• Basic Requirements

    Every cadet is different, but to earn an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy, you must meet certain basic requirements.

    • Be at least 17 but not past your 23rd birthday by July 1 of the year you enter the Academy
    • Be a United States citizen
    • Be unmarried with no dependents
    • Be of good moral character

    Prior Academic Record

    Your Prior Academic Record (PAR) is a measure of classroom performance and is based on a combination of your class rank and your GPA. When class rank is not provided, the PAR is based on our evaluation of your transcript, school profile and senior year schedule.

    To be academically competitive for an appointment to the Academy, we recommend completion of the following high school courses:

    • Four years of English (with a college preparatory class in writing)
    • Four years of math
      Strong background in geometry, algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus
    • Four years of science
      Lab-based and should include biology, chemistry and physics
    • Three years of social studies (to include a course in U.S. history)
    • Two years of a modern foreign language
    • One year of computer study

    High School Class Rank

    Our recent classes have averaged in the top three percent of their high school classes. Adjustments are made to the PAR for students attending unusually competitive schools with a rigorous college prep curriculum and/or where honors and advanced placement courses are NOT weighted in the school’s calculation of class rank and/or GPA.

    To ensure that we make accurate adjustments to your PAR, please ask your counselor to include a profile of last year’s graduating class from your high school with your transcript.
    Note: A solid foundation in algebra is more valuable than exposure to calculus.

    College Admission Tests

    SAT or ACT

    Students may take the SAT and ACT as many times as they’d like. Only the highest scores will be counted. When you register for the tests, request your scores be sent to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The SAT code for the Academy is 4830, and the ACT code is 0530.

    Students who score below 620 Evidence-based reading and writing or below 580 math on the SAT reasoning test and below 24 English/reading and 25 math/science on the ACT normally will not be competitive for an appointment directly into the Academy. However, they will be considered for the prep school or a Falcon Foundation Scholarship.

    Character Requirements

    In addition to academic performance and physical fitness, our admissions process carefully reviews strength of character and leadership potential. Each applicant’s character assessment consists of the following:

    • Teacher’s Evaluation
    • Writing Sample
    • Letter of Recommendation
    • Extracurricular Composite


    The United States Air Force Academy doesn’t just demand strength of mind and character, it requires a strong body. In order to be a competitive applicant, you must be able to prove you are fit to meet the physical demands ingrained in Academy life.

    • Basic Cadet Training

    Physical fitness is an integral part of attending the Academy, especially during Basic Cadet Training (BCT) and the fourth-class (freshman) year. Therefore, satisfactory completion of the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) is an important admissions requirement.

    This test of strength, agility, speed and endurance is designed to help determine whether you possess the stamina required to successfully complete the physical program at the Academy.

    • Candidate Fitness Assessment

    In order to qualify for admission, you must take the CFA. Become familiar with the six events in the CFA and practice them to score well. The events are administered consecutively with specified start, finish and rest times.

    Although the CFA is pass-fail, it is imperative that you perform to the best of your ability on each of these events:

    • Basketball Throw
    • Pull-ups/Flexed Arm Hang
    • Shuttle Run
    • Modified Sit-ups (crunches)
    • Push-ups
    • One-mile Run

    You should remember that your score is a combination of your best efforts on each of the six events.

    Medical Requirements

    All candidates admitted to the United States Air Force Academy must meet the medical and weight standards for a commission in the United States Air Force. If you do not meet these standards as an applicant, you will be disqualified unless provided a medical waiver.

    How Do I Apply?

    Applying to the United States Air Force Academy is more involved than applying to a typical college or university. There are many steps and important deadlines to meet. But first it’s important to understand how the process is divided into pre-candidate and candidate phases. Many of the steps in each phase can and should be completed concurrently.

    • Apply for Your Nomination Early

    To be eligible to accept an appointment to the Academy, you must be nominated by a legally authorized nominating entity. The process of securing a nomination is competitive and lengthy. It is recommended you begin applying for a nomination at the same time you are completing your Pre-candidate Questionnaire.

    • Application Part I
    The First Steps in a Longer Journey

    When you first apply to the Academy, you are an “applicant” or “pre-candidate.” Pre-candidates who qualify are then granted the status of “candidate.” In the pre-candidate phase, you will self-report your grade point average and class rank. The Pre-candidate Questionnaire opens March 1.

    • Becoming an Official Candidate

    Those applicants who achieve candidate status will be able to access the online application, which contains valuable information and instructions on how to complete the official application for admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Candidate portals open July 1.