Resume of a stressed Sophomore

CSJ1817

New Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
7
Good afternoon, morning, evening, etc to everyone! I know all of you are tired of seeing these types of posts but I do need advice. I'm currently a Sophomore in the most selective high school in my state. It's a very competitive school and I don't know if its rigor is helping me or bringing me down. Either way, USAFA is my dream university/academy and I've been stressing about everything that could affect admission. My stats are the following:

Academics:
- 3.7 weighted (my school doesn't do unweighted)
- No AP's yet since my school doesn't offer AP until Junior year and they rarely let more than 10 people per AP. My school has 8 AP classes and you don't choose if you want to be in it or not. I know for sure I'm going to take at least 3 APs: AP Economics, AP Chemistry (or Physics), and AP Computer Science
- Scored in the 75th Percentile in the PSAT
- Bilingual (Can speak both English and Spanish fluently)
- No class ranking but my class is extremely competitive and small (around 80 people max)
- Always been in Second Honors (Top 15% of the class) in all of my High School
- Everyone in my HS is expected to have: 4 years of math, 4 years of science, 4 years of History, and 4 years of languages

Extracurriculars:
- Boy Scouts of America: Recently became an Eagle Scout and I was always in leadership positions including Senior Patrol Leader in a troop of around 40 scouts.
- Model United Nations: Highly distinguished with many awards and recognitions; youngest President in the club's history; ranked top 5 in my state; have competed inside the state, nationally, and internationally.
- Community service: Have over 300+ service hours. Volunteer at an orphanage
- Student Council: Been class officer for 4 years in a row and planning to run for Vice-President this year.
- Civil Air Patrol: Just joined since I wanted to finish my Eagle rank first; Currently C/A1C but hopefully by the end of next year I can finish the Mitchell Award
- Journalism: I'm a writer in the biggest youth newspaper in my state
- History Club: Entered last year but couldn't compete because of COVID
- Private Pilot License: I took my 24 hours of Ground school back in 2017 and I have a couple of hours on a Cessna 172. Had to stop because of COVID too
- Religious service club: Joined this year but we work with the unfortunate in the poorest places of my island and help around in general
- "Eco-school": Another student council where we try to meet with many "green" requirements and propose new ideas to our school's administration to go greener.
- NSLC International Diplomacy: Attended a summer program at Georgetown University about international diplomacy.
- Air Camp USA: Attended a summer program when I was a rising freshman in Dayton, Ohio. Took many courses on aeronautics, engineering, and took a couple of flights too.

Athletics:
- Golf club: Don't have much time for Varsity teams but I try to have a sport for fun on the side
- Going to try-out for Cross-country and Track and Field
It's hard to get into varsity teams since my school is also very very VERY athletic and the physical education class is a big portion of our GPA.

Awards and recognitions:
- Best Delegate of the Year (MUN 2019, and 2020)
- A recognition from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for helping with operations for disaster relief after Hurricane Irma and Maria (Don't know if this counts because it was in 2017. I was in 7th grade so)
- Recognition from my local city council for service and leadership in the Boy Scouts

Conclusion:
Sorry for the long and possibly monotonous/boring resume from a Sophomore but I've been stressing a lot over this resume. I feel like I'm not as competitive due to my academics. Saw on r/USAFA that this is a good place to ask for help, advice, and comments from many qualified people. Please be brutally honest since that is the only way to know if I do have a chance to enter USAFA. Thank you to all and stay safe!
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
10-Year Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
1,648
Good afternoon, morning, evening, etc to everyone! I know all of you are tired of seeing these types of posts but I do need advice. I'm currently a Sophomore in the most selective high school in my state. It's a very competitive school and I don't know if its rigor is helping me or bringing me down. Either way, USAFA is my dream university/academy and I've been stressing about everything that could affect admission. My stats are the following:

