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United States Service Academies

GBN Students Interested In The U.S. Service Academies

The primary mission of all service academies is to produce high-quality, career-oriented officers for the United States military. Gaining acceptance to a military academy will require considerable work for you and those supporting you. It is wise for you to thoroughly research the service academy option early on in the process.

As a potential academy student you are encouraged to read the following (applicable) books:

  • The Air Force Academy Candidate Book
  • The Naval Academy Candidate Book
  • The West Point Academy Candidate Book

*These books can be ordered from for around $15.00 and up.

You are also encouraged to learn more about academy and military life by:

  • Studying the web pages for each academy
  • Requesting and reading each academy’s literature
  • Talking with military officers, active or retired
  • Talking with current academy students
  • Visiting at least one academy to get a sense of lifestyle and expectations

Physical Fitness

  • You must pass a rigorous physical fitness exam and show evidence of athletic ability and a personal commitment to physical fitness. Some of the academies also have height and weight restrictions.


  • You must show evidence of leadership ability through activities in your school, church, and community.

Academics and Test Scores

  • Each academy has specific requirements for admissions. It is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with those requirements early in your high school career. This ensures that you will qualify when you are ready to apply.

Mental Toughness

  • Do you have what it takes to survive your first year in the academy? Upperclassmen will try to break you. They will be in your face, looking for your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The stress will be incredible. You will be given more work than you can possibly complete. You will be better prepared for this stress if you read the books describing this process, visit the academies to witness it first hand, and talk with others that have experienced it. You must be determined and tough-minded in order to survive it.  A cadet visiting Glenbrook North once responded after being asked the question regarding the toughness of what is known as pleb year but saying, “that in order to be a leader, one must first learn to follow”.
Academy Requirements
U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY 
  1. Obtain a nomination from a nominating entity: Congress, U.S. Senators, or Vice President of U.S. 
  2. Complete the Candidate Questionnaire – As early as January of Junior Year. Deadline is February 28th of the year you wish to enter the Academy 
  3. Complete remaining online forms.
  4. Follow up on Nominations.
  5. Complete the DoMERB Medical Exam and Fitness Assessment.
  6. Submit ACT with Writing or SAT scores.
U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
  1. Submit a preliminary application – As early as April of Junior Year.
  2. Obtain a nomination from a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senators, or the Vice President of the U.S. 
  3. Complete the USNA application – Deadline is January 31st of the year you wish to enter the Academy. 
  4. Submit your ACT or SAT scores.
  5. Submit transcripts (see website for more information). 
  6. Complete the DoMERB Medical Exam.
  7. Complete the fitness assessment. 
  8. Complete an interview with your Blue and Gold Officer.
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY 
  1. Request a nomination – U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator from your State of Residence.  
  2. Complete your application package as early as May of your Junior Year. Deadline is March 1st of the year you wish to enter the Academy. 
  3. Submit transcripts, SAT or ACT scores and 3 letters of recommendation.
  4. Complete the Candidate Fitness Assessment. 
  5. Complete the DoMERB Medical Exam. 
  6. Obtain a nomination from the proper nominating authority.
U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, CO 
  1. Contact your Admissions Liaison Officer.
  2. Obtain a nomination from a nominating entity: Congress or the U.S. Vice President.
  3. Complete a Pre-Candidate Questionnaire – As early as March of Junior Year. Deadline is December 31st of the year you wish to enter the Academy.
  4. Submit transcripts and teacher/counselor letters of recommendation (3 teacher (English, Math, and preferably Science or History) and 1 school counselor).
  5. Pass fitness assessment.
  6. Complete your Extracurricular Activities Record.
  7. Complete your writing sample and personal interview.
  8. Submit your Personal Data Record and Drug/Alcohol Abuse Statement.
  9. Complete the DoMERB Medical Exam.
U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
  1. Does not require a nomination.
  2. Complete the online application and essays.
  3. Provide transcripts, letters of recommendation (Math, English, and Counselor).
  4. Complete Fitness Examination.
  5. Provide ACT with Writing or SAT scores (See below for scores).
  6. Complete the DoMERB Medical Exam.
    Deadlines are January 15th of the year of entrance or October 15th of the year prior to entrance for Early Action.

Nomination Process

Please access the following websites to learn more about and to begin the nomination process from Illinois Senate member, House member, and/or the Vice-President of the United States. Students should contact both Illinois Senators, but only the House member for his/her district.

Illinois Senators

Tammy Duckworth   
Dick Durbin

District House Members

District #9: Jan Schakowsky    
District #10: Brad Schneider

Vice President of U.S.

Kamala Harris

Service Academy Resources