April, 12

The United States Air Force Academy – About, Admissions, History, Application Form [Full Guide]

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The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is one of America’s most distinguished institutions in Colorado. Situated amidst the grandeur of the Colorado Rockies in Colorado Springs, this academy isn’t just a place; it’s a dream destination for those who aspire to reach the skies while serving their nation. With a rich history, a rigorous admissions process, and a commitment to excellence, this guide will unravel the intricacies of the USAFA step by step.

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Air Force kept seniors on campus, isolated; two died within days

The United States Air Force Academy, often shrouded in the mystique of its founding in 1954, is a crucible where the next generation of Air Force leaders is forged. Beyond its ivy-covered walls lies a dedication, honor, and transformation story. Let’s dive into the annals of its history.

Back in 1954, the USAFA set out on a mission to educate and sculpt individuals who embody the values of honor, integrity, and excellence. It’s more than just academics; it’s about molding character, fostering physical prowess, and preparing cadets for the unpredictable challenges of a dynamic world. The campus, spanning an expansive 18,000 acres, is a testament to the commitment of the USAFA to the nation’s defense. The architecture is awe-inspiring, and the surroundings are breathtaking. Beyond its aesthetics, it symbolizes a relentless pursuit of producing leaders ready to defend and serve. As we journey through the illustrious history of the best military school in Colorado, we’ll uncover the path to becoming part of its prestigious legacy. So, let’s embark on this adventure, starting with a look back at the academy’s rich past.

The History of The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA)

The journey of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a tale that traces its roots back to the historic flight by the Wright Brothers. As aviation advanced, so did the need for skilled military aviators. It was a concept that had been in discussions for decades. Still, it took the establishment of the Air Force as a separate service in 1947 under the National Security Act to set the wheels in motion to create the USAFA.

Scouting the Ideal Location

Selecting the perfect location for the academy was no easy task. Harold E. Talbott, the Secretary of the Air Force at the time, took the lead. A commission appointed by Talbott embarked on an extensive journey covering 21,000 miles, considering a staggering 580 proposed sites in 45 states. After much deliberation, the commission recommended three potential locations: Alton, Illinois; Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; and the eventual choice, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Pioneering First Class

In a historic moment, the first class of 306 cadets took their oath at a temporary site at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. Leading this inaugural class was Lt. Gen. Hubert R. Harmon, a pivotal figure in the early development of the academy.

Expanding the Ranks

As the Cold War intensified, the need for Air Force officers grew. Initially, the cadet strength was set at 2,529. But on March 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Public Law 88-276, authorizing the expansion of the Air Force Academy and West Point to match the Naval Academy’s strength of 4,417.

Cadets in Conflict

The Vietnam War marked a significant chapter for the academy, seeing its graduates engage in combat for the first time. Capt. Lance P. Sijan, a member of the Class of 1965, displayed incredible resilience and courage in the face of adversity, becoming the first academy graduate to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Arrival of Female Cadets

In 1976, the academy opened its doors to female cadets. Under the leadership of then-Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. James R. Allen, the integration of women into the Cadet Wing was a landmark moment, with 97 of the pioneering female cadets completing the program and graduating in 1980.

Cadets Reach for the Stars

The academy set its sights on the stars early on, offering a major in astronautical engineering as early as 1965. Col. Karol Bobko, a member of the Class of 1959, became the first academy graduate in space, piloting the space shuttle Challenger in 1983. To this day, the academy has produced an impressive 39 astronauts for NASA.

Facing New Challenges

September 11, 2001’s tragic events reshaped the world and the academy. The institution had always taught the tools to combat terrorism, but the attacks brought a renewed sense of purpose. Academy graduates have played vital roles in the following military campaigns, though some have made sacrifices.

A Campus Reimagined

2006, the academy launched a $1 billion construction plan to modernize its aging infrastructure. This initiative aimed to enhance the academy’s commitment to stewardship of fiscal and natural resources, including focusing on renewable energy.

The Miracle on the Hudson

The Class of 1973 produced a national hero in Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III skillfully landed a US Airways flight in the Hudson River, saving all 155 people on board after bird strikes caused engine failures.

Embracing Drone Technology

With the surge in interest in remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), the academy adapted its curriculum to include these cutting-edge technologies. The first 24 cadets graduated from the program in February 2010, becoming pioneers in operating aircraft like the MQ-9 Reaper, RQ-1 Predator, and RQ-4 Global Hawk.

About The United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), often referred to simply as USAFA or the Air Force Academy, is a distinctive institution merging the worlds of a military organization and a university. While much of the academy operates like a typical Air Force base, notably the 10th Air Base Wing, key elements such as the superintendent, commandant, dean of faculty, and cadet wing adopt a structure reminiscent of a civilian university.

Key Leadership Roles at The United States Air Force Academy

At the helm of this complex institution is the United States Air Force Academy Superintendent, commanding officer. This individual shoulders the immense responsibility of overseeing the academy’s comprehensive military training, academic pursuits, athletic programs, and character development initiatives.

Working in tandem is the Commandant of the Air Force Academy, who directs the cadet wing, comprising over 4,400 members and a dedicated team of Air Force and civilian support personnel. Their focus is molding cadets through military training and airmanship education, guiding cadet life activities, and ensuring seamless facility and logistics support.

Simultaneously, the Dean of Faculty at USAFA takes charge of a mission element encompassing 700 personnel. This leader orchestrates the annual design and delivery of over 500 courses spanning 32 academic disciplines. The Dean also manages five support staff agencies and faculty resources valued at over $250 million, contributing significantly to the academic prowess of the United States Air Force Academy.

