As of now...

NavyHoops

Super Moderator
5-Year Member
The minimum is almost definitely reserved for recruited athletes.
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I wouldn’t make this assumption. You would be surprised how impressive the large majority of recruited athlete applications are... I have read many that stood out and then there was a ‘oh by the way this candidate is also a blue chip athlete too.’ I have seen those with prep or even direct appts with scores on the lower side from as many that were recruited athletes and those who were not. You never know the completed app of anyone or their story.
 

justdoit19

Member
The minimum is almost definitely reserved for recruited athletes.
You really should not make definitive, generalized statements like this. They only add to bias and stereotypes. You are a senior in high school, have no knowledge of this at all. And minimums aren’t “reserved for recruited athletes”. You are wrong. Every candidate is looked at in whole. And decisions are made on their entire package. To fill the class that USNA wants.

To readers on the lower end, don’t give up. Be realistic. Keep improving your weaknesses if you want it. Could take a year (or more) of work to prove you can do it, but don’t give up if you want it.
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
5-Year Member
USAFA I don't believe posts those numbers, for public consumption, anymore. However, I'll say this: if you're in the range below 25 in ANY of them but especially math or English...

"Officially" USAFA says this: "Students who score below 580 verbal and 560 math on the SAT Reasoning and below 24 English/reading and 25 math/science reasoning on the ACT normally will not be competitive for an appointment. " As an ALO, I'll add my "experience/thoughts" to that: if you're below 600 in any SAT area or about 28-29 in the ACT...you're not going to be competitive unless you're a serious Division 1 athlete candidate.

I checked my records and I haven't had a candidate appointed in over 10 years that had SAT's below the 640-680 range and ACT 28-30 range. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but I haven't seen it in quite a while.

Just my humble opinion and experience rambling here...

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
Coming at this from a different direction. I teach at a very STEM heavy university and I've had lots of discussions with fellow faculty folks about the SATs. In general, they HATE the SAT (and ACT) with a passion and feel it does not serve as a measure of the likelihood of first year college success as it was designed to do. That said, The Engineering and Science folks without exception ALL agree that there is a minimum Math SAT score below which a student will not be able to "handle" our STEM heavy or engineering curricula. There is disagreement about whether that minimum is 600 or 550, etc but ALL agree that there is a "magic number" of sorts and my experience at USNA says that the magic number is the same or higher. I understand the argument given that a silly several hour test is seemingly being given more weight than years of grades but at the end of the day, the student needs to be able to handle the calculations that the Math portion requires.
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I won't try to speak for the Air Force here but as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy, you are continually doing mental math as a key part of driving the ship and there is not time for pencil/paper or calculators. "Math for the OOD" is a subject that has been written about at length and uses those same calculation muscles as the math SAT. Submariners and Aviators have similar needs for mental calculations. This isn't calculus or even trig, it is mostly arithmetic and algebra just like the Math SAT.
 

Korab

Member
Crazy to think how much just a simple SAT number seemingly defines the USAFA application. I would like to think the kid who takes tons of AP classes, 3 varsity sports, leadership positions all around, and a great amount of community service would be much more of a contribution to the Air Force Academy, rather than someone who just got a 1600 SAT sand nothing else.
Not if he flunks out because he cant handle the academic rigor of the stem heavy coursework at USAFA. Respectfully, an 1120 SAT score calls into question a student's ability to succeed. It reflects a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of algebra and geometry, and the English language. Mastery of those areas is necessary to succeed in higher levels of math and science. The fact that you have taken the SAT several times already, and prepared using Khan Academy and tutors, and keep scoring at or below an 1120, reinforces that this is your score and where you compare to your peers. As others have said, consider ROTC, or attacking this from the enlisted ranks.

Has the academy opened the main application for you yet? You previously indicated they hadn't. If that is still the case, you have a definitive answer. There is zero chance of acceptance if USAFA won't even allow you access to the full application.
 
