class rank.

    Basically, you're asking questions that have no direct answers. And no one here; who knows anything about the process; is going to be able to give you a direct answer. My answers only appear comprehensive, because I'm long winded. Do as has been suggested, and just do your best in all categories. If you try to maximize your time by concentrating on certain areas because you believe there is more emphasis in that area, then you will fail. Why? Because that's how the military operates. The want individuals who can multi-task. Like I mentioned earlier, I can show you individuals with 4.0 gpa and kick a$$ test scores who were accepted to Yale, Harvard, and Sanford; yet TURNED DOWN by the air force academy. Sorry.... Mike.......
     
  12. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hey folks,

    Okay...I can't speak for USMA/USNA/USCGA/USMMA and I'll only speak re: USAFA in the context of what I know and don't know.

    Speculation on this topic while interesting, is meaningless.

    The "bottom line answer" to ALL the questions being asked here about the WCS is simple: NONE of us knows the machinations used by ANY of the SA's in determining the overall score. While we can ruminate on things that we've seen in the past, examples of "X" and "Y" we can't, at the end of the day, say "...they view XXXX with a value of 3xy+3(3y)+2..." and so on. ONLY the folks in USAFA/RR and the "other branches" up there in Harmon Hall can do that and trust me, they will NOT tell you how its done. I've been an ALO for 15 years and they don't tell us either.

    This is why I tell my candidates: "IT ALL COUNTS!!!" Don't focus on ITEMS, rather, focus on the ENTIRE PACKAGE!

    I can tell you that when I view the WCS for one of my candidates, I can "sorta" figure out where the numbers come from; that's been well explained here by others, but I can NOT tell you how many points in each area.

    Do NOT get wrapped around the axle with this...I think NONE of you candidates can tell me what your WCS is unless your ALO told you and we're not really supposed to do that for the very reason you see in this forum: the random speculation that occurs.

    Focus on the end goal: appointment. The rest is meaningless in the grand scheme.

    Just my thoughts on a lazy holiday day.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  13. Drew_22

    Drew_22 USAFA Cadet

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    With that it could also be the other way. My class is the biggest in my state. 951, and I'am number 99 with a 3.92 GPA. But my class is splitting because there is going to be a new school. So hopefully mine goes up, but im still within the top 10% bairly with a 3.9
     

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