United States Air Force Academy

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Image of cadet candidates celebrating during graduation parade.

All prospective cadet candidates must:

  • Be at least 17 years old and not have passed their 22 birthday by July 1 of the year they enter the Preparatory School
  • Be eligible to be a U.S. citizen
  • Be unmarried and have no dependents
  • Meet specific medical standards for a commission in the Air Force
Active Duty Airmen

Only Air Force enlisted members, including Reserve and Guard Airmen, may apply to USAFA via Air Force Form 1786 and will be considered for the Preparatory School. This form is submitted through a member’s unit commander and Military Personnel Flight (MPF). Consult Air Force Instruction (AFMAN) 36-2032 for further details.

Air Force enlisted member service agreements run concurrently with Preparatory School attendance. If a prior enlisted member graduates the Preparatory School and is not selected for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, he or she will be made available for assignment via the Air Force assignment process.

Civilian Students

Civilian students who apply for, but do not receive an appointment to the Academy, will automatically be considered for a Preparatory School appointment.

Civilian selectees are enlisted into the Air Force Reserve, placed on active duty orders for the purpose of attending the Preparatory School, and are considered Direct Entry Cadet Candidates. A direct entry cadet candidate who is not selected for an appointment to the Academy after graduating the Preparatory School is subsequently discharged with no further obligation to the Air Force.

Other Military Enlisted

Enlisted members from the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps are eligible for appointments as civilians and are processed in accordance with the civilian student procedures listed above.