There are two options for how you can join the United States military upon high school graduation; you can either enlist and go to boot camp or apply to attend a military school and commission as an officer in the United States Military. Nkozia, the daughter of two United States Sailors will be attending the Air Force Academy in the fall, and breaks down all you need to know when it comes to applying to a military school.
About Military Schools
Military schools, also known more appropriately as service academies, are the most prestigious and rigorous colleges that will challenge students to become officers in the United States Armed Forces. There are five elite service academies in the United States that challenge students to become officers.
Each academy has a strong emphasis upon developing potential military officers’ character, leadership, and good morale. These focuses in the academies engender the necessity for military officers to live honorably once commissioned out of the academy and civilian life. Empowered by custom, core values, discipline and development of outstanding leadership skills coupled with exceptional academics cultivates honorable military officers’ mindset to thrive and survive.
An appointment to the service academies entails a four year full ride to a top tier university in the United States to a well deserving individual. Appointments to the Service academies are extremely competitive, with over 10,000 students applying each year.
Applicants must not only excel in academics, athletics, leadership and service they must also receive a nomination from a member of congress, vice president, or president of the United States. This requires only the best of the best. This year of 2018, of over 10,000 applicants there was an approximate entry of 1,160 students at the United States Air Force Academy.
The service academy gives students the opportunity to become outstanding leaders of character in the air and space force, infantry, or midshipmen. To develop these leaders, applicants take part in a variety of programs including flying air craft, free fall parachuting, competitive athletics, military training and foreign exchange programs around the world.
At the same time applicants will attend classes ranging from aeriotic electrical engineering to history and political science. At the end of the four years, they will earn a bachelors of science degree of their choice of 31 majors and will be commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant Governors.
For cadets, the end of school is only the beginning. They will take the skills and knowledge developed from the service academies and serve in one of 38 officer career fields for the next five years, as they continue to evolve leadership and professional expertise. Graduates of the service academies have gone on to be rhode scholars, titans of industry, politicians, generals, heroes, athletes, and astronauts.
List of Military Schools
If you are an individual who happens to be interested in one of the five academies, then you are in for a long journey for appointment (acceptance).
- United States Military Academy (West Point)
- United States Naval Academy (USNA)
- United States Air Force Academy (USAFA)
- United States Coast Guard Academy
- United States Merchant Marine Academy
The first thing is to understand the competitiveness of the academies. Each year tens of thousands will apply to the academies, but only around 10% will be admitted.
Applying to Military Schools
The best thing to remember is that the admission councils are calculating points based on your application. It is a 8000 point system called Whole Candidate Score or Weighted Composite Score (WCS) and they start with the basic factors of test scores, GPA, physical fitness, nominations from state representative, vice president, or president, and essays. They also include a extracurricular and a character analysis which they give to teachers.
The academies pay close attention to student athletes, therefore, continue your athletics streak while keeping up your grades to avoid admittance in the Academy Preparatory School. Each service academy operates under its own admissions guidelines, meaning the qualifications will vary by academy. To know exactly what the academy qualifications are visit their website.
When to Start Applying to a Military School
The best way to start the application is to begin your junior year of high school. This is encouraged because it is a very long process, specifically the medical section can take months to be cleared by DoDMerb.
DoDMerb is a program that will be used to schedule your medical appointments to ensure potential appointees are in good health to withstand the next four years developing into honorable citizens in the United States of America.
The next simple step to push forward on is the pre-candidate questionnaire. This section will ask for basic information such as:
- Full Legal Name
- Birth Date
- Social Security number
- Mailing Address
- Home Phone
- Email Address
- High School Name
- Grade Point Average
- Test Scores
Be very careful when filling this out because there are no edits once submitted. On this section, it strongly recommended to include all academic and extracurricular activities. An emphasis on sports is highly regarded in the service academies because it shows certainty in a future cadet’s physical capabilities.
The nomination by a state representative, vice president, or president is an entirely separate application. Be sure to find this information and read it thoroughly when applying for a nomination.
The only way to reach out for a vice president or presidents nomination is if you had parents who served in the military and were honorably discharged as retired or a veteran.
This process will seem repetitive because it is similar to the pre-candidate questionnaire. Before you are able to begin the nomination application, there is a nomination form. If you are eligible, the representative for whomever is completing your nomination will email the next steps to begin the nomination application.
You will need separate official transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, recommendations and essays when applying to a service academy.
In your essays, be as detailed as possible about your extracurricular and boast about yourself. If you created your own school club, speak on what triggered the creation, objective, and results of the creation. If you were the president of your school or the club speak on the qualities you may possess that allowed the opportunity.
Receiving an Appointment
Once an applicant has completed their appointment, there is an entirely new and longer list that must be completed before receiving authorization to travel. Cadets must receive immunizations, sign contracts, and fill out security clearance paperwork (which is about 200 pages long).
Students must also disclose medical information and body markings. After this section is completed I would advise to read all material given.
Getting to your Military School
You will not be bringing luggage to your arrival at the service academy, you will need nothing more but soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair materials if necessary, socks, and under garments.
You must decide with family about your sponsor family and or how you will gradually get sent more necessities. Tell family and friends your PO Box as soon as possible, so they can send in letters upon your arrival of the first day of bootcamp.
An even more convenient way to receive your letters from family and friends is to tell them to download the Sandboxx app. Sandboxx gives your friends and family the opportunity to send you Letters directly from their phone.
Learn more about how Sandboxx works to get Letters to you.
Tips for Applying to Military Schools
If I could change anything through my process of applying to the academies it would be to take advantage of the information presented to me.
Read the service academies websites throughly and click on the helpful links. There are many trivial steps that are needed to finish the application and you do not want to give them power to become an obstacle towards your acceptance.
For any questions, contact your designated Admissions Liaison Officer (ALO) immediately. They are reserved officers who are more than happy to help during your process of the application.
Near the end of the application, you will be asked to schedule an interview with your ALO, which means it is essential to find measures to build a relationship in order to leave a great impression.
Are you thinking of applying to a service academy?
Share where you would want to go in the comments below.