The academy has “a very difficult academic environment with a high focus on engineering classes,” and the core curriculum includes basic engineering, engineering mechanics, electrical engineering, aeronautical engineering, and astronautical engineering. Fortunately, professors are “very accessible,” “present a challenging classroom experience that promotes critical thought,” and “make class a discussion.” There is “also extra instruction from teachers and the resources available for research,” and students help each other out when another is struggling, as well. Faculty is a mix of civilian and military professors, which “gives a great insight into the jobs we can expect in the military after graduation as well as potential civilian career fields after service,” according to one cadet.
Students can expect “absolutely no lecture hall classes,” as every section is held in a classroom with anywhere from five to thirty students. Given the future careers of the cadets, plenty of learning takes place experientially, and airmanship programs (such as “powered flight, soaring (flying gliders), the aerobatic demonstration team, and our skydiving teams”) are a huge part of the school and are “an extremely fun and unique part of our lives.”
Unsurprisingly, cadets here are all “highly motivated, A-type personalities that give 100 percent in everything they do.” This group of “super smart,” “driven” individuals are also “respectable” and “athletic,” which explains what one junior refers to as “the smartest offensive line in the NCAA.” Everyone is in a uniform from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. so there is a commonality from the start. Basic Cadet Training (BCT) “makes people work together,” and “with going through the same experience, allows lifetime bonds to start growing.” This experience is unique, and “each class year has a specific sense of pride and unity as a team.” “We are all going into the same Air Force after we graduate so we need to learn to work together,” says a junior.
“Everyone here is pretty accepting to other cultures and backgrounds and it is easy to make friends,” says a cadet of the many organizations to fit into, including “your squad, your team, your club, your academic major, and failing all that your friends.”
Life is “very controlled” here, and as it is a military academy students “have to follow military laws in addition to civilian laws.” Therefore, most students “do not drink underage and would not ever do any sort of drug.” For fun, cadets do “normal things,” such as “[skiing] in the winter, pickup basketball, video games, go watch a movie, [and] go to Denver and walk around the city.”