Academics:
- 3.7 weighted (my school doesn't do unweighted)
- No AP's yet since my school doesn't offer AP until Junior year and they rarely let more than 10 people per AP. My school has 8 AP classes and you don't choose if you want to be in it or not. I know for sure I'm going to take at least 3 APs: AP Economics, AP Chemistry (or Physics), and AP Computer Science
- Scored in the 75th Percentile in the PSAT
- Bilingual (Can speak both English and Spanish fluently)
- No class ranking but my class is extremely competitive and small (around 80 people max)
- Always been in Second Honors (Top 15% of the class) in all of my High School
- Everyone in my HS is expected to have: 4 years of math, 4 years of science, 4 years of History, and 4 years of languages

Extracurriculars:
- Boy Scouts of America: Recently became an Eagle Scout and I was always in leadership positions including Senior Patrol Leader in a troop of around 40 scouts.
- Model United Nations: Highly distinguished with many awards and recognitions; youngest President in the club's history; ranked top 5 in my state; have competed inside the state, nationally, and internationally.
- Community service: Have over 300+ service hours. Volunteer at an orphanage
- Student Council: Been class officer for 4 years in a row and planning to run for Vice-President this year.
- Civil Air Patrol: Just joined since I wanted to finish my Eagle rank first; Currently C/A1C but hopefully by the end of next year I can finish the Mitchell Award
- Journalism: I'm a writer in the biggest youth newspaper in my state
- History Club: Entered last year but couldn't compete because of COVID
- Private Pilot License: I took my 24 hours of Ground school back in 2017 and I have a couple of hours on a Cessna 172. Had to stop because of COVID too
- Religious service club: Joined this year but we work with the unfortunate in the poorest places of my island and help around in general
- "Eco-school": Another student council where we try to meet with many "green" requirements and propose new ideas to our school's administration to go greener.
- NSLC International Diplomacy: Attended a summer program at Georgetown University about international diplomacy.
- Air Camp USA: Attended a summer program when I was a rising freshman in Dayton, Ohio. Took many courses on aeronautics, engineering, and took a couple of flights too.

Athletics:
- Golf club: Don't have much time for Varsity teams but I try to have a sport for fun on the side
- Going to try-out for Cross-country and Track and Field
It's hard to get into varsity teams since my school is also very very VERY athletic and the physical education class is a big portion of our GPA.

Awards and recognitions:
- Best Delegate of the Year (MUN 2019, and 2020)
- A recognition from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for helping with operations for disaster relief after Hurricane Irma and Maria (Don't know if this counts because it was in 2017. I was in 7th grade so)
- Recognition from my local city council for service and leadership in the Boy Scouts

Conclusion:
Sorry for the long and possibly monotonous/boring resume from a Sophomore but I've been stressing a lot over this resume. I feel like I'm not as competitive due to my academics. Saw on r/USAFA that this is a good place to ask for help, advice, and comments from many qualified people. Please be brutally honest since that is the only way to know if I do have a chance to enter USAFA. Thank you to all and stay safe!
You say that your class has 80 members but its hard to get onto varsity teams. Have you actually trained for/tried Cross Country. In a class of 80, with approx 40 of each gender times four classes, that would be approx 160 of each gender ? Since many Cross Country teams don't have cuts, go for Track and Cross Country to TWO reasons - one to have a sport and the other to get ready for CFA and the rigors of the first year at a service academy.
 

CSJ1817

New Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
7
You say that your class has 80 members but its hard to get onto varsity teams. Have you actually trained for/tried Cross Country. In a class of 80, with approx 40 of each gender times four classes, that would be approx 160 of each gender ? Since many Cross Country teams don't have cuts, go for Track and Cross Country to TWO reasons - one to have a sport and the other to get ready for CFA and the rigors of the first year at a service academy.
Well, my class is just 80 but, the whole school is around 650 (6-12). Also, another factor to consider is that my school is an only boy school. I talked to my school's coach and he said the cut is at 25 and usually around 40 people try-out each year so yes, I have been training a lot for both the team and the CFA.
 

