High School Senior Courses

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by coin06, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. coin06

    coin06 Member

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    I am at the point in my junior year when I need to pick my classes for next year. I understand
    the Academy emphasizes STEM courses. However, math is not a subject I would
    describe as being easy for me. I have taken all algebra courses, geometry,
    trigonometry, and statistics so far. I did not to take pre-calculus or
    calculus in high school, and would elect to take AP-statistics next year
    instead. I would like to know how strongly this decision would be looked
    down upon by admissions? I have only attained an A grade one high school
    math course, so additional math would be consequential to my GPA. I do have
    good grades in lab sciences, getting As in physics, chemistry, and biology.
    Is this that enough to carry my weak math base? I would take additional
    science, (even AP sciences) next year, but I am not confident I could get
    an A in those.

    For now, the classes I have lined up are AP Gov, AP English Lit, AP
    Statistics, and ASB (A required class for student government). This leaves
    room for 1 more course, weather it be additional math, additional science,
    or maybe another course that could make up for my gap in math (AP computer
    science maybe?)If you disagree with some of the courses I plan on taking,
    let me know what would be a better alternative. Thanks for your time, and I
    hope to hear some input on what would best prepare me.

    Uncertain if it is appropriate to post this here, if not please direct me.
     
  2. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

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    Do you have AP Physics already? You're going to get into Calc st the Academy, I would consider tackling that beast head on while you can to get comfortable!
     
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  3. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    https://www.usna.edu/Admissions/Steps-for-Admission/General-Advice-for-Grades-9-12.php

    4 years of Math: Algebra I/II, Geometry, and Trigonometry (at a minimum) and Pre-Calculus or Calculus if offered.

    This is posted on their website.

    When they look at your school profile and see these courses are offered but you did not take, it gives you a huge disadvantage.

    Have you taken any SAT or ACT yet? How was your PSAT?
     
  4. coin06

    coin06 Member

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    Act composite 29: 26 English, 25 Math, 32 Reading, 32 Science.
    This was my first time taking it without studying/preparing so that I could see where I was at and be able to prepare more efficiently. Plan to take it 2 more times.

    I don't plan on taking the SAT, as it seems pointless to study for both tests. PSAT was 1180: 640 Reading/Writing, 540 Math

    Would it be better to get B or a C in Pre-Calculus than to take APStats?

    Also, my GPA is a 3.65W 3.45UW. My school is on trimesters, so there is 3 grading periods left before the USNA application deadline in January.
     
  5. Yukestrong

    Yukestrong Member

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    I definitely recommend taking pre-Calc. I have a friend here (USAFA- different but comparable) who never took anything Calc based before and failed it here because of lack of experience. If you don't have pre-Calc from high school you'll have to skip straight past it. That's a big jump from trig. Therefore, I'd highly recommend taking the harder math now while it's just high school.
     
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  6. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    It is ultimately your choice, but tons of posts on the forum about people do better on one over the other. Tons!
    We are talking about a course you will be taking next year, and you are already defeated before you start? What is your plan during this summer? Could you start preparing for it? Other experiences may improve your total package but academic carries the most weight.

    It is only mid-Feb, will you be getting at least a "B" in your current Math class this year? Are you doing everything in your power to ensure that? If not, WHY NOT?

    If you don't have a winning attitude or if you always choose to shy away from challenges, are you sure USNA or becoming a Naval Officer that leads Sailors and Marines into combat is your calling? Will you be the first to leave during Plebe Summer if you do find yourself there, because it is very "tough"?

    Dig deep, @coin06! If you are waiting to get appointed and then transform yourself, you may never find out because admissions may see you as not challenging yourself based on the choice you are about to make (I don't know what they will see besides academic that you shared here).

    Good luck!
     
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  7. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    You really, really want to have at least Pre-calc and especially calc. Not only will USNA expect it but without either course, you will dying as a plebe. You want to learn to handle STEM now b/c it won't get easier at USNA.

    To be most competitive for USNA, by the end of your senior year, you should have calc (pre-calc being less good), chem with lab and physics. Taking AP or honors is even better. Missing one isn't deadly but makes you less competitive. Not have two of those is really going to hurt. Not having any is probably "deadly."
     
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  8. coin06

    coin06 Member

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    Thanks, you've helped me think about this the correct way. Challenging myself with Pre-Calculus is something I will be doing, as well as getting help before the class starts.

    Regular Physics and Chem are both classes I did well in, and so likely I will add on AP Physics now.
     
