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Australian Defence Force Academy

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I want to join the Australian Defence Force and come to ADFA, what do I do?
  2. Do I get weekends and public holidays off, and can I go home on weekends?
  3. Will I have access to a telephone if I need to contact family and friends?
  4. Will I have access to email?
  5. Do I have to move to Canberra?
  6. Do I always have to do physical training?
  7. Is sport compulsory?
  8. What are the medical and physical fitness requirements for entry?
  9. What facilities are available on campus?
  10. What is the standard of accommodation like?
  11. What is the food like?
  12. Can I have visitors at ADFA?
  13. What happens after I graduate from ADFA?
  14. Where are the postings after I graduate?
  15. What is the difference between officer entry and general entry?
  16. Where do I find information on a particular job?
  17. When is the ADFA Open Day held?
  18. Do I need to complete a UAC form if I have applied for ADFA?
  19. When do ADFA applications close?
  20. What is the difference between ADFA and RMC Duntroon?
  21. What will be my rank in commencing at ADFA?
  22. What support do I have available to me at ADFA?
  23. What happens if I don't like it, is there a cooling-off period?
  24. If I take a particular job can I change over to another job/Service at a later stage?
  25. How long do I have to commit myself to the ADF, once I have joined up?
  26. What should I wear when I am attending my interview with a Defence Careers Adviser?
  27. What should I bring when attending my interview with a Defence Careers Adviser?
  28. What if I do not have a birth certificate as I was born in another country, but I have a passport? Will this do?
  29. Do I have to obtain written references, or just listed references on my application?
  30. What happens after I hand in the application forms?
  31. Can I be employed in off-duty hours?
  32. Do I have to be fit to get in?
  33. Are there any opportunities to further my study?
  34. What happens if I am posted away from home and my mother gets sick?
  35. How do I stand if I have committed an offence years ago?
  36. Do I have to be an Australian citizen?
  37. What medical restrictions govern my eligibility to join?
  38. Do I get a choice where I am posted after graduation? (Location of employment)
  39. Do I get paid?
  40. What can I do in Canberra?
  41. How do I prepare for the first six weeks?
  42. How long to I have to join up for?
  43. What if I don't like it?
  44. What do I bring?
  45. Do I have to share a room?
  46. Do I have to cut my hair?
  47. Do I have to be able to swim?
  48. Do I have to wear a uniform?
I want to join the Australian Defence Force and come to ADFA.

It is important to contact Defence Force Recruiting as soon as possible as the application process for entry to ADFA does take some time. For information on how apply please visit www.defencejobs.gov.au/adfa and go to Application Process on the left navigation bar.

Do I get weekends and public holidays off?

Outside of normal working hours cadets pursue their own activities unless they are involved in sporting commitments or the occasional military exercise. Cadets are encouraged to dedicate part of this time to private study.

Once the academic year commences, cadets may also take local leave in the Canberra area on weekends and public holidays. There is no local leave on weekdays for first years during first session.

Cadets are also entitled to two travel trips to their nominated home address each year at public expense, to visit family and friends. These trips are usually taken during May, July, September or December leave breaks, depending on the training program. This program differs for first, second and third year cadets.

Additional leave may be requested through the chain of command where special circumstances exist.

Will I have access to a telephone if I need to contact family and friends?

ADFA is covered by most major mobile phone networks. Mobile usage is restricted only on the first six weeks of training, where cadets are given designated time each evening to contact family and friends.

Will I have access to email?

Yes. During working hours cadets have access to email facilities through the on campus computer centre. They will also be provided with a student email account through the University of New South Wales. At an additional cost, cadets may connect to the internet from their own personal computer in their room.

Do I have to move to Canberra and live on base?

Cadets are required to live on base while attending ADFA. More information on living in Canberra can be found here. Cadets who are recognised as being married or in a de facto relationship prior to commencing at ADFA may be entitled to rental assistance in a nearby suburb following their initial training.

Postgraduate students are not required to live on base, and may study via distance learning.

Do I always have to do physical training?