DiscoF15

USAFA Grad
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
8
Relax. Keep your GPA up, use Khan Academy to practice for your SAT (take the SAT/ACT early and often your junior year) and keep doing what you are doing. Everyone thinks you have to be super human to go to a service academy - you don’t. Their are some extraordinary people there, but most are “normal.” What sets those students apart is their desire to serve when all their friends are about to go have fun. The process is intentionally difficult to save taxpayer dollars by finding the right students, not the perfect students - for the ones that make it through the process, the selection rate is actually pretty high.
 

Devil Doc

Teufel Doc
Joined
Apr 25, 2018
Messages
2,354
What is the reputation of the "most selective high school in my state"? How is it viewed among college admissions people?

I teach in the district which has not only the top school in the state but year after year the top or near the top school in the country.

You have a lot of stuff on your resume but are you a big fish in a little pond or just in a little pond?

Also, why are you "stressed"? You are in the 10th grade for goodness sake.
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
10-Year Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
1,648
Well, my class is just 80 but, the whole school is around 650 (6-12). Also, another factor to consider is that my school is an only boy school. I talked to my school's coach and he said the cut is at 25 and usually around 40 people try-out each year so yes, I have been training a lot for both the team and the CFA.
I'm not going to engage much further on this except to say that you MIGHT want to rethink your approach. A high school of 650 is not really huge, lots of candidates come from even larger schools and when you winnow that down to the HIGH SCHOOL numbers, its probably more on the order of 400 or so. I've worked with many candidates across decades now and in general, the bottom of that team is not much faster than what you need to be running when you go to a service academy.

You have to want it and then prioritze it. You are clearly making time for your activities based on some priorities. If you want to be competitive for a Service Academy, the physical side counts as well.
 

dddad

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
147
Stop “stressing.” Just get your grades up as much as you can and start preparing for standardized tests early. You have some good leadership - keep at it. Work on the running but if you don’t make Varsity as a Sophomore, your chances of appointment are not going to change much.
 

CSJ1817

New Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
7
Relax. Keep your GPA up, use Khan Academy to practice for your SAT (take the SAT/ACT early and often your junior year) and keep doing what you are doing. Everyone thinks you have to be super human to go to a service academy - you don’t. Their are some extraordinary people there, but most are “normal.” What sets those students apart is their desire to serve when all their friends are about to go have fun. The process is intentionally difficult to save taxpayer dollars by finding the right students, not the perfect students - for the ones that make it through the process, the selection rate is actually pretty high.
Thank you for that. Honestly, I feel like I sometimes fall into the superhuman misconception for service academies. I did hear that the acceptance rate is a little distorted to look more selective.
 

CSJ1817

New Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
7
What is the reputation of the "most selective high school in my state"? How is it viewed among college admissions people?

I teach in the district which has not only the top school in the state but year after year the top or near the top school in the country.

You have a lot of stuff on your resume but are you a big fish in a little pond or just in a little pond?

Also, why are you "stressed"? You are in the 10th grade for goodness sake.
My high school is a very well known and is the oldest high school in my state. Many each year get into Ivy and colleges of that caliber but no one has ever applied to USAFA. I think only one person ever applied to a service academy and got in (at least of my knowledge.) so it’s not well known with such academies. Although you may not heard of it since I live in Puerto Rico, it is considered best in my state. Also, I know Puerto Rico is NOT a state but I say it for the sake of simplicity.

I’d like to see myself as a big fish in a little pond and I hope the admission council sees it the same way.

I say stressed in a more sarcastic way but my I’m a bit stressed on GPA and course rigor since my school is a bit restrictive and controlling on what we take for classes thus, I feel like that’s going to hurt me more than help me.
 

CSJ1817

New Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
7
I'm not going to engage much further on this except to say that you MIGHT want to rethink your approach. A high school of 650 is not really huge, lots of candidates come from even larger schools and when you winnow that down to the HIGH SCHOOL numbers, its probably more on the order of 400 or so. I've worked with many candidates across decades now and in general, the bottom of that team is not much faster than what you need to be running when you go to a service academy.

You have to want it and then prioritze it. You are clearly making time for your activities based on some priorities. If you want to be competitive for a Service Academy, the physical side counts as well.
Of course, I completely agree with you. This past year I have been prioritizing the physical side of my resume since it’s extremely important that I do well.
 