The Backbone of Support at the US Air Force Military School

The 10th Air Base Wing, a powerhouse comprising over 3,000 military, civilian, and contract personnel, supports these critical functions. Their diverse roles encompass base-level support activities, including law enforcement, force protection, civil engineering, communications, logistics, personnel management, financial administration, and healthcare services. This dedicated team ensures the seamless functioning of the academy’s vast military community, consisting of approximately 25,000 individuals.

In this intricate blend of military discipline and academic excellence at the United States Air Force Academy, the future leaders of the United States Air Force are forged.

What Courses Are Offered at The U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA)?

At the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), cadets pursuing any major find themselves well-supported by a team of accomplished faculty members. These dedicated educators are not just experts in their fields but pioneers, whether in research, academia, or the vast expanse of air and space. Whether you’re exploring the laboratory, attending classes, or embarking on your air and space adventures, you’re never alone in your educational journey.

One of the hallmarks of the USAFA experience is its commitment to fostering close-knit communities of learning. With small class sizes and an open-door policy, the academy nurtures a culture of collaboration between faculty and cadets. This environment ensures that you receive academic support, inspiration, and challenges to propel you toward a future where you apply your lessons from the classroom.

Majors Offered at United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) offers an impressive array of majors to cater to its cadets’ diverse interests and career aspirations. Whether your passion lies in engineering, the sciences, the humanities, or social sciences, there’s a major at USAFA that aligns perfectly with your ambitions. Here’s a comprehensive list of the majors available:

  1. Aeronautical Engineering
  2. Astronautical Engineering
  3. Behavioral Sciences
  4. Biology
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Computer Engineering
  8. Computer Science
  9. Cyber Science
  10. Data Science
  11. Economics
  12. Electrical Engineering
  13. English & Fine Arts
  14. Foreign Area Studies
  15. Geospatial Science
  16. History
  17. Legal Studies
  18. Management
  19. Mathematics
  20. Mechanical Engineering
  21. Meteorology
  22. Military & Strategic Studies
  23. Operations Research
  24. Philosophy
  25. Physics
  26. Political Science
  27. Systems Engineering

The Divisional Majors Offered at The US Air Force Academy.

Additionally, the academy recognizes the importance of flexibility in education. For cadets who have already declared a disciplinary major but seek a different approach to fulfilling graduation requirements, USAFA offers Divisional Majors. This option allows you to explore broader areas of study within divisions like:

  • Basic Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • Humanities, and
  • Social Sciences.

It’s an opportunity to tailor your education to your circumstances and goals.

The Minors Offered at USAFA

In addition to a wide range of majors, the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) allows cadets to delve deeper into specific areas of interest by offering a diverse selection of minors. These minors complement your chosen major and allow you to expand your knowledge and expertise. Here’s a comprehensive list of the minors available at USAFA:

  1. Airpower Studies
  2. American Studies
  3. Arabic
  4. Chinese
  5. Diversity & Inclusion
  6. French
  7. German
  8. Global Logistics Management
  9. High-Performance Computing
  10. Japanese
  11. Nuclear Weapons & Strategy
  12. Philosophy
  13. Portuguese
  14. Religion Studies
  15. Robotics
  16. Russian
  17. Space Warfighting
  18. Spanish

Whether you’re interested in exploring different cultures and languages, delving into complex strategic studies, or honing your skills in cutting-edge fields like robotics and high-performance computing, these minors broaden your educational horizons and enhance your career prospects.

The U.S. Air Force Academy School Ranking

The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) has garnered an impressive array of accolades, firmly establishing itself as a premier military institution within the United States. These notable rankings underscore the academy’s unwavering commitment to academic excellence and innovation, solidifying its reputation as a top-ranking US Military College. Here, we highlight the school’s remarkable achievements as reported by the U.S. News & World Report in 2022:

#3 Top Public College: USAFA proudly secures the third position among top public colleges nationwide, emphasizing its dedication to providing outstanding education to the public.

#1 Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical: In the specialized fields of Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical Engineering, the Air Force Academy takes the coveted first place, a testament to its unparalleled expertise in these critical domains.

#4 Electrical, Electronic, and Communications Engineering: USAFA’s excellence extends to Electrical, Electronic, and Communications Engineering, where it firmly holds the fourth position in the national rankings.

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#6 Undergraduate Engineering: The academy maintains a strong presence in the broader spectrum of Undergraduate Engineering, securing a sixth place.

#6 Mechanical Engineering: The United States Air Force Academy continues to shine brightly in Mechanical Engineering, solidifying its sixth position nationally.

#8 Civil Engineering: The Academy’s engineering prowess extends to Civil Engineering, which proudly claims the eighth spot on the national stage.

#18 National Liberal Arts College: USAFA is recognized as the 18th-ranked National Liberal Arts College, reaffirming its commitment to delivering a well-rounded and comprehensive education.

These remarkable rankings reflect the academy’s steadfast dedication to academic excellence and underscore its ability to provide a high-quality education across diverse disciplines. USAFA’s commitment to molding future leaders within the United States Air Force and beyond is exemplified through these prestigious achievements.


At the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), the significance of physical strength stands on equal ground with mental acumen. Here, every cadet, without exception, is immersed in a culture that prioritizes physical fitness, from Division I intercollegiate sports to spirited participation in intramural teams. Moreover, physical education courses are a mandatory part of the curriculum, and cadets undergo rigorous physical fitness evaluations each semester, a testament to the institution’s commitment to holistic development.

