Will being unable to take calculus affect my application?

sevans19

New Member
Hi, I am a sophomore right now and I will be unable to take calculus my senior year as the highest I'll be able to take is precalc honors. I am in cp classes this year but I have moved up to all honors for next year and I will be taking AP US history. I took biology freshman year and chemistry this year and then next year I can't take physics either because I haven't taken algebra 2. I will be taking algebra 2 next year and then precalc senior year and I have tried to get a summer course in but my school doesn't allow this. I feel as though I'm screwed for my schedule and appointment because every single person I see apply says they have taken calculus. I'm wondering if senior year, should I take AP Italian, AP gov and honors physics or should I take honors precalc concurrently with honors stats and honors physics. The only up I think I have is my sister is a cadet at USCGA and they love siblings.

I am at a loss here and worried that this will make me way less competitive for getting an appointment to one of the academies. Can someone fill me in on this, thank you

PS: sorry for the length of this
 

FMHS-79

Parent
I, personally, would worry about any single course. Take as many challenging courses as possible at your high school and do well in those courses. Your coursework is just one of the factors considered in the "whole person" assessment, so make sure you also have good ACT/SAT scores, good quality extra-curricular activities, sports, and leadership experience to add to your application package.

That said, I would definately suggest that you take pre-calculus if at all possible.
 

ihatepie

New Member
I copied this from the admissions website :
  • four years of math (strong background in geometry, algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus)
  • Note: A solid foundation in algebra is more valuable than exposure to calculus.
Calculus is not mandatory. You should be fine as long as do well in algebra 2 and pre calculus.

If you are really worried about it you could look for a class at your local community college. Most offer free classes to high school students. That is where I took calculus at because it would not fit into my highschool schedule.
 
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To be honest, having calculus 1 & 2 and taking SAT math 2 & physics subject tests will give you an edge. But if your school does not offer or won't allow you to take class elsewhere what can you do? Make sure you have top grades, top SAT/ACT scores, & great leadership to make up for your math;)
 

sevans19

New Member
Thank you guys, Also would Civil Air Patrol be a good thing to do because I see mixed reviews on it?
 

FMHS-79

Parent
Civil Air Patrol can be a good fit for some, but it does require a large time commitment.

Also, as a sophomore, I'm assuming that you'll be packaging your SA/nomination application(s) in a little over a year. With just about a year in the program, you probably would not garner the leadership role(s) or experience that would significantly impact your application. Civil Air Patrol could, however, give you a small peak into the military, which could help validate that this is the best educational/career choice for you.

Fully disclosure, I am a CAP member and have seen it provide great opportunities and experience for cadets, but don't want to over-sell the value of a 12- to 15-month membership. Let me know if you have any other questions.
 

USAFA10s

USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB
10-Year Member
I can comment a bit on CAP. If you are from an area with a fairly small cadet squadron, and you join right now, it is possible to get some good leadership experience. I joined primarily for the glimpse into the military, and it got me hooked. Coming from a non-military family, the experience (a very intense basic cadet course, encampment, and a leadership role at a rocketry weekend) I got in CAP was definitely a driving factor for deciding to go to USAFA.

Also for context, I joined right at the start of my junior year and promoted every 2 months the whole time I was in. It was nice because although there was a decent time commitment for things like studying/ironing, the actual events didn't take much time and fit my schedule well
 
My son is in CAP, and he says that if you join now and stay on track with promotions, you could realistically reach the grade of Cadet/Master Sergeant, or even Cadet/Senior Master Sergeant by the time you apply to SAs. Even while he was an NCO, he learned a lot of leadership lessons.. His squadron is fairly large, and yet he has had opportunities to serve in various staff positions. He's also had terrific summer activities through CAP and made lifelong friends. Like @USAFA10s said, being in CAP has solified his desire to attend USAFA. (Not all in his squadron are military-bound or academy-bound, but they love it for different reasons).

Don't join just to look good on your apps. Go and visit a nearby squadron (or two...each squadron has its own personality) and see if it's a good fit. You have to visit 3 times anyway before you can join.
 

mommahedg

Parent
Make sure you resist comparing yourself to other's resumes. There are many factors why one person could get in with no pre-calc and someone with all the math classes got an appointment. My DS appointee took Pre-Calc senior year, didn't have Chemistry at the time of his application and has zero foreign language. The ALO didn't even act like it was too big of a deal because the rest of his Whole Candidate Assessment was enough to get him in. That being said...he was worried about the Chemistry class so he paid out of pocket to complete that through community college. He gave up his senior year of track to get that class completed.
 

sevans19

New Member
Make sure you resist comparing yourself to other's resumes. There are many factors why one person could get in with no pre-calc and someone with all the math classes got an appointment. My DS appointee took Pre-Calc senior year, didn't have Chemistry at the time of his application and has zero foreign language. The ALO didn't even act like it was too big of a deal because the rest of his Whole Candidate Assessment was enough to get him in. That being said...he was worried about the Chemistry class so he paid out of pocket to complete that through community college. He gave up his senior year of track to get that class completed.
Yes, I plan on taking calculus senior year at a community college right before I go so I'm not going to be too far behind. Did not doing track affect him in any way or did the academy recognize why he did it? I will have to give up track too.
 
Hi, I am a sophomore right now and I will be unable to take calculus my senior year as the highest I'll be able to take is precalc honors. I am in cp classes this year but I have moved up to all honors for next year and I will be taking AP US history. I took biology freshman year and chemistry this year and then next year I can't take physics either because I haven't taken algebra 2. I will be taking algebra 2 next year and then precalc senior year and I have tried to get a summer course in but my school doesn't allow this. I feel as though I'm screwed for my schedule and appointment because every single person I see apply says they have taken calculus. I'm wondering if senior year, should I take AP Italian, AP gov and honors physics or should I take honors precalc concurrently with honors stats and honors physics. The only up I think I have is my sister is a cadet at USCGA and they love siblings.

I am at a loss here and worried that this will make me way less competitive for getting an appointment to one of the academies. Can someone fill me in on this, thank you

PS: sorry for the length of this

Does your school allow you to take two math classes in one year? I was in Alg 1 during my freshman year but knew I wanted to do AP Calc, so I took geometry and alg 2 at the same time during my sophomore year. I think it will end up being helpful
 

Daretodream

5-Year Member
I think the key is to focus on taking the toughest schedule possible at your school. We have a family friend who is my DS' class at USAFA who didn't have Calculus in high school because his school didn't provide the course. It didn't affect his application, but he did struggle with Cal 1 his first semester. USAFA will compare your schedule against what is offered at your school.

As for CAP, my DS was in CAP and really enjoyed the experience. He told me USAFA really likes Cadets who achieve the Billy Mitchell Award. The key is to do your best and look for leadership opportunities and activities. One example was my DS participated in the CyberPatriot competition for two years. An activity by the way that helped him make an A this semester in Comp Sci at USAFA.
 
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