U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School

The U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School was established in May 1961. It is located on the Academy grounds about four miles from the cadet area.

The prep school's mission is to motivate, prepare, and evaluate selected candidates in an academic, military, moral, and physical environment, to perform successfully and enhance diversity at the Air Force Academy. The prep school achieves this mission by qualifying cadet candidates for academy appointments; developing in those students a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence that enables them to function in the Academy's demanding environment, and motivating students to attend the Academy, graduate, and become career officers in the U.S. Air Force.

The prep school, with a staff of 61 people, offers a 10-month program from July through May. The program integrates academic preparation, military training and athletic conditioning to develop in cadet candidates the skills and character necessary to be successful at the Academy. The primary focus of the curricula is academic preparation with intensive instruction in mathematics, English and basic sciences. Coursework is fast-paced and challenging.

Like the Academy, admission to the prep school is competitive, with selections made by the Academy director of admissions. The director selects both enlisted active duty and civilian applicants who have applied for admission to the Academy but were not selected for direct entry. Approximately 240 cadet candidates enter the prep school each summer. About 20 percent of the students are prior enlisted, 50 percent are minorities and 15 percent are women.

Between 75 and 80 percent of all entering students earn an appointment to the Academy. To qualify for an appointment, students must successfully complete the prep school program in academics and military training, pass the Candidate Fitness Test, exhibit strong ethical character, receive the recommendation of the prep school commander, and be approved by the Academy board.

Many prep school graduates go on to distinguish themselves in military and academic areas at the Academy. Over the years, nine prep school graduates have held the Cadet Wing's top leadership position as wing commander. Numerous others have served in wing, group, and squadron staff positions. Academically, former prep school graduates have earned prestigious awards, including Rhodes, Fulbright, Daedalian, and Guggenheim fellowships.

Former prep school students have also succeeded on active duty following graduation from the academy. Several graduates have gone on to become brigadier, major and lieutenant generals, Air Force Cross and Silver Star recipients, and space shuttle astronauts. Other honors include a White House Fellow, a Thunderbird pilot and a winner of the coveted Jabara Award.

(Current as of April 2009)