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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Selection Criteria

To gain admission to the United States Air Force Academy, you must strive to supply your best possible performance regarding each admissions requirement and at each application step. Your performance on all admissions factors combine to create your overall competitive standing amongst prospective students, or cadets, and may lead to an offer of appointment to the Academy.

A Selection Panel, composed of a cross section of senior Academy staff, reviews each completed admissions file according to our admissions guidelines. The quantitative admissions factors reviewed by the panel are your Weighted (Objective) Composite score, which is derived from your Academic Composite and Extracurricular Composite scores. The panel also evaluates qualitative components of your application to assess each candidate’s motivation and potential for success at the Academy and future performance as an Air Force officer of character.

It is in this qualitative review that Character Assessment items such as your writing sample and Academy Liaison Officer Interview as well as your Fitness Assessment and everything else in the admissions file is considered in evaluating the “whole person.” The assignment of a Selection Panel Rating to each file is the final step in the selection process and occurs as soon as your file is complete (note that your Medical Evaluation and your Nominations can still be pending). Your Selection Panel Rating combines with your other scores to derive your Selection Composite score.

Your scores are used to derive your overall competitive standing amongst applicants. Note that strong academic qualifications alone are not enough to make you competitive for appointment to the Academy. Conversely, if your academic qualifications are not extremely high, you may have the potential to become competitive through the remaining qualifying factors. The relative weighting of the scores that go into your overall competitive standing are:

  • Academic Composite: 50%
  • Extracurricular Composite: 20%
  • Selection Composite: 30%

After review of the entire file, the selection panel will also make a qualitative/holistic recommendation on admission. This recommendation is considered along with the Selection Composite, the needs of the Air Force and any legislative requirements in selecting individuals for appointment.

Weighted (Objective) Composite

This score is a combination of your academic composite score and extracurricular composite score. A relatively low score for either component may result in a noncompetitive composite score. This score is the objective measure of a candidate’s overall potential to succeed at the Academy. It is translated into an overall competitive rating that is furnished to your Members of Congress, from September through January, and may be used in their nomination decisions.

Academic Composite

This score is a combination of your SAT Reasoning or ACT scores and your Prior Academic Record (PAR) and is the most heavily weighted component of the selection composite. We automatically select the combination of test scores, either SAT Reasoning or ACT, which produces your highest possible academic composite.

A low PAR and low test scores will usually result in an academic composite score below our competitive guidelines. For more detail, see the Academic Performance admissions factor.

Extracurricular Composite

This score measures your activities (athletic and nonathletic) in high school, community service and work. Low participation in sanctioned or high school athletic and nonathletic extracurricular activities may result in a noncompetitive extracurricular composite score. However, consideration will be given to candidates from schools that do not offer typical athletic and extracurricular activities, as well as to candidates who work after school.

Special consideration is always given to unusual accomplishments either in or out of school. For more detail, see the Extracurricular Activities admissions factor.

Selection Composite

This final score combines all admission factors into an overall competitive standing comprised of your Weighted Composite score plus your holistic Selection Panel Rating. This rating includes all the qualitative components and intangibles that may be present in a candidate’s record.

A relatively low Weighted Composite plus a low Selection Panel Rating will usually result in a non-competitive Selection Composite score.


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