Frequently Asked Questions

What ages do you accept?
Applicants must be between 16 and 18 years of age. Applicants who are 18 years old may turn 19 before their class graduates. Please see our How to Apply page.
Is there a cost to the cadet or their family?
Parents are not required to pay tuition or other costs associated with the program. The 22-week Residential Phase program is free to those accepted; however, some specific clothing items are required and may have to be purchased. Please few the packing list on the document page.
Do we have to buy any clothing?
The Academy requires youth to arrive on Reception Day with certain personal and clothing items. Depending on your situation, you may or may not have to purchase some of these things. Please see the packing list on the document page. Examples of some required items include: 2 pairs of running or cross training shoes, white underwear, white t-shirts, a small address book, and a long distance phone card. Applicants are encouraged to bring as many of the items on the Packing List as possible. Items do not have to be purchased new if the applicant already owns the qualifying item. WCCA recommends youth wear their shoes prior to coming to the program to “break them in” so there is less chance of chaffing and blistering. The running shoes will be used everyday, especially during the first two weeks of the program.
What is the duration of the course?
The entire course is 17.5 months in duration and consists of two phases. The Residential Phase in Guernsey is 22 weeks long. Upon graduation from the Residential Phase, cadets enter a 12-month Post-Residential Phase monitored and supported by a matched mentor trained by Academy staff.
When may I visit my cadet?
No parental/legal guardian/family member visitation is allowed during the 22-week Residential Phase. However, each class is programmed for one Home Pass during the Residential Phase. The Home Pass is normally scheduled to coincide with a major federal or state holiday. Announcements with a requested RSVP are sent to parents/legal guardians approximately three weeks prior to Home Pass. Any and all family members are welcome to visit the campus for Home Pass pick-up and to observe the march-in and short drill and ceremony routine. Please visit our News and Event Bulletin Board for scheduled dates.
What if my doctor has me taking medications, may I still attend?
Yes, medications directed by a physician, prescription and over-the-counter, must have a physician’s written order to be used while attending the Program. All medications are secured. Medications do not prohibit you from attending the Program.
How are youth chosen to apply and attend the program?
Youth are recruited through various means ranging from a concerned family member to a referral from any number of high school staff. All applications are screened by Academy staff to determine if WCCA’s can provide each youth’s needs, if the Academy is the right fit for the youth, and if the applicant has the desire to adapt to the quasi-military lifestyle and ultimately complete the Residential Phase.
What is the profile of a class?
They are all volunteers, have no felony convictions, are non-smokers, and are drug free at time of entry to the Academy. Most have not completed 10th or 11th grades and yet 25-30% test out academically at 11th or 12th grade level using the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) survey. Applicants come from all over the state of Wyoming and a full range of family backgrounds, from those blessed with affluence to those in economic hardship; to those in supportive families to those in unfortunate family situations. Please see our How to Apply page.
What does the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy offer the Cadets?
It offers a safe haven, physical training and educational environment free from the distractions of today’s teenage world and the influences of contemporaries who are not yet ready to become a contributing member and resource to their families and communities.
Can I get my High School Equivalency Certificate while at the program?
Yes. The Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy is a State of Wyoming approved High School Equivalency Certificate testing site. We also offer high school and college credit for those who qualify.
How many hours of school a day?
Youth will attend high school Academic or Core Component classes a minimum of six ( 6 ) hours almost daily (Mon – Fri). Class periods are 90 minutes in length.
What type of courses do I take?
All basic core high school academic classes including math, science, social studies and language arts/English classes. You will also attend Health & Hygiene, Job Skills, Leadership-Followership, and Life-Coping Skills classes. Please see our Core Component page.
Do I go to school five days a week?
For the most part, “Yes”. After the first two weeks of the Residential Phase, regularly scheduled academic and Core Component classes begin.
Can I enroll in College with a High School Equivalency Certificate?
With a High School Equivalency Certificate you have the ability to enroll in community college. The majority of four year colleges will accept students as a junior transfer student if they have a two year degree from a community college.
How is the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy funded?
It is funded with federal dollars provided through the Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau, and matching funds from the Wyoming Legislature. Funds may also be received from other interested governmental and non-governmental agencies or foundations.
When does the next class start?
Classes start in January, April, July, and October each year. Contact WCCA or see Important Class Dates on the News & Events Bulletin Board page for scheduled start dates.
Will I notice a change in my child?
Many parents report positive changes in their Cadet after the first two weeks of the class.