Each year, I have the privilege of nominating a limited number of people to four of the five service academies (the U.S. Coast Guard Academy accepts candidates based on their own testing criteria). The honor of attending a service academy comes with an obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation.
2020 submission deadline is: October 9, 2020 at 5 p.m. MT
MILITARY SERVICE ACADEMY NOMINATIONS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Plus IconMinus Icon What are the five service academies?
- United States Military Academy
- United States Naval Academy
- United States Air Force Academy
- United States Merchant Marines
- United States Coast Guard Academy
Plus IconMinus Icon How do I attend an academy?
Admission to an academy is a competitive two-step process: Step (1) is to obtain a nomination from an authorized source. Step (2) is to receive an appointment from the academy. Both steps are described in greater detail below.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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 nominate 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.
Plus IconMinus Icon What is an appointment?
An appointment allows you admission to an academy and is only granted by the individual academies AFTER an applicant has received a nomination and competed with other nominees in the areas of academics, leadership potential and physical aptitude.
Plus IconMinus Icon What are the basic eligibility requirements for a nomination?
To be eligible for nomination, you must meet these requirements:
- 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 State of New Mexico. If you are attending a Service Academy Prep School or a University out of State, and maintain New Mexico as your state of residence, you may still apply.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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 Joe Biden , one from U.S. Senator Tom Udall , one from U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and one from the Representative of your local Congressional district: 1st Congressional District – Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, 2nd Congressional District – Representative Steve Pearce, or the 3rd Congressional District – Representative Ben Ray Lujan.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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.
Plus IconMinus Icon Can I apply for a nomination if I am active duty in the armed services or reserves?
Yes. Active duty armed service members are eligible for the four congressional nominations, in addition to a nomination through their branch of the armed services. For more details, contact your commanding officer.
Plus IconMinus Icon When should I apply for a nomination?
The spring semester of your junior year of high school is the best time to apply. However, you may also apply in the fall semester of your senior year, as well as after you graduate from high school, as long as you meet the basic eligibility requirements. Prospective applicants are encouraged to begin the application process well in advance of the deadline.
Plus IconMinus Icon What are the code numbers to report SAT and ACT scores directly to Rep. Lujan's office?
Test scores can be sent to Rep. Lujan's office using the following codes:
ACT - 7541
SAT - 4260
Plus IconMinus Icon Who should complete my two letters of recommendation?
The letters of recommendation should be completed by a high school teacher or principal, employer, clergy/church member, coach, mentor or an adult family friend. It's a good idea to ask two people who know you in three different settings such as a teacher, an employer and a family friend.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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. Therefore, only indicate your preference for academies that you are truly interested in attending. We also recommend that you apply to more than one academy, as you may be more competitive at one academy compared to another.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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 February 1. 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.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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 recommendations 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.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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.
Plus IconMinus Icon How will I know if I am nominated?
Nominations will be made by mid-December. You will be notified by mail.
Plus IconMinus Icon 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.
Plus IconMinus Icon When will I know if am appointed?
The Academies will begin making appointments in late December. All appointment offers are generally completed by May 1.
Plus IconMinus Icon If I do not receive a nomination or an appointment, can I apply again?
Yes. Candidates who apply a second time are very successful in securing a nomination and an appointment.
Plus IconMinus Icon How can I improve my chances of qualifying academically for a nomination and an appointment?
Your high school preparation should include:
- Four years of mathematics courses – including geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. Pre-calculus and calculus courses are also encouraged.
- Four years of English – with special attention on the study and practice of effective writing. English and American literature courses are also helpful
- Two years of a foreign language.
- Physical activity – involvement in sports or club teams.
- Enrollment in one or more honors or advance placement courses.
Plus IconMinus Icon Why should I participate in extracurricular activities?
Your participation in athletic and non-athletic extracurricular activities will help to demonstrate your ability to meet the physical, time management and leadership demands of four years at an Academy. It's also a good idea to get in excellent physical condition while still in high school. Physical exercise is part of everyday life at an Academy. Your first year at an Academy is not the time to whip yourself into shape. Your participation in these activities, as well as a record of part-time employment, will help to show your versatility and your ability to accept responsibility.
Plus IconMinus Icon Is it possible to visit the academies?
Yes. Each academy hosts tours for prospective candidates and their parents. We highly recommend tours 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.