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  • Writer's pictureLTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

Academy Nominations & the Lead Staff Member

Updated: Mar 28

Each member of Congress has a dedicated staff member to manage service academy nominations for USAFA, USMA, USNA and USMMA

As you investigate and educate yourself around the details of the nomination application for each of your Members of Congress (MoCs), you will often come across a name that the Senator or Representative specifically notes as their main contact for nominations. This person is the dedicated, lead staff member that manages their U.S. service academy nominations. You should pay close attention to this person and the role they play in the nomination process.

Let's explore this staff member's role a bit further and how you should interact with her during the nomination process. I hope it goes without saying that you should treat this person professionally and with respect. Use their formal title, such as Ms. Garcia or Mr. Abrahams. Use formal language, and do not use any profanity, even if it is in jest.

This staff member runs the entire nomination process for their MoC for all four service academies (SAs). Often, the individual has managed this process for a number of years, and may have done the same for other MoCs previously. These members will periodically visit the SAs to continue to build upon their expertise around the schools and the application process itself. They are true professionals and will be a valuable resource for you to answer questions about the nomination.

Some key components of the nomination process are:

  • The due date for the application (usually, September through November)

  • Required documents (typically, SAT/ACT scores, school transcripts, recommendations letters and a nomination application form)

  • Written essays / personal statements

  • An interview (although, some large-state Senators will not conduct them, such as Texas and California)

  • Other items, like a photo, may also be requested

The lead staff member works with their MoC to define the nomination application process. The member is responsible for publishing the requirements on the MoC's website. She organizes and runs the nomination committees that typically are used to evaluate nomination applications and run the in-person interviews. My blog about these committees provides details to help you better understand their role.

One important note: if you visit the MoC's office to drop off your application and to meet the lead staff member, then please dress appropriately -- no t-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, etc. As I tell my students, you only have one opportunity to make a 'first impression' so do your best to make a good one!

[I would welcome a chance to discuss details with you. I offer coaching services to pace and prepare you (and your parents!) for the entire Academy application process, including working with the lead staff members that are responsible for your nomination process. Contact me at chris@cbbrechin.com, 503.515.7406 or complete my contact form on the home page.]

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