Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Mom of ethan, Mar 20, 2016.
DS wants to major in aerospace any advice?
There are two majors at the academy your son might be interested in, Aeronautical Engineering and Astronautical Engineering. Both of which are tough majors so he must be ready for the challenge. Aeronautical Engineering tends to be a major that most engineering oriented cadets pick, while Astronautical Engineering tends to be a much smaller subsection of the cadet engineering majors. What specific advice were you looking for?
How doable is a double major in both of those?
Well, it would take a special kind of person...
In other words, pretty darn tough.
That's all I needed to know. If it's possible than I will do it.
You should think twice about that double major. At the academy and in the Air Force, rank matters. You could go for the double major and then it may effect your GPA negatively, hence lowering your rank and effecting many things.
Pick the major that you are interested in and don't be concerned about how to choose the hardest path. You will have plenty of challenges in either major.
You will have an academic advisor that will help you with this. Don't be surprised if (s)he recommends that you do not double major in what is arguably #1 and #2 of the toughest majors at USAFA.
You may be one of the very small minority who can do that. However, most discover that where once they were top of the class, best at everything, they are now just average. Trying to juggle academics, military knowledge/duty, training, briefings, IC/intramurals, etc., and some sort of social life (ie: clubs, dinner with friends, dating), is a lot tougher than you think. I do strongly advise that you do more than just academics -- try to have a life!
Do not double major in Aero and Astro. It is nearly impossible, unless you validate a ton of classes, give up all of your summer leave to take classes, and overload your academic schedule most semesters. Trust me on this one.
Another thread said that it would be difficult to get my masters immediately after the Academy if I go to UPT. I'd like to make the best of the Academy. Would a different double major or a minor be more sensible?
My DD is majoring in astrophysics and minoring in Spanish. I would recommend a language minor, but again, you will have an academic advisor to help you navigate through all of your opportunities. (S)he will know a lot more about your capabilities after your first year or two (you're taking core classes) than anyone on this forum. Finish up your required core courses before making the decision about double majoring. You may find that there are other interests that you haven't even considered.
Also, where did you hear that you can't get a masters immediately after the Academy? My DD's plans are to get her masters immediately following and then going UPT (subject to change, of course!) If you heard you can't do a masters and UPT at the same time -- yup, I believe that one.
I wanted to them done at the same time. They said it was virtually impossible. As for UPT following your masters, the thread claimed that it would put you behind your peers.
And there were several replies refuting that claim. One of son's best friends did his masters at the Univ. of Oregon right after USAFA and then went to UPT. He flies the C-Model Eagle now and he is not behind his peers at all.
Things will change once you are at the Academy and start to figure out the best paths to get where you want to be. Son went in planning on Aero Engineering, decided to switch the Behavioral Science with a Spanish minor. He is a pilot now and loving it.
I have a son who will tell you with no guile: PHYSICS is the absolute toughest major at USAFA, followed by Astro E (in which my DD-in-law majored there).
You will not just decide "Yes, I will double major in THIS and THAT." Your AcAd (Academic Advisor) will greatly assist you in this process. Especially if you have not even spent one second as a doolie, I would be careful about making claims. You may find you get some extra attention. Same thing will happen if you wear your favorite "I -heart-Navy" t-shirt on I-Day.
Wait and see how you do on those placement tests, wait and see how you do in Chem 215... just wait and see. Enthusiasm encouraged but with discretion appreciated.
DS got a 5 in ap such as chemistry. Should he "test out" or take the curriculum
Test into advanced classes, if possible. I placed into the advanced chem class, and quite honestly, it seemed that the workload was the same as the basic class. The material was different, but he quantity was similar.
Like your enthusiasm! Don't let me dissuade you in any way, but. . .
I double majored in college -- not an SA and definitely not hard sciences. I did very well and went on to top 10 grad programs. My second major had nothing to do with any of that, and no one ever asked a single interview question or seemed to care about two majors. It seemed cool and challenging at the time - and that was it. I had to forgo a number of activities, including studying abroad and some other academic honors programs to fit all the classes in and still graduate in 4 years. If I had to do it over again, I would not go with the double.
At USAFA, you will have some great opportunities to do stuff not available to others outside the SA environment. You will likely have to forgo many of those opportunities for arguably the two most demanding majors offered.
Get into the academy, get acclimated to the rigors of SA life and then make your decision. Your opportunities and assignments will be affected by your class rank - 1/2 of which is your GPA -- do not let your grades suffer for that extra major, which does not count in the ranking equation.
Use your drive and ambition to ace one or the other of majors, based on what you want to do post USAFA and how you want to serve. That is my advice, for what it is worth. When you get to USAFA, (after recognition and before you have to declare) -- you will be able to talk to cadets who are doubling and get their perspective as well.
Is class rank really that important? I know that at the academy they give recognition to those who show academic excellence but what happens to those near the bottom of the class, as long as they are passing? I would assume it would lower their chances of achieving any sort of advanced leadership opportunities while at the academy, but what at about once they graduate? Will what positions they are assigned after the academy depend on class rank at graduation? This reminds me of a joke "What do they call the person who graduated last of their class in medical school? ....... A Doctor" is this not as true for the SA's?
Class rank will provide you with tons of opportunities while at the academy. For instance, those ranked high will get the overseas ops Air Force assignments. You will also have opportunities for other foreign travel and airmanship opportunities like soaring instructor pilot that others will not get. After the academy, no it does not matter that much, or at all.
Yes. Everything after I-Day is subject to "the needs of the AF." The AF's needs change all the time, but slots for the most desirable positions are always limited in number. Hence, those with the highest class rank have the better chance of getting the job they want. You will get promoted at roughly the same time as your classmates (at least through Captain), but your classmate who graduated #1 will be in a flight or astronaut suit, and you might be well . . . somewhere North of the Arctic Circle staring at a radar screen. OK, it is probably not that bad. Graduating from USAFA is an accomplishment in itself, but yes, the higher your rank, the more choices and opportunities that will be open to you.
On a side note (and not saying you are), but anyone going going to a SA should not be entering with the objective of finishing at the bottom of the class. I think the better attitude is to have a touch of arrogance and extreme self-confidence that you can be at the top of the class, tempered by humility and acknowledgment that your classmates are the best and brightest out there - on par with anybody at MIT, Stanford or an Ivy - so you will have to work your butt off to achieve that ranking.
Yes, class rank matters. When they assign career fields, class rank is one of the biggest factors in the order of merit. Essentially, the higher you rank, the more likely you are to get the career field you want. (10 slots for the job you want, and you rank 11 of 15 who applied...guess what...)
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