Yes, like flieger, I've seen the same exact thing happen. The academy understands that no one is perfect. If you have your appointment and you drop down 1 letter grade in a class, no big deal; I.e. Had an "A" in Chemistry the first semester and dropped to a "B" the 2nd semester. They don't even mind if it happened to 2 classes. They understand grades and classes are fluid. However, fail a class, and you can pretty much kiss your appointment good by, (That's what happened to one of our state applicants). Figured everything was set, had his appointment, decided that the rest of his senior year wasn't that important, skipped a certain class pretty much the rest of the year. Teacher failed him and he lost his appointment.
I believe that the main point in the academy's eye, isn't that your GPA dropped. Their opinion is; you couldn't have gotten an appointment in the first place with any low gpa to start with. To go 4 years with excellent grades; e.g. >=3.85 gpa; and then fail a class; shows more about your "WORK ETHIC" than it does your academics. That's why they lose their appointment.
Also, on a side note: This past graduating year; a fellow athlete in my son's graduating class. Broke more state records that can be counted for track. Was offered more scholarships than you can count. We're talking the biggest schools in the country. He let his senior year pretty much slip academically because he already had his future lined up. Well, because of his crappy grades his senior year, his overall GPA dropped to a 1.95. Once it went below a 2.0, NCAA rules start kicking in and colleges get nervous. Long story short. EVERY SINGLE COLLEGE retracted ALL OF THE SCHOLARSHIP offers. Some said if he went to a Comm College and raised his grades, he could check back with them. He graduated high school with NO OFFERS at all; no money to pay for college; and his entire motivation and moral destroyed. He didn't even have the ambition to try for summer school to raise it. He is now NOT IN COLLEGE at all, and is working part time for a lawn service/tree trimming company.
So, take it for what it's worth. If you bust you butt for 4+ years; get good enough grades and such to be considered for the academy; have a good enough all around record to receive a nomination and an appointment; then you should have no problem being the type of person who can maintain the grades to keep the appointment. Don't worry that you didn't get to hold your 4.0gpa because you got a "B" in the 2nd semester. However, if you "FAIL" a class, sorry to say, but you "Probably" deserve to lose your appointment. I say "Probably" because there could be extenuating circumstances like a death in the immediate family that forced you to change schools mid year; a major medical illness or injury, or something similar. In those cases, you need to talk to your ALO and academy counselor to ensure they are aware of what happened. But for anything else, how you finish up your senior year is a direct reflection of your "Work Ethics". later... mike.....
(Take it with a grain of salt... I am a senior in high school and have not yet attended a service academy)
In my opinion, the worst thing to do is let grades slip. Even if you don't get your appointment retracted, you still develop bad habits. This will make it harder for you as a 4 dig. Second, it gets you behind. I'm in Calculus I right now, and if I decide to just get by with a C, I'll be behind when I take Calc II at the Air Force Academy (Pending nomination and appointment of course )
Work your a** off. Physically and academically. That's what I'm doing.
I've had a number of classmates tell me "Wow, since you got that LOA, you don't have to do ANYTHING the rest of the year. You should graduate at semester." My reaction:
It's the same with me, matt. All my friends are so jealous because they think I can just chill. I try to explain to them that it can't work that way. One of the reasons I got an LOA was because I'm determined never to take the easy way out of anything. By "chillin'" senior year, I'm compromising my entire work-my-butt-off philosophy that got me this far.
My advice is that seniors with LOAs or appointments realize they don't need to stress as much, but they still need to prepare for the academy. At least I'm done applying, unlike my civilian-college-bound friends!
the biggest thing i have to say for this, being a 4* is to make sure to enjoy your senior year. You don't have to worry about getting into college, finding a job, finding a house, vehicles, etc. i was really glad for this. it was a lot less stress and work during my last semester. i also relaxed a bit when it came to grades. academics here are tough enough i figured not stressing over getting an A would be fine. and it turned out i had been putting a lot more work into school than i thought. i went lax and still ended up with all A's! I also ditched more school that last semester than ever in all 12 years. I don't think there many days i was at school the whole time, but i did have many off periods, i just wasn't supposed to go home. i took the time (during school) to go snowboarding for one last time and took a trip with my best friend. keep diligent in school, but make sure to enjoy what time of freedom you have left. school here is plenty hard enough to make up for it! of corse, i'm not encourageing anybody to completely throw in the towel. i don't regret any of that stuff i did in high school senior year. you get restricted here enough that there's no reason to do it willingly while at home!
Once you are accepted; LOA, early appointment, last of your class to be accepted, whatever...
DO NOT forget to keep living! Yes, you need to "keep up the pace" that got you there however...you're only 17/18 or so...enjoy senior year! There's SO much to do, so many friends that you may NEVER see again...or it will be a LOOONG time.
Trust me on this one; I just attended my...<<shudder>> 30th HS Reunion...Class of 1978, Air Academy High School, and several folks I wanted to see...sadly, I'll never see them again. It's a part of life but I felt like I left things...unfinished.