Thank you for expressing interest in attending one of the United States Military Academies. By contacting my office, you have taken the first step towards a future of tough challenges and great rewards. Our United States Military Academies will push you to reach your full potential, both mentally and physically, while giving you the education and skills needed to serve your country as an officer. I commend you for your interest in this opportunity.

Applicants should begin the nomination process in the summer before their senior year of high school. To start the application process you should contact the academies you would like to attend and ask them to start a pre-candidate file for you. You should then contact my office in addition to Senator Murray’s office and your Congressional Representative’s office and request a nomination.

The admission process for Military Academies is extremely competitive and my evaluation takes several factors into account. I look for applicants displaying leadership, academic achievement, athletic ability, and strength of character. Successful past nominees have demonstrated these traits through involvement in their communities, while also distinguishing themselves academically. Your initiation of the nomination process has placed you among excellent company and I look forward to reviewing your application.

Senator Cantwell's electronic signature

Nomination Application Process

All materials must be complete and received by November 20, 2015. No late materials will be considered. We must receive your official SAT or ACT score sheets from the College Board before the deadline.

  1. Online Application
  2. Request to have your official SAT and/or ACT scores sent to my office. (SAT code: 0227, ACT code: 7193). Only official copies of scores received before the application deadline will be considered.
  3. In one envelope, mail the following materials:
  • A Printed Copy of Your Online Application
  • Basic Information Form (NOTE: this form is separate from the online application)
  • Sealed and Certified Copy of your High School Transcript. If you are applying to transfer from another college or university, please also include the appropriate transcripts from that institution.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation with original signatures.
  • A One page List of Activities.
  • A One Page Essay answering the following question: What does a career in military service mean to you?
  • Photo of yourself (optional)

Mail to:

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell
ATTN: Academy Nominations
915 Second Avenue, Suite 3206
Seattle, WA 98174

You may be contacted after our initial academy board selection for a personal interview as a final step to the application process.  Interviews will take place in January 2016, prior to our academy notification deadlines.  Not all applicants will receive interviews. You will be contacted by phone if an interview is necessary.

For more information about each service academy, please visit their websites:

US Air Force Academy
Director of Admissions
Colorado Springs, CO 80840

US Military Academy
Admissions Office,
West Point, NY 10996

US Naval Academy
Director of Candidate Guidance
Annapolis, MD 21408

US Merchant Marine Academy
Admissions Office
Kings Point, NY 11024

US Coast Guard Academy

The United States Coast Guard Academy does not require congressional nominations. If you are interested in attending the USCG Academy, you can contact the Academy directly at:

USCG Admissions Office
New London, CT 06320

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility requirements for a nomination?

To be eligible for nomination you must meet these requirements by July 1 of the year you would begin at an academy:

  • Be at least 17 years old, but not past your 23rd birthday.
  • Be a United State Citizen.
  • Be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents.
  • Reside within the legal boundaries of the Representative for which you are applying.  When applying for nomination from either Senator Cantwell or Senator Murray you must be a resident of Washington State.  
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I am a resident of Washington State, but currently live abroad. Who do I seek a nomination from?
All nominations should be sought from the Senators and Representative from your state of residence.  If you are selected for an interview by Senator Cantwell’s office, accommodations will be made to suit your international needs. return to top
How many candidates can Senator Cantwell nominate?
Each Member of Congress is allowed five appointees at each Academy over a four year period. This means that in most years, Sen. Cantwell will be making nominations for one vacancy at each Academy. As Sen. Cantwell uses the competitive method, she will nominate up to ten candidates for each vacancy. return to top
Should I apply for nominations from other sources?

Yes, in fact it is highly encouraged. You may receive a nomination from a number of different sources. It is recommended that you apply for a nomination from both Senator Cantwell and Senator Murray, as well as the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from your district.  To find out who your Representative is click here.  There are also non-congressional sources from which an applicant may receive a nomination, such as the President or Vice President of the United States, and the Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.). It is recommended that you contact the academy directly regarding these nomination sources.

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What type of coursework should I be taking while in High School to be competitive for an appointment?
Each academy has varying recommendations about what course work will best prepare applicants.  If you have questions about how this process works please contact the academy directly. return to top
Am I required to take both the SAT and ACT exams?
No, Senator Cantwell only asks that you take either the SAT or the ACT.  However if you choose to take both the SAT and the ACT you are permitted to submit both scores.  return to top
Can active-duty soldiers apply for a nomination?

Yes. Active-duty military who fully comply with their personnel directives regarding academy attendance are fully eligible.

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Should I open a pre-candidate file at the academy to which I am applying?

Yes. It is important that all applicants contact their respective academy of interest and open a pre-candidate file as early as possible. The academies generally recommend that students fill out these questionnaires during their junior year of high school.

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Can I be nominated to more than one Academy?

Yes, it is possible to be nominated to more than one Academy. On your application, you will be asked to rank in numerical order your Academy preferences. Keep in mind that the nomination process is competitive. How well you compete among the pool of candidates will determine if you are nominated to your first choice. Therefore, only indicate your preference for Academies that you are truly interested in attending. We also recommend that you apply to more than one Academy, as you may be more competitive at one Academy compared to another.

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Does a nomination guarantee an appointment?

No. A nomination is the selection made by an authorized source and allows a candidate to compete for an appointment. You should also be applying at the Academies in which you are interested, while applying for a nomination.

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