Military Academy Nominations - FAQ

Frequently asked questions for those seeking a Military Academy nomination. You may also fill out a Military Academy Nominations Form.

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
  • Apply directly to 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:

  • Age: Be at least 17 years old, but not have passed the 23rd birthday
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Marital Status: Must be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents
  • Residence: Must reside within the boundaries of the 10th Congressional District of California.
  • Skill / Fitness: Must meet the medical, physical, and academic requirements of the Academy

Who do I contact to request an application?

Contact the office to request a nomination packet.

When do I apply for a nomination?

The nomination application period opens May 15th of each year for those candidates who are high school juniors and will be seniors the following school year, or who have already graduated. You can also find a full list of important dates at the bottom of this page.

What is the deadline for completing a nomination file?

The deadline for submitting a nomination packet to the District Office is normally mid-October. Please contact the office for more specifics.

What must be included in my nomination file?

A complete nomination file consists of the following items:

  • Current photo
  • High school transcript
  • American College Testing Program (ACT) results and/or College Board Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) results
  • Resume of extracurricular activities
  • An essay stating why you want to attend a service academy (500 words or less)
  • Minimum of three letters of recommendations

A printable checklist can be found HERE

What happens after I have completed my nomination file?

Applicants who submit a completed nomination file will be scheduled for an interview in late October or early November.

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 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 of your choice via the websites noted for each academy's particular admissions qualifications. It is not necessary to seek a 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 of your choice 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.

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

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

Nomination Cycle Important Dates:


  • The Pre-Candidate Questionnaire opens for new applicants on the Service Academy Websites.
    • Note: all those seeking a nomination from the Congressman must submit a pre-candidate questionnaire with each academy they are seeking for a nomination.
    • Can be found on each academy website.
    • Must complete this anytime between March 1st of your junior year and December 31st of your senior year.


  • Congressman Harder’s Nomination Application is Open
    • Note: For an application please call our office at 209-579-5458 and speak with the Congressman’s Service Academy Representative.


  • Congressman Harder Hosts Academy Night
    • Note: This is an opportunity for prospective students to learn more about the academy, the nomination process, and ask questions of the specific service academies or the Congressman’s office.


  • Congressman Harder’s Nomination Applications Due October 31st.
    • Note you must have mailed a complete application to the Congressman’s office by this date. All complete applications will include:
      • Current Photo with name on the back
      • High School Transcript
      • ACT or SAT results
      • Resume of extracurricular activities, work experience, and awards.
      • A 500-word essay stating why you want to attend a service academy
      • 3 Letter of Recommendations, at least one from a teacher, high school counselor, or principal


  • Applicants who submit a completed nomination file by the deadline will be called to schedule an interview in early December.
    • Note: The Congressman does not make any decisions on nominations. Instead a selection committee approved by the Congressman makes the decisions based on an applicant’s scholastic aptitude, leadership potential, character, and demonstrated athletic ability. Each application is reviewed strictly on merit, there is no partisan or political considerations. 


  • Selection committee conducts interviews with candidates and decides on nominations.


  • Those selected for nominations will be contacted and notified of the date for the Congressman’s nomination celebration.
    • Note: Those not selected for nomination will also be notified as well.
    • Note: A nomination does not mean you have an appointment to attend the service academy. Final decision is up to the academies.


  • April 15th the academy makes appointments and starts notifying those who have received appointments.
    • Note: The Congressman will also notify those who receive an appointment as well.


  • By May 1st those who have received an appointment must accept or decline their offer.
  • Academies may offer additional appointments to replace candidates who decline their appointments.


  • Late June or Early July the newly appointed class enters each academy.