United States Air Force Academy: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

United States Air Force Academy

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The United States Air Force Academy is a federal service academy with an acceptance rate of 11%. The Air Force Academy is highly selective, and the application process is different from many other schools. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements including U.S. citizenship, age, and marital status. Students who meet eligibility requirements can submit a Pre-Candidate Questionnaire application which will determine if they are competitive to become an Official Candidate for admission. Applicants must also receive a nomination from a senator, member of Congress, the Vice President of the United States, or a military-affiliated nominator. Other components to the Air Force application include a medical exam, a fitness assessment, and a personal interview.

Considering applying to the USAFA? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores of admitted students.

Why the United States Air Force Academy?

  • Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Campus Features: USAFA's 18,455-acre campus is both an operational Air Force base and undergraduate university. The iconic Cadet Chapel stands against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 8:1
  • Athletics: The Air Force Falcons compete in the NCAA Division I Mountain West Conference.
  • Highlights: USAFA delivers a high-quality education tuition-free. Upon graduation, students must serve at least five years in the Air Force.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, the U.S. Air Force Academy had an acceptance rate of 11%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 11 students were admitted, making Air Force's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 10,376
Percent Admitted 11%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 98%

SAT Scores and Requirements

The United States Air Force Academy requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 42% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 610 690
Math 620 720
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tell us that most of the U.S. Air Force Academy's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to USAFA scored between 610 and 690, while 25% scored below 610 and 25% scored above 690. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 620 and 720, while 25% scored below 620 and 25% scored above 720. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1410 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Requirements

The U.S. Air Force Academy does not require, but recommends, the SAT writing section. Note that the Air Force Academy participates in the scorechoice program, which means that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates. Applicants who score below 580 on the ERW section and 560 on the math section of the SAT will not typically be competitive for an Air Force Academy appointment.

ACT Scores and Requirements

The U.S. Air Force Academy requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 58% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 27 34
Math 27 32
Composite 28 33

This admissions data tells us that most of the U.S. Air Force Academy's admitted students fall within the top 11% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to USAFA received a composite ACT score between 28 and 33, while 25% scored above 33 and 25% scored below 28.

Requirements

The U.S. Air Force Academy does not require the ACT writing section. Unlike many universities, the Air Force Academy superscores ACT results; your highest subscores from multiple ACT sittings will be considered. Applicants who score below 24 on the English section and 25 on the math/science section of the ACT typically will not be competitive for an Air Force Academy appointment.

GPA

The U.S. Air Force Academy does not provide data about admitted students' high school GPAs; however, the admissions office indicates that most successful applicants tend to rank near the top of their class.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

United States Air Force Academy Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
United States Air Force Academy Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.  Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to the U.S. Air Force Academy. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

The United States Air Force Academy is one of the country's most selective colleges with a low acceptance rate and high average SAT/ACT scores. However, the Air Force Academy has a holistic admissions process involving other factors beyond your grades and test scores. The U.S. Air Force Academy looks at the rigor of your high school courses, not just your grades. The academy requires all candidates to complete an interview and pass a physical fitness assessment. Winning candidates typically demonstrate leadership potential, meaningful extracurricular involvement, and athletic ability.

In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. You can see that the majority of successful applicants had high school grades of "B+" or higher, combined SAT scores of 1250 or better (ERW+M), and ACT composite scores above 26. The higher your grades and standardized test scores, the better your chances of admission.

Tuition Costs and Benefits

The U.S. Air Force Academy pays 100% of the tuition, room and board, and medical and dental care for Air Force Academy cadets. This is in return for five years of active-duty service upon graduation.

First-year cadet pay is $1,087 monthly (as of 2019) before deductions for uniforms, textbooks, a personal computer, and other incidentals.

Cost-reducing perks include regular active-duty benefits such as access to military commissaries and exchanges, commercial transportation, and lodging discounts. Air Force cadets can also fly (space available) in military aircraft around the world.

If You Like USAFA, You May Also Like These Schools

Students interested in the Air Force Academy for its highly-ranked engineering programs may also be interested in MITCaltechCornell UniversityPurdue University, or Stanford.

For those interested in a school affiliated with a branch of the U.S. Military, other options include the Coast Guard Academy, the Merchant Marine AcademyWest Point, and the Naval Academy at Annapolis. These schools have similar admissions procedures to the Air Force Academy, and also have highly selective admissions. 

All admissions data has been sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and the United States Air Force Academy.