Wednesday, March 16, 2011

United States Air Force Academy

People can tour the academy without having to pay for tickets. It is quite educational.

The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA or Air Force), located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States, is an institution for the undergraduate education of officers for the United States Air Force. Graduates of the four-year program receive a Bachelor of Science degree and most are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force. The Academy is also one of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado, welcoming more than a million visitors each year.

The Air Force Academy is among the most selective colleges in the United States. Candidates are judged based on their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, athletics and character. To gain admission, candidates must also pass a fitness test, undergo a thorough medical examination and secure a nomination, which usually comes from one of the candidate's members of Congress. Recent incoming classes have usually consisted of about 1,400 cadets; just under 1,000 of those usually make it through to graduation. Cadets pay no tuition, but are committed to serve a number of years in the military service after graduation.

The program at the Academy is guided by its core values of "Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do" and based on four "pillars" of excellence: military training, academics, athletics and character development. In addition to a rigorous military training regimen, cadets also take a broad academic course load with an extensive core curriculum in engineering, humanities, social sciences, basic sciences, military studies and physical education. All cadets participate in either intercollegiate or intramural athletics. A thorough character development and leadership curriculum also provides cadets a basis for future officership. Each of the components of the program is intended to provide cadets the skills and knowledge that they will need for success as officers.


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