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UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY
LEADERS ENCOURAGING AIRMAN DEVELOPMENT (LEAD)
PROGRAM
DIRECTORATE OF ADMISSIONS
USAF ACADEMY, CO
9 JAN 2013
TABLE OF CONTENTS
USAF Academy Director of Admissions Letter…………………………………………2
Background Paper on LEAD Program…………………………………………………..2
LEAD Timetable……..…………………………………………………………………….3
Guidelines………………………………………………………………………………….3
AF Form 1786, Application for Appointment to USAFA Under Quota for Airman….3
USAFA Counselors (By Region)………………………………………………………...4
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions……………………………………………….4-5
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MEMORANDUM FOR BASE EDUCATION OFFICES
FROM: HQ USAFA/RR
2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 2300
USAF Academy CO 80840-5025
SUBJECT: Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development (LEAD) Program
1. The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and its Preparatory School offer magnificent opportunities
for our sharpest enlisted personnel to enter the commissioned ranks. Prior enlisted cadets possess both
military knowledge and proven reliability which makes them the archetype cadet and commissioned officer.
2. We are looking for Commanders and Chiefs to find and nominate “leading edge” Airmen. Specifically, we
are looking for top performers with the highest moral character, strong academic ability, and who are physically
fit. Interested Airmen should complete the AF Form 1786 and contact their local Base Education Office for
assistance in the USAFA application process. We have Admissions Liaison Officers in every local area and
Admissions counselors at the Air Force Academy who will help Airmen navigate the application process. For
assistance, please call the Admissions office at 719-333-2233 (DSN 333).
3. The prior-enlisted cadets attending USAFA are truly among the best the Air Force has to offer, and it is
because of your vision and dedication to the LEAD program that they are here. We are grateful for your
dedication to the Air Force and support of the LEAD program. I look forward to seeing your talented Airmen
here at your United States Air Force Academy.
CAROLYN A.M. BENYSHEK, Colonel, USAF
Director of Admissions
____________________________________________________________________________________
LEADERS ENCOURAGING AIRMAN DEVELOPMENT (LEAD) PROGRAM
The LEAD Program is an on-going effort to give our best and brightest airmen the opportunity to excel by
offering them appointments to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The program, initiated
by Gen Fogleman in 1995, delegates authority to Unit and Wing Commanders to nominate highly qualified airmen
to attend the Preparatory School with the intention of an Academy appointment to follow. Commanders have the
opportunity to identify outstanding and deserving airmen with officer potential for this commissioning program.
Eighty-Five slots are available for direct entry to the Academy and the Preparatory School for active duty
Airmen who meet entry criteria. These slots are highly competitive. Airmen must be a U.S. citizen or be able to
obtain citizenship before entry into the Academy the following year, be unmarried and have no dependents, be of
high moral character, must not have passed their twenty second birthday by 1 July of the entering year (this
cannot be waived as it is a stipulation of Title 10, United States Code) for entry into the Preparatory School, and
must not have passed their twenty third birthday by 1 Jul of the entering year for direct entry to the Academy.
There are also Eighty-Five slots available to Guard and Reserve Airmen who must meet the same criteria as the
active duty Airmen.
Application: Complete the Pre-Candidate Questionnaire online and submit the AF Form 1786, Application for
Appointment to the United States Air Force Academy Under Quota Allotted to Enlisted Members of the Regular
and Reserve Components of the Air Force. This form requires the airman’s personal information, immediate
commander’s endorsement (no lower than squadron commander or equivalent), and Military Personnel Flight
(MPF) Assignments coordination. The MPF places the airman in assignment availability code (AAC) 05 and
coordinates on AF Form 1786. The completed form must reach the Air Force Academy Admissions Office NLT 31
Jan of the entry year. Once your application has been processed, you will be notified by the Admissions office
concerning additional requirements such as the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), an extensive medical
evaluation, completion of an interview with an Admissions Liaison Officer, completion of a writing sample, and
attainment of qualifying scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the American College Test. Applicants should
also be involved in the community and in athletic activities either in high school or after high school.
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LEAD Timetable
- AF Form 1786 submitted
1 Mar (year prior to entry) – 31 Jan (year of entry)
- Submit Pre-Candidate
Questionnaire on-line at
http://www.academyadmissions.com
NLT 31 Dec (Airman’s responsibility)
- Completed Candidate Packages
NLT 28 Feb for USAFA direct entry
NLT 28 Feb for Preparatory School
- USAFA provides MAJCOMs
list of qualified candidates (non selected
Airmen availability code is pulled at this time)
Apr
- Airmen can accept/decline
Until May
Guidelines:
Guidelines for Direct Appt: SAT Verbal 580 and SAT Math 560. ACT English 24, Reading 24, Math 25,
and Science Reasoning 25. Top 20% of high school class or about a 3.50 GPA if school does not rank.
