Service Academies

U.S. Military Academy

Established in 1802 by an act of Congress, the U.S. Military Academy is located in West Point, N.Y. To gain admission a candidate must first secure a nomination from a member of Congress or the Department of the Army.

Any number of applicants can meet the requirements for a nomination in these categories. Appointments (offers of admission), however, can only be made to a much smaller number, about 1,150 to 1,200 each year. Candidates may be nominated for vacancies during the year preceding the day of admission, which occurs in late June or early July. The best time to apply is during the spring of the junior year in high school.

Candidates must be citizens of the U.S. at time of enrollment (except foreign students admitted by agreement between the U.S. and another country), not married, pregnant, nor have a legal obligation to support a child or children, be at least 17 but not yet 23 years old on July 1 of the year admitted.

Entrance requirements and procedures for appointment are described in the Admissions Bulletin and the Admissions Prospectus, available without charge from Admissions, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. 10996-1797. Phone: 914-938-4041.

Cadets are members of the U.S. Army. As such they receive annual salaries of more than $6,500. This pay covers the cost of their uniforms, textbooks, a personal computer, and living incidentals. There is no tuition and room and board are provided. Upon successful completion of the four-year course, the graduate receives the degree of bachelor of science and is commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army with a requirement to serve as an officer on active duty for a minimum of five years.

U.S. Naval Academy

The Naval School, established in 1845 at Fort Severn, Annapolis, Md., was renamed the U.S. Naval Academy in 1850. A four-year course was adopted a year later. The “Yard,” as the campus is referred to, blends French Renaissance and modern architecture with many new academic, athletic, and laboratory facilities.

Nineteen majors are offered in engineering, science, mathematics, social sciences, and the humanities. Graduates are awarded the bachelor of science or bachelor of science in engineering and are commissioned as officers in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps. The class of 2003 includes 16% women.

A nomination is required in order to receive an appointment. You can apply to congressmen, senators, and the vice president for a nomination. Alternate nomination sources are available.

To have basic eligibility for admission, candidates must be citizens of the U.S., of good moral character, at least 17 and not more than 23 years of age on July 1 of their entering year, unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to dependents.

Tuition, board, lodging, and medical and dental care are provided. Midshipmen receive $558.04 a month for books, uniforms, and personal needs. Upon being commissioned as an ensign in the navy or a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, the commitment is at least five years' active duty. Aviation service commitment depends upon type of aircraft and whether you are a pilot or naval flight officer. Most aviators serve seven years after they complete their initial flight training.

For general information or answers to specific questions, write: Director of Candidate Guidance, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. 21402-5018, or call 1-410-293-4361.

U.S. Air Force Academy

The bill establishing the U.S. Air Force Academy was signed by President Eisenhower on April 1, 1954. The first class of 306 cadets was sworn in on July 11, 1955, at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colo., the academy's temporary location. The Cadet Wing moved into the academy's permanent home north of Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1958.

Cadets receive four years of academic, military, and physical education to prepare them for leadership as officers in the air force. The academy is authorized to enroll a total of 4,000 male and female cadets. Each new class averages 1,200. The candidates for the academy must be at least 17 and not have passed their 23rd birthday on July 1 of the year for which they enter the academy, must be a U.S. citizen, unmarried, have no dependents, be of good moral character, and be able to meet the mental and physical requirements. International students authorized admission are exempt from the U.S. citizenship requirement.

Cadets receive their entire education at government expense and, in addition, receive a monthly salary of $558.00 to pay for supplies, clothing, and personal expenses. Prior to admission, appointees deposit $2,500 to help defray the initial cost of uniforms, a personal computer, and supplies. Upon completion of the four-year program, leading to a bachelor of science degree, a cadet who meets the qualifications is commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

For details on admissions, call 1-800-443-9266, or write: HQ USAFA/RRS, 2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 200, USAF Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80840-5025.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., was founded in 1876. It is the only one of the four armed forces service academies that offers appointments based solely on the basis of an annual nationwide competition, with no congressional appointments or geographical quotas.

Competition is open to all unmarried U.S. citizens with no dependents who have reached their 17th but not their 22nd birthday by July 1 of the entering year. There is no fee to apply, but candidates who are offered and accept an appointment to the academy must pay an entrance fee of $3,000.

Cadets receive a full scholarship including room and board. In addition, they receive a monthly allowance of approximately $600 to cover the costs of uniforms, textbooks, a new laptop, and other expenses. Upon graduation, there is a five-year commitment to serve as a commissioned Coast Guard officer, the first two years of which are on a Coast Guard cutter.

A viewbook or video can be obtained by writing to Director of Admissions, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 31 Mohegan Avenue, New London, Conn. 06320, or by calling 1-800-883-8724 or 860-444-8500.

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, situated at Kings Point, N.Y., was dedicated Sept. 30, 1943. It is maintained by the Department of Transportation under direction of the Maritime Administration.

The academy has an enrollment of approximately 950 men and women who represent every state, D.C., the Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. Special legislation permits the appointment of midshipmen from the Latin American republics and nations other than the United States.

Candidates are nominated by senators and members of the House of Representatives. Nominations to the academy are governed by a state and territory quota system based on population and the results of the College Entrance Examination Board tests.

A candidate must be a citizen not less than 17 and not yet 25 years of age by July 1 of the year in which admission is sought, unmarried, and without dependents. The current class of cadets includes 13% women.

The course is four years and includes one year of practical training aboard a merchant ship. Study includes marine engineering, navigation, satellite navigation and communications, electricity, ship construction, naval science and tactics, economics, business, languages, history, etc.

Upon completion of the course of study, a graduate receives a bachelor of science degree, a license as a merchant marine officer (issued by the U.S. Coast Guard), and a commission as an ensign in the Naval Reserve.

For additional information, write to Admissions Office, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, 300 Steamboat Rd., Kings Point, N.Y. 11024, or call 516-773-5391.

Service Academy Websites


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