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Military Academies Application Process

Steps for the United States Military Academies Application Process

The privilege of nominating some of the best and brightest students in the 24th Congressional District to our nation's Service Academies is one of the most important and meaningful aspects of being a Member of Congress.

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, I hope you will consider attending a U.S. Service Academy.

Mission Statement

The mission of the U.S. service academies is to provide instruction and experience to all cadets so that they graduate with the knowledge and character essential to leadership and the motivation to become career officers in the U.S. military.


To be eligible to enter an Academy, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • Of good moral character
  • Unmarried with no dependents
  • At least 17, but less than 23 years of age by July 1 of the year you would enter.


It takes a well-rounded program of leadership, academic, and athletic preparation to be one of the few who can meet the Service Academies high admission standards and the fierce competitions for appointment. Carefully consider the characteristics of dedication, desire to serve others, ability to accept discipline, sense of duty, and morality, and the enjoyment of challenge in deciding if you want to pursue an Academy education. 

Academic Preparation

It is recommended that young persons who aspire to go to one of the service academies take a college preparatory curriculum in high school that stresses English and Math. Also, they should plan on taking the ACT and SAT test as early as possible and more than once.

Physical Preparation

During the admissions process prospective cadets will be given the Candidate Fitness Assessment. All three academies have the same physical fitness events: the basketball throw; pull-ups (men & women) or flexed-arm hang (women); shuttle run; modified sit-ups; push-ups; and the one-mile run. The purpose of these tests is to evaluate a candidate’s upper body strength and endurance. Please check with each academy on their specific requirements for the Candidate Fitness Assessment.

General Information

The minimum SAT scores for the academies are 500 verbal and 500 math. The average SAT scores at the academies are 540-620 verbal and 630-710 math. The minimum ACT scores for the academies are 21 English, 19 Social Studies, 24 Mathematics, and 24 Natural Science. The average ACT scores are 23-27 English; 24-29 Social Studies; 27-32 Mathematics; 28-32 Natural Science (minimum and average scores are slightly higher for the Naval Academy). Virtually all cadets are from the top 25% of their high school class.

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.
  • You must reside within the legal boundaries of the 23rd Congressional District of California if you are applying for a nomination from Congresswoman Capps.

Can I apply for a nomination from more then 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 Joe Biden, one from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, one from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and one from Congresswoman Capps.

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.

Military Academy Nomination Process

The Vice President is authorized to nominate individuals to the United States Military, Naval, and Air Force Academies but cannot nominate to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and does not nominate to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

The Vice President is the only authorized nominating authority who can nominate U.S. citizens without geographical restrictions. He may have a maximum number of five nominees in attendance at each authorized academy at any one time. Normally, he has one or two vacancies each year. In order to be entered into competition for a Vice Presidential nomination, applicants must complete the online nomination application during the application period of March 1 to January 31 preceding the year of entrance to the academies. The Office of the Vice President will not accept paper applications.

  • Steps for the Military Academies Application process
  • Procedures for the Military Academies Application process
  • Military Academies Application form

Due to a large volume of applicants (usually several thousand per academy), the Vice President has authorized the academies to evaluate all applications and rank them according to qualifications. In screening candidates, the academies evaluate an individual's high school or college academic record, results of the ACT and SAT tests, recommendations from individuals who are in a position to judge the applicant's character and academic potential, and physical and medical qualifications. In view of this screening by the academies, it is important that all correspondence subsequent to actual application (e.g., letters of recommendation, high school and college transcripts and ACT/SAT examination results) be forwarded directly to the academy when requested. Do not send this information directly to the Vice President. Notification of those selected for a nomination is normally made during February or March of the year in which the class convenes. Any additional information regarding Vice Presidential nominations should be forwarded to the appropriate academy. The addresses are:

The Director of Admissions
United States Military Academy
West Point, New York 10996
Apply online at:

Director of Admissions
2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 2300
USAF Academy, CO 80840
Apply online at: 

Dean of Admissions (Code A)
United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland 21402
Apply online at: