How "good" does your CFA have to be to help with your WCS?

DeepWaters

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From what I can gather, the CFA is for most pass/fail. You're either identified as a risk or not a risk. But some of the other posts seem to suggest that an exceptional performance at the CFA can help with your WCS. Does anyone have any sense how good your CFA is to get that bump? If for instance you hit the max in 1 category, 2 categories, more?

Thank you.
 

jl123

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No one outside of admissions knows the precise calculation of WCS scores. My understanding is that a higher CFA score leads to more WCS points than a lower score - I've never known USMA to not measure something on a competitive basis. It would seem out of character for admissions to give all candidates the same points for just passing the CFA.

However, since the CFA is only weighted 10% in the WCS calculation, the difference in WCS points between passing and maxing is likely not that great.
 

UHBlackhawk

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The thing is, the CFA isn’t just pass/fail and the ACT/SAT are the things you can directly control now. Yes, I FB you fail the CFA you will not advance. But a better score could help. Is it going to make up for a 20 ACT? No. But for some on the bubble it might be enough.
 

skr002

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As jl123 said, the CFA is weighted as 10% of the WCS calculation, according to a study done, I don't know when but observing the classes of 2997-2001, Admitted/Offered and Reject, here's what it said about the CFA score points.

"Athletic Activity Level Points An outstanding athlete (All-American, 1st team All-Area selection in baseball/softball, basketball, or football) and athletic rating of either 1 or 2 in the sport in which honors are received or a CFA score greater than 650.

Points: 800"

Link
 
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As jl123 said, the CFA is weighted as 10% of the WCS calculation, according to a study done, I don't know when but observing the classes of 2997-2001, Admitted/Offered and Reject, here's what it said about the CFA score points.

"Athletic Activity Level Points An outstanding athlete (All-American, 1st team All-Area selection in baseball/softball, basketball, or football) and athletic rating of either 1 or 2 in the sport in which honors are received or a CFA score greater than 650.

Points: 800"

Link
I think that's essentially giving an athletic category bonus for a very good CFA score. If you played varsity football for example, according to the oft-cited RAND study, you would get 600 pts in the athletics category. But that category bumps up to 800 for a 650 on the CFA, even if you weren't an All Area athlete. But then separately, you get points for the CFA that by themselves could max to 800 (this assumes the RAND study is correct).
Last year, I reverse engineered my DS's WCS. People will say "only USMA knows...", and yep, that's true. But I'm confident I got pretty close based on the RAND study and a study someone did at the Naval War College for their masters several years ago.
The CFA is likely worth 800 out of 8000 points. So every point you leave on the table does count in that max of 8000 points, but it doesn't count nearly as much as academics, which are worth 60%. Test scores, particularly Math and English, are the place you can probably most directly and potently help your WCS.
Of course, in the end it means nothing, and the advice to control what you can control and that it depends on your district and lots of other factors is the best advice. And of course, locking down the nom, for which the interview is especially critical if you are in a competitive district.
So don't waste your time trying to do what I did, and instead just put together the best package you can ;)
 

DeepWaters

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Thanks for all the replies. That raises a few more questions. 1) What sort of stats would you need to get to the cited CFA score of 650. 2) Does playing football as opposed to any other sport get you more points for your WCS?; 3) When you refer to the Math and English scores, does this mean on the ACT the reading comprehension and science scores are weighed less than the Math and English sections?

Thank you.
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
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Thanks for all the replies. That raises a few more questions. 1) What sort of stats would you need to get to the cited CFA score of 650. 2) Does playing football as opposed to any other sport get you more points for your WCS?; 3) When you refer to the Math and English scores, does this mean on the ACT the reading comprehension and science scores are weighed less than the Math and English sections?

Thank you.
Considering that more prospective cadets take the SAT than ACT which only has Math and English, it is a strong probability that the Math and English in the ACT are what is used.
 
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The
Thanks for all the replies. That raises a few more questions. 1) What sort of stats would you need to get to the cited CFA score of 650. 2) Does playing football as opposed to any other sport get you more points for your WCS?; 3) When you refer to the Math and English scores, does this mean on the ACT the reading comprehension and science scores are weighed less than the Math and English sections?

Thank you.
just PM’d you to avoid sucking too many into this vortex of obsessive WCS tinkering
 

USMA 1994

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Many people talk about the CFA as pass/fail based on the weighting. If you are above the averages on all events you are pretty much maxed for points. Also remember that the CFA is not super-scored like the ACT. You could improve your run by 30 seconds but maybe do a less push ups or sit ups that day. The end result would be a wash in scoring. Prepare and do your best but if you are above the averages in all events, move on and put your efforts in other places.
 