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Not if he flunks out because he cant handle the academic rigor of the stem heavy coursework at USAFA. Respectfully, an 1120 SAT score calls into question a student's ability to succeed. It reflects a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of algebra and geometry, and the English language. Mastery of those areas is necessary to succeed in higher levels of math and science. The fact that you have taken the SAT several times already, and prepared using Khan Academy and tutors, and keep scoring at or below an 1120, reinforces that this is your score and where you compare to your peers. As others have said, consider ROTC, or attacking this from the enlisted ranks.

Has the academy opened the main application for you yet? You previously indicated they hadn't. If that is still the case, you have a definitive answer. There is zero chance of acceptance if USAFA won't even allow you access to the full application.
^^^
 

cb7893

5-Year Member
@flieger83 pretty well answered the original question about the SAT/ACT scores.

How do any of you posters even comment without even knowing this person's GPA or the rigor of his/her course work, none of which OP has shared.
 

Korab

Member
@flieger83 pretty well answered the original question about the SAT/ACT scores.

How do any of you posters even comment without even knowing this person's GPA or the rigor of his/her course work, none of which OP has shared.
What difference does his GPA (he has previously stated it is a 3.4) and coursework make if USAFA won't open the full application to him?

There is zero chance of admission if USAFA won't officially make you a candidate. I doubt @flieger83 was aware of that fact when he responded.
 
@flieger83 pretty well answered the original question about the SAT/ACT scores.

How do any of you posters even comment without even knowing this person's GPA or the rigor of his/her course work, none of which OP has shared.
I had that same exact question. OP did indicate GPA in earlier posts, but nonetheless this isn't too indicitive of a candidates ability as it does not include strenght of course work. DS has applied to all 3 SA's and all ROTC's and through all the interviews he has been repeadtly told that GPA doesn't indicate everything as it is too variable amongst schools. There are many unknowns in the process and what I tell my DS is control the controllables. I personally refrain fom replying to comments or many threads but this thread seems very split on opinion and wanted to give my two cents.
 

HCopter

Member
OP has started several threads asking a variation of the same thing.
It is unclear if OP was able to open USMA portal as well, at that time citing inability to access essay questions.

For a reference point, see what another parent posted in "Principal Nom w/TWE" thread, post #45.
 

TowerScope

New Member
Coming at this from a different direction. I teach at a very STEM heavy university and I've had lots of discussions with fellow faculty folks about the SATs. In general, they HATE the SAT (and ACT) with a passion and feel it does not serve as a measure of the likelihood of first year college success as it was designed to do. That said, The Engineering and Science folks without exception ALL agree that there is a minimum Math SAT score below which a student will not be able to "handle" our STEM heavy or engineering curricula. There is disagreement about whether that minimum is 600 or 550, etc but ALL agree that there is a "magic number" of sorts and my experience at USNA says that the magic number is the same or higher. I understand the argument given that a silly several hour test is seemingly being given more weight than years of grades but at the end of the day, the student needs to be able to handle the calculations that the Math portion requires.
.
I won't try to speak for the Air Force here but as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy, you are continually doing mental math as a key part of driving the ship and there is not time for pencil/paper or calculators. "Math for the OOD" is a subject that has been written about at length and uses those same calculation muscles as the math SAT. Submariners and Aviators have similar needs for mental calculations. This isn't calculus or even trig, it is mostly arithmetic and algebra just like the Math SAT.
I'm actually surprised you said 600 or 550. I thought it'd be something like 670.
 

Cadet35

Member
What difference does his GPA (he has previously stated it is a 3.4) and coursework make if USAFA won't open the full application to him?

There is zero chance of admission if USAFA won't officially make you a candidate. I doubt @flieger83 was aware of that fact when he responded.

I completed the application months ago. It was opened.
 

Cadet35

Member
Not if he flunks out because he cant handle the academic rigor of the stem heavy coursework at USAFA. Respectfully, an 1120 SAT score calls into question a student's ability to succeed. It reflects a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of algebra and geometry, and the English language. Mastery of those areas is necessary to succeed in higher levels of math and science. The fact that you have taken the SAT several times already, and prepared using Khan Academy and tutors, and keep scoring at or below an 1120, reinforces that this is your score and where you compare to your peers. As others have said, consider ROTC, or attacking this from the enlisted ranks.

