AP Classes

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by USNAMA2022hopefull, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Mike, it was a clearly a joke among the IB kids. She said it very tongue in cheek. It is a very great group of kids who went on to do great things.
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    Actually, I have met a couple of people, "Usually Parents", who thought more of themselves and their kids because they were in the IB program. "Many of these parents live vicariously through their kids". Living in a small town, and having one of only two IB schools in the entire state, there's a lot of dissension among parents. Many think there's funding involved that should be spent on programs that help all kids. Not just those who are good academically. Teachers are envious/jealous/pi$$ed at others who got certified and selected to be IB teachers. Of course the teacher's union doesn't like it.

    I definitely took your post as the "Inside Humor" it is recognized as. The IB kids here kid about it too. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people who think quite negatively of the IB program. USUALLY, it's parents who wasn't able to get their kids into the program. Usually because a school with the program isn't close by. And for that, I would definitely agree it is unfair. Wyoming is one of the largest physical states in the country. 2 schools with the IB program. These 2 schools are about 200 miles apart from each other. So basically, if you don't live in or outside the city limits of Cheyenne or Casper, you pretty much aren't going to be able to take advantage of the IB program. In any LARGE city/town, you can find at least one school your kid could attend. Even in Colorado, where it's half populated, there's 23 cities with at least 1 school offering the IB program. But you start heading to the western part of colorado, (The Back Range), on the Utah connecting side, and it's almost unheard of.

    So while it's a great program, it's definitely not for everyone; nor available to everyone. Just like the AP classes being discussed. I've had kid apply to the academy who literally took every AP class available, or at least that their schedule could provide for. And I've had some applicants who only took 1 AP class per semester; and some that take none.

    As has been said 1,435,654 times on the forums, "And this is why the school profile is so important", the academy wants to see WHAT you DID.... with WHAT you HAD. You need to take the most challenging classes available; that you can pass fairly well in. Strictly from an academic point of view on your application, the more advanced classes you take, the better your application will be and the higher your academic scoring will be. But obviously, as has been pointed out, YOU have to find your balance. Taking all advanced classes, and averaging 3.4 GPA, and having no time to do sports, clubs, or other activities, is a gunshot to the foot of your application. On the other hand, taking only state required classes, and basket weaving electives and getting a 4.0 gpa, (When more challenging classes ARE AVAILABLE), is also a gunshot to the foot of your application. You have to decide what you can do, how much you can do, and how well you can do it. But remember..... there ARE KIDS at the academy RIGHT NOW, and many alumni, who were able to do it all. They did the ALL AP schedule or IB program; and also did all the sports, clubs, leadership, volunteering, teams, bla bla bla.

    So when deciding what your schedule should be, look at what YOU CAN TAKE AND ACCOMPLISH. Don't look at what YOU WANT TO TAKE AND ACCOMPLISH. I'd think that most kids would prefer to take just 1-2 challenging classes vs 5-7 per semester. But most know how competitive colleges and scholarships are.
     
  3. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    Christcorp - My DS attended one of two schools in Arkansas that has the IB program available. The school is routinely ranked in top 250 of public schools in the country. Their enrollment for grades 9-12 is just over 4000. The size allows for a large variety of "speciality" classes. The school routinely sends students to Service Academies. Last year was a down year for numbers with only two being selected - my DS to USAFA and another student to USMA.

    The school counselors are very involved in the top students in helping them craft schedules to best show off their skill set for top schools. They push the IB program hard for the top competitive Liberal Arts schools. If you are interested in the Ivy League then they highly suggest you take the IB program. If you are interested in Engineering or a Service Academy they suggest you load up on AP maths and sciences and supplement it with IB courses for the arts and languages. My DS was given this advice and confirmed the choice with our local ALO.

    However, aside from the above, I am a big proponent of the IB program. It makes students go the extra mile and absolutely is known and preferred by many colleges and universities because of its strength and requirements. Most IB students succeed when they get to higher education because they are both smart and well prepared. I don't think you can go wrong with IB, but there are different thoughts on what is best if you want to attend a SA.
     
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  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    No doubt, there are different thought. And that's why each student has to decide for themselves. For MOST KIDS, IB isn't an option, so it's a moot point. For some, like my son and daughter, they didn't take any AP classes. They took the IB Program; hence all their classes were IB. It was the normal split of HL and SL classes. Whether you take an AP Math and science, or you take IB HL Math and science classes; BOTH are still higher caliber than the standard math and science classes required of most schools/districts.

