Categorization, the process of applying for rated officer positions (pilot, CSO, RPA & ABM), takes place one year before graduation - typically your junior year, or senior year if you're a 5-year cadet. The process is competitive, but you'll have several years to establish a strong reputation as a cadet beforehand.
There are specific formulas to determine who receives rated slots. They incorporate your grades, PFA score, AFOQT scores, LEAD results, and how you rank among your peers. For pilots, it also includes your TBAS score and number of logged flight hours. Bottom line: excel in academics, stay fit, and be a team player! There are also obviously many medical requirements, but waivers to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis are not uncommon.
Det 875 has had a 98% selection rate for rated positions such as Pilot, CSO, ABM, and RPA over the past 6 years. The national average is 77%.
Det 875 cadets also have the opportunity to fly gliders at the New Castle International Gliderport.
Experience the thrill of unpowered flight as you take the controls of modern gliders under the watchful eye of an experienced Blue Ridge Soaring Society pilot.
Air Force Flyers is an organization that is focused on the advancement of aviation knowledge for cadets to better prepare for pilot careers in the Air Force. They teach an abbreviated ground course to supply cadets with a base of information and also instruct cadets on a professional flight simulator to allow cadets to gain a sense of what it feels like to be in the cockpit. Lastly, Flyers is devoted to officer outreach, specifically rated officers who are willing to spread their wealth of knowledge to tell the cadets what it is actually like to be a pilot in the United States Air Force.
If you end up not receiving a rated slot, remember that there are many other amazing opportunities in the world's greatest Air Force, including intelligence, special operations, maintenance, space, missiles, logistics, cyber operations, security forces, and engineering.