U.S. Service Academies

  • U.S. Service Academy Information

    U.S. Service Academy graduates receive a first-rate undergraduate education, equivalent to that provided by a top-tier, Ivy League school, with options to pursue advanced degrees; spend a minimum of 5 years serving their country on active duty as a military officer; and are provided with an education and experience that will provide a world of career opportunities. The full four-year scholarship is valued at more than $350,000 which includes tuition, room and board, medical and dental care and a monthly salary. Students learn discipline, moral ethics and teamwork in a structured environment that fosters leadership and character development.

    If you are highly motivated, looking for a challenge in your life and want to serve your country, you may wish to consider attending a U.S. Service Academy.

    Applicants interested in a Congressional nomination should contact one of the following offices:

    U.S.  Senator Rick Scott https://www.rickscott.senate.gov/

    U.S. Senator Marco Rubio http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/

    Vice President Kamala Harris https://www.whitehouse.gov/service-academy-nominations/

    The U.S. Representative from the student’s home district (most likely one of the following)

    District 23 Congressman Jared Moskowitz https://moskowitz.house.gov/service-academy-nominations

    District 22 Congresswoman Lois Frankel  https://frankel.house.gov/constituent-services/military-academy-nominations.htm

    District 20 Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus McCormick https://cherfilus-mccormick.house.gov/services/military-academy-nominations

    Please take note that the selection process for our nation’s Service Academies is extremely competitive: Selection is based on scholastic achievements, involvement in school and community activities, leadership achievements and athletic achievements.

    What is a service academy?
    A service academy is a federal educational institution that prepares officers for our nation's Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Merchant Marines and Coast Guard.

    How many service academies are in the U.S. and where are they located?

    There are five:

    The U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, NY
    The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA)at Annapolis, MD
    The U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) at Colorado Springs, CO
    The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, NY
    The U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) at New London, CT

    How do I attend an academy?
    Admission to an academy is a competitive two-step process. The first step is to obtain a nomination from an authorized source. The second step is to receive an appointment from the academy. The nomination allows you to compete for the appointment but does not guarantee an appointment.

    What is a nomination?
    A nomination is the selection made by an authorized source. Title 10 of the U.S. Code establishes two types of nominations: 1) congressional and 2) presidential/military service connected.

    Congressional nominations include selections made by 1) the Vice-President, who nominates candidates from any part of the nation, 2) U.S. Senators, who nominate candidates from their entire state, and 3) U.S. Representatives, who nominate candidates that reside within their Congressional District.

    What is an appointment?
    An appointment is a selection made by the individual academies after you have received a nomination. You will be competing with other nominees in the areas of academics, leadership potential and physical aptitude. An appointment gives you admission to an academy.

    What are the basic eligibility requirements for a nomination?
    To be eligible for nomination, you must meet the requirements as of July 1st of the year of admission to an academy:

    -You must be at least 17 years old, but not past your 23rd birthday.

    -You must be a U.S. citizen.

    -You must be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents.

    Can I apply for a nomination from more than one source?
    Yes. Because the nomination and appointment process is competitive you should seek all the nominations for which you are eligible. Every candidate is eligible for the four congressional nominations – one from the Vice-President Kamala Harris, one from each U. S. Senator of their state, and one from their representative in the House of Representatives in Congress.

    Can I also apply for a presidential nomination?
    Yes, if you are eligible. Presidential nominations are reserved for children of career military personnel. To qualify, the parent must meet one of the following criteria:

    -Be on active duty and have served continuously on active duty for at least eight years, or

    -Be retired with pay or been granted retired or retainer pay, or

    -Be a reservist or National Guard member (see Section 12733 Title 10 USC for details), or

    -Have died after being retired with pay or being granted retired or retainer pay;

    -Have begun adoption proceedings before the child's 15th birthday

    Who can apply for the military service nominations?
    Children of a deceased or disabled member of the Armed Forces may apply for nomination if the parent was killed or is 100% disabled by wounds or injuries received or diseases contracted while in active service.

