The student body of the Philippine Military Academy is officially called the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines (CCAFP). This student body is composed of the following four distinct classes:
They are the ruling class and as such they occupy the major positions of responsibility in the cadet chain of command. They are designated the chairmen and cadet-in-charge of the various committees, clubs and corps squads.
They also enjoy certain privileges peculiar only to the "firsties." Their academics are also more specialized as they now embark on the final year of their training for future officership in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Secondclass Cadets are also called the "cows." The secondclass year marks the point at which the cadet starts to specialize according to the branch of service he or she has elected to join. Thus, the secondclass cadets no longer take the same subjects as each of his or her classmates but they now take different subjects depending on their branches of service and fields of specialization.
Within the cadet chain of command, the secondclass cadets now act as squad leaders. Moreover, in the absence of the firstclass cadets, they take over the responsibility of running the Cadet Corps.
The life of thirdclass cadets, sophomores in civilian universities, and called the "yearlings" in the Academy, starts upon completion of fourthclass year. During this period, the yearling adjusts to life as an upperclass cadet. Although they are the least ranking of the upperclass cadets, they are now entitled to the privileges of being upperclass cadets.
One of their responsibilities is being a "buddy" to a plebe. As buddies, they set the examples of how a cadet should behave and they are responsible for ensuring that the plebes conform with the standards of cadetship.
The fourthclass cadets are the first year students. In the Academy, they are traditionally called "plebes" and are the equivalent of the college freshmen in civilian universities. The first day of plebehood starts with the Reception Ceremonies on April 1 of each year.
Then, they undergo an eight week summer training or "beast barracks" during which time they are indoctrinated with the military and cadet systems of training. During this period, the plebes form the New Cadet Battalion and their training is handled by the tactical officers and upperclass cadets forming the "Plebe Detail."
After the beast barracks, the plebes are formally accepted into the ranks of the Cadet Corps in another ceremoney called Incorporation which is held during the last week of May.