Discover how attending a military academy can provide a college education with significant financial support. It’s important for students to understand the rigorous and competitive nature of these programs.

For students interested in both serving their country and obtaining a college degree, attending a military academy is a worthy consideration. There are five prestigious United States military academies that not only prepare students to become future officers but also offer a free education, estimated at up to $425,000 according to Ellie Kay, an Admissions Liaison Officer for the Air Force Academy.

However, gaining admission to these academies is no easy feat. If you thought the process of getting into an elite civilian school was challenging, prepare yourself for an even higher bar when considering a military academy. The admissions process is demanding and highly competitive.

In addition to the financial benefits of a paid education, graduates from these academies are required to serve a minimum of five years in the military as a way to give back. The commitment goes beyond tuition and covers various aspects, including board, books, medical care, dental care, and a monthly stipend.


Let’s explore some important aspects related to attending a military academy:

  1. The Five Service Academies and Their Locations: There are five recognized Military Service Academies that are considered legitimate colleges with high rankings. They include the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO; Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD; West Point in West Point, NY; Merchant Marine Academy in King’s Point, NY; and Coast Guard in New London, CT.
  2. Military Academy vs. Military College: It’s important to note the distinction between a military academy and a military college. While the US military operates various schools for training purposes, only the five academies mentioned above are considered service academies. Graduates from these academies receive a Bachelor of Science degree, become commissioned officers in their respective branches, and are obligated to serve for a minimum of five years after graduation.
  3. Requirements for Attending a Military Academy: To be eligible, students must be US citizens with good moral character, unmarried with no dependents, and meet specific academic criteria. This typically includes a strong foundation in subjects such as English, math, social studies, foreign language, and computer science. A competitive SAT score of 1300 or higher is generally expected.
  4. Possibilities for Students with Lower Grades or Test Scores: Students who exhibit exceptional leadership or athletic talent but have lower GPAs may be recommended to affiliated prep schools. These prep schools provide an opportunity to improve grades and adjust to the rigorous demands of the military academy programs. Admission and financial support for these prep schools are determined by the respective academies.
  5. Nominations and Recommendations: One crucial aspect of the application process is obtaining nominations from members of Congress, US Senators, the Vice President, or the President. Competition for these nominations is highly competitive. Additionally, recommendations in English, math, and science are required and play a significant role in the evaluation process.
  6. Emphasis on Athletics and Leadership: Excelling in athletics and demonstrating strong leadership skills are important components of the application. Physical fitness, evaluated through the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), is a crucial aspect for military service. Participation in varsity-level sports and showcasing leadership experiences is highly encouraged.
  7. Medical Evaluation and Service Obligations: Candidates who progress through the application process will undergo a medical evaluation conducted by the Department of Defense. Meeting medical requirements is essential, as certain conditions may prevent individuals from serving in the military. 

Attaining admission to a military service academy is a highly competitive endeavor, requiring significant dedication and sacrifice. However, the potential rewards are substantial, provided one possesses a genuine calling and a strong desire to serve. It is crucial to commit fully to this path; otherwise, pursuing it may not be advisable.

Given the rigorous nature of life as a military academy student, each individual is assigned a Sponsor Family who offers support, stability and care throughout their academic journey. In addition, parents of these students are encouraged to join their local Parents’ Club, which serves as a valuable resource for guidance, fellowship, and relevant information.

We have assisted many families with the military academy path. If you would like to discuss your student’s: future in detail, contact us at [email protected]