Frequently asked questions for those seeking a nomination to the U.S. Service Academies. 


How many academies are there?

There are five service academies.

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Are the requirements the same for all service academies?
No. Although many of the qualifications are similar, each academy operates under its own admissions guidelines. Visit the academy of your choice via the websites noted for each academy's particular admissions qualifications. It is not necessary to seek a nomination to the Coast Guard Academy, as the U.S.C.G.A. accepts candidates based on their own testing criteria. Return to Top
What is a nomination?

Members of Congress may nominate applicants who meet the eligibility requirements established by law. A candidate may seek a nomination from the following:

  • The President, who nominates children of career military personnel, deceased or disabled veterans, military or civilian personnel in missing status, and Medal of Honor recipients;
  • The Vice-President, who nominates five individuals from across the country;
  • U.S. Senators, who represent the state in which the candidate resides and who nominate candidates to the same academies as House members; and
  • The Secretary of the Army, Navy, or Air Force, who nominates members of regular military, reserve components, and participants in the ROTC
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What are the basic eligibility requirements?

Each applicant for a nomination must meet the following eligibility requirements as of July 1st of the year of admission to an academy:

  • On July 1 of the year of entry, be 17 years old but not yet 23 years old to enter all academies, except the Merchant Marine Academy, which has a maximum of 25 years of age.
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents
  • Be a legal resident of:
    • Maryland's 8th Congressional District, for nominations to the Naval Academy, Military Academy (West Point), and the Air Force Academy.
    • The State of Maryland, for nominations to the Merchant Marine Academy.
Each candidate must also meet the medical, physical and academic requirements of the Academies. Return to Top
What happens after I have completed my nomination application?

Applicants who submit a completed nomination application will be scheduled for an interview in the Fall or Winter.

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What criteria is used in selecting candidates?
Nominations are based on a "whole person" evaluation. Factors such as academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character and motivation are taken into consideration and compared with other applicants. Return to Top
Who should I ask to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

Some of the people applicants typically seek recommendations from include:

  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Employers
  • Coaches
  • Clergy
  • Scout Leaders
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Will I automatically be selected by the academy after I receive a nomination?

No. You will be placed among a select group of nominees, and the academy of your choice will make the final decision. If selected, you will receive an offer of admission (an appointment) directly from the academy.

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What if I choose more than one academy? Will I be limited to a single nomination?

No. You can be nominated to multiple academies depending on how well you have competed among this year's pool of candidates. It is also possible to win multiple appointments.

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When will I know if I've been offered an appointment by an academy?

Academies will begin to notify candidates of their admission status in February. All offers of appointment are generally sent out by May.

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