John Welch

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Based on the RAND Corporation 2015 West Point Admissions Report, page 10, a candidate will earn the full 800 points in the Athletic Activity Level Score (which accounts for 10% of their overall Whole Candidate Score) if they have “a CFA score greater than 650”. This looks like double-credit since the CFA appears to have it’s own category (Physical Aptitude Exam Score) which also accounts for 10% (up to 800 points) of the overall Whole Candidate Score.

If I understand what I’m reading, a candidate could potentially benefit twice over for an exceptionally good CFA score (650+), earning a potential 1600 points from the CFA alone if he/she doesn’t already have a strong HS athletic resume’.

Do I understand this correctly, or am I way off the mark?

If I’m right about this, does anyone know if Annapolis double counts a very high CFA score (650+) in the same way West Point does?

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Kierkegaard

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The formula for the Whole Person Multiple, as it's called at USNA, is not published so we don't know for sure. What we do know is that while the CFA is technically pass/fail, exceptional scores are somehow factored into the WPM and do benefit the candidate to some degree. I don't know how many points a perfect or near-perfect score would add, but I doubt it would be enough to overcome an application that was lacking in the other key areas like academics and leadership. Just do the absolute best that you can.
 

John Welch

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Thank you for the informative response Kierkegaard. This is my first thread question and I appreciate any & all friendly help with this very complex admissions process. Without the guidance of this forum my boys and I would be wandering in the dark.

My lads are aiming for perfect CFA scores. I know they can max-out the pull-ups, sit-ups & push-ups, and I'm confident they can exceed the average scores for the other three exercises, but a perfect score is probably too ambitious.

My boys are home-schooled and haven't participated in organized school sports. However, they are very fit and strong young men (running, calisthenics & powerlifting) that would be physically competitive within a group of HS student athletes. All of their fitness training directly translates to military PT. They've been focused on becoming Marine Corps officers for the last few years and they do things everyday to work toward that end.
 

OldRetSWO

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What we do know is that while the CFA is technically pass/fail, exceptional scores are somehow factored into the WPM and do benefit the candidate to some degree.
Where are you getting your comment that it is pass/fail? I can tell you that getting below the minimums on any of the individual events will "fail" the test AND, the overall score is considered by the Admissions Board. There is a lot of "legend and lore" out there about this but I can tell you that someone who just beats the minimums (ie: "Pass") will not compare well against someone who scores well above that level. Not just exceptional scores either. Sometimes there are candidates who have little to no athletic experience on their record so the CFA is all that the board has to evaluate them physically and it is used for that purpose whereas a candidate who is a three season varsity athlete with all area recognition or similar will not need the same level of CFA scrutiny
 
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Kierkegaard

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What we do know is that while the CFA is technically pass/fail, exceptional scores are somehow factored into the WPM and do benefit the candidate to some degree.
Where are you getting your comment that it is pass/fail? I can tell you that getting below the minimums on any of the individual events will "fail" the test AND, the overall score is considered by the Admissions Board. There is a lot of "legend and lore" out there about this but I can tell you that someone who just beats the minimums (ie: "Pass") will not compare well against someone who scores well above that level. Not just exceptional scores either. Sometimes there are candidates who have little to no athletic experience on their record so the CFA is all that the board has to evaluate them physically and it is used for that purpose whereas a candidate who is a three season varsity athlete with all area recognition or similar will not need the same level of CFA scrutiny

What I'm saying is there are minimum scores to be considered physically qualified, that's not controversial. I agree, it's obviously not good to just barely pass, and the scores themselves are of course going to be considered beyond simply qualifying a candidate for admission, and they would be especially important for the OP given the home-school situation.
 

usna1985

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First of all, the RAND report applied to USMA at some point in the past. It has zero bearing on what USNA did -- or does today.

I cannot speak to what USMA does, but here is how USNA looks at it. At the core, the CFA is pass/fail. That means you must pass in order to be qualified "physically." USNA does not publish minimum scores or average scores. You can see the max scores in the CFA instructions. USNA will tell you if you fail the CFA and need to retake it; your BGO also has info on whether you passed or failed (but does not see your scores and does not know how well you did as compared to other candidates).