Candidates should have taken a college preparatory curriculum in high school which included mathematics
through pre-calculus and should have also taken a high school chemistry course. College work at the
community college level or higher which makes up for missed high school curriculum can compensate for some
weakness in the high school record and will be considered. See the admissions website at
http://www.academyadmissions.com for more information on suggested college preparatory curriculum.
Guidelines for Preparatory School Appt: SAT Verbal 480 and SAT Math 500. ACT English 20,
Reading 20, Math 20, and Science Reasoning 20. Top 40% of high school class or about a 2.70 GPA if school
does not rank. Candidates should have taken a college preparatory curriculum in high school which included
mathematics through algebra II. Pre-calculus and a high school chemistry course are strongly encouraged.
College work at the community college level or higher can compensate for some weakness in the high school
record and will be considered. Candidates should consider taking math and science (with a lab) courses. The
time since high school graduation and whether an airman is currently taking or has taken college level courses
will also be evaluated in determining suitability for direct entry to the Academy or entry to the Preparatory
School.
Any questions about the LEAD Program should be directed to USAFA Admissions at 719-333-2233
or email: [email protected]
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
AF FORM 1786, Application for Appointment to the USAF Academy Under Quota Allotted to
Enlisted Members of the Regular and Reserve Components of the Air Force
The AF Form 1786 is an application for a nomination for appointment to the Academy and an
appointment to the Prep School. Active duty and reserve airmen are allocated “slots” for each entering class
based on their enlisted status. Thus, they do not need a presidential, vice presidential, or congressional
nomination as do the vast majority of students entering the Academy each year. The AF Form 1786 is the
formal paperwork required to obtain their “individual nomination”.
The AF Form 1786 must (1) be completed by the member, (2) endorsed by the squadron commander
or higher, and (3) processed by the Military Personnel Flight (MPF). The MPF will place the Airman in
assignment availability code (AAC) 05. The squadron commander, not wing commander, must provide a
separate endorsement letter to encompass a comprehensive statement of the applicant’s character, ability, and
motivation to become a career officer, which must be included with the AF Form 1786 (in some MAJCOMs, the
wing commanders have directed their own involvement, but we require only the immediate commander’s
endorsement).
The purpose of the letter is to verify that the information provided on the AF Form 1786 is correct and to
provide the Academy with a positive or negative endorsement of the individual pursuing this commissioning
program. The airman’s personnel folder should be screened to see if any Unfavorable Information File (UIF)
documentation, letters of reprimand, etc., exists. The squadron commander is our “safety net” to ensure only
our top airmen enter the Academy. These commanders should subjectively analyze if an airman “has the
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potential” to become an Air Force officer. Minor infractions such as a speeding ticket or missed appointment
may not in themselves warrant disapproval but a “pattern” of misconduct might. Bottom line: we are looking for
Airmen who will become Officers of Character and embody the Air Force Core Values.
If an airman has already submitted an on-line application earlier in the year, their application package
would have already identified the need for transcripts, therefore, transcripts are only required as part of the AF
Form 1786 “package” if this is the first correspondence with the Academy.
AF Form 1786 is available on-line at: http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/
Go to “Short Title” and type in “AF Form 1786” to bring up the form to be downloaded and completed.
USAF ACADEMY COUNSELORS
The Air Force Academy receives tens of thousands of correspondence from young men and women
interested in attending the Air Force Academy. A “student file” is activated and maintained by one of the 10
counselors assigned to the Selections Division in the Directorate of Admissions. Counselors also take inquires
from students interested in the status of their file. To minimize the amount of inquiries, only airmen should call
their counselor; not supervisors, commanders, or even base education office personnel. Which counselor to
call is determined by base assigned (not home of record). Students, supervisors, commanders may also
contact their local Education Services Center for information and assistance.
The toll free number is 1-800-443-9266
Region 1: CT, ME, DE, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VA, DC, WV, and APO AE.
DSN 333-3801/COMM 719-333-3801
Region 2: AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and APO AA.
DSN 333-3802/COMM 719-333-3802
Region 3: IA, ID, IL, IN, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, OH, SD, WA, WI, WY, and Canada.
DSN 333-3803/COMM 719-333-3803
Region 4: AR, AZ, KS, LA, MO, NM, OK, TX and Central and South America.
DSN 333-3804/COMM 719-333-3804
Region 5: AK, CA, CO, HI, NV, OR, UT, Asia, Australia, Guam, South Pacific and APO AP.
DSN 333-3805/COMM 719-333-3805
ANSWERS TO COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. I have conflicting information on the current age requirement for the Academy. What are they?
Applicants must be under 23 years of age on 1 Jul of the year that they enter the Academy and under 22 for the
Preparatory School.