Athletics are pivotal in the USAFA experience, serving as a crucible where leaders are forged. The academy boasts some of the nation’s premier athletic facilities, including the Cadet Gymnasium, Cadet Field House, Holaday Athletic Center, Falcon Athletic Center, and extensive outdoor fields, all bolstered by a dedicated support staff.

By balancing a full academic workload, cadets must maintain their academic GPAs and uphold a cumulative 2.0 Physical Education Average (PEA) to secure graduation. This PEA amalgamates physical education class performance, physical fitness test outcomes, and aerobic fitness assessments.

The U.S. Air Force Academy’s athletic program is comprehensive and diverse, encompassing:

  • Intercollegiate and intramural sports
  • Club sports
  • Physical education courses
  • Physical fitness evaluations

Participation in athletics at USAFA fosters qualities crucial to leadership development, such as courage, initiative, teamwork, camaraderie, followership, and the unwavering drive to achieve.

Remarkably, the academy fields 28 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I teams, spanning various sports. Engaging in athletics instills initiative, teamwork, and an indomitable spirit, all vital attributes shaping cadets into character leaders.

Physical Education (PE) courses are deeply woven into the academy’s core curriculum, ensuring cadets complete ten PE courses over four academic years. Alongside these courses, regular physical fitness tests assess overall strength and conditioning. Proficiency in the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and Aerobic Fitness Test (AFT) is standard, with exemplary cadets earning membership in the prestigious 500 Club or the exclusive 1000 Club.

Concurrently with PE courses and fitness assessments, cadets actively engage in competitive sports through intercollegiate or intramural teams. The academy fields 27 men’s and women’s Division I NCAA teams, spanning disciplines from football to swimming and boxing. USAFA’s prowess in athletics is underscored by their 55th-place finish, a historic high, in the Learfield Director’s Cup standings, marking the academy as the top performer among service academies for the fifth consecutive year. These standings reflect the nation’s premier collegiate athletics programs, drawing from NCAA championships and media-based polls.

Our cadet-athlete’s unyielding determination and resilience transcend the fields of play, reflecting their excellence both on and off the sports arena. To stay informed about their accomplishments and events and to explore opportunities for involvement as an athlete or spectator, you can visit the USAFA athletics website. Additional information is available on the U.S. Air Force Academy Athletics website for those interested in recruiting.

Benefits of Schooling in The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA)

Enrolling at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) offers unparalleled advantages for the cadets and the nation as a whole. The academy removes the financial burden of tuition, allowing cadets to immerse themselves in their education wholeheartedly. In return, upon graduation, cadets step into a vital role as commissioned officers in either the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force, where they put their exceptional education to practical use.

Comprehensive Support for Cadets

At USAFA, every cadet is bestowed with a comprehensive package of benefits:

  • Cost-Free Tuition: The academy ensures that tuition costs are entirely covered, freeing cadets from the financial stress of their education.
  • Access to Government-Sponsored Life Insurance: Cadets gain access to a low-cost, government-sponsored life insurance program, offering peace of mind and financial security.
  • Cost-Free Medical Care: Cadets benefit from comprehensive medical care, including outpatient treatment, physical examinations, and routine dental check-ups, all delivered through the cadet clinic.
  • Cost-Free Room and Board: Accommodation and meals are provided at no cost, allowing cadets to focus on their academic and personal growth fully.
  • Pay and Benefits: Beyond their educational support, cadets receive a competitive compensation package that reflects their commitment and dedication.

These unparalleled benefits not only make education at USAFA accessible but also ensure that cadets can thrive academically, physically, and personally while preparing them for a fulfilling career as commissioned officers in the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force.

Cadet Life in The U.S. Air Force Academy

Embarking on a journey at the United States Air Force Academy goes beyond meeting academic requirements; it’s about gaining an immersive understanding of life on campus. While understanding the Academy’s requirements and preparation is crucial, stepping into the world of cadets can provide a richer perspective. To truly comprehend what it means to be a part of this institution, you’ll embark on a fascinating exploration of cadet life through the eyes of those who have walked in your shoes. Their unique journeys within the U.S. Air Force Academy unveil what makes this place exceptional—it’s not merely a university but a way of life.

An Insider’s Glimpse into Cadet Life at The United States Air Force Academy

The most genuine way to uncover the U.S. Air Force Academy’s essence is to view it from the vantage point of the cadets who breathe life into its daily routines. Take a close, intimate look at the cadet experience, where structured days are intertwined with leisure moments. Particularly during the inaugural year, life at the U.S. Air Force Academy is synonymous with discipline, rules, and order. However, the dividends yielded from this unwavering commitment are immeasurable—lifelong friendships forged, personal growth nurtured, an unwavering sense of pride instilled, and the bedrock laid for an exhilarating career journey that lies ahead. Explore more here for a deeper dive into cadet life at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Careers After Graduating from the US Air Force Academy

Entering the United States Air Force or United States Space Force is far more profound than embarking on a typical job; it’s a resolute commitment to one’s nation, personal development, and the unwavering pursuit of excellence. As an Airman or Guardian, this journey transcends the ordinary, promising a lifetime enriched with boundless opportunities and meaningful challenges.

The U.S. Air Force continually leads the charge in pioneering scientific, engineering, and airpower breakthroughs. Joining their ranks opens the door to a future brimming with cutting-edge technology across various career fields. Whether it involves navigating the skies, mastering communications, pioneering engineering innovations, or orchestrating seamless logistics, your role contributes to the mission’s success and propels you toward your own triumphant odyssey.

For those seeking detailed information on officer careers within the Air Force, the U.S. Air Force website is an invaluable resource to explore.

