Graduating Early

amsoccerman05

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
17
Hello!

I have been taking a variety of community college classes over the past year (I'm a sophomore in high school) and I may have enough credits to graduate my high school as a Junior with honors. Would graduating early impact an application to USAFA, and how?


Thanks!
 

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner, Salt-Encrusted
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Sep 27, 2008
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11,447
Hello!

I have been taking a variety of community college classes over the past year (I'm a sophomore in high school) and I may have enough credits to graduate my high school as a Junior with honors. Would graduating early impact an application to USAFA, and how?


Thanks!
Will you be 17 by July 1 of the summer you would report into USAFA?

Have you read every page, drop down and link at USAFA.edu to see if your courses align with USFAFA’s recommendations? Are your athletics and leadership in good enough shape to present as a well-rounded candidate in competition with others? Are you able to take the standardized tests and feel confident of getting competitive scores?

Your college course credits will not transfer to USAFA. You would take validation exams which could place you in an advanced section or allow you to skip the class. You would still take a full class load.

Incoming classes have cadets ranging from 17 into their early twenties, so if you’re 17, you won’t be without age peers.
 

amsoccerman05

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
17
Will you be 17 by July 1 of the summer you would report into USAFA?

Have you read every page, drop down and link at USAFA.edu to see if your courses align with USFAFA’s recommendations? Are your athletics and leadership in good enough shape to present as a well-rounded candidate in competition with others? Are you able to take the standardized tests and feel confident of getting competitive scores?

Your college course credits will not transfer to USAFA. You would take validation exams which could place you in an advanced section or allow you to skip the class. You would still take a full class load.

Incoming classes have cadets ranging from 17 into their early twenties, so if you’re 17, you won’t be without age peers.
I would be 17, but I am also considering taking a gap year if I do decide to graduate early and take classes at a local community college or get an internship.

I am scheduling take the standardized tests, however with covid that's a little tricky. Athletically, I'm on the varsity team for my high school, and am the captain of my club soccer team. Leadership wise, I am the co-founder of a non-profit (currently filing as a 501(c)3), I am on the PM(project management) team of my FRC team, and I am a sub-team lead on another robotics team. I am also the volunteer coordinator on a campaign for the Colorado State House, as well as a committee leader for my schools NEHS chapter.
 

bopper

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Nov 22, 2016
Messages
383
One thing to consider is that all the other applicants to Service Academies and Colleges you are competing with will have 4 years of HS...Four years of activitie/sports and usually you don't get leadership positions until Senior and Junior year. They will have four year of courses and an additional year to mature emotionally and physically.
 

BuckeyeDad20

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Aug 29, 2019
Messages
315
AS bopper said + there will be Priors and Preppies and both. I wouldn't worry about this though to be honest. My DS has a Prior+Preppie roommate who is 3 to 4 years older than him and the relationship is good.

If you come across immature in interviews then obviously it will affect your chances. Hopefully you can discuss with your parents and/or mentors who know you specifically and can provide the best advice for you.
 

Old Navy BGO

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Jan 5, 2012
Messages
3,131
I would be 17, but I am also considering taking a gap year if I do decide to graduate early and take classes at a local community college or get an internship.

Rare venture to the AF Board (Navy is slow today), but be careful with the concept of "gap year." There have been a lot of threads on gap years, and I think the conventional wisdom is to that a Gap Year may be viewed as a negative. If you do it, make sure it is meaningful and ads something significant to your Resume.
 

Miracle

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Oct 29, 2020
Messages
140
No matter what you do, whether you attend a civilian college (perhaps even with ROTC) or take a gap year, take advantage of this extra time. You may be younger than most, but you also have more potential. Use this time to pour in your energies and demonstrate to USAFA that you are worthy of their acceptance no matter what your age is. By the way, attending a college may be more beneficial since you can transfer to the academy with many more "bonus" points, IMO. You are bound to SUCCEED!
 

bopper

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Nov 22, 2016
Messages
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If it wasn't COVID times, I would tell you to do foreign exchange year to learn a culture and language better.
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
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Rare venture to the AF Board (Navy is slow today), but be careful with the concept of "gap year." There have been a lot of threads on gap years, and I think the conventional wisdom is to that a Gap Year may be viewed as a negative. If you do it, make sure it is meaningful and ads something significant to your Resume.
I'll run the ball a little further on this one. I'm closing in on 30 years as a BGO along with many years of doing Congressional/Senatorial interviews and have seen thousands of candidates in that time. Out of all of them, I have seen very very few accepted who had taken a gap year. Skipped a couple of grades and entered high school at age 12? Caring for a very ill family member? I've seen them get accepted. Rushed through High School and then traveled, worked as a barista, slacked or whatever? I haven't seen much success. Not to say its impossible but remember, most of your competition stayed in the ring competing.

To sum up, maybe a meme will best express my view as someone who is an interviewer for the SAs

2b02ewx.jpg
 

amsoccerman05

Member
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Jul 5, 2019
Messages
17
Thank you all for your responses, over the next few months I'll talk to my counselors and parents, with the advice given in mind to decide whether it is best to graduate early or stay an extra year.

