FAQ: Service Academy Nominations

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:

  • A member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents the congressional district in which the candidate resides
  • Both U.S. Senators from his or her state
  • Apply directly to the Vice-President of the United States
  • 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:
  • Age: Be at least 17 years old, but not have passed the 23rd birthday
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Marital Status: Must be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents
  • Residence: Must reside within the boundaries of the 7th Congressional District of South Carolina.
  • Skill / Fitness: Must meet the medical, physical, and academic requirements of the Academy.

Who do I contact to request an application?

Contact our Grand Strand District Office at 843-445-6459 to request a nomination packet.

When do I apply for a nomination?

My nomination application period opens May 15th of each year for those candidates who are high school juniors and will be seniors the following school year, or who have already graduated.

What is the deadline for completing a nomination file?

Please contact our Grand Strand District Office at 843-445-6459 for deadline information.

What must be included in my nomination file?

A complete nomination file consists of the following items:

  • Current photo
  • High school transcript
  • American College Testing Program (ACT) results and/or College Board Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) results
  • Resume of extracurricular activities
  • An essay stating why you want to attend a service academy (500 words or less)
  • Minimum of three letters of recommendation

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.

How many academies are there?

There are five service academies.

  1. U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York
  2. U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland
  3. U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs
  4. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York
  5. U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut

Are the requirements the same for all of the 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.

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

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.

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.

When will I know if I have 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.