Selection for Appointment
An Academy selection for entrance is gained through a political appointment. However, it is a very 'non-political process' by which applicants run through the process of applying. It requires reaching out to your political representatives: typically, your U.S. Representative, your two U.S. Senators and the Vice President of the United States. We will explore all of the potential avenues for your nomination.
In parallel, an applicant should reach out to each of the Academies of their interest. You should not wait until you have received a nomination to begin your formal application to USAFA, USMA, USNA and/or USMMA. Note that the US Coast Guard Academy does not require a nomination (unlike the other four Academies).
An entering cadet must be at least 17 years old and not older than 23 years old on the day of their entrance (~ July 1). Applicants ideally start the process of applying to the Academies on April 1 of their junior year of high school. You may apply as late as January of your senior year, but that is typically too late in the process.
Applicants will want to take either or both of the admissions tests (i.e., the SAT and ACT). Take the tests early and often. Have the scores sent to the Academies. Tests may be taken up to January 31st of the year you will enter the Academy. Note that the Academies 'super score' results taking your best components from the tests that you have taken. The same is not true for all ROTC scholarship programs: AFROTC and Marine-specific ROTC selection boards do not use this method.
Use the following codes to ensure the test scores are delivered to each school:
US Naval Academy (Annapolis) SAT 5809 ACT 1742
US Military Academy (West Point) SAT 2924 ACT 2976
US Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs) SAT 4830 ACT 0530
Probability of Appointment
All of the service academies are considered some of the most selective schools in the country. Each looks to appoint 'all around' individuals that are not only smart, but are leaders among their peers as well as physically fit. About 12% of applicants are admitted. Most cadets were in the top 20% of their high school class. And many are Valedictorians or Salutatorians in their final year of high school.
Talent is important, but the successful applicant will have a strong desire to attend the Academy, the discipline to complete the entire process and the commitment to serve their country as a military officer.
A single medical examination is conducted for all of the Academies and ROTC scholarships. The organization called DODMERB (which stands for the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board) is the ultimate medical authority for medical examinations and records review for admissions to the service academies and ROTC scholarships. You will receive a notice when to contact a local facility to complete your medical examination.