As creative as the Harry Potter series may seem, it is not. Hogwarts, a fictional place created in the late 90's somehow imitates the Air Force Academy strangely well. Coincidence? NO. J.K. Rowling modeled Hogwarts after USAFA.
Although the AFA would love to pull children into its walls at the early age of 11, muggle laws prevent that, and most soon-to-be wizards obtain their large envelope of acceptance between the ages of 17 and 18 years old. The newly inducted cadets must take a special train, er, bus filled with what many new inductees would call "dementors" slowly sucking their soul. Only the bravest cadets, cadets with high aspirations for Mars may fend off the demetors only to have them return until the cadet leaves or the dementors become upset at their inability to destroy them.
As you can see, nerds are a common sight on the bus.
Their mommys aren't here to protect them now...
The new cadets undergo an intensive 6 week training called "BEAST." Here the wizards and witches learn useless information and spend about 3 weeks on the "hill" wandering around, learning to fly their brooms around in formation, etc. Soon, the basics are sent into the forbidden forest, i.e. Jack's valley and learn to master their wand/rifle until they are proficient. They also spend endless hours at courses learning vital wizarding skills. For example, at Ops Warrior, the basics learn defense against the dark arts. The end of basic training ends with an acceptance into the great school.
BCG's make anyone look like a wizard.
"The day begins at Hogwarts with breakfast in the Great Hall (i.e. Mitch's)" (Wikipedia). Note how everyone dresses in the same manner. Whether or not this is by choice is up for calls.
Although many of the young wizards and witches would rather not go to breakfast after the late nights wandering the "many secret locations and passages" (Wikipedia) or butterbeer Thursday's, they are required by the headmaster, some manage to escape the PTB by crafty magic. Wandering through the secret tunnels that lay beneath the institution is a feat performed by few. These tunnels are protected by magic and the students must be careful while wandering them otherwise they may be chased by the protectors of the tunnels. Crafty tricks and charms must be used to enter these mysterious caverns. Days seem to drag on when there are no dark wizards to destroy, or mischief to be made.
Many wizards like to show off their skills even if they are lacking. They are called tools.
After a tough year of much excessive work imposed by the older wizards, the new cadets undergo a tri-wizard tournament of sorts called recognition. Little is known about recognition since it is shrouded in magic.
Hogwarts' motto is: "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus" The translation is: Never tickle a sleeping dragon. The Air Force Academy also has a code, however it is completely different than the very awesome motto of Hogwarts.
Classes are tough at both institutions
Cadets like to perform many stupid tricks and make ridiculous shows that represent the house they belong to. Much like Hogwarts (divided into four houses), the academy is divided by classes (the four graduating classes). This separation causes some discourse within the institution. For example, when the new students take the class charm of the upper class, the upper class in return, retaliates with a plethora of spells in order to get their charm back.
Also, much like at Hogwarts, there is a variety of people. You have pure-bloods. Those who's heritage is all military. Mudbloods, those who have no military backgrounds are generally very obedient of rules initially and excel in every sector from academia to quidditch. Others are half-blood, these are sometimes the most successful people (as you find with Harry Potter), they are generally emotional, and have bi-polar attitudes towards rules and defeat powerful wizards with defensive spells such as expelliarmis.
Due to the high academic prestige of the Academy all wizards undergo a very rigorous core class curriculum. Everything from potions (the most difficult class that a freshman takes) to muggle studies to black magic. This ridiculous schedule makes the wizards hate their life and causes their stress to rise causing them to get into trouble creating bans on Quidditch matches. However many cadets manage to spend some time in the library... sometimes even wandering into the restricted section.
Both Hogwarts and USAFA are protected by powerful magic hiding the true identity from muggle eyes. There are only a few specific ways to enter into these places. Some students attempt to sneak around but usually get caught. Others who manage to leave without permission and come back charmed generally get caught at the gate causing great unrest with the headmaster and his board. Oddly enough however, the students are more impressed with breaking poor-behavior records rather than protecting their comrades.
Although there are many more secrets attributed to both USAFA and Hogwarts, many of these are still shrouded in magic and cannot be revealed except to the students who attend these prestigious institutions. However, most students cannot wait to get out.
There are also other "sister" institutions that may be related to USAFA, and all the institutions send representatives to compete in Tri-Wizard tournaments or quidditch matches. Unfortunately, those other institutions lack the altitude of USAFA, "far far above..."
An obvious testament to the superiority of USAFA
Their journey through the school ends with a spectacular ceremony which the headmaster leads and dons each graduate the title 'Full Wizard.' This is often the happiest moment of their life.
And [their] scars had not pained [them] for [many] years. All was well.