Grades Grades Grades...

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Colettam2018, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. Colettam2018

    Colettam2018 New Member

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    Currently a high school junior looking into the USAFA, My grades are OKAY(Predominantly the in mid Bs range). I was wondering if anybody has any ideas on my odds?

    I believe I am superbly qualified through extracurriculars, such as: Captain of the swim team at my school, model UN, Internship at an aquarium, graduating with distinction in STEM, summer camp counselor, Student Council.

    Any help is appreciated, especially honest help. I'm stressing super hard but hoping for the best!
     
  2. mah17

    mah17 New Member

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    The best advice I can give is try to keep that GPA above 3.5 or try to get it there. When you take SAT and ACT try and get higher scores to offset the lower GPA. I was appointed to the USCGA with a 3.27, but I had all of your extra curricular plus a couple and a 1360 on my SAT. You never know, keep trying and apply.
     
  3. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    I am not sure which moderator likes to say 100% of the people who do not apply do not get in.
    It is hard to tell you your odds as you do not know who you will be competing against next year. You will be typically only compete against the others on your nomination slate.
    It is probably to late to do much to improve your GPA, but you need to work hard and do the best you can. You also need to prep for the ACT/SAT and knock it out of the park to offset your lower grades. The academic portion of the WCS is class rank, school profile and ACT/SAT scores. GPA factors into your class rank but the classes you took and how well you did in them compared to the rest of the school matters more.
     
  4. OhGoody2017

    OhGoody2017 Member

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    Did your parents attend the academy, or were officers? I have a 3.98 GPA, 30 ACT, High CFT scores, President of Class, President of NHS, President of Student Council, Captain of soccer team, etc. I see so many people telling me about how they got in to the academy with 3.5's and lower, and I just can't wrap my head around why. I am completely happy with my offer to attend Preparatory School, as I believe that this will help me more in the long run, but I am just confused at what criteria the admissions team uses to decide who gets an appointment.
     
  5. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    Your GPA is not really used in the Academic Portion of the WCS. They use a formula that looks at class rank and school profile. It is geared to look at challenging classes, how well you did in them and how well everyone else in your school did. It is an attempt to "normalize" GPA by breaking down the weighted/unweighted problem and also level the playing field across school offerings. Your test scores is the other component of the academic WCS.

    The only comparison you can really make is against the individuals on your nomination slate. This is not really a national competition. For most high school applicants, you are only competing for the one opening from your MOC. If you are lucking you may also have a Senator's nomination that would allow you to compete on two slates. The individuals that come off the NWL typically have stats well above the published averages and have an extra year of college that gives a bigger WCS boost.
     
  6. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    It is very difficult to compare GPAs from one school to the next. Even if GPA was the only factor in the selection process, the selection board would need to assess how candidate did compared to other students in his/her school, assess the difficulty of each candidate's course load, etc. in order to rank cadets to decide which would receive appointments.

    But, we all know that GPAs and ACT/SAT scores are just two facets of each candidate's package - the members of this forum don't have access to many of the other factors used in the "whole candidate" assessment, so it is nearly impossible for non-board members to assess a candidate's chance for an appointment or rationalize why candidate A received an appointment but candidate B did not. IMHO, don't spend any cycles trying to compare yourself to other candidates - focus on improving the items that will make your individual package the more compelling to the selection board...
     
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  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    Of course their GPA is used in the academic portion of the WCS. But the "Concept" you speak of is correct. The academy has to be able to compare apples to oranges to come up with a fuel injector. There's a lot of variables with different schools. Some have all the AP classes and no IB. Some have the IB and some AP. Some have honors; and no IB or AP. Some have none of ANY of them. Some are home schooled. And the list goes on. It's hard to make everyone a fuel injector. So they use the school profile, what classes you had available, what classes you took, YOUR GRADES, (Compared to the rest of your class = Class Ranking); and they can then formulate your GPA for academy purposes. All of this, added to your ACT/SAT and any other academic input on your application, and they can formulate the academic section of the WCS.

    So, your GPA is most definitely used in the academic portion of your WCS. It's just that it is weighted based on all the things I mentioned in the previous paragraph. So a 3.4 gpa isn't a problem. If the rest of your high school class received a similar gpa and you were ranked #1-#5. But if you have the 3.4 gpa and many in your class received a 3.85-4.0 and you are ranked at the 50 percentile, then that's NOT a good gpa.

    This also applies to all those people who feel that they or their children "Attend a Competitive School". Or any of the other adjectives people use to believe they attend a school that is better and harder than most others. In the end, it's a NUMBERS game. I mentioned above, and in many other posts, how the academy goes through comparing the apples to oranges and getting fuel injectors. You can believe that your school is competitive, but so are many others. Too many people FORGET THE HUMAN FACTOR!!! If you come from a "Competitive" school, but take the bare basic classes to graduate; and a competitor for the academy goes to PS-401 public school and is taking all of the advanced classes they can get their hands on; who do you think the academy is going to give preference to? The one with the most challenging classes available to them that they took. Even if the gpa is slightly lower. But again; that GPA does matter. That's how the class profile and class ranking qualifies your position.

    So yes. If your class ranking is in the top 1-2% meaning #1-#8 in a class of 400; and your gpa is 3.5, that that's fantastic. But if your class ranking is 50% meaning #200 out of 400 and your gpa is a 3.85, then that SUCKS. So in that regard, gpa doesn't mean much. But don't "RATIONALIZE" a lower than average GPA unless you can offset it with a HIGH CLASS RANKING and/or a MEGA ACT/SAT Score.
     
  8. 6KDogwhistle

    6KDogwhistle Member

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    Apply-you won't know until you try. Don't try and figure out where you rack and stack-don't grade yourself; self assessment and grading one self are two different things. You'll only drive yourself crazy. The past is no longer. From this point on, give it a 110% on everything you do. There's a wealth of information online so bone up on knowledge. If you don't make it on the first go, it's not the end. You are competing against thousands of "superbly qualified" candidates. The odds are against every candidate but you won't know until you give it go. I believe the acceptance rate for class of 2021 was 12%. Most importantly, keep the big picture in sight at all times. The academy is not the only source of commissioning. The real race starts when you pin on those butter bars.
     
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  9. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    The intent of my post was the actual number published by your school is not relevant by itself and cannot be used to compare candidate A against candidate B or make a determination of how competitive your application is. There are individuals in this exact post saying I had a 3.9 and didn't get in and 3.27 got an appointment.

    Your post shows that the actual number 3.4 means little when taken by itself. As we have both explained, the process takes your school's profile and your performance against that profile which is your class rank (which is determined by your high school GPA) to develop a ranking or GPA that is used for academy purposes. This number is not typically available and candidates do not know what it exactly is.

    So with all that said, any potential applicant needs to do his or her best in high school by taking the more challenging classes and do well. The ACT/SAT is also important and you need a strong performance to be competitive. The admissions process is basically a math formula so a "weak" score in one area may be offset by a "strong" performance in another area but the overall calculation would just be an "average" overall score.