Weight of Service Academy Degree

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by hiiperson11, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. hiiperson11

    hiiperson11 Member

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    It's been a hot minute (and I mean 4 years/sophomore year @ USAFA) since I've last posted on this forum.

    I need some sort of hope and push right now...
    My grades were not the best at the Academy...and definitely looking back, I could have done much much better. It wasn't until recently that I want to pursue going into the medical field. Specifically PA School. Grades weren't the hottest at USAFA and now, I am almost feeling as if I won't even be accepted or looked at civilian PA programs because of my low GPA and science GPA. There is a few courses I still need to take, since my degree is in Human Factors. I can't really grasp how much weight a Service Academy diploma is because all I see is my GPA number...and It's definitely not competitive-worthy.

    Please help a lost Lt soul ):
    Greatly Appreciated!
     
  2. GoCubbies

    GoCubbies Member

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    Yes. The adcoms of professional schools know the unique and difficult curriculum at the Service Academies so a graduate may get some GPA boost in the admissions process compared to someone who went to StateU. Service academies are not known to have GPA inflation.

    However, there’s a limit and a very low overall and science GPA won’t cut it. For PA school, probably below a 2.8 even from USAFA won’t cut it unless you have other compelling qualifications.

    Do you have any direct patient care hours? Almost all PA programs require direct patient care hours.

    You will have to get As in all the other classes you take that are requirements for PA school to make up for your USAFA grades. Some programs have a time limit on how far back pre-requisites should have been taken. Some say courses should have been done in the past 7 (or 5) years. If some of your classes are way past the limits, then that’s a good reason to retake the class and get a better grade.

    Are you thinking about the IPAP program?
     
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  3. THParent

    THParent Member

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    I don't quite understand your post.
    If you already have a degree from USAFA, is it in Behavioral Sciences (with a Human Factors concentration)?
    You write "4 years/sophomore year @ USAFA", What does that mean? It has been 4 years since your sophomore year?
    That would mean you graduated 2 years ago? If this is the case, aren't you committed to another 3 years of active duty?
    I guess I just don't understand why you would be considering "civilian PA programs" - if you're continuing with your active duty commitment - but it still doesn't change my opinion (which is still just my opinion):

    If it's an accredited University, a low GPA is a low GPA, whether it's from The University of Michigan or USAFA.
    But, the Service Academies do have that certain eyebrow-raising clout that some schools don't.
    Maybe not Harvard, Yale, MIT, Johns-Hopkins clout, but clout nonetheless. :)
     
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  4. hiiperson11

    hiiperson11 Member

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    Yep, I still have about 3-4 years left for commitment. But considering leaving after that 5 years (as of right now at least). Just thinking about future commitments right now...like i said, I'll still need to take a few more courses (orgo, human anatomy etc.) and that may take a year or two to complete since I'm AD right now. Definitely needing to not overload my courses on top of still working.

    Appreciate it though. It gives me some peace of mind that other schools look at Service Academy uniqueness.
     
  5. hiiperson11

    hiiperson11 Member

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    Agreed on the limit, which is why I'm still very discouraged about that stuff. But again, I still need to take a good chunk of PA prereq classes plus the GRE. And no, I have none, still getting use to AD life to be honest. And realistically, I didn't know what I wanted to do while I was at USAFA.

    That's my goal. Being able to concentrate on one or two classes compared to 5 classes (engineering, math-y classes etc). I just graduated recently, so I will still be okay on that year limit.

    Honestly, I've heard some interesting stories regarding the medical group in the military, at least those that are currently on my base. Doesn't really seem appealing but I have checked out the military medical schools and programs.
     
  6. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Dont know if this applies to you but NYU Medical school is now free for current and future students. Talk about how hard it will be to accepted to that school
     
  7. kp2001

    kp2001 10-Year Member

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    Well that will definitely ingratiate you with some of the folks who could probably help you some.

    The reality is if your GPA is less than 3.0 you have a serious hill to climb no matter where you come from. If your GPA is somewhere between 3.0 and 3.4 you have a hill that is likely surmountable coming from a Service Academy. If you are above that you will likely do well coming from a Service Academy.

    I’m going to assume you are somewhere between 3 and 3.4. If that’s the case (and really same for below that) you are going to need to show high levels of success in an rigorous academic program. Taking classes one at a time is not going to show them that you can succeed in a rigorous academic setting with a high courseload, but will show them that you can do well when you can concentrate in one area.

    You will need to kill the GRE or MCAT or whatever route you take. If you score low there with a low GPA then historical data shows you will have less success at passing Boards and other standardized testing which will cause AdComs to take a long look.

    You will need to have a good “story”. You will have this, you will just need to work on selling yourself and your time in the Air Force.

    You will need to have all the other minor factors. You’ll need volunteer time, you’ll need clinical shadowing experience and you will need very good and personalized letters of recommendation from folks who know you well.

    If you can knock all those other factors out then you will have a chance even with a lower GPA. I would personally recommend doing a post-bacc program that essentially guarantees admission to the professional level school upon successful completion. Yes, this will add a year to reaching your final goal, but will show folks you can actually succeed in a rigorous academic program.
     
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  8. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    Hiiperson11. Your best redemption is when you are nearing the 5 year mark, you should think about enrolling in a 1 year respectable postgrad premed Program. The program will give you refresher on all core premed classes. You will be given a second chance to prove yourself academically. And if you do with almost straight As, medical schools will have a different perspective of you. Of course you need to do well on MCAT. I would reinforce my commitment to doing missions saving lives by taking a job in AF that entails missions saving lives. Maybe Pararescue, Medical related missions. You want relevance so SAVING lives is what you want to do. Not for status or wealth.