CSJ1817

New Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
7
Stop “stressing.” Just get your grades up as much as you can and start preparing for standardized tests early. You have some good leadership - keep at it. Work on the running but if you don’t make Varsity as a Sophomore, your chances of appointment are not going to change much.
Thanks! Yes, I’ve heard to start prepping for the SAT/ACT as soon as possible since I heard it sometimes can be a make-or-break aspect of your resume. I have been working with running recently by doing runs around my neighborhood when the weather permits.
 

DiscoF15

USAFA Grad
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
8
Thank you for that. Honestly, I feel like I sometimes fall into the superhuman misconception for service academies. I did hear that the acceptance rate is a little distorted to look more selective.

Distorted to look more selective may not be the right choice of words. Most applicants (like you) spend years working to be qualified candidates, they spend months working on their application, and then they submit themselves to fitness assessments, physical exams, and nomination interviews. For the “survivors” it may not seem overly selective, but that is because the process does the work. It is a big deal to promise the next 10ish years of your life to something, you don’t go because it will look good on your Amazon application. In contrast, my son completed 5 “plan B” applications in a week (could have been faster without honors essays). It is difficult to compare the selection rates between the institutions when most schools require very little to call you an applicant.
 

Devil Doc

Teufel Doc
Joined
Apr 25, 2018
Messages
2,354
hmmmm, you say about your school, “I feel like that’s going to hurt me more than help me.”

If your school isn’t helping and if it is the most selective, that tells me you are in a magnet type of setting and can probably go to the school in your boundary.
 

justdoit19

Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
3,217
Honestly??? Relax. Do you best. YOUR best. Don’t compare to others (here or elsewhere). Remember it’s a regional competition, before it’s a national one. You are competing against your region. And that competition cannot be measured. There are intangibles (interviews, your competition) that you have no way to know how you stack up. Control what YOU can, don’t worry about what you cannot.

Enjoy your high school experience. Every year there are kids laser focused on a SA, who don’t get in. You don’t want to sacrifice your time with your classmates only to (seemingly) make your resume a tiny bit better. Don’t forget to have some fun, too.

And have solidback up plans. Tend to those as well.

Good luck to you!
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
7
Focus on course rigor, grades, SAT/ACT early and often (as often as needed) and leadership opportunities.. make a meaningful impact not just a title. Will help you wherever you apply..plan a/b/c.
 

MidCakePa

Member
Joined
May 22, 2018
Messages
2,444
You’ve received some good advice above. Stop and take a deep breath. You’re in good shape and have a long way to go. The fact that you’re thinking about this as a sophomore gives you a good head start.

Moving forward, keep this in mind: You seem to be using your school — its size, students and policies — as an excuse and a crutch. You seem to be rationalizing a lot of things based on your school: it’s small, it’s competitive, it only has so many AP classes, etc. Unless you transfer, there’s really nothing you can do about your school. And as the wise regulars on SAF say, focus on the things you can control.

Know this: SAs don’t look at your academic performance simplistically and in a vacuum. It’s not just about your GPA. SAs look at your entire transcript, in the context of your school profile. They know how hard your school is, what type of colleges the top students go to, what curriculum rules are in place, whether it ranks or not. In the end, the SAs want to know you took the hardest classes your school has to offer, according to school policies, and excelled in them (especially the STEM classes and English). They want to know you challenged yourself throughout high school and stood out. Simple as that.

So again, deep breath. Do your best. And work with what your school has to offer, rather than using it as an excuse.
 

BuckeyeDad20

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
103
My DS also went to Air Camp (as a rising 9th grader and rising 10th grader). He is now a Doolie btw. He also did USNA Summer Stem between Soph and Junior year so I encourage you to apply for that. It is a good intro into an academy and not hardcore at all so its a baby step. The following summer he did USNA Summer Seminar and got more of a taste of Academy life. Both were great programs for him as they help him get a sense of academy life and made him more confident in his decision.

Get your GPA up as much as possible. 3.7 Weighted - don't know the weighting algorithm so that could be a 3.0 or a 3.6 unweighted.

