Academy Application Instructions

Academy Application Instructions

Introduction to Academy Nominations  

To receive an offer of appointment to the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Military Academy or Merchant Marine Academy an applicant must obtain a nomination from an official source. There are many nomination sources and applicants are encouraged to apply to ALL available sources. Sources include a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator and the Vice President of the United States. Additional information for other sources of nomination an applicant may be eligible for can be found on the specific academy’s admission website.

United States Senators are able to nominate applicants living in any part of the state they represent. (An applicant who is stationed abroad with family but holds domicile in the state of Washington is still eligible to apply for a Washington State nomination.) Each Congressional office uses a selection process designed to meet its own needs and standards. It is imperative to strictly follow the specific instructions of each office. The nomination process and your academy application are separate processes; however, they should be accomplished simultaneously.

Basic Requirements for Eligibility  

Applicant must:

1. Be at least 17 years old and not passed their 23rd birthday on July 1st of the year that the applicant would enter the academy.

2. Be legally domiciled in the state of Washington (i.e., where applicant or parent(s) are registered to vote).

3. Be a citizen of the United States by the time applicant enters the academy.

4. Be unmarried, not pregnant and have no dependents.

5. Have an open and complete (or almost complete) admissions application at the service academies that the applicant seeks a nomination.

Nomination Selection Process 

Competitive nomination selections are based on academic and leadership potential, extracurricular activities, physical fitness, personal recommendations, strength of character, ability and desire to lead, compassion towards others, perseverance through hardship, motivation to attend the academy and a realistic understanding of academy life and military challenges. These should be communicated as best as possible through a personal essay and letters of recommendation. To an extent, motivation can be judged by a candidate's diligence in completing his/her file, which is one reason those with incomplete or late nomination application files are not considered for nominations.

The Nomination Review Board will consider all submitted documents and make their recommendation to the staff for final review and approval.

Applicants will receive a letter from the Senator notifying them of their nomination status by February 2025.

Application Requirements:

Essay: A commitment to military service is a serious and deeply personal choice. The determination, wherewithal, and leadership skills it takes to gain acceptance and succeed at the United States Service Academy's is enormous. Applicants must respond in 400-800 words to the prompt on the application. 

Resume: Applicants must submit a one to three page resume detailing their extracurricular activities, volunteer work, job experience, honors and awards, and leadership roles.  

Letters of Recommendation: Applicants may submit three to five letters of recommendation. To do this, the applicant will send a file request to a person of their choosing through the application platform. 

Transcripts: Official transcripts are required from (1) the applicant’s high school and (2) any and all post-secondary academic institutions from which the applicant has earned credit.

SAT and/or ACT Scores: Due to the challenges applicants are facing with SAT/ACT scores, my office will follow the guidelines of the academy(s) to which you are applying. It is the applicants' responsibility to follow this closely. If your academy requires a test score you must report those. Please send your SAT (Code 0227) and/or ACT (Code 7193) scores to my office directly from the testing agency. If you are not able to meet the deadline, please contact my office.

All completed applications are due November 22nd, 2024.

Service Academy Contact Information  

United States Air Force Academy

Admissions Office
2304 Cadet Dr, Ste 2300
USAF Academy, CO 80840-5651
(800) 443-9266

United States Military Academy

Admissions Office
606 Thayer Road
West Point, NY 10996-9902
(845) 938-4041

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Admissions Office
300 Steamboat Road
Kings Point, NY 11024
(516) 726-5646

United States Naval Academy

Admissions Office
52 King George St
Annapolis, MD 21402
(410) 293-1858

Go here to start the application

Contact Information

Office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell
915 2nd Avenue, Suite 3206
Seattle, WA 98174
P: (206) 220-6400
F: (206) 220-6404