    Also think about what kind of doctor you will be if you are so poorly prepared academically. Do you want someone to work on you who is not proficient. This weekend, NYU Medical School announced it will Offer free tuition to all their students. Current and new. That’s right FREE TUITION. This is awesome. NYU is one of the top 10-15 Med School in the US. Many more brilliant students will seek NYU MD and this is the real purpose of the School. They want the best and the brightest to study at NYU. And cure cancer, AIDS. Understand the Misunderstood pathology. The School’s come a long way since my grand father was a Medical Student in 1912 at New York Bellevue Hospital Medical School - predecessor to NYU Med School. Only the wealthy can afford and didn’t have to be brilliant, just prepared. Brilliant but average and poor had to find their ways or become something else or be in debt $400,000.

    Aim high as Air Force motto says. Become proficient and brilliant and pursue the best medical program you can seek with your proficiency. Finish strong in your Firstie year. Start now by entering the service to save lives. I believe your USAFA degree will carry some weight to Med Schools but not if it demonstrates no change in your grades in your final year. No more Cs but Bs and As only.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
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  9. GH148

    GH148 Member

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    I certainly can't add anything about your PA aspirations, but your writing/posts are a must read for all aspiring service academy hopefuls. I went back through all your previous posts and found them all intelligent and insightful and more importantly honest. They are a must read for all especially young women. I had my DD sit down and read them all today. Thank you.
     
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  10. billyb

    billyb 5-Year Member

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    I think your post also illustrates one other point that is very important. Once you get into USXA, your college GPA is extremely important for future endeavors. Getting caught up in other extracurriculars (IC sports, clubs, military stuff etc.....) can't be at an expense to your GPA. You will be kicking yourself later in your career when you want to go to an Ivy for grad school (and are smart enough), but can't make it in due to GPA. There is definitely some allowance for a lower academy GPA, but not that much. 2.0 and go sounds great, but in reality you really need to concentrate on academics to give yourself the most options moving forward. Some cadets can be heavily involved in multiple clubs, sports etc and still pull a 3.7. Good for them; wish that were me, but it wasn't so I had to adjust my extras and put academics first. Best of luck to you!
     
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  11. LurkingQuietly

    LurkingQuietly Member

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    We're talking about a PA program,right? Not Medical School? I think that's another Bachelors program, not a graduate degree. I think you're probably a slam dunk.

    My business partner is an M.D. and thinks he would have been better off with as a PA. I've seen his balance sheet....he still owes over 350k in student debt.
     
  12. jl123

    jl123 Member

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    It's not too late to improve your chances at success after the military. There are many opportunities to demonstrate that your USAFA GPA is not the final arbiter of your academic potential.
    • Part-time undergraduate or graduate courses, either on campus or online.
    • Standardized Test prep either on your own or via tutoring - a high test score may alleviate, somewhat, a low GPA from a service academy.
    • Certifications relevant to your goals.
     
  13. jl123

    jl123 Member

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    Is a PA program that competitive or has GPA inflation changed the landscape that much?

    At one time a 3.0 - 3.4 from a service academy was considered quite solid and competitive for most graduate programs, although not sure about medical school.
     
  14. kp2001

    kp2001 10-Year Member

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    PA school is quite competitive these days. In reality all professional schools have only become more competitive over the years. They get so many applicants for very few spots that it is easy to toss aside folks below a certain level unless they have some other “hook,” for example Academy Grad with military service.

    Most USNA grads who are applying for Med school have somewhere around a 3.6+ from the applications I’ve seen over the last several years.
     
  15. hiiperson11

    hiiperson11 Member

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    Thank you for the reply. I appreciate your honesty. Definitely will have a lot of factors to think about right now. Including how long I want to stay in the AF, Military medical programs, etc...definitely a lot of factors that will ultimately give me a good future to go into PA/Med school. THanks again.
     
  16. hiiperson11

    hiiperson11 Member

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    Thank you. I really appreciate that...really do. I try my best to be honest here, because not many new-ish grads like to lurk around here. Lot of my classmates are where I am at, lost, not sure what they want to do in the future. So I would hope that those aspiring to become part of the AF/USAFA knows at least a small glimpse of what it is like from a different perpective.
     
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  17. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    Hiiperson11. I will be championing for you! I like your attitude and your humility and honesty! Good luck!
     
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  18. hiiperson11

    hiiperson11 Member

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    Thank you sir! I enjoyed your post as well. "I would reinforce my commitment to doing missions saving lives by taking a job in AF that entails missions saving lives. Maybe Pararescue, Medical related missions. You want relevance so SAVING lives is what you want to do. Not for status or wealth." I love the relevance part of it and I think this is a great post. Thanks for rooting for me! :)
     
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  19. DevilDog

    DevilDog 10-Year Member

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    Saving lives may not be an option. Once you decide and commit, the AF decides based on needs of the AF. If you go to USAFA and do very well, your chances of getting what you want increase. My son wanted fighters but ended up in heavies. If he was a few UPT classes later, he may have gotten a fighter. When his class graduated UPT, only 1 person got fighters, the rest got Heavies. When my son's USAFA finished UPT, almost everyone got fighters.
    Your career is not completely in your hands, the AF has it's needs to fill first. Good luck, I hope you get what you want.
     
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