Hi all. I am new to the forum My son will be applying to USMA at the end of the year. He is a junior now. One of the the patterns that I have seen after reading the forum is posts about math and science, and their importance when applying. My son does just fine in math and science, but he isn't at an advance level. He took Algebra 1 freshman year, Geometry sophomore year, and is taking Algebra 2 this year. He will take Pre-Calc next year. For science, he has taken Physics and Bio, and will take Chem next year. Many students on the forum seem to have taken more advanced sciences. My son just followed the pattern that his advisers told him to take. Why is it that there is so much of an emphasis placed on math and science? There must be cadets at USMA that were not stars at math. Im worried that because my son followed the curriculum offered to him at his school, that he will not be competitive. He has won many awards in humanities courses and is in very advanced courses for that. Is it best now to focus on other schools because he isn't a great math and science student? Hi hear is with the military, and I want him to do well. However, I don't want him to cram his schedule with math or science classes that will ruin his last years of high school. Any advice is welcome.

. Sadly, lesson learned. I have discovered that many guidance counselors don't know their...well, you see where I'm going. The point is that they worry about the average kid, especially at a public school. For the average kid who wants to go to State U or College of Somebody at Somewhere, that's a fine course. For an academy it may not be enough. One thing I tell kids, though, is not to take AP courses just to have them on your transcript. An A or A+ in pre-calc will do more for his profile than a C- in AP Calculus (BC level). Take hard math and do well. Don't take super-hard math and do poorly. Even though USMA is technically a liberal arts curriculum, it's very math and science heavy. Based on his profile, he will take at least four math classes, which will focus on Diff EQ, dynamical systems, double-variable calculus, and Prob/Stat. Additionally he'll take Chemistry and Physics, both of which are essentially math at their core. He'll also take at least 3 engineering classes, which will all be math intensive. The focus on math is because he will do LOT of math at West Point if he becomes a cadet. I think at this point, the die is cast. The best thing he can do now is get exceptional grades in those classes.

Scoutpilot is correct. In our experience, even though my DS's counselor knew all along he wanted to go to a SA, her recommendations for his classes were not in line with his goal. Bottom line is, don't rely on the counselor - I have found better information on this forum

Your son sounds a lot like my cadet. Math was (and still is) his weakness, he only got through pre-calc in high school. From his experience I know it is possible to get into the academy but he needs to do well in pre-calc and on his math SAT/ACT score. I recommend he starts preparing for the SAT and ACT now. There are good study guides out there and if you can afford it, many students have been helped by prep courses. My son made it through the tough math at West Point and was able to get B's. He got extra help from the Professors and other cadets. The same goes for science...the academy has lots of help for cadets in whatever area they need it, they just have to ask. Good luck to your son!

Sounds like your son might also be a fit for one of the prep schools. USMAPS, Admissions says, is geared toward candidates that they believe are promising in most areas but might need extra preparation in one or two areas to succeed at USMA -- often because of lack of opportunity. I know it may sound disappointing to hear about an extra year, but it could give a much more solid foundation for four years at USMA. Ask son to consider it, if offered.

His candidacy for USMAPS will be based on many, many variables. It is a tough slot to get for a non-athlete with no prior service. In the words of the Admissions SW RC, USMAPS candidates are those who are "exceptional leaders and athletes who are academically unqualified." The civil prep option would be a much more likely option for him, based on what little we know. But your point is a good one...don't be afraid to do that extra year if it's needed, and if he WANTS it.

if your son is a junior, don't forget about the summer and your local community college - can he take pre-calc and the science class he was going to take senior year at your local community college over the summer so that senior year he can take calculus or ap calculus / AP Science? having a college class on his resume that he has succeeded in may go a long way to help him as well. previous posts have mentioned taking a SAT/ACT prep course. if you can afford it - consider a private tutor or one on one SAT/ACT preparation so they can focus on his weaknesses as well as test taking strategy. start early. my son worked with a tutor on SAT prep starting in late October taking the SAT in January. the SAT help also worked for ACT's. we felt the money spent on a private test prep would pay off when we realized that scoring 200 points higher on an SAT could greatly increase the amount of merit based scholarship money. good luck!

Just wanted to add one more comment. EVERY cadet that graduates from West Point earns a Bachelor of Science degree. That means that even if you are a History major, you will still take classes reflective of a B.S. degree, including the classes that Scoutpilot said - Math through Calculus II, Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, as well as at least 3 engineering courses.

There definitely are. During CBT, new cadets take a math placement test to determine what core math track they will take. Most place at an average level and take Calculus 1 their first semester -- my guess is this is what your son (if he gets admitted) would end up taking. There is also a lower level math class for those who aren't as strong (but is disadvantageous in that those students get their science classes pushed back a semester). Additionally, there's the advanced math class, multivariable calculus (fondly known as "jedi math"). While it is tough and I know a lot of people who chose not to attempt to validate into it, taking it reduces the number of math classes you have to take by a semester. West Point takes in a multitude of students, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Typically the ones that are deficient in math are amazing at something else (usually a recruited athlete). If your son does well in PreCal, I see no reason why this would make him uncompetitive, since you said his strengths are in humanities. Admissions will see that. Also, most people I know took one year of Bio, one year Chem, one year Physics. Lots of people on the forums here are just massive overachievers. :] My advice is to focus on his ACT/SAT and do his best to excell in what he is taking rather than worry about what he isn't.