For those interested in becoming a dutiful member of the United States, joining the military is a viable option. For students, their best option is a military academy. This institution teaches its cadets military discipline and training as well as day-to-day matters, and there is no better institution than the United States Air Force Academy.
But joining an academy so fundamental to military life cannot be easy. So: how hard is it to join the Air Force Academy? We are here to give you your chances of acceptance and what you can do to change it.
Why Study at the United States Air Force Academy?
Many students get into military schools for a variety of different reasons:
- A personal interest in the military itself, such as assisting their country,
- Family matters, like being a part of a military family and having joined the military being a long-standing tradition for family members,
- Academic and career-based reasons, which include wanting to get into the military immediately or get those sweet military-based benefits.
No matter the reason, it is always good to try to join a good military academy and go from a fledgling cadet to a well-educated future soldier.
Joining a military academy not only teaches a student how to become an active and meaningful part of their military but learn a host of courses and subjects that a regular college or academy would not teach their students (or wouldn’t teach students that are not specifically aiming for a major in those subjects), such as civil engineering and cyber science based around military efforts.
For many students of any of the above calibers, the United States Air Force Academy is one of the best, top-notch choices for any student. After all, it’s in its name: it is THE United States Air Force Academy! It is the top choice for any student looking to enter the military, particularly the United States air force and space force branches. But what is the United States Air Force Academy, and why should a student study there?
The United States Air Force Academy boasts top-of-the-line education, athletics, and character/leadership development. In other words, the Air Force Academy is top of the line when making cadets into soldiers. The academy is the youngest of the United States’ five military academies, being established in 1954, but it quickly became one of the country’s best academies. Students who join the Air Force Academy not only have all of their student needs provided by the Air Force, including tuition and room and board but also receive a monthly stipend as an allowance to spend how they choose. Once they complete their first year in the academy, cadets commit themselves to serving five years as an active commissioned officer and three years in reserve in the Air Force or the recently-established Space Force.
To sum it all up, joining the United States Air Force Academy gives you good military training and education and sets you on a full-speed-ahead path to a life in the military. Now that we have given a good reason why you would study at the United States Air Force Academy, let’s get into what you would learn while you’re there.
What Majors Are the Air Force Academy Known For?
The United States Air Force Academy has a variety of courses and majors for its students. These majors are based primarily on military education and use, but that does not mean they have a limited selection of majors to pursue.
Every cadet of the Air Force Academy has to participate in college or intramural sports, but whatever major a student chooses to pursue has its assortment of courses and classes, ranging from science to computer science to mathematics to humanities. 60% of cadets pursue a major in maths or science, while 40$ of students pursue majors like English or the humanities. Some of the most notable majors in the Air Force Academy include:
- Aeronautical Engineering: the subject of understanding how vehicles and machines work in the sky, and the major people interested in the Air Force would benefit the most from knowing.
- Astronautical Engineering: similar to aeronautical engineering and dealing with vehicles and machinery meant to go into the vast expanse of space beyond.
- Civil Engineering: the subject that encompasses a broad set of subjects, such as the technical design, construction, planning, programming, and maintenance of civilian and military personnel. Civil engineers handle the panning behind significant operations like natural disasters and infrastructure.
- Foreign Area Studies: the major that teaches students how to communicate and understand the six geo-cultural regions outside the United States: Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Slavic countries, and Latin America.
- Geospatial Science: the major in identifying global challenges around climate change, geopolitics, and economic insecurities using drones, satellites, maps, etc. The things a geospatial science major learns are the tools that help shape the world.
- Military & Strategic Studies: the major that deals with the core of the military itself, including the morality and humanity behind one of the most dangerous and bloodiest avenues in life.
- Operations Research: a major arising from the need to know how to make the most out of resource allocation and decision-making. Students in this major learn how to model real-world systems using mathematics.
- System Engineering: the major based around taming war systems development and optimizing the decision making and alternatively that go into such a system. System engineers must analyze and test data to find the best possible results.
If you are a military type of student, then the United States Air Force Academy has a major for you. You get to learn what you want while preparing for a military life.
But this begs the question: is the United States Air Force Academy hard to get into? Do you, a random reader, have a chance to become a part of the Air Force Academy? The answer may be disappointing, but not surprising.
Is the United States Airforce Academy Hard to Get Into?
We want to be transparent and say that the United States Air Force Academy is hard to enter. This should not be a surprise with the unique benefits and bonuses we listed in the previous sections. If anyone can get into the military academy, it would not be as prestigious as it is. The better question, in this case, would be, what would it take to get into the Air Force Academy?
