Getting into the United States Air Force Academy is the dream of nearly 60,000 applicants throughout the United States. Applicants are selected on several grueling categories, measuring their academic performance, athletic capabilities, leadership, community involvement and belief systems. Falling short on any one of these categories could put your application in jeopardy!
Of those 60,000 applicants, approximately 1,300 are selected to enter the incoming Cadet Class each year. That’s an acceptance rate of one in fifty, about 2%. What sets the successful candidate apart is a number of factors.
First, the successful candidate has to have strong academics. You don’t need a straight A average, but you can’t have failed any classes. The Air Force Academy will also look at what kinds of classes you took – a lower GPA taking harder classes, particularly classes dealing with solid academic subjects, like calculus and physics and Advanced Placement classes, will be weighted more strongly than ones where you took the easiest classes possible.
Second, the successful candidate has to show that they’re not just a bookworm. Perform in extra-curricular activities, particularly sports, to show that you’re athletically up to snuff for the Academy. Sports that are “good indicators” are basketball, football, track and field, trap shooting and fencing. All of these sports build good cardiovascular endurance, and emphasize upper body strength.
The Air Force, like all of the services, puts a strong emphasis on leadership. So, it’s not enough to participate in extracurricular activities, you also have to have strong community involvement. Do things that show your ability to lead, your ability to organize and your ability to get others to sign on to your plans and make them happen.
While the Air Force is officially agnostic, candidates who are involved in their local church services tend to get preferential admission. It doesn’t matter what religion you believe in, it does matter that you believe in something is the official Air Force position.
Hopefully, these bits of advice will help you become an Air Force Cadet!