Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why BDPA Students Should Consider the US Air Force Academy

by Heather Roberts (US Air Force)
Originally posted 12/8/2009

When selecting a college or university to attend, high school students have a plethora of choices. However, in today's society attending the right institution has a direct impact one’s ability for future success. Coupled with the fact attending the right instruction is not cheap. Attending a service academy becomes a very attractive option because it provides a student with a quality education as well as guaranteed employment upon graduation.

A service academy is a undergraduate institution established to prepare young men and women to become officers in the military. There are five service academies in the United States. They are:
  1. United States Military Academy (West Point)
  2. United States Naval Academy
  3. United States Air Force Academy
  4. United States Merchant Marines
  5. United States Coast Guard
When narrowing down your choice of these five academies a high school student should consider attending the Air Force Academy to pursue their education for the following reasons:
  1. Become an officer of character to lead the Air Force and Nation in the future
  2. Graduate with a bachelors of science and 2nd Lieutenant commission; earn a salary starting at approximately $40,000 per year and owe no college loans
  3. All training and education are interwoven with leadership and character development
    • Military Training
    • Academic Education
    • Athletic/Physical Fitness
  4. Training/Education programs valued over $403,000 with $894 monthly stipend
  5. World Class facilities and faculty with an average class size of 18 cadets
    • State of the Art Facilitates
    • Student/Faculty ratio of 8 to 1
    • 100% full-time faculty; both civilian and active duty AF officers
  6. Recognized institution with 32 academic majors (102 hours core curriculum)
  7. Athletic/Sports; 17 men/10 women Division I teams and 46 club sports
  8. Aviation: free-fall parachuting, soaring gliders, and powered flight
  9. Summer Training Programs; leadership training, cultural immersion, language immersion and character development
US News & World Reports recently ranked "Americas Best Colleges 2009" and the US Air Force Academy ranked:
  • #1 Baccalaureate College (West)
  • #1 Undergraduate Business Management
  • #2 Aero & Astro Engineering
  • #8 Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • #8 Electrical Engineering
  • #8 Civil Engineering
US Air Force Academy students also compete for annual post-graduate opportunities that include:
  • 30-40 National Competitive Scholarships
    • Rhodes
    • Truman
    • Marshall
  • 16 Graduate School Programs
  • 17 Medical School Scholarships
  • 2 Dental/Nursing Scholarships
There are other programs and opportunities that you will be available to you, including: Semester Abroad, Operations AF Tour, Cadet Training, Youth Programs, Aviation Programs, Satellite Applications, AF Basic Training, Combat Survival and AF Research/Engineering.

The admissions process is extensive and competitive. Only 18% of the students that apply are accepted for admission. However, BDPA students can expect assistance from the US Air Force if they consider the following admission tips:
  1. Start before the end of your junior year (March/April)
  2. Looking for leadership potential, athletic ability, academics and character
  3. Dual but separate process to attend a military service academy; an appointment from USAFA and a Nomination from your Congressional Representative or Senator (other military-affiliated categories exist)
  4. Complete a medical examination
  5. Pass a candidate fitness assessment
I encourage all BDPAers to share this information with any young person between the ages of 17-23 who might be interested in attending the US Air Force Academy.

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