Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the completion requirements of the Preparatory School?
A: Each cadet candidate must demonstrate an aptitude for commissioned service and leadership, must exhibit satisfactory conduct and personal integrity, and must have successfully met all physical, academic, and military requirements.
Q: If I complete the Preparatory School, will I automatically receive an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy?
A: Successful completion of the 10-month Preparatory School program is critical but not a guarantee of admission to the Academy. Approximately 75–80 percent of cadet candidates are offered appointments annually. The Preparatory School Commander recommends deserving cadet candidates for appointment to the Academy Board, the final authority concerning appointments. Nominations are also still required for admission to the Academy. See nomination information
Q: Do cadet candidates wear uniforms and work like the active duty Air Force?
A: Cadet candidates wear Air Force uniforms and serve as either active duty airmen, or as reserve airmen on active orders for the purpose of attending the Preparatory School. All cadet candidates are student athletes, are expected to maintain military standards, and are subject to the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Q: What are the housing arrangements for cadet candidates?
A: Cadet candidates live in pairs in one of three Preparatory School dorms from arrival to graduation. All dorms buildings are co-ed with community bathrooms and laundry facilities, but female cadet candidates reside on the first floor.
Q: Will I be able to wear civilian clothes?
A: You will not be authorized to wear civilian clothing for the first few months at the Preparatory School. Later in the academic year, cadet candidates who earn privileges through performance are authorized to wear civilian clothing.
Q: How physically demanding is Basic Military Training (BMT)?
A: BMT is an intentionally challenging and stressful environment meant to promote individual and team growth. It introduces cadet candidates to the profession of arms, assimilates them into military culture, and lays the foundation for military training conducted throughout the academic year. BMT involves rigorous physical exercise and training, including calisthenics and long runs, to ensure cadet candidates are at the fitness level required to successfully complete the Preparatory School, and appoint to the Academy. You should arrive in the best physical shape possible as the elevation is 7,000 feet above sea level and acclimating will be easier if you have prepared yourself physically.
Q: Does the Preparatory School offer opportunities to compete athletically?
A: Approximately 40% of the cadet candidates attending each year are recruited athletes for any of the 27 NCAA Division I teams at USAFA. The Preparatory School funds four teams (football, men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling) which compete against top-level Junior Colleges and Preparatory School. We also organize and compete a co-ed soccer team at the Junior College and club level. Schedules and the number of competitions each season depend upon the ability to field each team. Individuals who wish to walk-on are assessed by the coaching staff and must be able to compete at the intercollegiate level. Walk-ons are not considered recruited athletes and are not guaranteed the opportunity to walk-on at USAFA.
Q: How many funded sports teams compete at the USAFA Preparatory School?
A: The Preparatory School has four funded sports teams to include; Football, men’s and woman’s basketball, and wrestling. However, the Preparatory School does support individuals from the other 25 different men’s and women’s Division I NCAA teams.
Q: What percentage of the Preparatory School students are recruited athletes?
A: Approximately 40% of the cadet candidates are recruited athletes.
Q: How many games/competitions do the Cadet Candidates have each year?
A: Due to COVID-19 athletic seasons may be shortened or cancelled at the discretion of the league governing bodies. Under normal conditions: Football (6-8), wrestling (~15), men’s basketball (25-30), woman’s basketball (20-25).
Q: Who does the Preparatory School compete against?
A: Top-level Junior colleges and prep schools to include USMAPS.
Q: What are the athletic facilities like?
A: The Milazzo center was renovated in 2014 and includes a Division I weight room with 24 racks, staffed Athletic Training, Rehabilitation & Hydro rooms, a wrestling facility, as well as men’s & women’s locker rooms.
Q: Does the Preparatory School have an athletic training staff?
A: The Preparatory School has three-full time certified athletic trainers.
Q: Can my friends and family visit me?
A: Due to the COVID-19 virus, the 2020 Parents’ Weekend has been cancelled for the Preparatory School. Under normal conditions, Cadet Candidates can earn privileges to leave base and visit with family and friends by performing academically, athletically, militarily. The scheduled pass and leave periods include Thanksgiving, winter break, and spring break.
Q: Will I be able to attend weekly religious services?
A: Religious accommodations are a high priority, but they also depend on mission requirements. Every effort will be made to accommodate your religious requests. For those faiths that are not serviced by the chapel on base, cadet candidates are normally afforded the opportunity to attend services in the local community.
Q: When will I be able to go home or take leaving during the academic year?
A: When not on official leave, cadet candidates are required to remain within a 150-mile radius of the Academy. Official leave periods, during which you can travel outside that radius, include approximately five days for Thanksgiving break, two weeks for winter break, and one week for spring break. For the 2020-2021 Academic Year, Thanksgiving and winter break will be a combined period of approximately six weeks (although the first two weeks of this break will involve online coursework); spring break will remain one week but will be restricted to within a 150-mile radius of the Academy. Additional leave time that would cause you to miss academic or other military duties is only granted in exceptional circumstances.
Q: Am I allowed to leave campus other than during leave periods?
A: Due to COVID-19, Cadet Candidates may experience greater restrictions to campus and base facilities throughout the year. Under normal conditions, Cadet Candidates are subject to a Phased Privileges Program. Passes for off-base travel and other privileges such as civilian clothing, vehicle privileges, and use of electronic devices (gaming, TV, music) are earned through individual and group performance.
Q: Why isn’t the Preparatory School program accredited?
A: We made a deliberate decision to remain unaccredited in order to maintain the flexibility necessary to customize our curriculum to achieve student success and best prepare each cadet candidate for entry to and success at USAFA. Lack of accreditation also guarantees NCAA compliance so our recruited athletes do not lose a year of eligibility.
Q: Does coursework transfer to another university or college if I decide to depart the Preparatory School or do not appoint to USAFA?
A: Despite our unaccredited status, we offer a world-class academic program. The awarding of transfer credit is at the discretion of the institution you choose to attend and our Dean of Faculty is the best contact to work with your school to assess transfer credit criteria.
Q: I attended the Preparatory School. Can I get a copy of my transcript?
A: Yes. We keep transcripts for 25 years after the graduation date, and they may be requested by former attendees at any time, and at no cost. Older transcripts may not be available. If you need a transcript, complete this form and email or fax it back to us. Requests take three to five business days to be processed.
Q: How can I find out about employment opportunities at the Preparatory School?
A: Please visit usajobs.gov to search for current open positions!