United States Air Force Academy

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Character development is the process that builds and reinforces traits that form a cadet candidate’s commitment to personal excellence and produces quality officers to lead the Air Force.

During the 10 months that cadet candidates spend at the United States Air Force Academy Prep School, they are exposed to a comprehensive program to start building character and leadership skills, which includes a focus on the Academy Honor Code, Air Force Core Values and living by those principles. At the conclusion of Basic Military Training (BMT), each cadet candidate takes the Honor Oath, and “steps across the line” prior to the start of the academic year.

The Prep School’s progressive character development training also gives cadet candidates the opportunity to participate in guest speaker lectures and discussions, attend the Academy’s National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS) and become involved in various community service projects. Cadet candidates have many opportunities to build character through service – each year they devote hundreds, if not thousands of hours to serving the Academy and local communities. Past efforts include:

  • Science Fair judging: organized by the Science Department, cadet candidates travel to local elementary schools, acting as guest judges for science fairs
  • Food/toy drive: for the holidays, cadet candidates collect food or toys and deliver to a local non-profit
  • Halloween trunk or treat: cadet candidates participate in handing out candy to children in a safe, on-base function put on by the 10th Air Base Wing

Cadet candidates also take part in Healthy Relationship training and learn about policies regarding sexual harassment and discrimination. Ultimately, the Prep School is laying the foundation for cadet candidates to succeed at the Academy and starts them on the path to becoming leaders of character.