Created with the express mission “to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the US Air Force in service to our nation”, the United States Air Force Academy stands as the newest of the 5 service academies in this country. Established in 1954 just north of Colorado Springs in (of course) Colorado, it was spent the time since training cadets to become leaders of the skies, offering undergraduate, accredited education that works alongside military training without interrupting it.
One of the most highly selective colleges in the nation, requiring US citizenship, unmarried students without dependants of any sort, and an age of no less than 17, but no more than 23 years old (as well as good moral character). For those “looking for something more from their college experience” rather than just the run of the mill “good education, good times” offered at many universities. The Air Force Academy looks to “push [you] to the limits” to develop the future officers of the skies and is looking for those cadets who realize that “some degree of sacrifice is inherent to the concept of service”.
The US Air Force Academy offers Bachelor of Science degree programs to a student body of no more than 4417 (the Congressionally set maximum), with an educational program built on the principles of academics, training, character development, and athletics (ALL students must engage in some athletic/sport activity). There are a total of 31 academic majors available, from the typical college offerings like Biology and Law, to more Air Force specific programs in Aeronautical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. There are no online or distance learning courses here, as all cadets are trained as well as educated by a 100% full time faculty. Class sizes run small, with an 8:1 student faculty ratio and an average class size of 19.
Cadets live in groups of 110, all signed up as full service participants, with about 25% of the officer force in the Air Force made up of Academy graduates, but more than half of the general officers total. Though 1 out of every 2 cadets end up in flight training, graduates also serve in 15 non-flying related jobs after their Academy experience, with the most popular choices being Operations (air traffic controller, space operations, etc) or the Scientific/Technical side of the Air Force (civil engineering or communications). Many cadets enter the medical side of things as well, with 11 grads in the 2010 class going to Medical School after Academy (Nursing programs are also popular choices).
Knowledge, character, and motivation are key to the Air Force Academy, the core of each cadet that they hope to address and educate as the look for the next leaders of character in the military skies.