Published May 07, 2009
The U.S. Air Force Academy's broad program of intellectual, professional, physical and character development is designed to prepare cadets to be tomorrow's air and space leaders. Thus, the Academy seeks to enroll students of high moral character who have a well-rounded background of academic, leadership and athletic preparation in addition to the motivation and potential to successfully complete the Academy's four-year program.
The admission process focuses on the major Academy experiences--academic, leadership, athletic and character. Objective and subjective admissions criteria are combined for a holistic review. Candidates from each nomination source are selected for appointment following the procedures specified in U.S. Code, Title 10. After the required appointments have been offered, additional appointments to fill the entering class, also governed by public law, are offered to qualified alternates from all nomination sources.
Admissions criteria are carefully chosen and weighted to ensure only those with the potential to succeed at the Academy are offered an appointment. A student's academic performance in high school, plus preparatory school and college if applicable, and SAT/ACT scores are the criteria used to evaluate academic potential. Academic performance factors include rank-in-class and grade point average and may be adjusted for class size, competitiveness of the school and strength of the student's curriculum. The academic criteria are combined to form the academic composite, which is a strong predictor of Academy academic performance, particularly freshman GPA.
Participation in athletic and non-athletic extracurricular activities is one of the criteria used to project leadership potential and adaptability for the Academy's physically challenging and team-oriented development program. Factors such as breadth of participation, leadership position, community involvement and work experiences are considered.
A selection panel composed of a cross section of senior Academy staff reviews each qualified candidate's file. The panel considers the liaison officer evaluation, which evaluates the candidate's character and motivation, the candidate's writing sample, teacher comments, the candidate fitness assessment and the overall record.
Additional criteria evaluated by the Academy Office of Admissions include the medical qualification for commissioning and, if applicable, reports of drug/alcohol abuse or violations of the law. In these areas, candidates are either qualified to compete for an appointment or unqualified and eliminated from further consideration for admission.
Admissions criteria, weighting and the selection composite are continually compared to cadet performance and retention and to subsequent success as an officer. These reviews have led to adjustments over the years; however, the basic process has remained constant.
(Current as of April 2009)