To ensure operational capability the Australian Defence Force requires personnel to maintain a high level of physical fitness. ADFA achieves this through regular physical training activities, generally conducted during working hours at least twice a week. A fitness test is conducted a minimum of twice yearly at ADFA and annually after graduation.

Many cadets also compete in a variety of sporting teams and events at the Academy and in the local community.

Is sport compulsory?

Participation in sport is not compulsory for cadets although involvement in at least one sport each season is encouraged. With over 90 ADFA sports teams, there is something to suit most interests. More information on sporting teams is available here.

What are the medical and physical fitness requirements for entry?

For information on the Medical and Physical fitness standards for the Navy, Army and Air Force, please visit Defence Jobs.

What facilities are available on campus?

ADFA facilities available to students include an excellent library and computing centre, internationally recognised engineering research faculty, fully resourced lecture, laboratory and tutorial rooms, the Indoor Sports Centre, which houses a 25m heated swimming pool, three squash courts, a basketball court, a weight training room, an aerobic exercise room, a boxercise room, a circuit room and gymnasium, and 23 hectares of sporting fields.

There are also banking facilities, a bookshop, a coffee shop, dry cleaning, and a hairdresser and florist agency at ADFA. A taxi rank and several bus stops are also located on campus.

What is the standard of accommodation like?

Midshipmen and Officer Cadets live in accommodation blocks on base while they are attending ADFA. Everyone lives on base during the first six weeks, however if you are married or in a recognised de facto relationship you may be entitled to rental assistance in Canberra and its surrounds after the Chief of the Defence Force Parade.

See our accommodation section here.

What is the food like?

The Academy Cadets Mess provides a range of cooked meals as well as a self serve salad and sandwich bar during three meal times every day. Options include vegetarian, halal and low fat meals. When you are away from ADFA on training exercises you will receive Ration Packs and be shown how to prepare and cook them yourself.

Read about the Academy Cadets Mess here.

Can I have visitors at ADFA?

Visitors to the Academy are not permitted to disrupt the study program of the host cadet or any other person. Only in exceptional circumstances will cadets be permitted to receive visitors during programmed working hours or sports periods. For reasons of welfare and security, visitors are not permitted to enter the accommodation blocks without appropriate authorisation from the Divisional Officer.

What happens after I graduate from ADFA?

Upon successful graduation from ADFA, Midshipmen and Officer cadets will be posted by the Navy, Army or Air Force and may complete further career specific training. As part of the application process Air Force Officer Cadets and Navy Midshipmen nominate which job option they wish to pursue. Army Officer Cadets nominate their preferred job option while completing twelve months Officer training at the Royal Military College - Duntroon after graduation from ADFA.

More information about career options is available at Defence Jobs.

Where will I be posted after I graduate?

Australian Defence Force personnel nominate preferred options for the localities and positions to which they would like to be posted. Final decisions are made by Navy, Army and Air Force career management centres with consideration to these preferences and ongoing operational requirements.

What is the difference between officer entry and general entry?

Officers in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are leaders, managers and decision makers in either the Navy, Army or Air Force. An Officer must be capable of using judgement, reason and logic to quickly assess situations and respond accordingly, regardless of complexity. Information on Officer Entry to the Australian Defence Force is at Defence Jobs.

General Enlistment soldiers, sailors and airmen and women operate and maintain military equipment and operating systems including ships, jets, tanks, missile systems, telecommunications networks and electrical generation equipment. Information on General Entry to the Australian Defence Force is available at Defence Jobs.

Where do I find information on a particular job?

Information on every job option within the Australian Defence Force is located on Defence Jobs. Select the industry you are interested in and then on the left navigation menu select "Careers".

When is the ADFA Open Day held?

ADFA Open Day is held in August each year as part of the Canberra Tertiary Open Day. We encourage Year 9, 10, 11 and 12 students who are considering attending or have applied to attend ADFA to come and speak to current cadets, military staff and university lecturers about career opportunities through ADFA.

See our Open Day page for more information.

Information on how to apply is available here.

Do I need to complete a UAC form if I have applied for ADFA?

