How to Apply to a Military Service Academy

The service academies are federal institutions that provide an undergraduate education and train future commissioned officers for service in the United States Armed Forces. Applying to a Military Service Academy is a rigorous, highly-competitive, and lengthy process only for the most determined and qualified candidates. Service academies routinely rank amongst the top universities in the nation. Students pay no tuition while at a service academy, but they are required to serve in the military upon graduation. Cadets and midshipmen will receive a small stipend while attending an academy as well as free room and board.

US Navy Photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Anthony Koch

Listed below are the five federal United States service academies:
The United States Military Academy (USMA) located in West Point, NY
The United States Naval Academy (USNA) located in Annapolis, MD
The United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) located in New London, CT
The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) located in Kings Point, NY
The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) located in Colorado Springs, CO

To be eligible to apply, you must meet the following initial requirements:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be unmarried with no dependents
  • Be at least the age of 17, but less than 23 years of age by July 1st of the year you would enter the academy.

Along with these points, you will need to meet standards of academics, physical wellness, tattoo placement, and more. Check the specifics of the academy you want to apply for to find the most up to date list of standards.

The biggest questions one must ask himself or herself is: “Do I really want to attend a service academy? Am I ready and willing to serve my country?” Don’t go to an academy if you’re doing it under pressure from family and cohorts; go to an academy because it’s something you truly want and desire.These schools are not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to be challenged academically, physically, and mentally.

When applying for an academy, it is best to start applying early during your junior year in high school. If you are outside of the junior year timeframe, it is still possible to apply so long as you meet the designated age eligibility requirements. Enlisted service men and women in the military are also encouraged to apply. To do so, open a Candidate Profile through the respective school’s website (opening a profile is the only way to initiate the application process).

The next and most critical step is to obtain a congressional nomination from your local congressman or congresswoman, your two State Senators, or the Vice President of the United States. All candidates are eligible to apply for nominations from these four sources. To apply for a congressional nomination, contact your local congressional representative and both of your senators’ offices for information on their application process. The Vice President can nominate candidates without geographical restriction within the United States. To apply for a nomination from the Vice President, you can find information on the White House webpage.

The President of the United States is the source for service-connected nominations (i.e., Junior/Reserve Officers Training Corps for cadets enrolled within an eligible JROTC/ROTC program, children of career military personnel, soldiers in the armed forces, children of Deceased or 100% Disabled Veterans, or children of Medal of Honor awardees).

Ensure you apply through all applicable sources. You only need one nomination from any of these sources to be included in a pool of candidates before a service academy will even look at a potential candidate’s application file.

If applying to USMA, USNA, or USAFA, for example: There are 15,000 applicants interested in attending a particular service academy. Of the 15,000 applicants, about 4,000 of them will receive either a congressional or service-connected nomination. The service academy’s admissions office will then look at those 4,000 nominees and narrow down the list to identify nominees who meet the school’s qualifications. In the end, approximately 1,000 qualified nominees will receive appointments to that service academy. (These rounded numbers were based off a recent academy’s admissions statistics and are not exact numbers.)

Candidates are required to have letters of recommendations, strong transcripts, strong SAT or ACT scores, pass a Department of Defense Military Examination Review Board (DODMERB) physical examination, and pass a fitness test. Candidates are expected to be scholars, leaders, and athletes within their schools or communities. If you are in high school, ensure you are serving in a leadership position, whether it’s as a sports team captain, a class or club officer, or community leader.

For those who dream about attending a service academy, don’t give up if you don’t get accepted the first time. There have been numerous applicants who have applied more than once and eventually received an appointment into an academy. The academies look favorably upon individuals with grit, character, and determination.

If applying to a service academy is your goal, we wish you the best of luck!

About The Author Viv is a West Point graduate, an Army Officer, and an Army wife. She has served on Active Duty with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and is now in the Army Reserves. She is enjoying life in Texas with her Army Ranger husband (also a West Point graduate).