Has the academy opened the main application for you yet? You previously indicated they hadn't. If that is still the case, you have a definitive answer. There is zero chance of acceptance if USAFA won't even allow you access to the full application.

I totally agree with your point. My only issue with the SAT is the fact that it is timed so precicisely. I feel it forces the student to make shortcuts, when given perhaps double the time, the student could ace the SAT. Overall though it is working with pressure so at the end of the day it is what it is. Been working really hard so hopefully this next SAT will truly help me.
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
5-Year Member
I totally agree with your point. My only issue with the SAT is the fact that it is timed so precicisely. I feel it forces the student to make shortcuts, when given perhaps double the time, the student could ace the SAT. Overall though it is working with pressure so at the end of the day it is what it is. Been working really hard so hopefully this next SAT will truly help me.
I understand your frustration with a requirement that you don't think makes sense and totally sympathize with you. You probably would not think it odd that a college football coach would not take a guy who was 5 feet 2 inches tall and 100 pounds to be a Defensive End as there would be a tremendous mismatch of this person's ability when playing against other colleges. The guy could be the hardest working and most committed member of the team and maybe football is all that he dreamed about since age five but in the end, he just can't do the job. You can't see it from the outside looking in but never mind succeeding at the Academy itself but also, many/most military officer roles require the math skills that are test by the tests that we're discussing.
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I've been a Naval Officer for many decades and as I related in an earlier post, the ability to do rapid calculations accurately under significant pressure is a key attribute needed to do the job. I get that it doesn't seem fair but in the end, the MISSION requires the most skilled and able as they are the most likely to complete the mission successfully and/or bring everyone home safely.
 

zoesmith

Member
I understand your frustration with a requirement that you don't think makes sense and totally sympathize with you. You probably would not think it odd that a college football coach would not take a guy who was 5 feet 2 inches tall and 100 pounds to be a Defensive End as there would be a tremendous mismatch of this person's ability when playing against other colleges. The guy could be the hardest working and most committed member of the team and maybe football is all that he dreamed about since age five but in the end, he just can't do the job. You can't see it from the outside looking in but never mind succeeding at the Academy itself but also, many/most military officer roles require the math skills that are test by the tests that we're discussing.
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I've been a Naval Officer for many decades and as I related in an earlier post, the ability to do rapid calculations accurately under significant pressure is a key attribute needed to do the job. I get that it doesn't seem fair but in the end, the MISSION requires the most skilled and able as they are the most likely to complete the mission successfully and/or bring everyone home safely.
I think both of you have extremely valid points. Yes, his SAT score is low, but that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't have a high academic level, and that he can't complete future missions involving math. As someone who recently took the SAT, a lot of it focuses on strategies, since the SAT tricks you with very similar questions and answers. For example, when I took the SAT the first time, my math score was really low, even though I've never gotten below A's in all my HS math classes and have understanding up to calculus level. Just something about standardized tests specially stress teens (including me) out, even if it's on a subject we understand and comprehend. I'm fine under stressed and timed situations (in-class timed math tests), unless it's the SAT/ACT, then my mind goes blank. Just my personal opinion though!
Everyone has a valid point on the SAT/ACT topic, so right now, @Cadet35 should just focus on improving his score! Good luck!
 