Yes, in addition to applying through Defence Force Recruiting, students need to submit an application to the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) in NSW, including ADFA as their first university preference.

When do ADFA applications close?

For information on applications, please contact your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre or call 13 19 01.

What is the difference between ADFA and RMC Duntroon?

ADFA is a tri-Service (Navy, Army and Air Force) establishment which combines military and leadership training with a degree from the University of New South Wales.

The Royal Military College - Duntroon is the Army Officer Training establishment. All Army Officers attend RMC - Duntroon, however the length of their training differs depending on their avenue of entry. ADFA Army Officer Cadets complete 12 months of training at RMC - Duntroon following three years training at ADFA.

The Navy Officer Training establishment is the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay.

The Air Force Officer Training establishment is the Officers' Training School in Point Cook, Victoria.

What will be my rank in commencing at ADFA?

On commencing at ADFA all undergraduate officer recruits hold the equivalent rank of either Midshipman (if they are in the Navy) or Officer Cadet (if they are in the Army or Air Force).

What support do I have available to me at ADFA?

ADFA provides cadets with a full range of support services, including academic support services, military chaplains catering to all faiths, and a counselling unit. The Defence Community Organisation is also available to provide comprehensive support services if required.

What happens if I don't like it?

ADFA Midshipmen and Officer Cadets may submit their resignation during their first two years of service. For Midshipmen who have completed a year of training prior to commencing at ADFA, this period ends at the conclusion of their first year at ADFA. Information on the Return of Service Obligation is available here.

If I take a particular job can I change over to another job/Service at a later stage?

The opportunity to request a transfer between jobs and/or Services does exist. However, this option is only available subject to Service requirements.

How long do I have to commit myself to the ADF, once I have joined up?

Generally speaking, you join for six to nine years. However, you must serve to the completion of your ROSO or initial minimum period of service obligation.

What should I wear when I am attending my interview with a Defence Careers Adviser?

There are no formal dress requirements, however, smart casual attire is recommended.

What should I bring when attending my interview with a Defence Careers Adviser?

Any documentation/information required to be brought with you will be detailed by the Defence Careers Adviser. Generally you will need to bring all of your educational results, a resume, written references and birth certificate.

What if I do not have a birth certificate as I was born in another country, but I have a passport? Will this do?

A Defence Recruiting Officer can rely on other documents that support your identification such as a passport or certificate of Australian citizenship.

Do I have to obtain written references, or just listed references on my application?

Written references need to be submitted with the application form, and you will need to bring copies along when you undergo aptitude testing.

What happens after I hand in the application forms?

An application will be assessed against the selection criteria (age, education, etc.) and subject to you being found suitable, you will be called in for a test day.

Can I be employed in off-duty hours?

Yes, with approval of your specific Service. However, while at ADFA, you will be on a good salary and your days will be so full that you will have little time for extra commitments.

Do I have to be fit to get in?

Yes. Physical training plays a very big role in your initial training, so it pays to be as fit as you possibly can.

Are there any opportunities to further my study?

Yes. The ADF encourages its members to further their education by providing financial and leave support and offering postgraduate opportunities, subject to Service requirements.

What happens if I am posted away from home and my mother gets sick?

If your next of kin (NOK) becomes seriously ill, the ADF may provide you with emergency leave and free travel back to your home location.

How do I stand if I have committed an offence years ago?

All applicants must undergo a police check. The ADF does take into consideration your criminal history when assessing your suitability. This is done on a case-by-case basis.

Do I have to be an Australian citizen?

You must be an Australian citizen or have permanent residency status and be eligible for citizenship.

What medical restrictions govern my eligibility to join?

You will be given a medical questionnaire to take home and complete. Those questions with an asterisk require further clarification when you go in for testing.

Do I get a choice where I am posted after graduation? (Location of employment)

You are given the opportunity to express a preference for the facilities, bases, ships or units to which you would like to be posted. While the ADF will try to fulfil your posting preferences you may be posted to any locality if there is a Service requirement.

Do I get paid?

