Average SAT Scores

Fotouman

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The average SAT/ACT scores for West Point are fairly competitive, but they are not as high as other colleges with acceptance rates in the teens or single digits. For context...

Dartmouth: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1480, ACT is 32
Duke: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1485, ACT is 32 or 33
Vanderbilt: acceptance rate is 11%, average SAT is 1475, ACT is 33
USMA: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1300, ACT is 28/29

I am wondering what accounts for this anomaly. The other colleges look for extra-curriculars, sports participation, and GPA's just like the academies. The only thing I can think of is the CFA, but is that enough to cause such a difference only being weighted 10%? Originally I thought it might have something to do with the congressional nomination process, but here are the stats of the Coast Guard Academy (which does not require a nomination):

USCGA: Acceptance rate is 16%, average SAT is approx. 1290, ACT is approx 28/29

To be clear, I am not disparaging or downplaying the prestige of the academies in any way. I am just asking because I do not understand the disparity between the test scores. Essentially, I do not want to have a false sense of security if my test scores are at or above the average. I want to know the scores I should shoot for in order to be competitive. I have a feeling that they are far above the posted averages. What am I missing?
 

kinnem

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It's not an anomaly. The schools you mention look primarily at SAT and academics. The academy's are looking for much more, Scholar, Leaders, Athletes. I'm not saying the other colleges don't consider these things but they are far more important for USMA and each candidate must excel in each area. So the person with a 1450 SAT, no leadership and no sports is generally not going to be accepted at one of the service academies.
 

aCGAhopeful

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It's not an anomaly. The schools you mention look primarily at SAT and academics. The academy's are looking for much more, Scholar, Leaders, Athletes. I'm not saying the other colleges don't consider these things but they are far more important for USMA and each candidate must excel in each area. So the person with a 1450 SAT, no leadership and no sports is generally not going to be accepted at one of the service academies.
I agree completely with this.
I suspect that the majority of high achieving students would rather attend an elite universities over a service academy.
I just wanted to clarify that I made this assumption based on the sheer volume of students who apply to the ivies.
 

OldRetSWO

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The average SAT/ACT scores for West Point are fairly competitive, but they are not as high as other colleges with acceptance rates in the teens or single digits. For context...

Dartmouth: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1480, ACT is 32
Duke: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1485, ACT is 32 or 33
Vanderbilt: acceptance rate is 11%, average SAT is 1475, ACT is 33
USMA: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1300, ACT is 28/29

I am wondering what accounts for this anomaly. The other colleges look for extra-curriculars, sports participation, and GPA's just like the academies. The only thing I can think of is the CFA, but is that enough to cause such a difference only being weighted 10%? Originally I thought it might have something to do with the congressional nomination process, but here are the stats of the Coast Guard Academy (which does not require a nomination):

USCGA: Acceptance rate is 16%, average SAT is approx. 1290, ACT is approx 28/29

To be clear, I am not disparaging or downplaying the prestige of the academies in any way. I am just asking because I do not understand the disparity between the test scores. Essentially, I do not want to have a false sense of security if my test scores are at or above the average. I want to know the scores I should shoot for in order to be competitive. I have a feeling that they are far above the posted averages. What am I missing?
That is most likely the average for ALL candidates admitted to USMA and includes a substantial number of cadets admitted from the enlisted ranks and/or sports recruits who tend to have lower scores. If you're looking at this from the standpoint of a high schooler trying to get in, I don't think that the 1300 SAT will be competitive in the vast majority of Congressional Districts/states.
 

Soldiergriz

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The average SAT/ACT scores for West Point are fairly competitive, but they are not as high as other colleges with acceptance rates in the teens or single digits. For context...

Dartmouth: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1480, ACT is 32
Duke: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1485, ACT is 32 or 33
Vanderbilt: acceptance rate is 11%, average SAT is 1475, ACT is 33
USMA: acceptance rate is 10%, average SAT is 1300, ACT is 28/29

I am wondering what accounts for this anomaly. The other colleges look for extra-curriculars, sports participation, and GPA's just like the academies. The only thing I can think of is the CFA, but is that enough to cause such a difference only being weighted 10%? Originally I thought it might have something to do with the congressional nomination process, but here are the stats of the Coast Guard Academy (which does not require a nomination):

USCGA: Acceptance rate is 16%, average SAT is approx. 1290, ACT is approx 28/29

To be clear, I am not disparaging or downplaying the prestige of the academies in any way. I am just asking because I do not understand the disparity between the test scores. Essentially, I do not want to have a false sense of security if my test scores are at or above the average. I want to know the scores I should shoot for in order to be competitive. I have a feeling that they are far above the posted averages. What am I missing?

The physical fitness component is valued by the academies MUCH more than it is at other schools...

Many at the academy had academic credentials to get into an Ivy, but many at Ivys could not get into the academies...
 

jl123

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The difference in test scores is attributable to the recruitment of enlisted soldiers to attend USMAPS/USMA and the physical, medical, and leadership requirements for admission to USMA.

While soldiers are prime candidates to make excellent military officers, their standardized test score are well below those of Ivy League students. Even the brightest SA candidates still have to pass the CFA and DoDMerb - USMA routinely rejects candidates who then go on to Ivies.

USMA sets class composition goals, which includes a target of 30% Scholars. Those in that category are among the highest academic achieving students in the country and comparable to top students at any Ivy (except they can also do push-ups ;)).
 

