Air Force Academy Academics

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by fgdazzo, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. fgdazzo

    fgdazzo 5-Year Member

    Sep 23, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Hello all, I've been perusing the forum for a day or so now, and I decided here would be a great place to ask a question I've needed answering for a while.

    I am currently an enlisted member in the Air Force, and am adamant about attending the USAFA through the LEAD program. I have been filling out the online app, have interviewed with my ALO, and from talking with my liaison at the Academy, I should be looking at a direct appointment. If everything goes as planned I will be attending the Academy in Fall of 2011.

    My question to anyone who can help me gain some insight on the subject is: How are the academics? I've been struggling with the concept ever since I became interested in attending the Academy. In high school I didn't prove to myself I was a good student; I didn't study/do homework when I should of. I came out with a 3.1 GPA. I took the ACT a few months ago and got a 28 (same score as my sophomore year), my lowest score being a 26 in science and my highest being a 31 in reading.

    So, can someone help me understand how hard the academics are? Also, how can I better prepare myself for the rigorous academic program offered there? I have my mind set on attending the Academy, but I want to make sure I make it through. I appreciate ANY input that I can get!

    Thank you

  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

    May 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    1st; I'm not a cadet, and never have been. But I know a bit about college and and very familiar with the classes my son is taking at the academy.

    College classes are NOT high school classes. This is true at any college/university. The air force academy is not unique in this. College classes require having very good study habits for the average student. If you don't have good study habits and good time management, you probably will have difficulties.

    The most difficult part of the academy, academically, is a double side sword. Your core classes, (Classes that every student must take, no matter their major), does not just include english, history, etc... ; but will also include mechanical engineering, electrical, etc... Even the english major will take these classes. The other side of the sword, you aren't allowed to go out of the student area during the week, so you have plenty of time to study. The other sword is, the average college student will take approximately 120 credit hours for a degree. That's approximately 5 classes per semester, and many will finish in 5 years. The academy averages 144 credit hours (6 classes per semester or equivalent), and they HAVE TO finish it in 4 years, not 5 or 6. But again, during the week you are basically quarantined, so you do have the time to study.

    Another positive however is a much smaller student/teacher ratio. So learning is more effective. The school also has EI (Extra-Instruction) that allows you to get extra help at any time. The number one goal of the school is you, the student's success. They aren't just pumping out graduates. So you have it better in those respects.

    Then, on top of all of this, your non-classroom time will also be filled with military related training and duties. So it's not like a regular college in that respect. Bottom line however, you need to have good study habits and be good at time management. These are skills; and as skills, can be learned by anyone who really tries. Without these, you will have a very difficult time. Best of luck to you. Mike....
  3. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet 5-Year Member

    Apr 9, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Don't forget k-tests and t-sessions on top of that :)
  4. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Generally, there are two issues most people face with study skills.
    1. Setting time aside and actually putting in the time and work. Quite a few people who get into academic trouble wind up there because they set aside time to work, but wind up on facebook or something else during their "study time."

    2. Balancing the requirements. Sometimes you will have more work than time. You need to be able to determine when you need to study for a different class, when you need sleep, etc. My former roommate put in a LOT of work, and succeeded because he tracked his studies and planned ahead. Knowing when you studied enough for the 93% you want vs. putting in an 4 hours for that extra 7% you don't really need is a valuable skill.

    If you don't have solid study skills now, PRACTICE. Start setting time aside to study things. Perhaps you want to learn more about politics, history, household wiring...whatever...take some time to do that. Study habits are learned over time. The first semester of 4 degree year isn't the best time to start.
  5. fencersmother

    fencersmother 5-Year Member Founding Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Those study skills are so important at USAFA, and Raimius is right: if you don't have those skills now, GET THEM. Practice and be vigilant. And know your basics down cold (Here's that mean mother thing in me again: it's should HAVE, not should "of".).

    Free time? Get a math class you can take online, or practice writing, or reading. Don't waste your time playing with video games.

    I know that time management skills are at a premium for the I.C.'s, and really, for almost every cadet. Learn to use your time effectively. Whether you attend any service academy, college, or just in life, time management is a great skill to have.

    Good luck!

Share This Page