Reaching for the Stars with the U.S. Space Force

The U.S. Space Force is a realm that ceaselessly pushes boundaries, relentlessly striving for new heights. Career prospects here encompass safeguarding and managing satellites, trailblazing in technology, and orchestrating rocket launches—a journey filled with perpetual excitement and innovation. Guardians within the Space Force go to extraordinary lengths to protect our way of life on Earth.

For those keen on careers within the Space Force, their official website is an invaluable gateway for further exploration.

It’s vital to understand that the career opportunities immediately available to fresh Academy graduates may vary based on the evolving needs of the Air Force and Space Force. With diverse roles, including pilot, cyberspace operations officer, and health facilities architect/engineer, graduates have the unique opportunity to carve out their distinctive career paths within these esteemed branches of the U.S. military.

How to Get Into the United States Air Force Academy

Imagine this: you’re about to embark on an amazing journey that offers a first-rate education and a life filled with honor, courage, and leadership. You’ve arrived at the Air Force Military Academy entrance to opportunity. But you might ask yourself, ‘How do I prepare for this incredible adventure?’ Join us as we uncover straightforward tips and strategies to guide you toward a future marked by service, excellence, and a lasting legacy.

Preparation For Homeschoolers

Like their peers from traditional school settings, homeschooled students can compete for admission to the United States Air Force Academy. However, they must adhere to the same rigorous standards. To enhance their chances of securing an appointment to the Academy and preparing effectively for the challenges ahead, homeschooled applicants can take several steps.

Standardized Testing Holds Greater Significance: Since homeschooled students may lack graded coursework typical of public or private high schools, standardized test scores, such as those from the ACT and SAT, carry greater weight in their applications.

Quality Leadership Matters: The Academy values demonstrated leadership over mere participation in numerous activities. Holding leadership roles in clubs, achieving the Eagle Scout or Girl Scout Gold Award, or earning a Billy Mitchell award can strengthen their applications. Homeschooled students can explore participation in after-school activities offered by local school systems or seek guidance from homeschool organizations for support and advice. Public libraries and local bookstores may also provide valuable resources.

Recommended Target Curriculum: Homeschooled students must follow a comprehensive curriculum to stand out as strong applicants. This includes:

  • Four years of English
  • Four years of college-prep math
  • Three years of social studies
  • Four years of science
  • Two years of a modern foreign language (emphasizing strategic languages like Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, or Russian) and one year of computer science.

While Latin is acceptable, American Sign Language is not recognized as a modern foreign language. A background in laboratory sciences and proficiency in typing can also enhance their applications.

Essential Documentation: Homeschooled applicants should provide documentation that verifies the recognition of their homeschooling by the local school board or the State Board of Education.

To complete your application, you must provide a transcript that includes:

  1. Course/class titles
  2. Length of courses and dates of completion
  3. Grades earned
  4. Grading scale
  5. GPA (Grade Point Average)
  6. Curriculum/course descriptions
  7. Materials used
  8. Any fieldwork or trips associated with the coursework.

Supplementary Activities: In some cases, homeschooled students may be allowed to participate in interscholastic activities alongside public school students. For those who don’t have this option, engaging in local club competitions for sports like swimming, tennis, gymnastics, baseball, track/cross-country, or basketball can demonstrate their commitment and skills.

Ultimately, homeschooled students should proactively pursue opportunities that showcase their leadership, commitment, and well-roundedness, even if it requires engagement in neighboring communities.

Preparation For Middle School Students

Preparing for the United States Air Force Academy is a crucial journey that can begin early in a student’s academic life. The Academy looks for four key qualities in potential cadets: academics, athletics, leadership, and character. Here’s a structured breakdown of how aspiring cadets can best prepare:


  • Prioritize strong academic performance, especially in English, mathematics, and science.


  • Join a sports team at your school or local community through parks or recreation centers.


  • Participate in scouting programs like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Civil Air Patrol.
  • Consider joining local or school clubs and actively seek leadership roles such as club president or secretary.


  • Engage in activities that involve helping others, such as participating in church groups or community service organizations.

For students entering high school, there’s an opportunity to register for the Future Falcons Program to set themselves on a path to success. Starting early and being well-prepared significantly enhances the chances of earning an appointment to the Academy. It’s a journey where potential isn’t merely promised; it’s earned through dedication and effort.

Preparation For High School Students

The road to securing a coveted spot at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a journey that demands meticulous planning and commitment. Aspiring cadets must meet rigorous standards, both academically and physically. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the path to USAFA admission.

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Early Planning for Success While it might seem like your journey begins in earnest during your junior and senior years of high school, the truth is that early preparation is key. As a high school student, laying the foundation for your future as a cadet should start immediately.

Focus on maintaining excellent academic performance, particularly in English, math, and science. Your grades will play a pivotal role in the admission process. Additionally, staying active and participating in sports teams, even if your school lacks such programs, can demonstrate your physical readiness and commitment.

Junior Year: Initiating the Application Your junior year marks the initial steps in your USAFA application. Starting March 1, the Pre-candidate Questionnaire becomes available online. Ensure you submit a completed questionnaire and be prepared to seek nominations from designated authorities within your state or region.

Senior Year: Transition to Candidate Phase For those who successfully progress to their senior year, the candidate phase of the application process awaits. In July, you’ll receive detailed instructions as you embark on this critical phase. If you haven’t submitted the Pre-candidate Questionnaire during your junior year, remember to do so no later than December 31.