The United States Air Force Academy has a staggeringly low acceptance rate: only 11% of students who apply get accepted into the academy. In terms of incoming students, only around 1,200 students make it into the academy. The chances of the average student making it into the academy is very low, especially if they do not have an impressive enough record.
But what does applying to the United States Air Force Academy take? What would a student need regarding high school GPA, SAT and ACT scores, and any additional requirements to stand a chance?
Admission Requirements at Air Force Academy
The first requirements that one should be aware of to get into the United States Air Force Academy have little to do with academics. Instead, these requirements are based on the applicant’s person. To be admitted into the academy, a cadet must be:
- Between the age of 17 to 22, in other words, either right out of high school or ending college
- A United States Citizen, naturalized or otherwise
- Unmarried and not pregnant or have any obligation to support a child (i.e., child support)
With that out, we can get into the academic requirements. In terms of GPA, there are no minimum requirements; however, the average unweighted GPA for students who apply and are accepted into the academy is 3.86, according to PrepScholar. This is deemed an extremely competitive GPA, and would require that you were on or near the top of your class in high school, which is no small feat. You would need a good SAT or ACT score to compensate for anything less.
The average SAT score for students applying to the Air Force Academy is 1320, which is only moderately competitive and not particularly difficult to achieve. The average ACT score, however, is 31, only 9 points off the maximum, making it intensely competitive in this field. While you can compensate for a below-average GPA with the SAT and ACT scores, it will not be an easy feat—typically, a high GPA and high test scores go hand in hand.
Applicants must also send in a Candidate Fitness Assessment, which judges if the student is physically and mentally fit enough to attend the academy. So long as they meet the standard, this will go through. There is a minimum requirement in this case, but there is no case in which a student will be rejected simply for not being as physically fit as another student.
Finally, an interview, a letter of recommendation, and a personal essay or statement are all required along with the above requirements. A potential cadet has a lot to bring to the table if they want to succeed in applying.
You may have noticed that tuition and costs have not been brought up. How much does it cost to attend the Air Force Academy?
How Much Does it Cost to Attend the Air Force Academy?
One great benefit to being a part of the Air Force Academy is that paying for your ticket is entirely unneeded. Cadets have to pay very little at all. The Air Force pays for all student expenses in the academy, including tuition and room & board. The academy pays a student’s expenses and gives students money to spend through a monthly stipend. A cadet can use this stipend for any reason, though it is primarily for paying for school supplies like books and even haircuts. Whatever the student has left over can be spent however they choose.
However, if a student does not graduate from the academy and does not fulfill their service obligations, they would have to pay back their tuition in total, which is pretty hefty. Thankfully, compared to how few students get accepted, only slightly more students have to drop out or fail.
If you have read all of this and are still interested in joining the academy, we have a few tips to make that 12% acceptance rate much more palpable.
How to Get Into Air Force Academy: 3 Tips to Increase Your Chances
If you still want to join the Air Force Academy, but feel like there is something about you that jeopardizes your chances of success, listen to these three crucial tips that can make that 12% feel like a much higher percentage.
If you doubt your academic requirements will match up, our solution is to study harder and achieve higher scores. You should especially adhere this tip if you are still in high school.
The Air Force Academy needs well-educated cadets, as the subjects they deal with involve complex and confidential information. This includes students who excel in core classes such as mathematics, sciences, and social sciences. Create a functional study schedule that will have you learn how to answer questions and get good grades. If you have a low GPA grade that you cannot meaningfully increase, you can make up the difference by attaining a high SAT or ACT score. They can be taken at any time by anyone, even those out of high school, and only the highest results you get are counted by colleges.
Keep Your Health Up
If you doubt your health requirements will meet standards, our solution is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
You do not necessarily have to gain a super muscular or athletic build, but eating well and regularly, sleeping regularly, and working out every so often will keep your body in a shape that is prepared to take on the rigorous military training and exercise the Air Force Academy expects you to do. You can also consult your doctor about any mental health issues that could impact your chances of admission.
Get More Social
If you doubt you can pass the interview, our solution is to practice your social and speaking skills.
Military or not, an academy is still a social affair, and developing your social skills will make admission easier and make your time at the Air Force Academy much smoother. Get assistance from peers and classmates on practicing speaking with others in a military setting. You can also contact people at the academy or other students and graduates and gain a perspective as to what it means to apply to the school.
Wrapping Things Up: How Hard is it to Get into the Air Force Academy?
How hard is it to get into the Air Force Academy? It is quite difficult; the Air Force Academy wants only physically and mentally fit students for the grueling workload the military will lay upon them. It is not an institution for the feeble-minded. However, you can turn your flaws into strengths and increase your chance of becoming an Air Force Academy cadet. So long as you have the military spirit, you still have a chance!