Am I doing good enough freshman year.

Jcoleman1232

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Apr 20, 2017
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I am a freshman in high school wanting to go to usna,usafa or West Point. I have a cumulative gpa for my freshman year as 3.5 and I took two honors classes. I did cross country in the fall. Backpacking in the winter and Jv lacrosse in the spring. I am also doing Boy Scouts and am about to make eagle this summer. Do you guys think that I'm doing good for my freshman year. The main thing I'm worried about is my gpa. I have a few B's and I think even a B- is that a problem. Also I am taking 3 honors classes out of 5 and no AP in tenth grade will that hurt me because that is one of my biggest questions. My last question is do the academy's care about mid year and semester grades. Please answer as honestly as you guys can, thanks.
 

WP22

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Try for 1 AP in sophomore year. Shows that you take the hardest possible classes, I think you can only take 2 APs sophomore year
 

Wishful

"Land of the free, because of the brave..."
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First of all, welcome! Recommend you use the SAF's "Search" function where you will find a lot of information about the academics, etc. of successful candidates. That being said, you need a strategy to succeed in HS. You haven't even finished your freshman year, don't beat yourself up yet, that's a parents job!;)
#1. Take a hard look at yourself. Realistically, what is the highest level of academics given that you can succeed at?
#2. Meet with your guidance counselor. Review your opinions of your academic abilities. Jointly plan a course load for sophomore, junior, & senior year which will present you in the best light to a SA's, &/or colleges. Identify the subject(s) you're weakest in & get into those classes taught by that subject's best teachers. That will be the planning challenge. You may have to jump through some hoops, but it will be worth it when you can comprehend difficult concepts because you have a great teacher. (Remember once you go AP, you're on a path to progressively difficult academic classes so it will be hard to go back to an easier level of the course.) Become an Eagle scout. Reach out to your ALO, it might be a little early, but they will let you know. Good Luck!
 

PinWrestling

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Nov 4, 2016
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The question you should be asking isn't "am I doing good enough." You should be asking "what more can I do." There are a lot of qualified students applying to each service academy with very few seats for each incoming class. Make the board that reviews your package in a few years hate to not accept you.

I read that the application is 60% academics, 30% leadership, and 10% physical fitness.
 

Dadof2

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Wishful gives good advice, and it makes sense to meet with your guidance counselor. I would just add that some HS guidance counselors have no clue about SA's and what it takes to be competitive. If you don't get the feeling your counselor really understands the SA path, be careful about relying 100% on their advice alone.

Look around at other threads on this site and there is tons of information on what your competition is doing. The basics are to take the most challenging courses you can handle and do well in them, make sure you take a heavy STEM load, seek leadership opportunities in some area(s) you are passionate about, stay involved in sports and try to compete at the varsity level (team captain is a nice plus). Take and retake SAT/ACT until you are happy with your scores. Seek some tutoring if you need to bring those scores up. Eagle scout is great; also look into boys state. And stay out of trouble! Don't be tempted with booze, pot, etc. You'll have to answer the questions about drug and alcohol use, and you want to be honest in your answers. It's a lot easier to honestly answer that you haven't touched the stuff.

Probably most important is to ask yourself honestly if you want to serve as a leader in the military. That's a big question for a HS freshman, but always remember that this is the reason you should be wanting a SA, not just the prestige of attending a SA.

The good news is that if you begin to prepare for a SA as a freshman, you are doing the right things to be successful just about anywhere you decide to go, even if you decide later on that a SA is not for you. And if you still want a SA, also check out ROTC and think about plans B, C etc, as you become a junior and senior.

Good luck!
 

brovol

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Your GPA could be an issue ultimately, but it isnt actually the GPA that counts, but rather your class standing. Should try be top 20% or higher.
 

Old Navy BGO

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The question you should be asking isn't "am I doing good enough." You should be asking "what more can I do." .

+1 -- The formula is easy, excel academically, physically and demonstrate leadership ! How good is good enough is hard to judge, and sometimes depends on where you are and who else is applying. Grades and SAT/ACT's count, so do the best you can. To some degree, strong SAT/ACT can counter low grades, and a strong showing toward the end of your HS career may help overcome a slow start. Admissions is looking to see that you can thrive in a highly competitive environment.

You can browse these forums and see that some very highly qualified candidates don't get in each year. Some are persistent, reapply and get in the next year, but the fact remains that USNA (and other service academies) are highly competitive and alot of good candidates don't get in. Don't let stories here discourage you -- there is one hard fact that I have seen here repeatedly -- if you don't apply, you won't get in!

Good luck.
 

