Military Student Timeline
If you are thinking about a career in the military, after high school there are college Academies for five service branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. The process of applying to military Academies is rigorous, but CollegeMapper's timeline walks you through it. You can also join a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at your four year university. These two paths will lead you to become an officer in the military after college!
October - December of Junior Year
- Focus on your grades. 90% of Cadets were in the top 20% of their classes.
- Identify military academies, military schools, and schools with a ROTC program.
- Open your (pre-) candidate profile on each academy's/school's website. This starts the process and is not optional.
- Join mailing lists to stay informed.
- Visit campuses (registered, unofficial, etc.) Try to stay overnight or meet someone in admissions.
- Meet the academy/ROTC liaison in your area.
- Ace your interview with the liaison. Read current events before you go. Practice. Show your desire to be in the military.
- Attend the academy events in your area (usually in October and March).
- Begin networking to get a nomination from a member of the United States Congress.
- Network with both because they can only offer 10 nominations.
- TIPS/GOOD TO KNOW:
- Contact your reps in the spring of junior year to start this process. See if anyone who knows and loves you can reach out to your local member of Congress.
- You do not need a nomination for the Coast Guard Academy.
- See if you can claim residency in multiple districts (state and county perhaps).
- You can have apply for a nomination from these four sources: 2 Senators, 1 Congressman, or VP of US.
- Many make the decisions in the fall as to who they will write letters for, but start MUCH EARLIER. The nominator will notify the Academy so there is nothing you need to do there.
- Each member of Congress can have only five people attending the Naval Academy at any time (members can nominate ten candidates for each vacancy so the NA can choose--OR they can nominate one principal nominee and nine others as alternates).
- Big military academies include United States Military Academy at West Point, United States Naval Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academy, United States Air Force Academy, and United States Coast Guard Academy.
January - March of Junior Year
- Apply for summer leader seminar at the academies in January (Navy, Air Force, West Point, Coast Guard) (Norwich has one too).
- Line up three recommendations for your nomination. Many like one to be your guidance counselor.
April - October
- Apply for your nomination: A member of the U.S. Congress will typically want: an application, three letters of reccomendation, official transcript, SAT/ACT scores, resume, 250-500 word essay (usually on why you want to be in the military or what it means to you to serve), optional photo. Usually you should mail these in one envelope.
- Do DMERB exams - Dept of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DAHD-merb).
- APPLY EARLY even though admission is rolling.
- Military applications open in April (some). Let them know you are interested in prep school programs.
- What you need:
- Transcripts for all six semesters.
- Super-scored SAT/ACT tests (Average ACT: 26, Average SAT: 1260).
- English, math, chemistry, and physics teachers to do a School Official Evaluation in the summer.
- Candidate Personal Data Record.
- Candidate Statements.
- An offered spot in the Academy.
- An offered spot in their prep school (for students who fit what they are looking for, but need to improve their GPA).
- Denied spot:If you don't get in, RE-APPLY. Go to a civilian university and join ROTC or go to a military school, or to a Post Graduate year to improve your GPA. DO NOT GIVE UP.
Not time constrained things to do
- Start/continue volunteering in your community.
- Be a leader. Join clubs and activities through your school to show your leadership skills.
- Be an athlete. Earning a varsity letter is a plus, and it will help you pass the Fitness Assessment.
- Be prepared. Know your high school rank and your test scores. (junior year)
- Do something leadership-related in the summer.
- Consider going to a military summer school prep program.