Veterans Day Free Entertainment Map 2016

A Veterans Day map of free meals, deals, discounts, and more for Retired Military, Active Duty, Reserves and Veterans.

Veterans Day Guide to Offers
National Free Meals & Discounts National Retail, Travel & Service Deals, Discounts, Freebies
Local Area Free Meals & Discounts Giving Back & Veterans Services
How to Get a Veterans ID Map to Veterans Day Free Meals and Services

Veterans Day Logo Wall

Veterans Day Guide to Offers
National Free Meals & Discounts National Retail, Travel & Service Deals, Discounts, Freebies
Local Area Free Meals & Discounts Giving Back & Veterans Services
How to Get a Veterans ID Map to Veterans Day Free Meals and Services
Veterans Day Sales for Everybody Logo wall of Participating Businesses
Veterans Day Resources
About Veterans Day Veterans Day Fact Infographic
Official Veterans Day Posts Since 1978 Veterans Day Pictures
Military & Veterans Discounts Year Round
Military & Veterans Discounts Local Area Military & Veterans Discounts
Veteran & Military Cell Phone Discounts Military Discounts at Gyms and Health Clubs
Wedding Military Discounts Under Armour Military & Veterans Discount

3 Tips for Finding Federal Jobs for Military Veterans

Leaving the military can be a difficult transition and deciding on your next career after the military can be just as daunting. There are countless decisions to be made and many pros and cons to be weighed. However, one job after the military that every veteran should consider is working for the federal government. Federal jobs offer many rewarding careers for military veterans that accompany incredible benefits and pay. Although the positions are competitive, your time and dedication can pay off!

Derrick Ellis, with U.S. Army Garrison Benelux Army Community Service, talks with a visitor of the Employment and Career Expo, at SHAPE, Belgium, June 17, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie/Released)
Derrick Ellis, with U.S. Army Garrison Benelux Army Community Service, talks with a visitor of the Employment and Career Expo, at SHAPE, Belgium, June 17, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie/Released)

Here are some tips that can help you stand out from the rest of the applicants:

1. An Outstanding Résumé
First of all, a “federal résumé” (a type of resume used specifically for applying to Federal jobs) is quite different than a standard résumé. It is a much more detailed account of your past work history and accomplishments. Typically, it is three to five pages in length and is tailored towards a specific position in the government. It is also crucial that military terminology and acronyms be translated into civilian verbiage.

There are a lot of do’s and don’ts when writing a federal résumé so it is suggested that if you are not familiar with the writing process that you seek assistance from a professional résumé writer, Veterans Affairs or the career office at your base. This may be your only chance to shine and you want to make sure that your best foot is put forward. In this case, there is something considered “the perfect resume.”
In addition, make sure your résumé is always accessible! It never hurts to have a few hard copies on hand and electronically if an opportunity should arise.

2. Network, Network, Network!
During your military career you have most likely encountered, worked with or befriended a federal employee. It’s important that you utilize this relationship to gain insight into openings or additional networking opportunities in order to get your foot in the door. They may be your first source of information pertaining to future career possibilities. So, keep all collected business cards in a safe place!

Job fairs are also a great avenue that can lead to federal jobs for military veterans. Keep your eye out for any job fairs in your area to enhance your awareness of upcoming and current positions as well as increasing your own network circle.

Additionally, don’t forget to use social media as a means of outreach. LinkedIn is a great marketing and networking tool that can connect you with millions of other professionals and important social circles. Joining is free and it will grant you immediate access to job information, members in your network and helpful insight.

3. Search high and low
USAJOBS is a great website to begin your job search because it is the federal government’s official job list. All federal agencies must publicly list their job openings and this website also provides tutorials such as a résumé builder and an incredible amount of career and job information.

You can also utilize your base’s career office, Veterans Affairs or federal agencies’ personal websites to gain information about available career opportunities. And be sure to check often! Jobs are posted daily so make sure it’s on the top of your to do list to check frequently and by various means and channels.

