If you're going to compete,
give it your all.

We encourage a diverse array of applicants to compete for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. Some may need to take specific preparation or application steps. All should prepare to be the most competitive applicant possible. Get insights for your application, here.

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Academic Preparation

If you wish to attend the United States Air Force Academy, your academic achievements through your high school years are of paramount importance. Per our selection criteria, academic admissions factors are weighted at 50% of total admission considerations. Achieving excellent grades in a wide range of courses and high standardized test scores are critical to a successful application.


Take Challenging Courses

These suggested courses cover all four years of high school and will give you a very solid academic record. Remember, these are only our suggestions — you might need to modify them for your own situation. We give special consideration to students who earn excellent grades in honors, advanced placement, pre-international baccalaureate, international baccalaureate, and duel enrollment courses. In addition, we encourage students to take the most rigorous class schedule they can manage.

  • Four years of English including college preparatory courses in composition and speech
  • Four years of math including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus and functional analysis if available
  • Four years of laboratory sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, computers and additional courses in the sciences
  • Three years of social sciences including history, economics, government and behavioral sciences
  • Two years of a foreign language (note that all cadets at the Academy must take one of the following languages): Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
  • One year of computer science
Class Rank

The Academy attracts top students from across the nation. To be competitive for appointment, you must strive to achieve the highest grade point average possible.

Rank in High School Class (Typical Class)
First in Class  8%
Top Tenth: 52%
Top Quarter 81%

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Plan to Succeed on Standardized Tests

We consider ACT or SAT Reasoning scores an important indicator of your academic ability. To ensure your application is competitive, plan to take these tests early. Keep these points in mind:

  • Contact your high school guidance counselor to schedule the PLAN or PSAT as a sophomore. This will give you time to improve low scores before taking the SAT and/or the ACT.
  • Take the ACT and/or the SAT Reasoning in your junior year. One of these is required of all candidates for appointment to the Academy.
  • Each of these tests have a slightly different emphasis. Take both to reflect your true potential.
  • You may take these tests several times to try to improve your scores. Your highest scores will be accepted.
  • Your official results must be in our records for you to be considered for an appointment. When you register for tests, request that 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. Contact your high school guidance counselor, Admissions Liaison Officer or base education officer for registration procedures and test dates.

Note that PSAT and PLANs are considered only in the Pre-Candidate Questionnaire portion of our admissions process. For more information, see the Application Steps. During the full admissions process, your PSAT I and/or PLAN scores will be replaced by ACT or SAT Reasoning scores. Test scores must be achieved under national testing conditions on a national test date. We do not accept nonstandard (extended time), or special scores.

Score Ranges

The following table shows the range and mean for test scores of a typical cadet class at the Academy. Note that students who score below 580 verbal and 560 math on the SAT Reasoning and below 24 English/reading and 25 math/science reasoning on the ACT normally will not be competitive for an appointment to the Academy.

SAT Reasoning Mid-50% Range Mean
Verbal Aptitude 600-690 642
Math Aptitude 630-700 672
ACT Mid-50% Range Mean
English 28-33 30
Reading 28-32 30
Mathematics 28-33 30
Science Reasoning 27-33 30

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