2. Is there any LEAD information available on the Internet?
Yes. The Academy’s website at http://www.academyadmissions.com has information: Click Admissions –
Advice to Applicants – Enlisted Airmen
3. How many slots are available for Airmen?
Eighty-Five direct entry slots at the Academy for active duty Airmen are set by law and are based on
nominations allotted by law. However, this number can increase if highly qualified airmen use congressional,
presidential, and vice presidential nominations. There are also eighty-five slots available for Guard and
Reserve Airmen as well.
4. Do Airmen need a nomination?
No. Airmen do not require a congressional nomination. The AF Form 1786 serves as their nomination.
However, Airmen are highly encouraged to seek nominations through the other competitive categories such as
Congressional and Presidential nominations.
5. How critical are test scores and high school GPAs?
Very critical! Sixty percent of an applicant’s eligibility is based on their academic accomplishments. The LEAD
program takes into account the maturity and experience that an airman brings to the Academy and Preparatory
School, but a student can not survive at the Academy without the basic academic knowledge and skills required
for success. Airmen are encouraged to contact their local education offices to sign up for ACT or SAT testing
as soon as possible.
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6. How much does a person’s personnel file (EPRs, training records, etc) affect their appointment?
We expect the individual’s commander to utilize this as a screening tool before signing the AF Form 1786.
Negative quality indicators in an airman’s personnel file can have an effect on their opportunity for an
appointment.
7. What is the percentage of personnel who complete the Preparatory School who make it into the
Academy?
Very High! In the upper 90%. Basically, we have invested a year of time and effort into a “preppie” and make
every effort to prepare them for an Academy appointment. Unless there is some disciplinary or academic action
involved, most who complete the requirements to graduate and obtain the Preparatory School Commander’s
recommendation will have an opportunity to obtain an appointment to the Academy.
8. What if a commander is unwilling to sign the AF Form 1786 on an airman?
That is their prerogative and the basis of the LEAD program. We assume that the commander knows who their
good performers are and will use that information to make an informed decision on who they nominate, taking
into consideration that not signing the AF Form 1786 will take away an airman’s chances of applying.
9. Does an airman lose their Montgomery GI Bill (MGGIB) benefits upon entering the Academy?
According to current VA benefit guidelines, airmen entering the Academy with a service record of 3 yrs or longer
are extended the full 100% benefits of the MGGIB. Prior to/upon entering the Academy these airmen may go to
a base education office and switch the MGGIB to the post 9/11 bill. Airmen with less than three years also have
the ability to switch the MGGIB to the post 9/11 bill but in order to be entitled all 100% of the benefits from the
bill these airmen must first finish their 5 year commitment after the Academy and the following time in service
will be allotted towards the three years of eligibility for full bill benefits.
10. How do most airmen feel about an extra year at the Preparatory School as opposed to entering the
cadet wing directly?
The Preparatory School is a great transition from life as an Airman to life as a student. Airmen will face similar
challenges academically and militarily at the Preparatory School while maintaining their current enlisted pay. It
allows Airmen to practice study skills in a less stressful environment which will aide in their success as a Fourth
Class (freshman) Cadet. Upon graduation from the US Air Force Academy, most Preparatory School Airmen
cite their Preparatory School year as the best of the five years spent at USAFA.
11. What does an airman make in base pay at the Preparatory School?
Airmen maintain their prior-enlisted pay while at the Preparatory School.
12. Why do Airmen have to take a Department of Defense Medical Review Board (DODMERB) medical
examination?
DOD regulations require all applicants applying to a Service Academy to undergo a DODMERB exam.
13. What role does the MPF play in the process?
The MPF will place the individual in assignment availability code (AAC) 05 and coordinates on AF Form 1786 in
the bottom of block 15. The availability code will place a hold on any PCS orders until the Airman is either
offered an appointment or declined an appointment. (Additionally, see question 15)
14. What happens if I miss the 31 Dec deadline for the Pre-Candidate Questionnaire (PCQ)?
The PCQ allows us to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. It is completed by ALL applicants prior
to receiving an official candidate application kit. Please make every effort to complete the PCQ prior to the 31
Dec deadline to determine for yourself (and your commander) that you will be competitive for admission to
USAFA or the USAFA Preparatory School. If you miss this deadline for unavoidable circumstances (such as a
deployment), please contact your counselor immediately prior to the 31 Jan deadline (of entry year) for the AF
Form 1786. Your assigned counselor can assist you.
15. Should I complete a new AF IMT 2030 (Drug and Alcohol Abuse Certificate)?
Contact your base personnel office (MPF) to obtain a copy of the original 2030 you completed when you first
enlisted. Mail or fax a copy of that 2030 to your assigned counselor. Additionally, you will need to complete a
new AF IMT 2030 as part of your candidate application kit. Please coordinate with your ALO to complete this.
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