Mathematics

Hello. I'm currently a 16 year old junior in high school. Last year I took geometry instead of doubling up with algebra ll because I thought I should focus on my gpa. It ended up being really easy and long story short I can't take calc in my senior year anymore. I have talked with my guidance counselor, and I don't think it will be possible to take it (my school doesn't accept outside credits). Will this hurt my chances on my application for USNA? Do any of you have advice on what I can do? Thanks!
 
Hey, even if you can't take Calculus, find a way to get exposed to it. Either attend study sessions of the Calculus class at school or something. Do it online, Khan Academy helps a lot. All I'm saying is I do know at the Academy you will be taking lots of Calculus, and it's best that you have some sort of foundation in the class somewhat. Now in terms of how it will help you? I don't really know if it will help or hurt you, all you can focus on is doing well in the classes you are currently taking, that's the number one thing. It most likely shouldn't hurt you though. Maybe you can try taking the subject tests in Mathematics if you really want to prove your mastery in Math. Really though, focus on what you're doing now and make sure you're doing well in those classes. Hope this helps.
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
Plenty of kids don't get to take Calculus. Some schools don't even offer it. You'll be OK. If you do want to expose yourself to Calculus check out the Khan Academy online.
 
Hey, even if you can't take Calculus, find a way to get exposed to it. Either attend study sessions of the Calculus class at school or something. Do it online, Khan Academy helps a lot. All I'm saying is I do know at the Academy you will be taking lots of Calculus, and it's best that you have some sort of foundation in the class somewhat. Now in terms of how it will help you? I don't really know if it will help or hurt you, all you can focus on is doing well in the classes you are currently taking, that's the number one thing. It most likely shouldn't hurt you though. Maybe you can try taking the subject tests in Mathematics if you really want to prove your mastery in Math. Really though, focus on what you're doing now and make sure you're doing well in those classes. Hope this helps.
Ok thanks
 

usna1985

10-Year Member
For the OP . . . first, thanks for being honest re why you took geometry. That said, it creates a bit of a challenge. USNA knows the highest level of math your school offers and generally expects students to take (and excel) at that level. Here, you helped your GPA -- which is good -- but now are in a bit of a pickle b/c what USNA doesn't want to see is folks taking easy courses to get good grades when they should be challenging themselves.

Let me be clear . . . I'm not criticizing you and fully understand why you did what you did. It makes sense and probably is a net plus for every school other than a SA. Plus, you have a very strong core foundation in math from which to build rather than struggling throughout your h.s. years.

So what to do now? At a minimum, take pre-calc at the honors/AP level if it's offered. That way you are at least taking the highest level you personally can take and that's probably the best approach. Second, you say your school doesn't accept outside credits -- does that include college credits? For example, what if you took pre-calc at a community college over the summer? It seems stupid for your h.s. to force you to repeat material you already took at a college level. Then again, I don't pretend to understand our nation's public school system.:rolleyes:

Also, be sure you're taking the highest level of other courses (chem, physics, English, history) that you can handle -- honors/AP/IB if at all possible.
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
Even if the school won't accept the outside credits, you can certainly mention you took Calculus at XYZ on your application. You might even have the college send a transcript when the time comes.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Trust me ..you are going to want exposure to Calculus if you get into USNA. I got beat up pretty bad taking Calc at NAPS, and probably wouldn't have made it through if I did that as a Plebe. Take it during the Summer if you have to --even if you don't get credit, it will be worth it.

Public Service Message for all those who may be in OP's shoes in the future --- don't take the easy route in HS academics thinking that a higher GPA is better than taking your top level math classes. USNA gets a profile of each school, so they know what is available. I would expect they see two issues when a candidate with a good GPA fails to take the top level courses: 1) Does the candidate have the confidence to take on the tough academic challenge ? and 2) Does the candidate have the academic aptitude to succeed at USNA ?

Bottom line, take the most rigorous academic path you can ...and excel. This really isn't unique to USNA - it reminds me of one of my colleagues who asked Duke Admissions whether it was better to take AP Calc or get straight A's, and the answer was simply "Both",
 

usna1985

10-Year Member
Second what Old Navy said . . . I too only had pre-calc in h.s. (years ago, calc was not the "norm" that it is today). I really, really struggled with calculus, despite lots of EI (extra instruction). So, if you can get exposure to it before USNA, it will really help. But, if you can't, you just have to work that much harder at USNA -- but it's certainly doable.
 

Humey

Member
If you can, take it at a community college. On second thought, you can take it on line at online high school/college website. Some if not most are accredited and while it may not count for your high school, the academies or any other civilians college should accept it. If they ask why you didnt take it in your own school, you could explain what happened. I think the initiative of taking it somewhere else has to give you bonus points
 

Norfolk63

BGO and MidDad
5-Year Member
Strive for excellence. Focus on your weaknesses to make them into strengths. Circle back and master algebra. Most poor grades on pre-calc and calculus are due to weak algebra skills.
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
Many schools have both, but some do not. Some do not have Calculus at all. What's important is taking the most challenging courses your high school offers.
 
Trust me ..you are going to want exposure to Calculus if you get into USNA. I got beat up pretty bad taking Calc at NAPS, and probably wouldn't have made it through if I did that as a Plebe. Take it during the Summer if you have to --even if you don't get credit, it will be worth it.

Public Service Message for all those who may be in OP's shoes in the future --- don't take the easy route in HS academics thinking that a higher GPA is better than taking your top level math classes. USNA gets a profile of each school, so they know what is available. I would expect they see two issues when a candidate with a good GPA fails to take the top level courses: 1) Does the candidate have the confidence to take on the tough academic challenge ? and 2) Does the candidate have the academic aptitude to succeed at USNA ?

Bottom line, take the most rigorous academic path you can ...and excel. This really isn't unique to USNA - it reminds me of one of my colleagues who asked Duke Admissions whether it was better to take AP Calc or get straight A's, and the answer was simply "Both",
Yeah, to be honest, I got 82 average year grade in my freshmen year for Algebra 1 (96 on finals), and I freaked out thinking that I might not do well in doing Algebra 2. Like Old Navy said, if your feeling that way, just take Algebra 2 anyway, you will feel a lot better taking it.
 
For the OP . . . first, thanks for being honest re why you took geometry. That said, it creates a bit of a challenge. USNA knows the highest level of math your school offers and generally expects students to take (and excel) at that level. Here, you helped your GPA -- which is good -- but now are in a bit of a pickle b/c what USNA doesn't want to see is folks taking easy courses to get good grades when they should be challenging themselves.

Let me be clear . . . I'm not criticizing you and fully understand why you did what you did. It makes sense and probably is a net plus for every school other than a SA. Plus, you have a very strong core foundation in math from which to build rather than struggling throughout your h.s. years.

So what to do now? At a minimum, take pre-calc at the honors/AP level if it's offered. That way you are at least taking the highest level you personally can take and that's probably the best approach. Second, you say your school doesn't accept outside credits -- does that include college credits? For example, what if you took pre-calc at a community college over the summer? It seems stupid for your h.s. to force you to repeat material you already took at a college level. Then again, I don't pretend to understand our nation's public school system.:rolleyes:

Also, be sure you're taking the highest level of other courses (chem, physics, English, history) that you can handle -- honors/AP/IB if at all possible.
Yeah my school is really weird, I have tried but it's seems to be a dumb policy they have.
 
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