As a member of the Australian Defence Force you will receive a salary and other benefits. Visit Defence Jobs for more information on careers in the Australian Defence Force.

What can I do in Canberra?

As the nation's capital, Canberra offers all the facilities you would expect in a capital city. There is an almost unlimited number of sporting pursuits that you can take part in, along with an enormous range of museums, galleries, cinemas, restaurants and bars. What's more, it's only a two-hour drive to the ski fields or the coast.

How do I prepare for the first six weeks?

It is essential that you arrive at ADFA with a good base level of fitness. Before you arrive at ADFA, practice some form of endurance training, such as taking long walks (40 – 60 minutes) or bush walking, and get used to being on your feet for extended periods and building up lower leg muscles. This kind of training should help prepare you for standing, running, walking, marching and drill movements. Good eating habits are also essential, especially eating breakfast.

Your arrival at ADFA may be the first occasion you have lived away from home. The transition to Academy life will be much easier if you come equipped with a number of life skills. You will be required to do your own washing and ironing. You will also be required to keep your room clean and take part in cleaning of common bathroom and laundry facilities that you will share with three others, as well as the cleaning of the passageways and other common areas. None of these activities will be particularly onerous, but they will be much easier for you if you arrive at ADFA with some understanding of the basics – how to do your laundry, and use an iron and vacuum cleaner.

How long to I have to join up for?

Generally speaking, you join for six to nine years, however after completing your second year of study you must serve to the completion of your Return of Service Obligation. This is to ensure that the Service is able to gain an acceptable return on the investment made in your training and education.

The length of the ROSO you will incur varies between jobs and degrees, and gives you the opportunity to put your skills into practice in a junior leadership role, guaranteed on graduation.

What if I don’t like it?

Resignations are not permitted during the first six weeks at ADFA. Moving away from home and adjusting to the training environment at ADFA can take some time, and we encourage you to make the most of the opportunity to study and train with us.

If you choose to resign after your second year of study at ADFA, you will be required to reimburse the Commonwealth for the cost of your training. The amount to be reimbursed is determined by the Minister for Defence.

What do I bring?

When you are accepted to ADFA you will receive a letter explaining what to bring during the first six weeks. When you arrive at ADFA on your first day you will bring luggage on a plane or bus paid for by Defence with clothing, toiletries and sleepwear for the first six weeks. You will be issued with uniforms, stationery and other essential living items. After the first six weeks your other personal possessions can be brought to Canberra at public expense.

Do I have to share a room?

You will be provided with your own private and secure room in a building, or accommodation block, which you will share with around 40 other people – your Division. Your room has a bed, cupboard, drawers, desk and shelves. Each corridor of four individual rooms shares a bathroom and laundry facilities. Each accommodation block also has a central recreation room furnished with a television, video and DVD player, sound system, lounge chairs, and a kitchenette with a microwave and refrigerator. You will be responsible for cleaning your room and sharing the cleaning of the common areas.

Do I have to cut my hair?

Male ADF members are required to have their hair cut short, back and sides, with no unusual length on the top. Female ADF members put their hair up in a braid or bun, or wear a cut that does not touch the bottom of a buttoned shirt collar.

Do I have to be able to swim?

All Midshipmen and Officer Cadets undergo a swim test to establish individual swimming competency, and must pass before participating in water based adventure training activities. If you are not a strong swimmer, the ADFA Physical Training Instructors will provide swimming lessons during the year.

Do I have to wear a uniform?

All Midshipmen and Officer Cadets are issued with Service uniforms which they wear at all times during their military training and academic studies. During the first six weeks you will be fitted for uniforms and begin wearing Physical Training and Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniforms (DPCU's). Your normal day uniform and ceremonial parade uniform will be made to measure and delivered during your training.

You may wear casual clothes in the accommodation blocks, and smart casual clothes for activities such as a visit to the Australian War Memorial, and a day at a local shopping centre. The dress for dinner at the Academy Cadets Mess, is collared shirt and tie for men and equivalent for women.

During academic sessions you may apply for short leave from ADFA outside of normal working hours. You will not wear uniform on short leave.

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