    Children of armed services members or civilian employees in active government service who are in an officially determined status of missing in action may apply for a nomination.

    Children of Medal of Honor recipients from any branch of the armed services may apply for nomination.

    How do I apply for a presidential or military service nomination?
    Contact the academies for specific instructions.

    When should I apply for a nomination?
    You may apply anytime starting January of your junior year of high school until fall of your senior year. The deadline is always a date in November. Typically people apply their senior year, but you may also apply after you graduate from high school, as long as you meet the basic eligibility requirements.

    What is the deadline for completing my nomination file?
    You need to return the initial application form as soon as possible, formal candidacy is established upon receipt of the application. The remainder of the file must be submitted by the November deadline.

    Why is a personal letter/essay needed?
    Your personal letter/essay is very important – this is your chance to explain why you want to attend a service academy. It doesn't have to be long or elaborate; keep it short, no longer than one page. Be yourself; don't try to impress with fancy language. Remember to proofread – have someone you trust like your parent(s) or your English teacher, check your grammar and spelling.

    Can I be nominated to more than one academy?
    Yes. It is possible to be nominated to more than one academy. On your application, you will be asked to rank in numerical order your academy preferences. Keep in mind that the nomination process is competitive. How well you compete among the pool of candidates will determine if you are nominated to your first choice. So, only indicate your preference for academies that you are truly interested in attending.

    Do I need a nomination to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy?
    No. The USCGA is the only service academy that does not require a congressional nomination. To be considered for an appointment to the USCGA you must submit an application and supplemental information to the academy by March 1st of the year of entrance. Since, you are already collecting much of the supplemental information requested by the USCGA, such as high school transcripts, ACT/SAT test scores and evaluations; it is a good idea to submit an application to the USCGA. For more information about the USCGA, visit www.uscga.edu.

    Should I apply for an ROTC scholarship?
    Because the nomination and appointment process is competitive, not all candidates will receive a nomination or an appointment so it is also a good idea to apply for an ROTC scholarship.

    What are the basic qualifications for a nomination?
    Candidates are evaluated in five areas: moral character, academic record, leadership potential, physical and medical fitness and commitment to the military. The information you provide through your personal letter/essay and references should reflect these basic qualifications:

    Moral character - All candidates are considered of good moral character, unless evidence suggests otherwise.

    A strong academic record - Your high school/college transcripts, class rank and SAT/ACT scores will be evaluated. However, please keep in mind even if you are not a top student, prep school opportunities are available from the USMA, USNA, USAFA and the USCGA.

    Demonstrated leadership potential - List all of your extra-curricular activities, such as participation in sports, school government, clubs, church activities and employment. Also, your references will be asked to provide information about your leadership qualities.

    Physical and medical fitness - The individual academies will make this determination through a physical aptitude and medical examination.

    A commitment to live a military lifestyle – Attending a service academy is not like a normal college. When you accept an appointment to a service academy, you become a member of the U.S. Armed Services, so you must have a desire to serve in the military while obtaining your education.

    Who is eligible to attend the prep school at the USMA, USNA, USAFA, and USCGA?
    Prep school candidates are students who receive a nomination, but do not meet the academic standards to attend an academy. These students have been deemed to have the ability to benefit from a year at prep school with the goal of admission to an academy. Attendance at a prep school does not guarantee an appointment but prep school graduates are very successful in obtaining a future appointment.

    Does a nomination guarantee an appointment?
    No. A nomination is the selection made by an authorized source and allows a candidate to compete for an appointment.

    When will I know if I am appointed?
    The Academies will begin making appointments in late December. All appointment offers are generally completed by May.

    If I do not receive a nomination or an appointment, can I apply again?

    Is it possible to visit the academies?
    Yes! Each academy hosts tours for prospective candidates and their parents. These tours are highly advisable; as this will help you decide if academy life is right for you and which academy you would like to attend. For more information about the tours – contact the academies individually.