U.S. Air Force Academy Acceptance Rate & How to Get in (2021 Edition)
Do you dream of jumping out of an airplane and getting paid to do it? Is flying solo in a sailplane something you would like to do at work? Maybe you’re aiming for new horizons? The sky is not the limit with Space Force jobs.
More than 4,100 cadets are enrolled in the Academy experience to become leaders through an academic, athletic and military curriculum. That sounds like a lot of cadets, but the Air Force Academy acceptance rate is low. Only the most ambitious and driven will get in!
The Academy’s reputation for innovation as a leader in developing air, space and cyberspace officers – 19 research centers plus an 8:1 cadet to faculty ratio – is unmatched worldwide and will elevate your career.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the Academy in all its brilliance.
1. Where is the Academy?
2. Map of the Campus
⚬ Entrance Requirements
⚬ Acceptance Rate
4. How to Take a Tour of the Academy
5. What it Takes to Be a Cadet
⚬ Typical Weekday Schedule
6. Majors Offered
7. Sports Program
8. All About Graduation
9. Air Force Academy History
Where is the Air Force Academy?
Ten miles north of Colorado Springs at the base of Pikes Peak with an elevation of 7,258 feet above sea level, the United States Air Force Academy beckons aspiring airmen. Stunning midcentury modern architecture encloses cutting-edge technology. Operating at a different altitude, the Academy even boasts publicly accessible trails to beautiful vistas.
United States Air Force Academy
2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 2400
USAF Academy, CO 80840
Phone: 1 (800) 443-9266
Air Force Academy Map
Go to MyBaseGuide to download the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Visitors Guide for the campus, Colorado Springs and surrounding area maps.
Air Force Academy Admissions
One of the nation’s most prestigious and advantageous programs, U.S. Air Force Academy admissions standards seek exceptional students bursting with leadership potential. Expect to prove you belong in the Academy’s classrooms. Your prior academic record measures performance based on a combo of class rank and your GPA.
To be competitive for an appointment to the Academy, consider the following high school courses:
- Four years of English with a college prep class in writing
- Four years of math, including geometry, algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus
- Four years of science, including biology, chemistry and physics
- Three years of social studies with a U.S. history course
- Two years of a modern foreign language
- One year of computer study
Recent classes averaged in the Top 3 percent of their high school class. Air Force Academy SAT scores are incredibly competitive too.
Making the Academy even more appealing to the country’s brightest students, the Air Force Academy tuition has no monetary cost. Graduates serve in the U.S. Air Force or Space Force – a five-year service commitment plus at least three years as an inactive reserve. Pilots have a longer service commitment, currently 10 years from when the second lieutenant enters flight training.
Air Force Academy Requirements
Step 1. Confirm Eligibility
Basic requirements for cadets:
- Age 17 to 22
- U.S. citizen
- Unmarried with no dependents
- Good moral character
Step 2. Take the Fitness Assessment
Cadets will hit the ground running, so fitness is an essential factor in the application process. Before taking the test, practice to be sure you crush the averages below when the time comes to prove your strength in the Candidate Fitness Assessment.
|⚬ Basketball Throw
⚬ Flexed-arm Hang
⚬ Shuttle Run
⚬ Modified Sit-ups (crunches)
⚬ 1-mile Run
⚬ 8.1 seconds
⚬ 31 seconds
⚬ 9.4 seconds
Step 3. Get a Medical Examination
All candidates must meet the medical, vision and weight standards for commissioning in the United States Air Force or Space Force. Your height and weight must be between 119 pounds at 4’10” and 227 pounds at 6’8”. Vision requirements for candidates for a pilot, aviation-related specialties and special operational duty careers field assessments happen during the cadet’s second (sophomore) year.
Did you know? The value of a U.S. Air Force Academy education is $416,000. Eyes on the prize!
Air Force Academy Acceptance Rate
Eleven. Point. Four. Percent. The U.S. Air Force Academy acceptance rate is 11.4%, according to PrepScholar. If a dollar had that acceptance rate, it would only be worth 11 cents!
And the average GPA at the Academy is 3.87, and the average SAT score composite is 1320.
These numbers are uber-competitive. And academics are just one factor.
The numbers for fitness are competitive too. Air Force Academy Falcons are members of highly competitive Mountain West Conference, Atlantic Hockey Association, Big 12, Western Athletic Conference, Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and Western Water Polo Association.
A strong body and mind. Strength of character. All of these are critical in cadet life.
Fun Fact: The largest class, so far, is 1992, with 1,076 graduating cadets.
Air Force Academy Tour
The Visitor Center is a 35,000 square-foot facility offering academy info, including a film and exhibits on cadet life, academy history and gift shop. Follow a short, paved trail from the Cadet Chapel to the visitor center.
Academics, athletics and campus virtual tours are a great way to explore the Academy using your smartphone, computer or virtual reality headset. Look into a Falcon football game or the iconic Cadet Chapel and more.
2346 Academy Drive
U.S. Air Force Academy, CO 80840
Phone: 1 (719) 333-2025
Air Force Academy Cadet
The Academy’s first class chose the falcon mascot because it embodies speed, graceful flight, courage, alertness and noble carriage. The first class also established the honor code, which is still a vital part of cadet life.
“We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.”
Typical Daily Schedule
- Cadets kick off the day by 0630.
- The morning and afternoon are for academic classes.
- Athletic practices, clubs, military training and intramurals are after lunch.
- The final bugle call of the day is at 2300 after studying.
Air Force Academy Buildings
Cadet life happens in eight buildings named after officers important to U.S. Air Force Academy history.
