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RunningMoose

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
30
Does the Academy take into consideration the course load you have? I am in the top 5% of my class, but due to the fact that I took more challenging courses than a lot of people (Advanced Chemistry, Pre-AP Biology, AP Literature, all Honors math courses), I am not the very top. That being said, my ACT breakdown is competitive
34 Composite
35 English
32 Math
36 Reading
31 Science
Will the lower class rank still be seen as negative when course load is considered?
 

SAHopeful2021

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2017
Messages
30
I believe it will not be seen as a negative. They like seeing candidates excel in difficult classes, which you clearly are. They do take into consideration the classes you're taking because they want you to excel when you arrive so they want you to take courses that will benefit you for the academy. If you're that concerned about top 5% being a weakness, your ACT score makes you look great. They will also ask for a class profile so they will see how you are doing compared to others. You're in a great spot, but it is hardly the end. I'd suggest to push that ACT to a 36 and do better in school. Your academics are competitive, but if you want to ensure a BFE, I'd keep improving.
 

MidwestDad

Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Messages
592
Top 5% is not weak. DS' school does not rank at all - don't obsess about class rank.
How are your athletics / leadership extracirriculars?
 

RunningMoose

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
30
Top 5% is not weak. DS' school does not rank at all - don't obsess about class rank.
How are your athletics / leadership extracirriculars?

Extracurriculars include Knowledge Bowl team captain (second place in state), FBLA State Leadership Conference 3 years, NHS, Eagle Scout, High Adventure Committee Chairman for Scouts, and a finalist in the Caring For Our Watersheds program to promote responsible water use. For athletics I am the Cross Country team captain and a Varsity track runner. This isn't very many sports, but I ski, mountain bike, climb, and hike very frequently, and can meet or beat all the averages for CFA.
 

NY2CA5

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
52
RunningMoose, I have not read or heard at any time, or anywhere, that being in the top 5% of your class is anything but highly competitive. Everything else looks great as well. Keep up the good work. Out of curiosity. Why would you think that being in the top 5% of your class is problematic?
 

RunningMoose

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
30
RunningMoose, I have not read or heard at any time, or anywhere, that being in the top 5% of your class is anything but highly competitive. Everything else looks great as well. Keep up the good work. Out of curiosity. Why would you think that being in the top 5% of your class is problematic?

I just know that I could be ranked higher (top in my class) if I would take easier classes. I choose to take harder classes, but it results in me getting a few B's and dropping me down. I want to do anything to be as competitive as possible, especially being from Colorado which is very competitive for the Academy.
 

NY2CA5

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
52
Ah. Now I get it. I also understand your concerns. Let me ask you this. If you were in a position to hire someone for your company and you have a choice between two candidates. Candidate #1 graduated with a 4.0 GPA in barely college level classes or candidate #2 that very clearly pushed themselves academically, enrolled in and passed, the most difficult classes offered with a graduating GPA of 3.7. Which would you choose? A couple things come to my mind. Candidate #1 is perhaps lazy. Maybe afraid to take risks. Afraid of failure? Or just comfortable coasting through life. Not someone I would want on my team, and certainly not someone I would want leading my son or daughter into harms way. The answer is clear. Rest assured, those that are responsible for making appointments to SA's are professionals, and that they know how to read between the lines. Long story short. Keep doing what you're doing and it will be fine.
 

Badfinger

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
65
Does the Academy take into consideration the course load you have? I am in the top 5% of my class, but due to the fact that I took more challenging courses than a lot of people (Advanced Chemistry, Pre-AP Biology, AP Literature, all Honors math courses), I am not the very top. That being said, my ACT breakdown is competitive
34 Composite
35 English
32 Math
36 Reading
31 Science
Will the lower class rank still be seen as negative when course load is considered?

Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't your school award you bonus points for taking AP classes that are used when calculating your GPA?
 

USMA 1994

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
1,231
@RunningMoose Your academics are highly competitive. The actual GPA number from your high school means very little at face valve. The academies take your school profile and how you performed in challenging classes which is your class rank (determined by your gpa) to develop your GPA used for your WCS. Being ranked in the top 5% and taking the hardest courses available is better than being in the top 2% and taking the easier classes. If you want to focus on something, raising the Math score 1 or 2 points can only help. The academy super scores so your scores can never drop.

No one here knows the secret formula or who you will be competing against next year but you should focus on the things you can control. Keep up the challenging schedule next year, practice and try to max the CFA, keep doing the extracurriculars, look for leadership opportunities.
 

RunningMoose

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
30
Thanks all for your advice. I will be taking the ACT again to try to boost the math score. Badfinger they weight AP classes but not Honors or Advanced classes, though I have never understood why.
 

Scratcher

5-Year Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2012
Messages
79
It doesn't matter how your school weights them. USAFA Admissions will take your raw scores a weight them themselves.
 

Daretodream

5-Year Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
246
As has been stated no one knows for sure. People here can give you some insight and opinions based on what they have seen or experienced. Your profile looks very competitive. Keep up the good work.

I will give you some perspective from the workforce. As someone stated above, if I am hiring and down to two candidates and one challenged him or herself while the other only focused on the numbers then I will go with candidate one who showed no fear and who is likely better prepared for the challenges that they will face in the job.

Personally, my DS took 16 or 17 AP courses in high school. He challenged himself by taking the toughest scheduled possible at a very competitive school. This meant doubling up on STEM AP courses a couple of years while taking IB and AP courses in two foreign languages. It didn't always make it easy. He made a D one semester in BC Calculus. He also made a C one semester in another of the AP courses. He overcame the grades in the interviews by explaining the work load and showing he mastered the subjects by scoring 4s and 5s on the AP Exams. His ACT scores were almost identical to yours with an overall 34 composite. His leadership resume was also similar to yours when he applied to the Academy. He did forge relationships with our ALO and MOC in the years before he applied so they knew him prior to the interview and application process.

I give you the above to let you know he is completing his first year at USAFA and loves it. He validated 7 classes and is on the Dean's list. He joined the Honor Guard which is reported to be very tough for a first year Cadet. He continues to push himself which I think was a trait learned from the schedules and work he took on while in high school.

Best of luck to you.
 

6KDogwhistle

5-Year Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
86
You're very competitive but don't let it get to your head.:) As many have said, don't worry about things that you cannot control and don't live in the past. Your ACT scores are excellent but everyone should strive for perfection. Work on finishing the rest of the school year stronger than ever before; only you know what that entails. I remember when I was a student pilot in T-38s many many moons ago, my IP would always tell me that "if you aren't doing or thinking about what's to come, then you're behind the jet". Stay ahead of the power curve and never let up. This is only the beginning.
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2007
Messages
3,203
RunningMoose, there are many threads here from people who share you concerns over class rank. Here is one of the most recent:
https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/class-rank.55626/

Please, do some checking on this site and see that your questions are (usually) already asked and answered.

If you think top 5% is putting you on a knife's edge for admission, I strongly suggest you chill out! Not stop working and doing your best, but really - please - relax.
 
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