    Another thing too, is we speak many times in retrospect. Many kids don't always start looking at the academy or even college that seriously at 14 years old. However, if you want to be in the IB Program; not just taking some IB Classes; that is something you decide on in the 8th grade. So if you decide on the IB Program, your classes are pretty well laid out for you. You could take an AP class as an elective here or there, but otherwise, the IB Classes are pretty much in stone. Like I said, neither of my kids took any AP classes. But for the academy, whether it's ALL IB Classes (The Program), or you take mostly AP classes, BOTH are still above and beyond school/state minimum required. So don't stress over which one to take because you want the academy vs a traditional university. Either is looked highly upon by the academy. Of course, doing well in these classes is also important. And has been said many times, it's the WHOLE CANDIDATE that matters. Not just one area. The IB Program isn't what got my son into the academy. His 4.0gpa isn't what got him in. Neither did his 30+ ACT scores. But when you COMBINE all of these, along with numerous varsity sports, numerous leadership positions, numerous team activities, bla bla bla, COMBINED is what gets someone into the academy. Of course, all of this is them COMPARED to your competitors. Who MAY or may NOT have done MORE than you.
     
  5. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    And then there are some high schools that offer neither AP or IB. In that case, you take college courses (dual credit), some online, some ITV, and most on the college campus, even if it means driving 45 minutes each way, four days a week, to the college to take advanced classes, rushing back for sports, band, club activities, etc. That is what DD had to do. For her small rural school, college courses were and are the only advanced courses available.
     
  6. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    There is a common theme here. All of our kids went the extra mile to challenge themselves and made sure they were successful in the classes. I will also tell you that how you learn from failures can be a benefit. My DS was taking an AP BC Cal class as a junior. The teacher did not curve and gave the college exams designed for two hours. The students had just over an hour to complete the exams. My DS made D in the class, but made a 5 on the AP Exam for the course. He was able to explain what he learned from his struggles in the class and how he did master the material as shown by his AP exam (the question was asked in both his ALO and MOC interviews).

    Test scores are important because you can compare apples to apples among applicants. You also look for other areas where you can set yourself apart like leadership and athletics. In the end you compete at first against a big pool, but in the end against a much smaller pool in your area.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    Actually, it's the opposite. You initially compete against a small pool. Those who received a nomination in your district/state. After the academy assigns those appointments, "Mandatory", the remaining nominees who didn't receive the appointment for their MOC's slate, are put into the national pool, and you compete for the remaining 500 or so appointments.
     
  8. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    You are correct, but I was speaking about you start by applying to become an applicant. That is a big pool that quickly gets whittled down. You then compete against a smaller pool in your state and congressional district. After those appointments are given, those still listed as applicants go back to a much bigger pool. It is a long and confusing process. Glad it is over for us;)
     
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    My kids started out in the tiniest of pools: each other (twins). They pushed and pushed each other, sometimes with no mercy.

    What sets USAFA (and other SA) kids apart is that generally speaking, they are in the top 10%... of everything. Academics, sports, leadership, and that certain quality of maturity/determination/perseverance/drive/self-motivation that sets them apart from their peers. There are plenty of kids at Ivy League schools, at top notch LACs, at top engineering schools, who while smart and driven, maybe aren't true leaders, lack the drive to push through hurt, sickness, etc. I'm not saying SA kids are better. Sure, plenty of college students have better scores/grades. Few are better or more well rounded athletes. But SA kids generally have a whole package which sets them apart.

    Probably off topic here. Sorry. The fencersmother muses in her old age.
     
  10. HeWantsTheBFE

    HeWantsTheBFE USAFA Class of 2017

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    Current cadet's perspective: Take as many AP's as you can reasonably do well in. Take the AP and the class, get good scores and grades. Validate the crap out of your courses. If they won't take your AP score or class grades as validation, ask to take the final of the course. Pass it. Validate. Reap the benefits.

    Worst advice I ever got: "Use BCT validation tests as a chance to take a nap, and then take easy classes during the year." Bullcrap. None of them are that easy. Validate. Senior year is great when you only have five classes a semester.
     
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