USMA 1994

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It is also attributed to the method of filling the class and the US Code that described how candidates can be appointed. The IVY schools are a National Competition but for the most part Service Academy appointments are not. There are a good many candidates that win a MOC slate that have well rounded files but do not have perfect ACT/SAT scores.
 

VelveteenR

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There is another thread on this topic:

https://www.serviceacademyforums.co...age-act-scores-at-the-service-academies.67042

The service academies can't be compared to civilian colleges; they aren't the same thing and don't claim to be. I posted on the other thread that the rubric used to determine academy appointments, by design, does not value academics the same way civilian colleges weight them. The SAs value a combination of brains, brawn, and leadership somewhat equally--as they must. Until he was fully into his major, our son was underwhelmed by the academics at West Point. The brain trust is there, but cadets sometimes have to seek it out. When he discussed this with his department head, the LTC explained to him that only about one third of any incoming class is selected for academic chops; the other 2/3rds are chosen for other equally shiny traits. All are academically capable, all pass the academic bar, but only that third is what you might label “scholarly.” Our son has learned to value those other critical equally shiny traits in his band of brothers very highly. The corps needs a balance of all of them in a way civilian colleges do not as their missions differ vastly. The Army puts it this way (as inscribed in stone at West Point):

The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.
-Thucydides-

You cannot compare or judge the the SAs by standardized test scores or any other measure against civilian colleges. They exist for a very different reason and select candidates based on a different rubric, only one leg of which is academics. Even if that leg is heavily weighted, only a portion of the class is selected for achievement by that measure so there is a larger range of scores than will be found at colleges that attract and measure heavily by those scores.
 

Armadillo

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From what I understand Ivies are D1 but don't really care about sports. It's not something that they focus on and it doesn't seem to be something they even remotely financially rely on. I don't know much too much about this but from what I have seen and heard, service academies tend to exercise leniency towards academics and/or test scores if a candidate is an excellent athlete and can potentially help bring in revenue.

I also don't think that Ivies care as much about having students from every part of the US. Candidates are also not limited by nominations. So if your city for whatever reason does not have students up to par with those from other places around the nation, it doesn't mean as much to be top of your class or outstanding in your particular town, and thus you have to rely on standardized test scores. Service academies seem to value representation from all corners of the nation and it makes sense since they will be employed as officers in the military and be given charge over diverse populations of men and women. Unfortunately, you can't always have the best of both worlds and will sometimes have to sacrifice things like test scores.

Academics and test aren't always either the best measure of intelligence either. I've known stellar students who have gotten full or within 50 points of full points on the SAT but have 0 common sense whatsoever.

Note: I am not an expert on this topic and this is just based on my personal inferences. I don't expect that anyone will be offended by this in any way, but just in case, please know that offending anyone is not my intention.
 

Armadillo

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It's not an anomaly. The schools you mention look primarily at SAT and academics. The academy's are looking for much more, Scholar, Leaders, Athletes. I'm not saying the other colleges don't consider these things but they are far more important for USMA and each candidate must excel in each area. So the person with a 1450 SAT, no leadership and no sports is generally not going to be accepted at one of the service academies.
I think that's starting to change now as college educations are becoming more or less a "necessity" and school admissions more competitive. High marks and good scores are now basically a given and extracurriculars are all the rage (in top schools at least). I do agree that service academies definitely care more about leadership and sports though.
 

UHBlackhawk

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Sep 22, 2015
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There is another thread on this topic:

https://www.serviceacademyforums.co...age-act-scores-at-the-service-academies.67042

The service academies can't be compared to civilian colleges; they aren't the same thing and don't claim to be. I posted on the other thread that the rubric used to determine academy appointments, by design, does not value academics the same way civilian colleges weight them. The SAs value a combination of brains, brawn, and leadership somewhat equally--as they must. Until he was fully into his major, our son was underwhelmed by the academics at West Point. The brain trust is there, but cadets sometimes have to seek it out. When he discussed this with his department head, the LTC explained to him that only about one third of any incoming class is selected for academic chops; the other 2/3rds are chosen for other equally shiny traits. All are academically capable, all pass the academic bar, but only that third is what you might label “scholarly.” Our son has learned to value those other critical equally shiny traits in his band of brothers very highly. The corps needs a balance of all of them in a way civilian colleges do not as their missions differ vastly. The Army puts it this way (as inscribed in stone at West Point):

The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.
-Thucydides-

You cannot compare or judge the the SAs by standardized test scores or any other measure against civilian colleges. They exist for a very different reason and select candidates based on a different rubric, only one leg of which is academics. Even if that leg is heavily weighted, only a portion of the class is selected for achievement by that measure so there is a larger range of scores than will be found at colleges that attract and measure heavily by those scores.

This. The goal of the academies is to produce officers. Yes, you need some "geeks" to fill certain roles. But overall you need smart individuals who are mentally and physically tough. Wellington is purported to have said, "Waterloo was won the fields of Eaton." Maybe he didn't say it, but there's some truth to it. I remember watching my DD on the soccer pitch some games- 5 degrees F, knife cutting wind. 42 degrees and freezing rain- and thinking the conditions were as bad as anything I experienced in the infantry. She and her teammates had to do the same thing- move, shoot and communicate. Work as a team. Lead and follow. Keep your wits. Under horrible conditions.
 
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