Military Academy Nominations - FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions by those in South Dakota seeking a Military Academy nomination. 

What is a nomination?

Members of Congress may nominate applicants who meet the eligibility requirements established by law. A candidate may seek a nomination from the following:

  • A member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents the congressional district in which the candidate resides
  • Both U.S. Senators from his or her state
  • The Vice-President of the United States

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

Each applicant for a nomination must meet the following eligibility requirements as of July 1st of the year of admission to an academy:

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Marital Status: Must be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents
  • Age: Be at least 17 years old, but not have passed the 23rd birthday
  • Of good moral character
  • Residence: Must reside within the boundaries of the At Large Congressional District of South Dakota.

Who do I contact to request an application?

You may fill out a Military Academy Nominations FormContact my Sioux Falls or West River Office with further questions. 

When do I apply for a nomination?

The nomination application period opens March 1st of each year for those candidates who are high school juniors and will be seniors the following school year, or who have already graduated.

What is the deadline for completing a nomination file?

The deadline for submitting a nomination packet to the District Office is normally toward the end of October. Please contact the office for this year's specifics/dates.

What must be included in my nomination file?

A complete nomination file consists of the following items:

  • A complete, printed, and signed application,
  • Copy of High school transcript,
  • Copy of American College Testing Program (ACT) results and/or College Board Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) results,
  • Resume of your extracurricular activities and leadership responsibilites, and
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one letter from your principal, guidance counselor, or employer. 

What happens after I have completed my nomination file?

Applicants who submit a completed nomination file will be scheduled for an interview, normally in early December.

What criteria is used in selecting candidates?

Nominations are based on a "whole person" evaluation. Factors such as academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character and motivation are taken into consideration and compared with the other applicants.

How many academies are there?

There are five service academies.

Are the requirements the same for all of the service academies?

No, although many of the qualifications are similar, each academy operates under its own admissions guidelines. Visit the Academy's website to learn theirparticular admissions qualifications.

It is not necessary to seek a congressional nomination to the Coast Guard Academy, as the U.S.C.G.A. accepts candidates based on their own testing criteria.

Who should I ask to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

Some of the people applicants typically seek recommendations from include:

  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Employers
  • Coaches
  • Clergy
  • Scout Leaders

A specific recommendation form is not required. A letter of recommendation is sufficient.

Will I automatically be selected by the Academy after I receive a nomination?

No, you will be placed among a select group of nominees, and the Academy will make the final decision. If selected, you will receive an offer of admission (an appointment) directly from the Academy.

What if I choose more than one academy? Will I be limited to a single nomination?

No, you can be nominated to multiple academies depending on how well you have competed among this year's pool of candidates. It is also possible to win multiple appointments from multiple academies. 

When will I know if I have been offered an appointment by an academy?

Academies will normally begin to notify candidates of their admission status in February. All offers of appointment are generally sent out by the acadamies by May.