Thanks!!!
 

ParadiseMom3

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Dec 20, 2018
Messages
65
Have you considered staying in high school while continuing in dual-enrollment classes? You will not be able to skip classes if appointed but you may validate. I would recommend taking STEM focused courses which will prepare you for the Academy if appointed. Good luck to you!
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
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Apr 9, 2017
Messages
4,324
One thing I will add from my own experience as a birth mom of 4, exchange students mom of 9, and advisor mom to countless numbers of
All their friends....is that there is a TON of growth and change your Senior year. Underclass look to seniors as their mentors and leaders. As do teachers and admin. It’s naturally developed. And just isn’t there any other year, no matter how mature you are emotionally, or physically (one of my own looked like a mad in 6th grade 😬). That senior year develops you more than you know. It’s not all about the academics.

Senior year is an important one. And also the BEST one ever!!

I would guess that MOST applying to a SA could graduate early. They are all high achieving people. I personally would wonder why you wanted to NOT be with your friends your last/most significant year. It would be a red
Flag. Absent an exceptional reason suggested above. If it’s because you are sick of school? Red flag. If it’s because you can? Also a red flag. So make sure you are honest about the reasoning.

Imo, it doesnt add to your application package. It potentially takes away from it in total.

Senior year rocks. Best time of my kiddos lives. Especially if you receive an LOA, or an appointment early on (one son did in November and let the foot off the gas a bit 2nd semester. He had a GREAT end to his high school career. 2nd son? Not until May. He kept at it hard to the end...for the most part 😂).

You don’t have to answer, but why wouldn’t you want to have your last, best senior year? It’s all about YOU that year. Assemblies, recognitions, celebrations, scholarships, senior nights....
 

USAFA10s

USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB
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710
I'll throw my two cents in here as well because I almost skipped a grade (but didn't) and also considered graduating early (but decided not to).

The biggest deciding factors for me were what I wanted to get out of the year. In the case of the year I almost skipped, after 7th grade I had taken every remotely challenging class offered at my public middle school and there really wasn't much left for me there academically. BUT - I was already kind of an awkward kid without being younger, and I was starting to get very competitive with tennis. We decided that a year where most of my classes were some form of self-study/not too rigorous where I could have time for tennis would benefit me more (great decision by the way - one of the best years of school for me for sure)

Fast forward to high school - I had also taken all the required courses plus a few by the end of Junior year, but there were still plenty of challenging classes left to take in my senior year. I opted to stay and take a fewer number of more challenging courses senior year (I had a release period of 1.5 hrs every day to study and workout - game changer for staying on top of everything). The point is - if my high school hadn't had enough challenging courses available to me that year that I hadn't already taken, I likely would have tried to graduate early and go to a local college for a year. My high school did offer dual enrollment in a local community college, but those courses weren't even close to as advanced as the AP ones available, so I opted not to take many of them.

I guess the takeaway is as long as there is something of value left at your high school for you and you haven't already taken everything offered, you are unlikely to find a better option than just staying for senior year.
 

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner, Salt-Encrusted
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My parents did not allow me to graduate HS early, and I was (eventually) truly grateful. They knew college could wait, and another year of maturity and growth at home, as well as enjoying senior year and the additional leadership positions, was a better path for me to round me out before college. I was already on the young side of classmates, and though I had a decent brain, I wasn’t Sheldon Leonard. I did get to go to the Governor’s Honors summer program two summers in a row, which was great fun, and do an independent science project senior year which got some resumé-worthy recognition.

Everyone’s journey is different. Think about it from all angles. Try to objectively evaluate the lost opportunity of a gap year. A gap year, if taken, should deliver the same weight or more of personal growth, challenge, achievements, horizon-expanding, etc., as a HS senior year filled with class or EC or sport leadership positions, awards, etc.
 

Dad_2024

DS - USAFA c/o 2025
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Messages
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...I wasn’t Sheldon Leonard...

Now there's a character combination creating a conundrum, Sheldon Cooper combined with Leonord Hofstadter. Quite a theory, on par with the big bang.

(Tucking away my sitcom police badge now.)
 

parentalunit2

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Apr 18, 2010
Messages
615
Anyone that I’ve known that decided on early HS graduation was head and shoulders more mature than their peers. Extremely focused on next steps and had a plan for their future. Some of the ‘senior year stuff’ mentioned above just didn’t matter, and seemed almost childish to them. Assemblies, recognitions, celebrations, senior nights, etc. aren’t even happening right now. @amsoccerman05 as you are the person who knows yourself best, you do you, and create a plan that works best for you. If you are already thinking this critically about your future as a sophomore, that only lends itself to your future success no matter what you decide to pursue!
 

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner, Salt-Encrusted
10-Year Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
11,447
Now there's a character combination creating a conundrum, Sheldon Cooper combined with Leonord Hofstadter. Quite a theory, on par with the big bang.

(Tucking away my sitcom police badge now.)
I thought it was more fun than Cooper Hofstadter as a fusion character. Thought I could get away with it. 🤣
 
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