As some of the most selective institutions of higher learning in the world, the United States service academies offer young people a unique opportunity to obtain a first class education and subsequently serve our country upon graduation as commissioned officers in the United States Military. Each member of Congress is allotted a limited number of nominations that they submit to each academy. Currently each United States Senator is permitted to have a total of five vacancies charged to his or her office at each academy. In a typical cycle, one vacancy is opened each year as a cadet or midshipman graduates, and the Senator will offer the academy ten nominees to fill that vacancy. Because securing a nomination does not guarantee an appointment (i.e. offer of admission), the entire process is highly competitive. You are therefore encouraged to apply for as many nominations as you may be eligible.
You are to be commended on your interest in serving our country. I encourage you to contact my New York City office at (212) 688-6262 should you have any questions about this process.
Who Is Eligible?
Each applicant for a nomination from my office 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. (25 for the Merchant Marine Academy)
• Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen, and a permanent resident of New York State.
• Marital Status: Be unmarried, not pregnant, and have no legal obligation to support children or other dependents.
Please note that the acceptance of an appointment to a United States service academy commits an applicant to at least five years of active duty service after graduation.
Prior to applying for a nomination from my office, please contact your academy or academies of choice to request a pre-candidate questionnaire. Once completed and returned, the academy will apprise you of any special physical, medical, or academic requirements particular to their institution. Congressional nominations are utilized by the following academies:
- U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado
- U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York
- U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York
- U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
*The U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut does not utilize Congressional nominations. However, like her sister academies, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy provides an excellent education in exchange for an active service commitment upon graduation.
Because it is possible to receive a nomination from more than one source and nominations are limited, I request as a matter of courtesy that you inform my office immediately of any other nominations you may receive to a service academy.
Each year, the application generally opens in August. Please note that you may not modify your application once it is submitted. Therefore, be sure to complete every field accurately and thoroughly.
My office will require the following materials in order to evaluate your request for nomination:
- A completed online Service Academy Nomination Application.
- Essays: There are four short essays to write, of approximately 200 words each.
- An official transcript from all high schools, junior colleges, or colleges you have attended. This transcript must show your final junior year grades
- Three letters of recommendation from people who know you well. For high school students, one of these recommendations must be from a mathematics or science teacher. Recommendations from family members are not permitted.
- We do not ask for and do not accept resumes.
If you are unable to complete the application online, please contact my New York City office:
Office of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand
780 Third Avenue - Suite 2601
New York, New York 10017
ATTN: Academy Coordinator
The application deadline is October 24, 2021. In addition to submitting the application to my New York City office, you must also remember to complete and submit the requisite admissions application to your academy or academies of choice. It is your responsibility to ensure that the institutions to which you are applying open an admissions file for you. Additionally, it is also your responsibility to make sure that you meet any special criteria required for admission by your academy or academies of choice. For more information you should consult the academy guidebook or contact your high school guidance counselor. You may also find out more information about each of the academies at the telephone numbers and websites listed below.
Air Force: 719-333-2520
Merchant Marines: 1-800-732-6267
Admission to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy is no longer predicated upon receiving a nomination from a United States Senator. Applications must therefore be made directly to the Academy.
The Selection Process
Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of academic performance, intelligence, leadership ability, moral character, adequacy of preparation, and commitment to attend a service academy. You may be contacted for an interview that will be conducted at a place and time to be determined. Interviews by my Academy Selection Committee shall be conducted in November, December or January. Candidates will be informed whether or not they will be receiving a nomination by mail.
Please follow this link to find a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to call my New York City office at 212-688-6262.