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I think that's essentially giving an athletic category bonus for a very good CFA score. If you played varsity football for example, according to the oft-cited RAND study, you would get 600 pts in the athletics category. But that category bumps up to 800 for a 650 on the CFA, even if you weren't an All Area athlete. But then separately, you get points for the CFA that by themselves could max to 800 (this assumes the RAND study is correct).
Last year, I reverse engineered my DS's WCS. People will say "only USMA knows...", and yep, that's true. But I'm confident I got pretty close based on the RAND study and a study someone did at the Naval War College for their masters several years ago.
The CFA is likely worth 800 out of 8000 points. So every point you leave on the table does count in that max of 8000 points, but it doesn't count nearly as much as academics, which are worth 60%. Test scores, particularly Math and English, are the place you can probably most directly and potently help your WCS.
Of course, in the end it means nothing, and the advice to control what you can control and that it depends on your district and lots of other factors is the best advice. And of course, locking down the nom, for which the interview is especially critical if you are in a competitive district.
So don't waste your time trying to do what I did, and instead just put together the best package you can ;)
The 2015 RAND Report on WP Admissions that NJDadofDSUSMA2024Hopeful mentioned can be found here: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR700/RR723/RAND_RR723.pdf

Pay special attention to pages 9 & 10 of the report. It's been a while since I read the whole report, but from what I can remember RAND determined that WP should focus more on SAT/ACT scores and less on "Faculty Appraisal". But page 9 shows you a big picture pie chart of the WCS which helps to put a visual perspective on the importance of Academic scoring (60%), and the best way to boost that is score higher on the SAT/ACT. Getting a good score on your CFA is not unimportant, it's just not nearly as important as a really good SAT/ACT score.

You should never leave points on the table, but like USMA 1994 was saying, you should focus your efforts where they will yield you the greatest value.
 
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jl123

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The 2015 RAND Report on WP Admissions that NJDadofDSUSMA2024Hopeful mentioned can be found here: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR700/RR723/RAND_RR723.pdf

Pay special attention to pages 9 & 10 of the report. It's been a while since I read the whole report, but from what I can remember RAND determined that WP should focus more on SAT/ACT scores and less on "Faculty Appraisal". But page 9 shows you a big picture pie chart of the WCS which helps to put a visual perspective on the importance of Academic scoring (60%), and the best way to boost that is score higher on the SAT/ACT. Getting a good score on your CFA is not unimportant, it's just not nearly as important as a really good SAT/ACT score.

You should never leave points on the table, but like USMA 1994 was saying, you should focus your efforts where they will yield you the greatest value.
Yes, good advice.

However, this admissions cycle may be very different from previous ones. The pandemic has restricted the ability to takes standardized tests and could change how the ACT/SAT affect WCS scores - according to other threads, USNA has already made changes.
 
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Yes, good advice.

However, this admissions cycle may be very different from previous ones. The pandemic has restricted the ability to takes standardized tests and could change how the ACT/SAT affect WCS scores - according to other threads, USNA has already made changes.
I definitely agree, this cycle simply has to be different, and because of that the CFA score may be elevated in value toward the Whole Person Multiple (WPM). I was just suggesting to my DS that he spend a few minutes everyday throwing the B-Ball a few dozen times to try and gain five-to-ten more feet on his throw for his CFA next Saturday. After all is said and done, the further he throws the B-Ball, the more CFA points he gets. The more CFA points he gets, the higher his WPM will be. The higher his WPM, the better his chances of an appointment, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

But, with the new Flexible Testing changes in place it seems possible to me (maybe even likely) that the value of a high SAT/ACT super-score could actually boost a candidate's chances even more than it would have before the COVID-19 changes. Of course, I could be wrong about this, I certainly have been wrong before.

We all know that the SA's are looking for well-rounded individuals (leadership, athletics, community service, scholarly, etc.), but we also know that each thing they do has a varying degree of value toward their WPM, and the thing that I have always believed had, pound-for-pound, the most value to a WPM is a high SAT/ACT super-score. It is the only way to effectively evaluate every candidate on an even scholastic metric, and that metric is worth 60% of the WPM, the CFA is worth 10%.

However, the CFA is the only way to effectively evaluate every candidate on an even fitness metric. It is also one of the few things a candidate can control and improve on, by themselves, at home, in a relatively short period of time, that can boost their WPM and therefore their chances of an appointment. It also doesn't hurt to show up on I-Day in peak physical condition. The more I think about it, the more I realize there really is no downside to continuously preparing for the CFA.

Some people are having no problem taking the SAT/ACT as many times as they need to. Most people are experiencing increased difficulty in finding testing opportunities, and some people are actually finding it impossible. My concern is that for those finding it "more difficult", there may be many that are looking at the Flexible Testing changes as a "you don't have to take this test" option for the Class of 2025. For some, that could be an appointment-costing mistake.
 
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