Candidates advancing to this phase must undergo the Candidate Fitness Assessment and adhere to the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB) medical exam requirements. Timeliness is crucial at this stage to avoid any delays in your appointment decision.

Plan, Start Early. The journey to USAFA is challenging but immensely rewarding. By planning and commencing preparations early, you position yourself for success in securing a place at this prestigious institution. Remember, your commitment and dedication will be your greatest assets on this remarkable journey.

Extra Tip: Just like other prestigious universities, competition for admission to the Academy is fierce. We suggest you consider applying for Air Force ROTC at another college or university. By doing so, you gain essential leadership training for your officer career and open up the possibility of joining the U.S. Air Force upon graduation.

Preparation For College Students

Suppose you’re currently pursuing a college education and meet the age eligibility criteria for admission to the United States Air Force Academy. In that case, you still have the opportunity to apply for this prestigious institution. Here are some important steps to consider while in college to enhance your chances of securing a spot at the Academy:

1. Maintain a Strong Academic Record: While at your current college or university, prioritize your academic performance. Enroll in challenging courses, especially in math, English, lab-based sciences, and history. Consistently achieving high grades in these courses will demonstrate your commitment to academic excellence.

2. Build Relationships: Maintain positive relationships with your college professors, teachers, and counselors. These individuals can provide valuable evaluations and recommendations as part of your application. Their insights into your academic abilities and character are crucial.

3. Standardized Test Scores: Consider retaking standardized tests like the ACT or SAT to improve your scores. Higher test scores can significantly bolster your application and increase your competitiveness.

4. College Transcripts: The Academy will require your college transcripts to verify the subjects you’ve taken and the grades you’ve earned. Ensure your transcript reflects your dedication to challenging coursework.

5. Extracurricular Activities: Continue participating in extracurricular activities, both athletic and nonathletic, to showcase your leadership potential. Active involvement in clubs, organizations, or volunteer work highlights your well-roundedness.

6. Work Experience: Any work experience or notable achievements during your college years should be highlighted in your application. These experiences demonstrate your commitment and leadership qualities.

Following these steps and maintaining a strong academic and extracurricular profile during college can increase your chances of successfully applying and getting admission to the United States Air Force Academy, even if you’re already in college. Remember that the Academy values academic excellence, leadership potential, and character when evaluating candidates, so align your efforts accordingly.

Preparation For International Students

The United States Air Force Academy has a limit of 60 international students at any given time. Around 15 international students are accepted annually. These students must follow a unique application process.

International applicants can’t apply directly but must go through their home country’s government, typically the Ministry of Defense. Only certain countries can nominate students; some may require military commitment. Prospective students should check with their government for eligibility and nomination details.

To apply, candidates must write a comprehensive letter to their home government describing their background and potential for success at the Academy. This letter should be submitted at least a year before the intended admission date. The Defense Attaché Office at the American embassy can assist with the nomination process. It’s crucial not to apply directly to the U.S. Air Force Academy or the U.S. government.

Eligibility requirements include being nominated by the home country, being unmarried, holding citizenship, demonstrating good character, leadership potential, academic proficiency, and meeting physical and medical standards. Applicants should be between 17 and 23 years old on July 1 of the entry year and proficient in reading and writing.

International applicants must take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) reasoning test, with scores above 580 in SAT math. All documents must reach U.S. Air Force Academy Admissions by March 15 of the entry year, and appointments are awarded competitively in April.

What Are the Admission Requirements Into The Air Force Military Academy, USA.

Meeting the Requirements for the U.S. Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy is renowned for its rigorous standards, setting it apart as one of the most competitive institutions in the nation. To earn an appointment to this prestigious academy, candidates must meet demanding criteria in academics, physical fitness, character, and medical qualifications. Understanding these requirements is the first step toward achieving success.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

While each cadet brings unique qualities, there are fundamental prerequisites that every aspiring candidate must fulfill to be considered for admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy:

  • Age: Applicants should be at least 17 years old but not older than 23 by July 1st of the year they enter the Academy.
  • Citizenship: Candidates must be citizens of the United States.
  • Marital Status: Applicants must be unmarried and without any dependents.
  • Moral Character: Maintaining a strong moral character is essential.

Academic Excellence

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets are subjected to rigorous academic challenges daily. As such, the Academy seeks individuals with a well-rounded academic background, including impressive class rankings, a high GPA, and strong performance in college admission tests.

Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is an integral component of life at the Academy, whether through participation in sports or Basic Cadet Training (BCT). Consequently, applicants must complete the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), evaluating their strength, agility, speed, and endurance.

Character Assessment

The U.S. Air Force Academy delves beyond academic and physical prowess to become future officers with unwavering moral standards. Each candidate undergoes a qualitative character assessment as part of the application process.

Medical Standards

To ensure readiness for U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force careers, applicants must meet and maintain specific physical standards throughout their four-year tenure at the Academy.

Meeting these stringent requirements is the first stride towards a promising future at the United States Air Force Academy.

College Admissions Tests: SAT or ACT

Students can take the SAT and ACT exams multiple times, with only the highest scores being considered. When registering for the tests, you should request that your scores be sent to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The Academy’s SAT code is 4830, while the ACT code is 0530.

It’s essential to note that candidates who score below 620 in Evidence-based reading and writing or below 580 in math on the SAT reasoning test, or below 24 in English/reading and 25 in math/science on the ACT, may face competitiveness challenges for direct appointment to the Academy. However, such applicants may still be eligible for the prep school program or a Falcon Foundation Scholarship.