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  9. nolamomma

    nolamomma Member

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    I agree with the above. I have worked in the high school guidance setting and now in the college admissions setting. Rigor is the keep. Most colleges want to see four years of math and AP Stat is really not what they are looking for in math. They want Calc. I look at high school transcripts all day long and it is rare that a student who gets accepted to college has not taken AP Cal. Your HS will send a school profile along with your transcript. Admissions will use that profile to look at the courses offered by your school to see how you challenged yourself. I agree with others, if you get into a service academy, you will end up in a calc class. Going in with some knowledge is a big benefit. Take the calc in a HS setting where it is offered year long and where you can get help. Good luck.
     
  10. Norfolk63

    Norfolk63 BGO and MidDad 5-Year Member

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    Suggest looking at this from a slightly different, more long-term perspective... many, not all, students who struggle with Pre-Calc and/or Calculus do so not because the subject is difficult, but because they have a less-than-adequate understanding of algebra. Therefore, you may want to consider this... register for pre-calculus for your senior year and then register for college algebra at your community college over the summer between your junior and senior year. Why subject yourself to this pain/discomfort? The goal is to prepare yourself for success at the Academy (or any top university, for that matter). Running away from challenges is not a satisfactory option.

    One more point: This suggested path will also set you up for success in the event that you are passed over for an appointment your senior year. This way, you will be ready to take Calculus I your first semester at college, and it will appear on your college transcript that USNA will require. Either way, it's a win-win.
    Good luck!

    P.S. Since you are a high school junior be sure to apply for the NROTC 4-year scholarship now, and be sure to get your app submitted before you start school in the fall of your senior year so that you make the first board. This will pay off huge dividends for you later (see the thread about College Re-Applicants to understand why).
     
  11. Artillery

    Artillery Member

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    Yea I am applying to West Point and my FF Rep said that something like 30% of the app is based on GPA and class rank; long story short, take the classes you feel comfortable getting a better grade in. BUT, make sure you take the class better viewed by the Academy. For example, USNA makes a point to say take Pre-calc and Calc. Of course, this doesn't mean that it has to be BC Calc and Honors pre-calc, but I would take the classes. I'm taking AB Calculus next year in addition to AP Stats for this reason alone, I'm in the same boat as you, I don't get stellar grades in math (only one A, B's all around every other year), so I just decided to drop down the difficulty.
     
  12. 4myboy

    4myboy Member

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    Will withdrawing from precalc to focus on English major hurt? fresh in college.
     
  13. pleber16

    pleber16 USNA 2016 5-Year Member

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    I would definitely not do that. Yeah it would look bad on a reapplication, but it would also hurt if you got into the academy. If you can't test into a level good enough for calc 1, you're going to end up with an extra semester of math meaning mandatory summer school.
     
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  14. momofmod

    momofmod Member

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    You need the pre-calc as everyone has said and is stated clearly on the USNA website. Not to be a downer but you need to get the math ACT score up. Take the test as many times as you can afford and don't rule out the SAT. You may find you do better on the SAT. They are very different tests. Good luck.
     
  15. NM2019

    NM2019 New Member

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    I am entering my junior year next year, and my class setup is this: AP English lang, AP US History, Spanish IV, Physics, College Algebra/trig, Engineering design and development, and AP US Gov/politics. Will these be sufficient as advanced classes for my junior year? I plan on taking AP chemistry as a science course for my senior year, as well as other AP classes for english, and history. I am just wondering if I am being vigorous enough with my classes. By the way, I have a 3.95 gpa unweighted, so it is close to a 4.0.
     
  16. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    The formula is simple folks..take the most advanced classes available in your school, and do well in them. Any consideration of shying away from a tough class, particularly one that USNA recommends you take, so you can get a better grade in another class, doesn't fool anyone. There are plenty of applicants that take the tough class and excel -- if you want to be competitive, you need to push yourself. Further, Plebe year is tough enough as it is, you don't want the added burden of not being prepared academically.
     
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  17. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    If you really don't like math or struggle with it - you should really consider if any SA is the right program for you. There are other commissioning sources, but you are going to take a lot of calculus and calculus based courses. Yes, you can major in political science, history, languages, etc. but you are still going to take a lot of calculus based courses.

    Many have made it through service academies on sheer grit and determination to battle through and I applaud them but if you are avoiding them in high school - you can't avoid them at the SA's.

    I am not trying to throw cold water on your dreams, but I think you should reflect if the curriculum matches your educational goals, and I can't emphasize enough that if you are committed enough - you can get through the program if you can get in the door.
     
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  18. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    I agree with the above comments, this isn't really that difficult of a question to answer. SA's suggest you take the highest level STEM courses offered by your h.s. You can find other long winded posts on here about this topic, but that is reality. You are in a competition for an appointment with others who have excelled in academics/athletics/ECA's and leadership. There is nothing easy about getting accepted and the challenges for doing well at any SA lasts all 4 years.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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