Understanding the steps Is Critical.

The United States Air Force Academy is a competitive environment. Just applying to the Academy requires focus and determination. Here, learn each step of the process and the requirements you must meet to compete for appointment.

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Academic Performance

The Air Force Academy seeks individuals who possess exceptional academic prowess and leadership potential. Because we offer one of the most prestigious and respected academic programs available, academic admissions standards are high. The Admissions process includes a review of two major academic performance indicators:

Our students, or cadets, must maintain a strict schedule of study, athletic responsibilities, leadership and military duties. The challenging core curriculum sequence includes courses in basic sciences, engineering, humanities and social sciences. Your prior academic record should display well-rounded academic preparation for the Academy environment. Strong SAT or ACT scores indicate whether you are likely to succeed in balancing responsibilities across all aspects of Academy life.

These two academic factors combine to create your Academic Composite Score. This score is the most important component of our selection composite, weighted at 55%. A low PAR and low test scores, though they may be individually qualifying, will usually result in an academic composite score below our qualifying guidelines.


Prior Academic Record

Your Prior Academic Record (PAR) is a measure of classroom performance based on a combination of your rank in class 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

Generally, candidates must rank in the top 40 percent of their high school class. However, the average of recent entering classes is the top three percent. 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.

Home Schoolers

Home-schooled students make up a small but increasing number of applicants for admission to the Air Force Academy. They compete against the same standards as students coming from a traditional school setting. A recent entering class included 22 home-schooled students. For more details, see Advice to Applicants: Home Schoolers.

Post High School

A strong post-high school prep or college record that essentially duplicates the Academy’s academic program and course load will be carefully evaluated and may offset a poor high school record. At a minimum, the total post-high school record must be satisfactory; that is, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 (on a 4.00 scale) with no grades lower than a C. In addition, all failing grades must be satisfactorily repeated.

Advanced Placement (AP)/Transfer Credit

The Air Force Academy will accept scores of four and five on most AP exams in conjunction with core course placement exams that you will take during Basic Cadet Training (BCT). Scores of three will be reviewed on an individual basis.

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College Admission Test Scores (SAT Reasoning or ACT)

Students may take the SAT and ACT as many times as they’d like. Only the highest scores will be counted. Your test results must be received by Academy Admissions to be considered for an appointment. When you register for the tests, request your scores be sent to the Air Force Academy. The SAT code for the Academy is 4830, and the ACT code is 0530.

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.

SAT Mid-50% Range Mean
Critical Reading/Verbal 600-690 642
Math 630-700 672
ACT Mid-50% Range Mean
English 28-33 30
Reading 28-33 30
Mathematics 28-32 30
Science Reasoning 27-33 30
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Applying to the Academy requires dedication. Are you ready?

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