How to Apply for Admission into The US Air Force Academy (USAFA)

To secure a United States Air Force Academy nomination, begin early and navigate a competitive process. Initiating your nomination application concurrently with completing your Pre-candidate Questionnaire is advised.

Part I: Setting Sail on Your Academy Voyage
When you initially apply to the Academy, you are regarded as an “applicant” or “pre-candidate.” Those who qualify progress to the esteemed status of “candidate.” During the pre-candidate phase, you will report your GPA and class rank. The Pre-candidate Questionnaire becomes accessible on March 1.

Part II: The Path to Official Candidacy
Candidates gain access to the online application, which provides vital information and instructions for completing the official application for admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Candidate portals open in July.

A Commitment That’s Worth Every Moment
Cadets receive an education at the U.S. Air Force Academy without incurring tuition fees. Instead, upon graduation, they are commissioned as U.S. Air Force or Space Force officers. The length of their commitment varies by career path, but the rewards are boundless.

Embracing Diversity for a Stronger Air and Space Force
Diversity extends beyond skin color. Cadets from diverse backgrounds and life experiences from across the nation and beyond converge to fortify the United States Air and Space Forces. When they don the blue uniform, they become a united force.

Navigating the Academy Admissions Timeline
Unlike conventional universities, applying to the U.S. Air Force Academy demands time and dedication. However, this institution is far from ordinary. Learn what it takes to attain an education that soars above the rest.

Admissions Categories at a Glance

  • March–December
  • July–January
  • December–January
  • January
  • February–April
  • April
  • May
  • June

Notable Alumni of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA)

Established in 1954, the Academy welcomed its first class in 1955 and celebrated its inaugural graduation in 1959. Cadets at the Academy hold the rank of “Cadet,” and it’s commonly referred to as “Air Force” in sports media, a designation officially endorsed. Cadet admissions are predominantly facilitated through a congressional appointment system. While the curriculum covers many subjects, it historically emphasizes science and engineering. Before the Academy’s first graduating class in 1959, the primary sources of officers for the Air Force and its predecessors were the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy. In addition to the Air Force and Space Force, some graduates can ” cross-commission” into the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, or United States Coast Guard.

Noteworthy Alumni

This list of notable alumni is drawn from graduates, non-graduate former cadets, current cadets, and the Air Force Academy faculty. Among the graduates, over 410 have made significant contributions across various academic fields, including 41 Rhodes Scholars, 9 Marshall Scholars, 13 Harry S. Truman Scholars, 115 John F. Kennedy School of Government Scholars, and 31 Gerahart Scholars.

Other distinguished alumni include 794 general officers, 164 graduates who lost their lives in combat, 36 repatriated prisoners of war, 1 Medal of Honor recipient, and 2 combat aces. Additionally, the Academy boasts a remarkable achievement of 39 graduates who have become astronauts, making it second only to the United States Naval Academy.

Here are some notable alumni:

  • Bradley C. Hosmer (1959): Lieutenant General; First graduate in the order of merit in the first class at the Academy; Academy’s first Rhodes Scholar; first graduate to return to the Academy as Superintendent of the Air Force Academy (1991–1994).
  • Ruben A. Cubero (1961): Brigadier General; combat pilot veteran of the Vietnam War; first Hispanic Dean of Faculty at the Academy.
  • Ervin Rokke (1962): Lieutenant General; first USAFA graduate to be Dean of Faculty at the Academy, 1984-86; President of National Defense University 1994-97; President of Moravian College 1997-2006.
  • Tad J. Oelstrom (1965): Director of the National Security Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (1997–2000).
  • Frank Klotz (1973): Lieutenant General; Rhodes scholar; Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command; missilier.
  • Linda Garcia Cubero (1980): Member of the first class of women to graduate from the United States Air Force Academy, becoming the first Hispanic woman to graduate from any service academy.
  • Michelle D. Johnson (1981): Lieutenant General; jet transport/tanker pilot; first woman USAF Academy Rhodes Scholar; first woman Cadet Wing Commander; Academic All-American Basketball player (1981-82); inaugural member USAF Academy Sports Hall of Fame (2007); Air Force Aide to the President of the United States (1992-94); Superintendent of the Air Force Academy 2013-2017.
  • Heather Wilson (1982): Rhodes Scholar; first graduate elected to the United States Congress (U.S. Representative from New Mexico’s 1st congressional district (1998–2009); President of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (2013-2017); first graduate appointed as Secretary of the Air Force (2017-present).
  • Dana H. Born (1983): Brigadier General; first female Dean of Faculty at the Academy.
  • Thomas W. Krise (1983): 13th President of Pacific Lutheran University 2012-2017.
  • Christopher B. Howard (1991): Rhodes Scholar; President of Hampden-Sydney College, 2009-16; President of Robert Morris University, 2016-.
  • Hila Levy (2008): First Puerto-Rican Rhodes Scholar (2008).
  • Linell Letendre (1996): Lawyer and Dean of the Faculty.
  • Aryemis C. Brown (2021): Rhodes Scholar; United States Space Force officer.
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Superintendents of the Academy

  • Bradley C. Hosmer (1959): Lieutenant General; first graduate in the order of merit in the first class at the Academy; Academy’s first Rhodes Scholar; first graduate to return to the Academy as Superintendent of the Air Force Academy (1991–1994).
  • Tad J. Oelstrom (1965): Director of the National Security Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (1997–2000).
  • Paul E. Stein (1966): Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (1994–1997).
  • John R. Dallager (1969): Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (2000–2003).
  • John F. Regni (1973): Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (2005–2009).
  • Michael C. Gould (1976): Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (2009–2013); commander of Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (2000-2002).
  • Michelle D. Johnson (1981): Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (2013–2017).
  • Jay B. Silveria (1985): Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (2017–2020).
  • Richard M. Clark (1986): Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy (2020–Present).

