Cadets at the Air Force Academy must learn organizational and time-management skills and self-discipline amid mental, ethical and physical demands. The environment is structured, with rules and regulations, but the rewards include lifetime friends, honor, personal development, pride and an exciting career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
LEAVES AND PASSES
- Cadets have four 55-minute class periods every morning and three each afternoon.
- Breakfast and lunch are mandatory.
- Cadets who are not on intercollegiate teams will play on an intramural team twice per week after classes.
- Cadets spend much of Saturday mornings studying or attending parades and inspections, but Saturday afternoons and Sundays are typically free time.
- The fall and spring semesters last 17 weeks, and the summer term lasts 10 weeks.
- Instead of a three-month summer break, cadets get three weeks.
Cadets' time away from the Academy is limited during their first year.
During Basic Cadet Training in the first five weeks, cadets may not have visitors nor receive phone calls. After Parents' Weekend, the restrictions relax somewhat. Cadets may receive phone calls and have visitors on Saturday afternoons and evenings and on Sunday mornings and afternoons. They may also invite friends to attend live entertainment events and some ceremonies. The athletic schedule also provides activities for cadets to enjoy with their friends.
After the first year, cadets' privileges increase: they have more chances to leave the Academy campus and visit the local area.
Fourth- and third-class cadets may not own or maintain an automobile but may rent one while on authorized pass or privelege. Eligible second- and first-class cadets may own cars and keep them at the Academy.
Cadets usually receive three weeks of summer leave once they have completed their freshman year. In addition, cadets get two weeks off during the winter holidays and one week off in spring.
Cadets may receive emergency leave if a member of their immediate family is involved in an emergency. Other requests for special leave are considered on an individual basis.
COUNSELING AND ADVISING
Many sources provide counseling to help cadets adjust to their new lifestyles and develop as a professional officer, including:
- Air officers commanding
- Military training leaders
- Squadron faculty officers
- Cadet personnel office
- First-class cadets serving as cadet officers
- Chaplains of multiple faiths
- Mental health clinic
The Academy's spiritual aspect, present in all facets of cadet life, provides an extra dimension to traditional learning. The Cadet Chapel is the center for religious activities for the Cadet Wing, with dedicated worship areas for Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist faith groups and an all-faith worship room for cadets from other spiritual backgrounds. Chaplains provide cadets daily opportunities for worship and regularly visit cadet training areas.
Many cadets attend optional services, taking advantage of the chance to grow spiritually. They participate regularly, share worship leadership and planning and serve in various ways. Examples of religious activities include Sunday or Sabbath worship services, daily morning and evening services, special denominational services and activities, cadet choirs, religious study and discussion groups, values-education classes and weekend retreats.
Air Force chaplains are ordained clergy who conduct religious services for their particular faith groups. They also work with distinguished faith group leaders to ensure that members of religions not directly represented by chaplains also have an opportunity to worship.
Cadets can ask to speak with a chaplain at any time, and any discussion with an Air Force chaplain is 100-percent confidential.
Cadets receive full tuition, room and board, free medical care and access to a low-cost, government-sponsored life insurance program. They also receive a monthly stipend to cover incidental expenses.
Cadets wear various uniforms depending on the occasion and weather. Cadets wear a service uniform during the academic year. Other uniforms include mess dress for formal or social functions, parade dress for formal ceremonies, the Airman Battle Uniform for field training, flight suits for flying activities, and physical training and athletic uniforms for sporting activity.
Fourth-class cadets may not wear civilian clothing, even after class hours, unless approved by the commandant. Other cadets may wear civilian clothes when on leave and weekend privileges.