If I wanted to apply for a military academy, who would be the best person or organization to contact to get ahead of the game?
Nominations to the service academies is very competitive. I’d recommend that you check the websites of the academies to review each academy's admissions requirements and to get information on the nomination process, since you may need to start the application/nomination process in your junior year, or earlier.
If your school offers JROTC, you should participate in that program to get a head start on learning about the military lifestyle and develop a better idea of what it’s like, and whether you still want to pursue that route.
The following could be helpful in applying to the academies, as well to for other ‘regular’ colleges/universities:
- Good academic grades – study hard and take the highest-level classes you can handle in math, science, and technology.
- Physical fitness is very important. Participation in your school’s athletic program can help improve your fitness, as well as help develop self-motivation, self-discipline, self-confidence, teamwork, and other positive personality skills/habits.
- Participation in civic/volunteer groups at school and/or in the community.
- You may not want to hear this one, but stay out of trouble! Avoid alcohol and drugs. Set high moral conduct standards for yourself and limit your association with those that don’t live up to those standards. This will help you avoid legal trouble and bad habits that might negatively impact every part of your life…forever. Having good moral character always pays off in the long run. Avoiding the negative consequences of drug and alcohol use and other activities that are not in keeping with good morals also means you don’t have to regret those things in the future, don’t have to hide things you’re ashamed of, etc.
Here are a few web sites to help you get up to speed on the academies:
US Naval Academy (Navy and Marine Corps) - http://www.usna.edu/admissions/
US Military Academy (Army) - http://admissions.usma.edu
Air Force Academy - http://www.academyadmissions.com/
US Coast Guard Academy - https://www.uscga.edu/
US Merchant Marine Academy - https://www.usmma.edu/
Ben recommends the following next steps:
you should talk talk with your high school counselor. You should also write letters to both your national and state congressmen and senators. It wouldn’t hurt to reach out to your state governor as welll. Be sure to get references from people like employers, pastors any local government official that you know and others. Good luck!
After that, reach out to your local service academy alumni and/or alumni network. USNA in particular uses Blue and Gold Officers (alumni who interview candidates for admission) to vet candidates, but Blue and Gold Officers also answer questions throughout the application cycle. It also may be helpful to talk to recent alumni and current students to get an idea of what cadet/midshipmen life is like on campus.
Lastly, follow each of the Admissions Offices and Service Academies on social media. Key deadlines and tips are often shared on Instagram and Facebook to keep you on track. They will also host and live stream question and answer sessions with Admissions Staff that are extremely valuable.
Starting early is key-you do not want to find out mid-application process that you are missing key course requirements or missed a deadline to apply for a local Senator or Congressional nomination.
Meighan recommends the following next steps:
Elijah - I am an academy grad myself and it's been a long time since I went through the process, but I found it most helpful to get intimately familiar with the given academies admission process and to engage my high school student councilor. Beyond that each academy had folks that they call MALO's (Military Academy Liaison Officers) that are available to guide and help you develop your admission package and provide instruction along the way. For example, details regarding those folks for West Point can be found here:
West Point has a number of graduates that will walk you through the process and help educate you on just how to proceed. I got to talk to one about my sons chances last year. You can also start by checking out the information on www.usma.edu/soldiers for West Point Soldier Admissions. Good luck!