You can earn extra points in the Admissions process by doing exceptionally well on one or more elements of the CFA. USNA focuses on sit-ups, push-ups and the mile run b/c those are the elements of the PRT, which you take as a mid. USNA does not publish what scores you need to get extra points (obviously, if you max out that would be a good start!) or how many extra points you might get.

In this ultra-competitive environment, you should strive to do very well on the CFA overall and especially the elements mentioned above. If it is a close call between two candidates, a great (vs. barely passing) CFA score could be one of the difference makers. The above said, there are candidates who are admitted with less than stellar (but passing) CFA scores.
 

John Welch

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OldRetSWO, Kierkegaard & usna1985

Thank you all for the information and clarification, it is helpful to us.

I know there’s a lot folks in the forum that ask, “What are my chances?” type questions, and I know it’s just not that simple. Between the Nomination + LOA = Appointment, coupled with the fact that you have no idea the qualifications of the competition in your district/state, or even how many of them there are.

That all being said, I’m going to ask the “What are his chances?” question anyway.

What He’s Already Done

Eagle Scout with Gold Palm and several elected leadership positions including two terms as Senior Patrol Leader.

3rd year as elected Mechanical Team Captain for STEM Robotics club that is going to World Championship in Detroit this year.

SAT: 1490 Composite – 720 Reading/Writing – 770 Math
ACT: 33 Composite – 35 English – 36 Reading – 32 Math – 29 Science

4.0 GPA with competitive classes, but he's home-schooled, we're his parents and I'm sure they'll weigh that.

Lots of volunteer work and several mission trips.

What He Intends To Accomplish In The Next Several Months

He will be attending Boys State this June, he intends to pursue high office.

He has been invited to USMA SLS and hopes to be invited to NASS, whichever one he attends, he means to push himself to the limit.

Raise his SAT Reading/Writing score to 750-770 bringing his Composite Superscore to 1520-1540.
Raise his ACT Math to 33-34 & Science to 31-32 bringing his Composite Superscore to ~34.

Earn a 4 or 5 on his AP Physics 1 & Calculus AB Exams, and then move on to AP Physics 2 & Calculus BC courses for his senior year.

Get an ‘A’ in his Engineering Fundamentals class at the local University of Wisconsin campus. Then take two more engineering related classes in his senior year.

Run several 5K & 10K local races with good times.

Score exceptionally well on the CFA, hopefully scoring >650.

More volunteer work and mission trips.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If my DS accomplishes all that, would he be a seriously competitive candidate even as a home-schooler, and do you have any advice for a home-schooler with his credentials?

Thank you for enduring all this BLAH-BLAH.
 

OldRetSWO

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My impression -
1. He'd be pretty competitive even in my Congressional district (NJ-11) which is a very competitive district.
2. His SATs are pretty good already - spending a lot of effort on raising them might not be as valuable as other things.
3. Need more info on the running - especially times already running. No, this is not a hard and fast thing but with a recognized lack of organized athletics, I'd want to judge what his running actually means. My example is a candidate that I had a decade or so ago who had absolutely great SATs and academics but his athletics were limited to two years of Junior varsity Cross Country. When I asked about his times his best was about 29:00 as a 2nd year cross country runner. My evaluation was that he'd thrown in the running as a resume builder but his ability to handle the physical load at USNA was suspect.
.
My recommendations -
1. Go beyond running a few races with what you consider "good times" - look for a local running team or club and get with them. If he's taking college classes at a local community college, can he practice/run with them? Also - make sure that what you consider to be "good" times are good when evaluated against the Academy physical standards.
2. Look at more college classes - If academics are the strong suit here and you want to step out of the "self evaluated" (some view homeschooling as this) then head that off by doing more outside the home.
3. Leadership - I totally recognize the Scouting stuff (have a son who is an Eagle) but that by itself is less than what many other candidates will have. Look for other opportunities through Church, community groups, etc where your son can demonstrate leading/working with others.
 

ders_dad

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Seems to me if he is Eagle, 2 terms SPL, and will do Boys State, that’s a pretty nice leadership combo. Not sure what Wisconsin district you’re from (don’t want to know) but I think it would not be near as competitive (of course it depends on who is on a slate in a given year) as many east-coast districts.
 