This is why, again, it is imperative to have a great résumé AND to have it accessible. When you find a job that interests you, have your résumé ready to go (although tailor it for each specific position) in order to avoid the dreaded deadlines and a missed opportunity.
It’s a good idea to have a “Master” resume with all possible information on it, that can be tailored for each new job you’ve applied for just by removing sections or bullet points. Simply open the document, Save As a new title, and start changing it to best meet the terminology and experience required of the job being applied for.

Since federal jobs are some of the most sought after positions, patience will have to be the key. However, an outstanding résumé, meaningful networking tools, and a true dedication to your search will certainly give you a boost higher than your competitors.

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Father’s Day 2018

For most Fathers, Father’s Day is a celebration where they receive cards, gifts, and showers of admiration and thanks from their loved ones. For Dads serving in the Armed Forces on Father’s Day, the appreciation often travels a great distance to reach them. If you have a Father serving in the Military and he is TDY or deployed over Father’s Day Weekend, you can still share your appreciation and send him a care package to show that though he is far from home, he is not forgotten.

If your Military Dad is home and by your side this Father’s Day, you certainly know how special it is that you can show him your thanks and appreciation in person! Consider taking him out to eat a nice meal. Many restaurants are offering free meals and discounts for Dads.

Father’s Day will be on Sunday, June 17th, 2018.

USMC Photo by Lance Cpl. Cody J. Ohira
USMC Photo by Lance Cpl. Cody J. Ohira

History of Father’s Day

Father’s Day was first introduced in Spokane, Washington, by Sonora Smart Dodd. Ms. Dodd first proposed the idea of Father’s Day when her pastor gave a passionate speech about Mother’s Day and the importance of mothers.

Ms. Dodd went to her pastor and explained that her father, who was a Civil War Veteran, had raised 6 children as a single parent and that fathers deserved a holiday just as much as mothers did. Father’s Day was proposed by Ms. Dodd to be on the Fifth of June, the birthday of her father; but the pastor had not prepared their sermons in time and thus Father’s Day was postponed until the third Sunday of June.

The holiday did not stick right away and the citizens of Spokane forgot about Father’s Day until Ms. Dodd graduated from college in the 1930’s and began promoting Father’s Day on a national level. She enlisted the help of manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any industry that would benefit the most from the adoption of Father’s Day.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration, and wanted to make Father’s Day a national holiday. Congress resisted, and it was not until 1966 that President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers. It was not until 1972 that President Richard Nixon actually signed Father’s Day into Law.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Military Fathers

If he’s deployed, a care package from the family back home is always an amazing gift. Dad will be reminded of his family’s appreciation for his role as a father, even though he’s far away. Things you could include in a Father’s Day care package might be his favorite candies, a picture of the family together, a good book, and a few personal care items like new socks and shampoo. Don’t forget to add a hand crafted item to the care package to make it extra special.

Other gift ideas and options for Military Dads include:

Military Discount – While you’re shopping for the perfect Father’s Day gift, you can also take advantage of the many Military Discounts that are available year round.

Favorite Stores –  Keep in mind that some of dad’s favorite stores may offer a military discount at participating locations. Check out Bass Pro ShopsCabela’s, and other popular retailers. If you’re really not sure what would make dad the happiest, consider giving him a gift card to these places so he can pick out what he wants. He can still use his military discount at any time, instead of just for the holiday.

Dinner – Take your dad out to eat for some Father’s Day Free Meals, Freebies & Discounts. These special offers and discounts are available at participating restaurants like Firehouse Subs, Hooters, and Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Your dad will surely enjoy a nice meal with his family.

Request a Gift Box – If your father happens to be deployed, you can also request a free Father’s Day care package, sent on your behalf from Full Circle Home.

Call Home for Free – Deployed servicemembers can call home for free, thanks to Google and Gmail.

