Any hope?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by orangetorpedo, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. orangetorpedo

    orangetorpedo 5-Year Member

    Aug 14, 2010
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    I'm a senior this year and would love to go the the Academy, but I'm doubtful about my prospects. I have been homeschooled (not charter schooled) since 1st grade and have been very active in volunteering and athletics.

    Overall, I think I have a pretty good list of accomplishments:

    700 CR 750 Wr SAT Scores

    3.6 GPA

    Eagle Scout at 14, SPL at 15, Order of the Arrow Ceremonies team for a year

    Swimming since age 9, but where I live homeschoolers are not allowed to participate in High School sports, so it's all USA Swimming
    (I would consider myself good but not great, top-20 in my county)

    In addition, I have been coaching the 10&us on my team for a year and teaching swim lessons

    For over a year, I've been a Red Cross certified Lifeguard and USA Swimming certified coach

    I volunteer every weekend at my church, and am active in several church-related activities

    I would hope that the above is pretty competitive, but I left something out.

    I stink at math.

    Okay "stink" is a strong word. "Average" might be better.

    I made it through three years of High School math with B+ averages, but I have a 550 Math SAT. I hope to boost it to a 600 or so with a ton of prep work, but a 640+ just doesn't seem likely. I'm also taking the ACT, but I don't think it'll be much different.

    So... do I have any hope? I wouldn't be looking for a Math or Engineering major (More likely Poli Sci). But I can't help feeling like this one thing will shoot my chances.
  2. thederek

    thederek 5-Year Member

    Feb 25, 2009
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    looks solid, my ACT killed my SAT score, so it all depends...just keep working hard, cuz you sure as hell have to once you get here :]

    ...and make sure this is what you REALLY want before you come here, because it's an insane lifestyle change/commitment
  3. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle 5-Year Member

    Jun 24, 2009
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    You have some great looking stats as a homeschooler. I was also homeschooled my entire life. As you observed, your math is the one thing holding you back. Remember, the Academy is a Math and Science school. You can't get around taking some amount of it here. If you are able to boost your math score over 640, you will have an excellent resume. I don't know the exact process, but the academy will weight your math score much higher than your critical reading or writing. Don't give up, keep working hard on that math score. If you have any questions for a homeschooler, feel free to ask me.


  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent 5-Year Member

    Apr 13, 2010
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    The ACT has less math in it (only 25% is math compared to 33% on the SAT) and often students do significantly better on one exam than the other. The format of the problems is different. Since the Academy takes both the SAT and ACT, you should take the ACT also. There are test dates this September, October, and December.
  5. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Jul 26, 2008
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    Okay...SHORT VERSION first: Take BOTH the SAT and ACT as often as you can afford to financially. If it's NOT a financial burden, take them EVERY TIME they are offered. Yes it messes up a bunch of weekends but, oh well...this is the Academy you're going after; it's worth a few Saturday's!

    Longer portion...

    Home-schooled students in the past years were not well reviewed and received at the SA's simply because they were an "unknown" entity. NO MORE. ALL the SA's have made HUGE strides in admitting home-schooled students. Yes, quite often they must jump through MUCH bigger hoops to verify to the SA the "rigor" of their education, the quality, etc.

    BUT BUT BUT...I have personal experience with the counselors up at USAFA and they literally go OUT OF THEIR WAY to help the student. One recently met with one of the students I've been "advising" here on SAF. That student is home-schooled. The counselor met with the student and parent and went over the entire process, gave advice, suggested ways to "shore up" the application, etc.

    In short, the counselor went MUCH FARTHER than I would have thought they would. The student is now totally pumped up and is in "full burner" toward the goal of appointment!

    So...your list looks VERY impressive...the math score...I'll be blunt here, as I hope you'd want me to be: it will keep you OUT of the academy at its current level. It MUST be raised into the low 600's minimum and even then...I'd "prefer" if I were your ALO that it be in the range of 660+.


    I see great potential here!!! Small things to work on and you CAN DO THAT!!! :thumb:

    USAFA '83
  6. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot 5-Year Member

    Jul 6, 2009
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    Attitude change

    OrangeTorpedo, you're stats are good. Your math score can be improved. However, you need to be very positive about your prospects! Confidence is important! Good luck!
  7. lotsofbooks

    lotsofbooks 5-Year Member

    Nov 1, 2008
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    Be encouraged- people say that the info has to "soak in" a while before you will see the results on the achievement tests... so true. I think my d. had the 500's for 2 PSATS and the first SAT. (it was going up, but very slowly) Her verbal was good, like yours, but the math....:thumbdown:

    The very last SAT she took in late fall in her senior year.... Well- we were just amazed. I'm so glad she took it (the congressional office recommended it very tactfully) I think it went up 100 points just since the spring of her junior year. So here I was thinking--"-we do all this math and it's not helping..". well you are due to see a huge improvement.

    But- we had her do practice math every morning, and a practice test on the weekends. (I ignored the verbal at that point) She started her math as she had her last bite of cereal-----plop- I handed it to her. At this point one might consider cutting down on other activities to address the math. That's what we did. She was homeschooled but also did attend some school, but math happened every day.

    It worked. She did well at the academy, is starting grad school, and will probably be pursuing some sort of doctorate.

    As a "typical homeschool student" she had so many different areas she liked at the academy she had a hard time deciding her major. She couldn't get a double major but she got two minors. She has a lot of interests that she brought to her career---so many things she enjoys that her "employement file" already has more variety than a lot of others in this stage of her career.

    I don't know how the homeschoolers do at the academy comparatively, but a lot of the experiences you are doing now will help you once you're out working as an officer. (ie she works a lot with the children of officers)
    (she was a swimmer, too) Don't give up!
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother 5-Year Member Founding Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    Homeschooling will be neither a deficit nor a plus in the Admissions Office's eyes, so quit worrying about that. There are many homeschooled kids at USAFA and they do well, for the most part. I speak from experience here. :cool:

    Now, homeschooling has nothing to do with your math score on the SAT. Push push push math! Get two different texts and work ALL the problems. Get a tutor. Take a class.

    Are you in touch with an ALO yet?
  9. orangetorpedo

    orangetorpedo 5-Year Member

    Aug 14, 2010
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    Thank you all so much, I really needed an even perspective... I guess it's time to put my nose to the grindstone :smile:

    I do have one more question: Should I hold off on filling out the Pre-Candidate form online? Since I'll be taking the SAT and ACT in October, I won't know until then if I'm truly competitive...
  10. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    No, the pre-candidate form only puts you on USAFA's radar. You should have already sent that. You will be able to update your actual application at a later date, as information becomes available.

    If you are just starting the paperwork, you need to get into high gear. Many congressional nomination processes have already started.

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