1. McDermott Library
The library boasts more than 1.8 million items, including nearly 1,000 research journals and more than 50 online subscription databases. Its namesake — Brig. Gen. Robert F. McDermott — was dean of the faculty from August 1956 to July 1968.
2. Harmon Hall
This hall houses the offices of the superintendent and staff. Its name is a tribute to Lt. Gen. Hubert R. Harmon, the first superintendent of the Academy.
3. The Cadet Chapel
The chapel serves as an all-faith center of worship for cadets. It is the most recognizable building at the Academy and the most visited human-made tourist attraction in Colorado.
4. Polaris Hall
It is the Center for Character & Leadership Development and is crowned with an intricate glass and steel framework. It hosts a lecture hall, state-of-the-art meeting and collaboration rooms, and the Honor Board Room. Here cadets will be challenged to change the way they think and learn.
5. Fairchild Hall and Fairchild Annex
These are the academic classrooms, including state-of-the-art science labs, departmental offices and an expanded cadet medical and dental clinic. The academic building name honors the first commander of Air University, Gen. Muir S. Fairchild.
6. Arnold Hall
Arnold Hall is the cadet social center, has a ballroom, theater, food court and recreation areas. Its name honors the Air Force’s first general, Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, chief of the Army Air Forces during World War II.
7. Vandenberg and Sijan Halls
These halls are the cadet dormitories. They contain a store, barbershops, counseling offices, and rooms for professional pursuits and recreational clubs. Vandenberg Hall is the second-largest university dorm in the U.S., after the United States Naval Academy’s Bancroft Hall. The dorm names honor Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the second Air Force chief of staff, and Capt. Lance P. Sijan, the only Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor.
8. Mitchell Hall
Mitchell Hall can serve meals to 4,400 cadets simultaneously, family-style. The hall’s name honors airpower pioneer Brig. Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell.
Air Force Academy Cadet Ranks
Airman, military professional and leader of character: The leader development process compels cadets to incorporate these roles into their emerging professional identities. They wear their rank, insignia and awards on uniforms. Cadets will soon recognize cadet rank insignia.
Air Force Academy Cadet Uniforms
Cadets often wear the airmen battle uniforms and a form of blues. Formal events may call for service or mess dress. Parade dress, flight suits, PE gear, and other uniforms are worn by cadets throughout their time at the Academy.
Air Force Academy Majors
The Academy’s rigorous academics blend science, technology, engineering and mathematics with the arts and humanities.
- Aeronautical Engineering
- Astronautical Engineering
- Behavioral Sciences
- Civil Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Computer Science
- Cyber Science
- Data Science
- Electrical Engineering
- English & Fine Arts
- Foreign Area Studies
- Geospatial Science
- Legal Studies
- Mechanical Engineering
- Military & Strategic Studies
- Operations Research
- Political Science
- Space Operations
- Systems Engineering
Public university and military service academy – the Academy is driving advancement and innovation in air, space and cyberspace, among many other fields.
Air Force Academy Athletics
With 27 men’s and women’s Division I intercollegiate sports teams, the Academy athletic programs provide cadets leadership experience in a challenging environment.
Air Force Academy football is a fan favorite. And so is the Air Force Academy band. Go Air Force Falcons!
All cadets participate in the athletic program, including physical education courses, physical fitness testing and competitive sports. Thousands of cadets play in 10 intramural programs, including basketball, soccer and ultimate frisbee. Athletics provides excellent exercise and team-building opportunities.
Air Force Academy Graduation
Receptions, award ceremonies, baccalaureate services, concerts, parades, air demonstrations and commissioning ceremonies occur during graduation week. The week culminates at Falcon Stadium with the graduation ceremony. Speakers rotate between POTUS, the Vice President, Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Air Force. The ceremony ends with cadets tossing their caps into the air and the roar of the legendary Thunderbirds flying above.
Air Force Academy History
The Air Force aimed to create a landmark campus equally to West Point and Annapolis. The result is one of the largest collections of modern architecture. Today, the Academy’s cadet area is a National Historic Landmark recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
When Was the Air Force Academy Founded?
Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1954. Harold E. Talbot, the Air Force secretary at that time, appointed a commission to assist him in selecting a permanent site. The selection process included 21,000 miles to 580 proposed sites in 45 states.
Members of the committee took the advice of West Point and Annapolis reps — ensuring the Academy have space for expansion in the future. Other site criteria included natural beauty, a variety of local services and nearness to large cities.
Charles Lindbergh flew over the proposed site in Colorado to assess the effect the Rocky Mountains and wind currents would have on flight training. He found it fit for flying, and shortly after, the site is selected.
On July 11, 1955, 306 men swore in as the first class at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver. The first class of 207 cadets graduated on June 3, 1959.
Famous Air Force Academy Graduates
- Col. Karol Bobko, class of 1959, first graduate in space, piloting the space shuttle Challenger in April 1983.
- Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III, class of 1973, is known as the hero pilot of the commercial flight that ended in the Hudson River after a bird strike. All 155 passengers survived in 2009.
- Maj. Susan J. Helms, class of 1980, first female graduate to fly in space as a mission specialist aboard Endeavor in 1993.
- Capt. Nicole Malachowski, class of 1996, the first woman to become a Thunderbird pilot with the team 2005-2007.
You can see other notable grads here.
When you choose the United States Air Force Academy, you secure a rewarding career for yourself. While some college graduates struggle in an ever-evolving job market, you’re guaranteed a future as an officer in the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force.
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The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.