Academy Nominations

Thank you for your interest in the U.S. Service Academies. As your Senator, each year I have the privilege of nominating a limited number of people to four of the five service academies. The honor of attending a service academy comes with an obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation. Best wishes to you as you pursue your goal of attending one of the U.S. Service Academies and serving our country.

Academy Nominations Frequently Asked Questions- FAQ

The application, including all forms and documents, must be submitted to my office via the U.S. Senate Academy Nomination Application website no later than September 21, 2020. Please email all questions to                                                                                                                                                                                               

1) What are the basic eligibility requirements?

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

  • Must be at least 17 years old, but not past your 23rd birthday.
    • 25th birthday for United States Merchant Marine Academy.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal dependents.
  • Must be a resident of the State of Colorado (to receive a nomination from Senator Gardner).
  • Must meet the medical, physical, and academic requirements of the Academy
  • Competitive Applicants:

    •           Should score 27/600 or higher on each portion of the ACT or SAT respectively.  

    •           Should rank in the top 20% of their graduating high school class.

    •           Must be active in their school and community, and hold leadership positions in various extracurricular activities.

2) Which service academies require a nomination?

  • There are five service academies in the United States. Senator Gardner has the privilege of nominating students to four of the five service academies: Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Military Academy at West Point, and Merchant Marine Academy.
  • It is not necessary to seek a Congressional nomination to the Coast Guard Academy. 

Three reside within the Department of Defense:

U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York

U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado

One resides within the Department of Transportation:

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York

One resides within the Department of Homeland Security:

U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut

3) When do I apply for a nomination?

  • The nomination application period begins in early March and closes on September 21st.
  • The application, including all forms and documents, must be submitted to my office via the online Senate Nomination Application website no later than September 21, 2020.
  • It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to ensure an application is complete. Application materials will not be accepted after the deadline and incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

4) What must be included in my nomination application?

  • Official Online Application completed through the U.S. Senate Academy Nomination Application website. Do not send a resume in place of this application.
  • Current photo – official high school or professional photo recommended.
  • Official high school transcript must include:
    • Current unweighted GPA. 
    • If you are enrolled in college, you are encouraged to submit both your final high school transcript and your current college transcript. 
    • Official ACT and/or SAT score document (if included on high school transcript, upload twice) - updated scores will be accepted until October 30, 2020.
  • Exactly two letters of recommendation. Teachers who wish to email letters of recommendation can do so by emailing
  • Resume
    • Please include a date range for all sports, jobs, leadership positions, clubs, and other extracurricular activities participated in during high school. Be sure to include a description of duties and responsibilities for each activity.
  • Two essays, a maximum of one typed page, single-spaced each:
    • Essay 1: “Why do you want to attend a Service Academy?”
    • Essay 2: “How have you demonstrated your commitment to living honorably?” 

5) Who should write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

  • Some recommendations include: teachers, counselors, coaches, clergy, employers, and scout leaders.

6) What happens after my online application is complete?

  • Applicants who submit a completed nomination application will be offered an interview with Senator Gardner's Service Academy Nomination Board. Interviews will take place in October around the state of Colorado.
  • All applicants must also apply for admission directly with the desired academy(s). Proof of an open application to the academy(s) will be required at the time of the interview.

7) What criteria is used in selecting nominees?

  • Nominations are based on a "whole person" evaluation. Factors, such as academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership aptitude, character, motivation, and resiliency are considered.
  • Senator Gardner will typically submit an unranked slate of up to ten nominees for each academy. The academies will then rank the nominees based on their internal assessment and the most qualified nominee(s) will be offered an appointment.

8) 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 links above to learn about their specific admissions process.

9) Will I automatically receive an appointment to the academy after I receive a nomination?

  • No, you must also meet the academy admission requirements and pass your candidate medical exam for each academy. If the academy determines you are fully qualified and you have earned a nomination, the academy may grant you an offer of an appointment.

10) 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 earn multiple appointments.

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

  • Academies may begin to notify candidates of their admission status as early as January. All offers of appointment are usually sent out by May.