JibJab – You can also create a funny Father’s Day eCard featuring Dad, with JibJab. Use their website to insert pictures of your favorite people, and create funny videos and eCards . It costs $12 per year and there are humorous videos for every holiday, birthday and much more… so this gift can keep on giving.

#HappyFathersDay – Reach out to your dad through social media to thank him for all he has done.


Saving Money-Military Edition

Saving money in the military is not difficult, but the key is to start saving early. Saving money and getting out of debt to stay out of debt are the two keys to becoming financially stable. It’s easy to start saving in the military, and the advice below will explain how.

Photo by Maria Kanai
Photo by Maria Kanai

Set-up recurring transfers into your savings account. The easiest way to start saving money is to set up automatic transfers to a savings account. It does not need to start big, any little bit will add up fast. To get started, set up a recurring payment of $5 each time you get paid. Monitor your savings account and see that soon you will have $20 in there, then $100, then $500, and so on.

Scheduling recurring transfers can easily be set up through the bank’s app or online, and you control the transfers. Changing the amount or the frequency can be done at any time, and it can even be cancelled as easily as it was set up. If you prefer to speak to a representative, don’t hesitate to call your bank’s customer service.

Once you are feeling confident, start putting away more money. The more money you put away, the more money you will save.

Start a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), which can be started through Navy Federal or USAA.These may sound intimidating, but they are simply savings accounts that allow your money to grow over time at a higher percent than a normal savings account. The main difference between these and a normal savings account is that the money you deposit into a TSP or IRA cannot be withdrawn until retirement age (usually 59 ½ years of age) without penalty.

You determine the amount that will be contributed whether it be per military paycheck or monthly, which will allow the money to accrue over time. Before you start either, speak to a financial counselor to determine what option would be best for you. The TSP is only available for current service members, but can remain upon discharge and continue with you as a veteran. An IRA can be separate from the military. If you did not start a TSP as a service member, you can start an IRA as a veteran through your employer or bank.

Set a savings goal. You may find that you need more motivation to deliberately put money into your savings account. Admittedly, it can be hard to control instant gratification. If this is the case, choose something pricey you would like to purchase or perhaps a travel destination you would like to visit. For instance, you want a motorcycle. A used motorcycle can cost approximately $3,000-$4,000, though it can certainly cost more. A new motorcycle might cost $12,000, or more so start saving for that motorcycle!

Photo by Maria Kanai
Photo by Maria Kanai

Choosing to save for a goal rather than using a credit card for instant gratification will automatically save money because savings accounts pay interest, while purchasing with credit will cost interest. It will also save you the stress of having to pay off a debt that you may find out later that you couldn’t afford when you thought you could.

Everyday tips for saving money:

Bring coffee, bring lunch. Daily coffee for $2.00 doesn’t seem like much that morning, and neither does a $3.00 energy drink that afternoon after a nice $10.00 lunch. That’s $15.00 spent just on Monday. If this is your habit everyday, that’s $75.00 just on food and drinks for your typical work week. That’s $300.00 you could have put in savings that month, not to mention what a year’s worth of $4 coffee would look like.

Get gas on base. Wherever you are stationed, most likely gas is the least expensive on base. If you happen to find a gas station that has an even better rate, go there. It really does add up – the extra $3-$5 you may be paying each time you fill up could be $20 put in your savings account that month. You can also use the free GasBuddy app to see gas prices near you and weed out overpriced stations.

Shop around. Don’t buy a new item as soon as it gets your heart racing. It might be new Under Armour workout gear or electronics, but check multiple places before making that purchase. You can probably find a better deal at another store, or online, making the delay worth the wait. Sometimes just by waiting you may also realize that the item no longer seems so attractive, allowing the wait to save you money.

If you are taking steps toward financial responsibility, using the steps above to build a financial foundation is a great start. For a more thorough explanation of personal finance, visit educational financial centers offered to military and dependents.