Track and Cross-country - Lobby the coaches. These are sports without equipment needs or facility needs usually. My DS talked to the coach and he let my DS be on the track team starting Junior year since its just one more kid on the street running.

Good luck!
 

Oshannon2020

New Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
3
Good afternoon, morning, evening, etc to everyone! I know all of you are tired of seeing these types of posts but I do need advice. I'm currently a Sophomore in the most selective high school in my state. It's a very competitive school and I don't know if its rigor is helping me or bringing me down. Either way, USAFA is my dream university/academy and I've been stressing about everything that could affect admission. My stats are the following:

Academics:
- 3.7 weighted (my school doesn't do unweighted)
- No AP's yet since my school doesn't offer AP until Junior year and they rarely let more than 10 people per AP. My school has 8 AP classes and you don't choose if you want to be in it or not. I know for sure I'm going to take at least 3 APs: AP Economics, AP Chemistry (or Physics), and AP Computer Science
- Scored in the 75th Percentile in the PSAT
- Bilingual (Can speak both English and Spanish fluently)
- No class ranking but my class is extremely competitive and small (around 80 people max)
- Always been in Second Honors (Top 15% of the class) in all of my High School
- Everyone in my HS is expected to have: 4 years of math, 4 years of science, 4 years of History, and 4 years of languages

Extracurriculars:
- Boy Scouts of America: Recently became an Eagle Scout and I was always in leadership positions including Senior Patrol Leader in a troop of around 40 scouts.
- Model United Nations: Highly distinguished with many awards and recognitions; youngest President in the club's history; ranked top 5 in my state; have competed inside the state, nationally, and internationally.
- Community service: Have over 300+ service hours. Volunteer at an orphanage
- Student Council: Been class officer for 4 years in a row and planning to run for Vice-President this year.
- Civil Air Patrol: Just joined since I wanted to finish my Eagle rank first; Currently C/A1C but hopefully by the end of next year I can finish the Mitchell Award
- Journalism: I'm a writer in the biggest youth newspaper in my state
- History Club: Entered last year but couldn't compete because of COVID
- Private Pilot License: I took my 24 hours of Ground school back in 2017 and I have a couple of hours on a Cessna 172. Had to stop because of COVID too
- Religious service club: Joined this year but we work with the unfortunate in the poorest places of my island and help around in general
- "Eco-school": Another student council where we try to meet with many "green" requirements and propose new ideas to our school's administration to go greener.
- NSLC International Diplomacy: Attended a summer program at Georgetown University about international diplomacy.
- Air Camp USA: Attended a summer program when I was a rising freshman in Dayton, Ohio. Took many courses on aeronautics, engineering, and took a couple of flights too.

Athletics:
- Golf club: Don't have much time for Varsity teams but I try to have a sport for fun on the side
- Going to try-out for Cross-country and Track and Field
It's hard to get into varsity teams since my school is also very very VERY athletic and the physical education class is a big portion of our GPA.

Awards and recognitions:
- Best Delegate of the Year (MUN 2019, and 2020)
- A recognition from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for helping with operations for disaster relief after Hurricane Irma and Maria (Don't know if this counts because it was in 2017. I was in 7th grade so)
- Recognition from my local city council for service and leadership in the Boy Scouts

Conclusion:
Sorry for the long and possibly monotonous/boring resume from a Sophomore but I've been stressing a lot over this resume. I feel like I'm not as competitive due to my academics. Saw on r/USAFA that this is a good place to ask for help, advice, and comments from many qualified people. Please be brutally honest since that is the only way to know if I do have a chance to enter USAFA. Thank you to all and stay safe!
Do not worry too much. You're on a very good track. When I say it's an extremely rounded process, it is very true. USAFA was the only reach school I had a chance of getting into, thanks to my SAT score but I had a resume to back it up. Looking at what you have, you're off to an incredible start! The best piece of advice I can give you is do everything deliberately, be humble, and enjoy high school while you can! Best of luck to you and I look forward to possibly training you as a member of the class of '27!
 
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