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.

Need More Help?

Get insights and answers from an Admissions Liaison Officer (ALO) near you. 

Find Your ALO

Character Preparation

At the United States Air Force Academy, we train our cadets to become officers of character. In assessing your application, we look at participation in both athletic and non-athletic activities as evidence of your character and leadership potential. If you dream of attending the Academy, participation in extracurricular activities is extremely important to your application.

Which Activities Should I Choose?

We look for well-rounded candidates who are clearly dedicated to the activities on which they spend their time and energy. When it comes to selecting activities, pick what you enjoy doing above all else. Getting involved and having fun are the rules to follow. If you are engaged with what you are doing, you are more likely to stick with it over time, take on additional responsibility or achieve a specific leadership role.

At a minimum, participate in at least one athletic or physical activity and at least one non-athletic activity. Look for activities that demonstrate character, such as those that help other people or provide service to your community.

Push yourself to excel in sports and activities, but always stay on top of your academics and don’t burn yourself out. Being burned out doesn’t help you or the organizations you care about.

Back to Top

Athletic Activities

At the Academy, all cadets are athletes. About 80 percent of entering cadets have earned a varsity letter in at least one sport and more than 95 percent have participated in high school sports. Sports participation is evidence that you have the teamwork experience, fitness and movement skills necessary to succeed at the Academy.

Back to Top

Non-athletic Activities

Being well-rounded means participating in activities outside of classrooms and off playing fields. Get involved in one or more after school activities such as debate, yearbook, student government or science club. To select activities, look for school organizations, clubs or committees that match your interests.

Consider getting involved in activities outside of school as well. From scouting, Civil Air Patrol or Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) to other community or church groups, pick activities that most interest you and find ways to bring your talents to bear within those organizations. Activities that help other people or serve your community are especially important in demonstrating your character.

We also consider work experience as a good non-athletic activity, especially for those who must work, and may therefore not have the ability to participate in organized school activities.

Back to Top

Demonstrated Character and Leadership

When it comes to your participation in extracurricular activities, quality is more important than quantity. Sustained participation in a few activities is desirable. Earning leadership positions in select activities is better than being a member of many.

Your character will be developed in the course of handling any number of leadership roles. Becoming a leader in an organization you care about tells us a lot about you. It means that you are willing to do more than participate — you are willing to take responsibility for the efforts of yourself and others, and connect those efforts to successful outcomes. Your character attributes may be especially apparent when your activities help others.

Proven excellence in any activity strengthens your record. Specific examples of leadership positions helpful in gaining admission to the Academy include:

  • Team captain
  • Student government officer
  • National honor society membership
  • Eagle/Gold award (scouting)
  • Billy Mitchell award (Civil Air Patrol)
  • School club/activity president/chairman
Cadet Leadership Statistics

The Academy attracts top students from across the nation. A typical class contains a high percentage of students who have not only demonstrated excellence in academics, but in athletic and non-athletic extracurricular activities as well.

Activity Percentage of Class
Athletic Letter Award 82
National Honor Society 65
Scouting 26
Boys/Girls State or Nation 22
Class President or VP 17
Valedictorian/Salutatorian 11

Back to Top


Applying to the Academy requires dedication. Are you ready?

Start Your Online Application