Old Navy BGO

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I'm in the Midwest...and DS is certainly competitive. The big variable is home schooling and lack of opportunity for participating in team sports. Home schooling is getting ever more common these days, and a lot depends upon the curriculum. I suspect that Admissions has gotten pretty good at evaluating home school programs now, and knows what works and what does not. Performance on ACT/SAT suggests to me that the program he is in is just fine. (Ditto on OldSwo Comments....I wouldn't waste much time on further testing, but taking a few Community College courses might be useful to demonstrate success in a classroom setting).

Participating in team sports is always an issue with Home Schooled candidates. I think its important, but DS' Boy Scout experience may help. I would emphasize teamwork and leadership experience in the personal statement.
 

random_name

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I’m not an expert like some of the others here commenting but you do start to see a trend after reading through the many posts for those accepted and your child seems to be very well rounded and leadership looks pretty good. Just a few thoughts below:

My kids were home schooled up until getting into a top ranked private high school. When speaking to admissions at the school she stated that national standardized tests such as the SAT/ACT are the great equalizer for home schooling applicants along with AP’s and SAT subject tests (for plan b/c schools) because all homeschooling programs and grading can vary greatly.

For Navy I think it wouldn’t hurt to improve the test scores for the ACT. Navy only looks at math and english scores so focus on them. Although your scores are great raising them up a point or two can only help you if you have the time. I think college courses are great especially STEM.

Regarding athletics, I would focus some time here. I would definitely practice the CFA in timed sequence for a while before taking it. Try and get close to the max on most if possible. If your child’s interest is running, I would contact the local track running clubs or a city running club and start training with them. Most track/XC clubs (and there should be some in your town) will train and enter meets as a group. His times will be posted on milesplit. Your son can also enter any meets as an individual runner throughout the year as unattached. The “club” running season has an indoor and outdoor season and he can also run in the xc races you had mentioned. My DD ran in invitational meets with home schooled runners across the state and there were, if I remember correctly, home schoolers at the high school state meet as well. I would get on milesplit and look at all the races in your state or region through the year and make a plan. You should also find club teams listed there. I would also get on the website for the high school athletic association governing body in your state and contact them about running in state sanctioned races.

Anyways sorry for the lengthy reply but feel free to pm me if you need more help with the running aspect. You or your son can call Navy admissions, and just talk to them and get advice about being a home schooled applicant. For other plan B schools, since homeschooling has become very common, most colleges have separate applications for home schooled students so makes the application process easier.
 

Wagmore

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John Welch -

Homeschool mom weighing in here. Two thoughts for you.
  1. Consider dual enrollment. You will need a math and English teacher recommendation. It will be much better if you can get recommendations from college professors rather than mom/dad or a co-op teacher. Dual enrollment also shows success in a classroom environment.
  2. Get your DS on a sports team. If your state allows participation in public school sports, try out for a team. If not, call local private schools and see if they will allow a homeschool student to participate.
As for CFA scores, DS emailed his admissions counselor and asked about his scores. ALWAYS go to the primary source when possible.

Feel free to PM if you have other homeschool questions.
 

John Welch

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OldRetSWO, ders_dad, Old Navy BGO, random_name & Wagmore

You folks are wonderful! This is exactly the kind of encouraging guidance my sons need for the long slog forward. Thank you all very much.

As far as my DS’ running times, his most recent timed mile run is 6:02. That’s not great considering he wants to get well below 6:00 min. for his mile run at the end of his CFA, when he’ll already be fatigued from the first five exercises. He goes for 3-4 mile runs pretty regularly, I just don’t know what his times are. He has just over two months to get his time down for his first shot at the CFA at either NASS or SLE. But his goals for his first 5K next month is <20:00 min., and <45:00 for his first 10K in May. Ultimately he is determined to run a 10K in 38:00 min. I’m not sure he can achieve a 10 mile/hr pace for 6.2 miles as he doesn’t really have a runners physique, but I’m not going to discourage him from trying, any improvement is worth the effort.

I know the teacher evaluations are important but it gets tricky. I paid the University of Wisconsin $1,000 for an Engineering Fundamentals class at our local campus only to discover, after my full non-refundable payment, that the course would be taught via remote location through a TV monitor. The class itself is pretty good, but I don’t think my DS can use that teacher for one of his evaluations, which is half the reason he took the class. It’s my fault for not asking, but it never occurred to me that I could pay $1,000 for a live video course. Ah, the price we pay to quench our ignorance!
 
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