Current Superintendent: Richard M. Clark.


A select group of Academy alumni who became astronauts:

  • Karol J. Bobko (1959): Pilot of STS-6; commanded STS-51-D and STS-51-J; the only astronaut to have flown on the maiden flight of two Space Shuttle orbiters (Challenger and Atlantis).
  • Frederick D. Gregory (1964): Pilot of STS-51-B; commanded STS-33 and STS-44; Former Deputy Administrator and former acting Administrator for NASA; first African American to command any space vehicle.
  • John E. Blaha (1965): Pilot of STS-29 and STS-33; commanded STS-43 and STS-58, also flew a long-duration spaceflight on the Mir space station.
  • Roy D. Bridges, Jr. (1965): Major General; Pilot of STS-51-F; Director of the Kennedy Space Center (1997–2003) and Director of Langley Research Center (2003–2005).
  • John Casper (1966): Pilot of STS-36; commanded STS-54, STS-62, and STS-77, among other achievements.
  • Ronald J. Grabe (1966): Pilot of STS-51-J and STS-30; commanded STS-42 and STS-57; an accomplished astronaut.
  • Charles L. Veach (1966): Mission Specialist on STS-39 and STS-52, contributing to important missions.
  • Loren Shriver (1967): Pilot of STS-51-C; commanded STS-31 and STS-46, significant contributions to space exploration.
  • Richard O. Covey (1968): Pilot of STS-51-I and STS-26; commanded STS-38 and STS-61; an astronaut with notable achievements.
  • Guy Gardner (1969): Participated in STS-27 and STS-35 missions, contributing to space exploration.
  • Gary Payton (1971): Payload Specialist on STS-51-C, an important role in space missions.
  • Sidney M. Gutierrez (1973): Pilot of STS-40 and commanded STS-59, significantly contributing to space exploration.
  • L. Blaine Hammond (1973): Pilot of STS-39 and STS-64, an astronaut with noteworthy achievements.
  • Terence T. Henricks (1974): Pilot of STS-44 and STS-55; commanded STS-70 and STS-78, contributing to space exploration.
  • Mark C. Lee (1974): Mission specialist on STS-30, STS-64, and STS-82; payload commander of STS-47, significant roles in space missions.
  • Donald R. McMonagle (1974): Mission specialist on STS-39, pilot of STS-54, and commanded STS-66, notable contributions to space exploration.
  • William A. Pailes (1974): Payload Specialist on STS-51-J, playing a crucial role in space missions.
  • Ronald M. Sega (1974): Major General; mission specialist on STS-60 and STS-76; Former Undersecretary of the United States Air Force, contributing significantly to space exploration.
  • Brian Duffy (1975): Pilot of STS-45 and STS-57; commanded STS-72 and STS-92, making important contributions to space exploration.
  • Kevin P. Chilton (1976): General – the only astronaut to reach 4-star rank; Pilot of STS-49 and STS-59; commanded STS-76; former commander of United States Strategic Command.
  • Thomas D. Jones (1977): Mission Specialist on STS-59, STS-80, and STS-98; payload commander on STS-68, contributing to space missions.
  • Charles J. Precourt (1977): Mission Specialist on STS-55; Pilot of STS-71; commanded STS-84 and STS-91, important roles in space missions.
  • Curtis Brown (1978): Pilot of STS-47, STS-66, and STS-77; commanded STS-85, STS-95, and STS-103, remarkable contributions to space exploration.
  • James D. Halsell (1978): Pilot of STS-65 and STS-74; commanded STS-83, STS-94, and STS-101, significant roles in space missions.
  • Kevin R. Kregel (1978): Pilot of STS-70 and STS-78; commanded STS-87 and STS-99, noteworthy achievements in space exploration.
  • Richard A. Searfoss (1978): Pilot of STS-58 and STS-76; commanded STS-90, important contributions to space missions.
  • William G. Gregory (1979): Pilot of STS-67, an astronaut with valuable experience.
  • Susan J. Helms (1980): Lieutenant General; mission specialist on STS-54, STS-64, STS-78, and STS-101; Flight Engineer of International Space Station Expedition 2. A member of the first class of women to graduate from the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Michael J. Bloomfield (1981): Pilot of STS-86 and STS-97; commanded STS-110, significant contributions to space exploration.
  • Steven W. Lindsey (1982): Pilot of STS-87 and STS-95; commanded STS-104, STS-121, and STS-133, playing vital roles in space missions.
  • B. Alvin Drew (1984): Mission Specialist on STS-118 and STS-133, contributing to space exploration.
  • Gregory H. Johnson (1984): Pilot of STS-123 and pilot of STS-134, significant contributions to space missions.
  • James M. Kelly (1986): Pilot of STS-102 and STS-114, making noteworthy contributions to space exploration.
  • Eric A. Boe (1987): Pilot of STS-126 and STS-133, contributing to space missions.
  • Terry W. Virts (1989): Pilot of STS-130, an astronaut with valuable experience.
  • James Dutton (1991): Pilot of STS-131, contributing to space exploration.
  • Kjell Lindgren (1995): Participated in Expedition 44 and Expedition 45, contributing to space exploration.
  • Jack Fischer (1996): Participated in Expedition 51 and Expedition 52, contributing to space exploration.
  • Nick Hague (1998): Soyuz MS-10 and Soyuz MS-12, making significant contributions to space exploration.