Sandydesert

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Good Luck pursuing your dream!!!! Speaking as a parent, I would also advise you to keep busy during the summers by doing some sort of volunteer work in your community-something you are interested in: volunteer at the animal shelter, coach 5 year olds how to play lacrosse, whatever.
Look for leadership opportunities in your school, neighborhood, and community. If you see a need and no group exists, consider starting one. When you are 16, get a part-time job while still earning top grades in all your classes.
If your high school offers the " start taking college courses as a junior" type of program, apply. You will be taking college courses in combination with your high school classes. Ask your high school guidance counselor for details on the local colleges that offer this type of program.. Science, math, more science, more math, and engineering type classes in the "High school-college" program.

Apply to NASS if you decide on USNA, or the other SA summer programs if you decide USNA is not what you want. The summer programs give you an idea of what that particular academy is like. When DS was at NASS, a couple of years ago, the detailers were watching them closely to see who would be a good fit at USNA as a mid. DS said that by lunchtime of the second day, half of his squad had already decided they were no longer interested in USNA. DS , on the other hand, loved every minute of NASS. He is finishing plebe year right now.

In a nutshell, the academies are looking for candidates who have a LOT on their plate and handle all of it very well.
 
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hockeygirl

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USNA determines if you are 'competitive' via your own track record and if you have challenged yourself. Regardless of what you have taken- you should aim to be as successful as you can. Someone from an upper-middle class family is "expected" to achieve at a higher rate than that of a candidate working 2 part time jobs to support their family. It's what you do with the opportunities given to you- not the outsiders view of what you should be doing; it's a balance of school and extracurricular activities and commitments. Overall grades are sent on the semester results- ask your guidance counselor about seeing an unofficial transcript- that's what they send to USNA. **Just because you take the AP class does not mean that you are signing an agreement to take the AP test- but make sure to check your school's policy to make sure.

@Jcoleman1232 - USNA contacts your HS guidance counselor and asks them questions about the relative competitiveness of a school and the rigorousness of the curriculum and can rate you from there. There might be a section in which they ask you to predict class standing (ie. top 10%, top 25%,etc). Class rank is less of a predictor when a school is highly competitive; per my weighted GPA I am lower in the class standings than when comparing using UW GPA. The number does not mean much without the rest of the data and is rendered useless- aka don't sweat it :) (hope this answers your question)
 

Dad2020

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Take the hardest classes your school offers. Period. Participate in sports, clubs, and activities. Get good grades. Do your best on the ACT. If your score isn't perfect, take it again.

That's the only stuff people can tell you. IF you can't manage that, you won't manage the Academy. It's that simple. The academy is full of people with lots of strengths. You won't be the smartest kid in your school. Be able to show you know how to deal with failure.
 

coachkarl

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Take the hardest classes your school offers. Period. Participate in sports, clubs, and activities. Get good grades. Do your best on the ACT. If your score isn't perfect, take it again.

That's the only stuff people can tell you. IF you can't manage that, you won't manage the Academy. It's that simple. The academy is full of people with lots of strengths. You won't be the smartest kid in your school. Be able to show you know how to deal with failure.

All part of the great mystery. When I hear about the dossiers of my DS's classmates, I often wonder how he earned his appointment. Don't get me wrong, I love my kid and I think he's smart, driven, athletic and musically gifted. But compared to most of these kids ... I dunno.

So most of this thread is covered with good advice - do the best you can at all you can. There's no specific formula to get in.
 

NY2CA5

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Dec 26, 2016
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I think there a two crucial skills that get left out of discussions regarding preparation for SA appointments. Essay composition and interview skills. At your age, you have plenty of time to master both. I would suggest getting a solid understanding of crafting an essay and perhaps finding classes that would teach communication techniques. Maybe toastmasters? My opinion is that if two applicants have a similar resume on paper, the appointment will go to the candidate with the better essay and MOC / BGO interview. I have heard it said before that a BGO can't get you an appointment, but they sure can prevent you from getting one. This should not be ignored. Thoughts BGO'S?
 

Old Navy BGO

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I have heard it said before that a BGO can't get you an appointment, but they sure can prevent you from getting one. This should not be ignored. Thoughts BGO'S?

It's really hard to tell how much influence the BGO interview has. I have had Candidates with lukewarm interviews get in, and I have had some great interviews that didn't. I have heard from Admissions that a good BGO interview doesn't carry a whole lot of weight at the Admissions Board when they make the qualification determination. That is consistent with NY2CA5's comment -- the BGO can't make an unqualified candidate qualified, but a bad interview can be a red flag. That being said, a lot more weight is given to the Math/English teacher recommendations -- those are the people who really know the candidate. I also think that the BGO interview may be kind of a tiebreaker when two candidates with relatively equal qualifications are 3Q and competing for the same nomination.
 

coachkarl

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I think there a two crucial skills that get left out of discussions regarding preparation for SA appointments. Essay composition and interview skills

Not a BGO, but would have to agree. I'm convinced that my son's essay to the academy and his interview with the senator who eventually made him his principal nominee were the two major factors that pushed him across the finish line.
 
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