Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Military Academy Nominations - FAQ

Frequently asked questions for those seeking a Military Academy nomination. 

What is a nomination?

Members of Congress may nominate applicants who meet the eligibility requirements established by law. A candidate may seek a nomination from the following:

  • A member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents the congressional district in which the candidate resides
  • Both U.S. Senators from his or her state
  • Apply directly to the Vice-President of the United States

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

Each applicant for a nomination 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
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Marital Status: Must be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents
  • Residence: Must reside within the boundaries of the 17th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
  • Skill / Fitness: Must meet the medical, physical, and academic requirements of the Academy.

Who do I contact to request an application?

Contact my office at 570-341-1050 to request a nomination packet.

When do I apply for a nomination?

My nomination application period opens May 15th of each year for those candidates who are high school juniors and will be seniors the following school year, or who have already graduated.

What is the deadline for completing a nomination file?

The deadline for submitting a nomination packet to my District Office is normally the end of September. Please contact my office at 570-341-1050 for more specifics.

What must be included in my nomination file?

A complete nomination file consists of the following items:

  • Current 4x6 photo (MUST include a digital copy)
  • An officially stamped with seal and signed high school transcript
  • An official copy of the American College Testing Program (ACT) results and/or College Board Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) results
  • Signed applicant Agreement and completed pages 7 & 8 of the application form
  • An essay stating why you want to attend a service academy (750 words)
  • An essay addressing your involvement in your community (500 words)
  • Minimum of two letters of recommendation properly signed and sealed

What happens after I have completed my nomination file?

Applicants who submit a completed nomination file will be scheduled for an interview in early December.

What criteria is used in selecting candidates?

Nominations are based on a "whole person" evaluation. Factors such as academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character and motivation are taken into consideration and compared with other applicants.

How many academies are there?

There are five service academies.

Are the requirements the same for all of the service academies?

No. Although many of the qualifications are similar, each academy operates under its own admissions guidelines. Visit the academy of your choice via the websites noted for each academy's particular admissions qualifications. It is not necessary to seek a nomination to the Coast Guard Academy, as the U.S.C.G.A. accepts candidates based on their own testing criteria.

Who should I ask to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

Some of the people applicants typically seek recommendations from include:

  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Employers
  • Coaches
  • Clergy
  • Scout Leaders

Will I automatically be selected by the academy after I receive a nomination?

No. You will be placed among a select group of nominees, and the academy of your choice will make the final decision. If selected, you will receive an offer of admission (an appointment) directly from the academy.

What if I choose more than one academy? Will I be limited to a single nomination?

No. You can be nominated to multiple academies depending on how well you have competed among this year's pool of candidates. It is also possible to win multiple appointments.

When will I know if I have been offered an appointment by an academy?

Academies will begin to notify candidates of their admission status in February. All offers of appointment are generally sent out by May.