These alumni have excelled in their careers and made significant contributions to space exploration, representing the excellence instilled by the United States Air Force Academy.


The United States Air Force Academy has also produced notable athletes:

  • Brock Strom (1959): The Air Force Academy’s first All-American and an integral part of the undefeated 1958 USAFA football team.
  • Gregg Popovich (1970): Head coach (1997–) of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) San Antonio Spurs, with multiple NBA championships and Coach of the Year awards.
  • Len Salvemini (1975): Soccer player, multiple-time All-American, and U.S. Olympian.
  • Randall W. Spetman (1976): Athletic Director at Florida State University and former Athletic Director at the Academy.
  • Bob Djokovich (1978): Team handball player and 6th President of USA Team Handball.
  • Tom Schneeberger (1978): Team handball player, U.S. men’s national basketball team player, and NBA draft pick.
  • William Roy (1981): Former U.S. Olympian and world champion in skeet shooting.
  • Alonzo Babers (1983): Winner of two gold medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics and Boeing 777 pilot.
  • Kathy Callaghan (1984): Team handball player, gold medalist at the 1987 Pan American Games, and coach of the USAFA Team Handball.
  • Ted Sundquist (1984): General Manager of the Denver Broncos.
  • Chad Hennings (1988): A-10 Thunderbolt pilot, Outland Trophy winner, and NFL player with three Super Bowl rings.
  • Troy Calhoun (1989): Head coach of the Air Force football team.
  • Dee Dowis (1990): USAFA Quarterback and NCAA Division I career record holder for rushing yards by a quarterback.
  • Bryce Fisher (1999): NFL player for several teams.
  • Dan Nwaelele (2007): Basketball player in the NBA D-League and France.
  • Chad Hall (2008): NFL Wide Receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.
  • Ben Garland (2010): NFL Defensive End and Offensive Guard.
  • Tom Whitney (2010): Professional Golfer.
  • Jim Walmsley (2012): Ultramarathoner.
  • Kyle Westmoreland (2014): First Air Force Academy graduate to make the cut at the U.S. Open (2021).
  • Madison Tung (2019): Rhodes Scholar and first female wrestler on the Air Force Academy men’s wrestling team.

Business Leaders

Several Academy alumni have excelled in the world of business:

  • Gerard Finneran (1959): Expert on Third World debt during a Wall Street career and known for a 1995 air rage incident.
  • T. Allen McArtor (1964): Senior manager at FedEx, administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, and chair of Airbus, North American Holdings.
  • Richard T. Schlosberg (1965): Former president and CEO of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation and former publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times.
  • Robert J. Thomas (1967): Former president and CEO of Nissan Motor Corporation USA.
  • J.W. “Wild Bill” Stealey (1970): CEO of iEntertainment Network, founder of MicroProse Software and Interactive Magic.
  • Grady Booch (1977): Developer of the Unified Modeling Language and the Booch method in software engineering.
  • Charles E. Phillips Jr. (1981): President of the Oracle Corporation and former United States Marine Corps captain.
  • Charles Patrick Garcia (1983): Sterling Hispanic Markets Capital Group President.

These alumni have leveraged their education and experience at the United States Air Force Academy to succeed in various fields, contributing significantly to society and their respective industries.


the United States Air Force Academy stands as a beacon of excellence in education and leadership, producing a remarkable roster of alumni who have made significant contributions to various fields. From the skies to outer space, from sports arenas to the boardrooms of major corporations, these graduates exemplify the academy’s commitment to excellence, integrity, and service.

Academy alumni have soared to great heights in space exploration, becoming accomplished astronauts with numerous space missions under their belts. Their dedication to pursuing knowledge and discovery has expanded our understanding of the universe.

In the world of sports, these graduates have not only excelled but have also demonstrated the values of teamwork, discipline, and perseverance. Their achievements, both on and off the field, testify to the well-rounded education the Academy provides.

Moreover, in business, many alumni have risen to prominent leadership positions, making significant impacts in their respective industries. Their ability to apply the principles of leadership and innovation instilled at the Academy has contributed to their remarkable success.

In every facet of life, whether in the skies, on the field, or in the world of business, these United States Air Force Academy alumni have shown that they are both leaders and trailblazers. Their dedication to service, excellence, and positively impacting society is a testament to the core values instilled by the Academy.

As the Academy continues to shape the leaders of tomorrow, it is evident that its legacy of producing outstanding individuals who lead, serve, and inspire will endure for generations to come. The achievements of these alumni serve as a source of pride and inspiration for the entire Academy community and the nation as a whole.


How much is tuition at the U.S. Air Force Academy?

At the U.S. Air Force Academy, there is no monetary tuition cost. Instead, cadets must serve in either the U.S. Air Force or Space Force for a specified period based on their chosen career path.

When will I know if I have been selected for an appointment?

Notification about your appointment status will be provided through your portal. Typically, regular selections are made at the end of February and the beginning of March.

How hard is it to get into the U.S. Air Force Academy?

Admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy is highly competitive, with stringent academic, physical, character, and medical standards. As such, the selection process is rigorous, and applicants are evaluated on various criteria.

Can a foreigner join the U.S. Air Force Academy?

The U.S. Air Force Academy is primarily for U.S. citizens. However, foreign nationals may be eligible for admission under specific international programs with unique requirements.

Is the U.S. Air Force Academy free?

Yes, the U.S. Air Force Academy offers tuition-free education to its cadets. In exchange, graduates commit to serving in the U.S. Air Force or Space Force for a certain period, ensuring a valuable and cost-free education.

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