Every year thousands of high school students and those already in college think about becoming an officer in one of the five armed services. There are several ways to become a military officer, but many consider attending a federal service academy. Each service academy is a challenging environment that pushes each cadet or midshipmen to become a leader and learn how to put others before themselves.
Federal Service Academies develop leaders of character who will serve our country in peace and during conflicts around the world. The cost of the Cadets and Midshipmen education, tuition, room & board is covered by each service. Each will graduate with a bachelor’s degree, a commission as an officer in the uniformed services and bonds with their fellow officers that were forged during their service academy experience.
There are five service academies within the United States:
- United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Colorado Springs, CO
- United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) New London, CT
- United States Merchant Marine Academy(USMMA Kings Point, NY
- Unites States Military Academy-West Point (USMA) West Point, NY
- United States Naval Academy (USNA) Annapolis, MD
Four of the five service academies require an official nomination from a U.S. Congressman from your state. Review the information carefully to ensure you understand the process and timelines. The United States Coast Guard Academy is the only service academy that DOES NOT require a nomination. You can go directly to the Coast Guard Academy website to begin the application process.
Before you begin the service academy admissions process, you should start by visiting their websites and request information and create profile. The information you provide will assist the service academy in providing you with helpful information regarding the programs, campus activities, including sports, & the application process.
If you discover your passion for service to your country before the end of your junior year, consider attending one of the service academies summer programs. The Merchant Marine Academy does not offer a summer program.
- United States Air Force Academy- Summer Seminar
- United States Coast Guard Academy- Academy Introduction Missions (AIM)
- United States Military Academy- Summer Leaders Experience (SLE)
- United States Naval Academy – Summer Seminar
If attending a Service Academy is not the right fit for you, consider participating in a ROTC Program at a college or university. If you discover your passion for service to your country while in college or soon after graduation, there is an option to consider attending one of the services officer candidate schools.
Patricia Soares, co-founder and Educational Consultant at Aspire To College LLC, spend over two decades in college admissions assisting prospective students through the college search, application and selection processes. As an Associate Director of Admissions at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Patricia assisted prospective cadets, families through the service academy admissions process.