Class Rank

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by y_.i, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. y_.i

    y_.i New Member

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    USAFA has been my dream school since the sixth grade, and I realize that academics are huge part of your application. However, how much does your class rank specifically go towards your score. I am not a bad student, but I attend one of the top schools in Silicon Valley. How much does USAFA take into account the competitiveness of your school?
     
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  2. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA Alumnus 5-Year Member

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    No one here knows how admissions truly works behind the curtain (or they do and they won't say). All that can be said is that class rank does factor into your WCS (Whole Candidate Score) and that USAFA does take into account the competitiveness of the school.

    Do your best and don't worry about things you cannot control.
     
  3. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    The process is known, the exact details of the formula is not. They take your class rank determine by your GPA and compare it against your school profile and what type of classes you took. Doing well in the most challenging classes results in a higher WCS Score. So being in the top 10% of your class taking the harder classes would be better than being top 5% by taking the basic classes.

    With that said, you can only worry about things in your control. Take the more challenging classes and do your best.
     
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  4. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA Alumnus 5-Year Member

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    Likely, but not necessarily true. Like you said, we do not know the exact formula so we do not know precisely when one attribute (harder classes) starts to outweigh the other (class rank). I suspect that the Academy does not release these mathematical formulas for a number of reasons, nor do I think they should. Trying to game the system kind of goes against the spirit of service anyway.
     
  5. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    USAFA gives your school a score. If your school scores low then it would seem plausible that being ranked high is important, but if your school is large and ranks high then a lower class ranking shouldn't hurt you as long as you stay in the top 25%.

    My DS graduated from a highly competitive school (enrollment for his class was right at 1,000 and the school is ranked in the top 300 high schools in the country and is number 2 in the state). He was ranked in the top 20% of his class. There were two SA graduates in his class (the other went to USMA) and the school usually places at least one student at a SA each year.
     
  6. TinMan47

    TinMan47 Member

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    My DS earned a direct entry appointment, and we've been looking at this for 4 years, but I can honestly say I still have no idea exactly what all they look at and how. He is also ranked top 15%, which is below the most recent averages for appointments, but the Academy took into consideration the strength of the school and the strength of his transcript as he had 10 AP courses over the four years. His high school did have 5 SA appointments in this years graduating class, so I can say it does appear admissions takes into consideration that a top 15% for one applicant could be a better judgment than a top 5% for another. How they come to that conclusion, I couldn't explain.

    Bottom line best advice he received in this process. Do your absolute best in everything, don't just be involved but lead, and if that's not good enough you will at least know you gave it your best and you are set for success somewhere else. Good Luck!
     
  7. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    Don't sweat class rank - or anything else out of your own control.

    Homeschoolers don't have ANY class rank, and so many kids now have non-traditional educational opportunities (homeschooling, unschooling, dual-enrollment, traditional high school, etc). The SA's KNOW your high school's profile, they KNOW how many kids go to top-ranked colleges, they know if you have only one or two opportunities to take AP/IB courses, etc. Just like they know if you are a football player from a top-ranked AAAA program and you sit the bench, or are a star player in your school where there are so few kids they have to play offense and defense.

    Take the absolute toughest most advanced coursework available to you (including dual-enrollment at local U or CC). Don't worry if your school is #1 or #500. Because the SA's are also interested in what you do with what you have. Finding a way forward through adversity is definitely a skill they like to see.

    So, class rank important? Sure. End all/be all thing to wring hands over? Nope.
     
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  8. Badfinger

    Badfinger Member

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    Not sure about this. Our HS awards bonus points for AP classes when computing the GPA (which results in class rank). This approach eliminates the Top 10% hard vs Top 5% easy concerns.
     
  9. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    I am sorry if my post was confusing. They do not necessarily take the number reported by your school. They take your class rank and school profile, put it in a magic box and develop a "GPA" that is used by admissions. They do this in an attempt to normalize the entire GPA/weighting issue/type of classes available disparity between all applicants.
     
  10. Badfinger

    Badfinger Member

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    Ok...but the bonus AP points are added to the grade and that becomes your raw score as well.

    For example, our high school grades on a 1-100 scale. They do not give letter grades. So, if a kids earns a grade of 93 in an AP class, they add 12 points, so for this class it would count as a grade of 105 for computing their GPA. However, on their official report card, it will show as a 100 without any caveats indicating his grade was adjusted. So in this case, the AP student earned the same grade as the kid who earned a 100 in the non-AP class.

    Another example...my DS was the Valedictorian with a GPA of 108, yet none of his transcripts showed a grade higher than 100.
     
  11. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    That is exactly why they evaluate your class rank and school profile and not just look at the actual number being reported. They will look at his class rank based on the reported gpa and adjust for the different types of classes. In theory if there were two candidates from your school that had the 100 reported as their gpa but one was ranked 1st with the AP classes and the other ranked 25th without the AP classes, the adjusted gpa that the academy uses for the academic calculation of the WCS would be higher for the individual ranked 1st. The exact method of how this is done is not publicly available.

    It is not a perfect system but you are evaluated against how well you did with the opportunities you had available.

    Again though, with all of this said, you cannot worry about how the academy will look at your school's profile and possibly make adjustments to your reported gpa. These things are outside of your control. Take the more challenging course load and do your best. Prep for the SAT/ACT. Practice your CFA. That is the one thing that is completely in your control. You know the "test questions" and you know the answers. It is up to you if you have worked out enough to get them all right.
     
  12. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    Your high school GPA/QPA will probably NOT line up exactly with your assigned GPA from USAFA. No matter how your school tinkers with the numbers, the magicians in Admissions will use their - well, magic - to give you a new GPA according to their formulas.

    The situation described by badfinger clearly illustrates why this is necessary, to "level the field" so to speak. How else could the SA's compare Student A from Badfinger's high school, with Student B whose school's bell curve looks like a hockey stick on its side, to Student C where his school's motto is "C+; where your best hasn't been good enough since incorporation," to Student D who was homeschooled his whole life then went to college at 16 and has a 4.0 at University level? There must be an equalizing factor (which some say is why the SAT was promulgated).
     
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