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NavyHoops

Super Moderator
5-Year Member
I think both of you have extremely valid points. Yes, his SAT score is low, but that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't have a high academic level, and that he can't complete future missions involving math. As someone who recently took the SAT, a lot of it focuses on strategies, since the SAT tricks you with very similar questions and answers. For example, when I took the SAT the first time, my math score was really low, even though I've never gotten below A's in all my HS math classes and have understanding up to calculus level. Just something about standardized tests specially stress teens (including me) out, even if it's on a subject we understand and comprehend. I'm fine under stressed and timed situations (in-class timed math tests), unless it's the SAT/ACT, then my mind goes blank. Just my personal opinion though!
Everyone has a valid point on the SAT/ACT topic, so right now, @Cadet35 should just focus on improving his score! Good luck!
The standardized tests are only one measurement. But it’s the one measurement that a SA has that every candidate, regardless of everything else, has taken. The SAs also have decades of data of what appointees have been successful at a SA. They know what the cut off is to be successful and not only successful, but thrive. Statistically, OP knows that their numbers are on the low side, all you have to do is compare themselves to a class profile to know this. I don’t know the OPs full story, none of us do, just what is reported here. I do wish him the best.

I can understand as a candidate why it’s frustrating, but for those of us on the other side we see it slightly different. Sure, if you had double the amount of time, you could do better. Well, think about it like this. Do you have double the amount of time to do emergency procedures before ejecting? To make a decision when in a fire fight? Provide a location to a pop up enemy aircraft on
radar to a pilot? I often hear from candidates who end up frustrated with the SAT or ACT, I just get nervous or I don’t test well. The military, especially as an officer, is an entire system built on testing. Flight school isn’t going to give you extra chances because you got nervous or do not test well. I started a new book yesterday and the first story it told was of an A-10 pilot who made a decision to support a Troops in Contact in a valley in Afghanistan. The pilot made a decision to basically do this support without any visuals but knew he only had X amount of time before he had to pull up or run into a mountain. He stated he did quick math in his head, supported the TIC then counted and pulled up. That is pressure, life and death for the pilot and those that on the ground all based upon math he did on the fly, while he could hear soldiers asking for help. Just trying to give a little perspective.
 

justdoit19

Member
OP, I HIGHLY recommend a different study strategy, if your methods are resulting in the same score. I speak from experience. My own DS was stuck with a low subsection score. He took and studied and re-took 4 times. 5 if you include trying the other standardized. Got the SAME dang score each time after an initial bump from the first. He is our youngest of 4. Didn’t have this with any of our other kiddos. To try something different, he went online and connected with an affordable online tutor for a couple sessions. Who identified what he was doing wrong, made some corrections/suggestions and a study plan for him....BOOM that’s what HE needed and this last October he raised that subsection 7 points, which is more in line with where he should be. And yes, the time limit was an issue. But some of the testing strategies/requirements (as in real life, and at USNA) are prioritizing where to put your priorities. To maximize the best outcome for you.

Life is not about doing everything perfectly. It’s about making adjustments. Leaning from past ‘failures’. Prioritizing your time/efforts. Try something different and see if that helps. If not? It is what it is. Can’t wish it any differently no matter how bad you want it. Remember there are many paths to becoming an officer. I have one on a different path than he wanted initially because of a knee issue but he is thriving.
 
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justdoit19

Member
And I will add, that subsection was very low. His ROTC Captain interviewer specifically asked about it. Yet he was selected awarded a first round Tier 1 NROTC with it. The point I’m making is that one cannot assume that since they don’t fit in all the “boxes”, that they won’t be selected. It truly is a whole person concept and evaluation. That one subsection low score didn’t disqualify HIM. But if he would read around the forums, he wouldn’t fit. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Point is, go in with YOUR best...not concerned about others. ‘Ya never know!!
 

Korab

Member
I completed the application months ago. It was opened.
Glad to hear that
I totally agree with your point. My only issue with the SAT is the fact that it is timed so precicisely. I feel it forces the student to make shortcuts, when given perhaps double the time, the student could ace the SAT. Overall though it is working with pressure so at the end of the day it is what it is. Been working really hard so hopefully this next SAT will truly help me.
If it wasn't timed, it would be a completely different test, and everyone would have increased scores, which would probably keep you in the same percentile. People with documented learning disabilities can get extra time for the SAT, but the academies only accept scores without extra time. Good luck on your SAT. Hopefully you knock it out of the park.
 
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