How Do I Get Accepted into Service Academies?

For those who want a career in the military, a federal service academy is an important option. These academies include not only the Army, Air Force, and Navy but also the Merchant Marines and the Coast Guard. There is even one specifically for military health sciences leadership.

Highly Competitive

Many students apply to the many service academies every year. The slots are highly competitive because the U.S. Government pays for a person’s entire college education including room and board. Students should consider more than one academy. It may be that they are better qualified for one type of academy than for another. Some academies are most competitive because they are considered more prestigious or more exciting. The Merchant Marines Academy, which is not to be confused with the military Marines, is the least competitive, but all academies must turn down applicants every year. You can find out more information on the Air Force Academy.

First Hurdle

Before applying, it helps to know if you are even eligible. Here are some factors which narrow down the applicant pool. A student must be 17 to 23 years old on July 1 of the year that the student enters the academy. The person must have no financial dependents, which means no spouse and no children. Finally, although there are possibilities to waive this provision, you must be a U.S. Citizen.

Second Hurdle

The service academies do require applicants to be high school graduates with good academic records. SAT and ACT scores are considered as are high school transcripts, class rankings and even school rankings.

Third Hurdle

Fitness is important. Demonstrated ability in athletics is essential to any successful applicant. Of course, if a person gets far enough along in the process, he or she will have to take a fitness test to determine final eligibility.

Fourth Hurdle

Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they have leadership potential. At all of the academies, the purpose of the training is to turn out the next generation of military leaders. Typical applicants demonstrate leadership through their volunteerism, their school activities, team leadership, work habits and more. Recommendations from teachers and other authority figures are important in this process.

Fifth Hurdle: The Crucial Step

Securing a nomination from your Member of Congress is the most important hurdle. This process is independent of the academy, and yet acceptance is dependent on a nomination. It is essential to contact your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators to find out their deadlines and application process. Securing a nomination from all three makes your chances of success much greater. Each Congress Member will examine your academic record, test scores, athletics, and leadership potential before agreeing to sponsor. Members can sponsor more than one person which makes this part of the process less daunting than it may appear.   Once a nomination has been made, the student must still meet all criteria and compete against others across the nation. High School students must start early if they want to get a slot at these highly competitive U.S. service academies. The military can be an exciting career path, even without attending an academy.