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  • Writer's pictureLTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

Good News! Nominations Increasing for C/O 2029

Updated: Apr 12

A recent law change authorizes 15 nominees per Congressional appointment slot

As of March 27, 2024, Congress authorized that the number of nominations for the three major U.S. service academies will be increased from a maximum of 10 per appointment slot to 15. That's good news! Students seeking Senatorial nominations from the most populous states, such as Texas, California, New York, Florida and New Jersey, will be quite happy with this update. Also, this change will be great news for candidates in very competitive Congressional districts.

This news impact candidates only for the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.

So what does it mean for you? It will likely allow Members of Congress (MoCs) to award multiple nominations to more students, like you. Plus, in competitive districts, it will allow some candidates that would have missed a nomination under the old limit of 10 nominees to now earn one of 15 nominations.

As I explain in my nominations blog, nominees that do not 'win' their MOC's slate are automatically placed in a national pool where a few hundred are selected for admissions to fill the entering class through a national competition of "Qualified Alternates" (also referred to as the 'order of merit'). More nominations simply means you will have a greater opportunity to capture two nominations to, say, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy, instead of a single one to USNA. And, in turn, you may very well capture an appointment to Air Force, when you did not have a chance without the added nomination.

One point to keep in mind is that the overall authorized student population at USAFA, USNA, and USMA remains at 4,400 cadets and midshipmen. Overall, it likely makes the competition for each slot more competitive as the pool of qualified candidates nationwide will increase with this expansion in the number of nominations.

For example, in states like Texas and New Jersey, the Senators noted in 2023 that they could only provide a single nomination to students in those states. Now, with this change for the 2024-25 admissions cycle, a student placing USAFA as her top choice and USMA as her second, may win both nominations. This candidate, in the past, may only have received one nomination for USAFA without the ability to win an appointment to West Point absent the USMA nomination. With the change, she may very well win an Army appointment for the Class of 2029 bumping others out of contention for the same appointment slot in the national order of merit.

For the majority of students applying to the U.S. service academies, this change will not impact your path. You should focus on what you can control by becoming the best candidate you can be. Improve your academic standing, become a better athlete and pursue different leadership roles in your activities and on your sports teams. With this focus, I'm confident that you will win the nominations you seek.

The change with nominations is good news! Start today to earn your nominations for one or more of the U.S. service academies that you desire to attend.

[Let's discuss how I can help you earn nominations and appointments. I offer coaching services to pace and prepare you (and your parents!) for the entire Academy application process, including nominations! Contact me at chris@cbbrechin.com, 503.515.7406 or complete my contact form on the home page.]

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