One of my favorite traditions in Annapolis is celebrating graduation day with the US Naval Academy. We sit on porches, boats, benches, and grassy fields to stare up at the sky as the six Blue Angels fly past, followed by the thunderous roar that reminds us about the speed of sound. We assume that the academy is breeding future presidents, but in reality, only Jimmy Carter holds the title of Naval Academy Graduate and POTUS. Yale seems to be the “ivy of choice” for those headed to the White House.

The view in this video makes me happy to live in Naptown and to have the privilege of seeing the cadets on a daily basis. Live Fly Over

Beyond the amazing talent and dedication shown during the airshow are years of school and service to our country. Those who are compelled to serve our country are to be applauded for their tenacity and bravery, and quite frankly their chutzpah for committing so much time to learn to defend our country. One of the was to join the military and gain a college education is via a service academy or the Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC).

Service academies can offer anything from free tuition to partial college costs, to actual payment while attending university. One of the best presentations about the service academy options that I have ever seen was by Senator Mark Warren, VA in 2020. We highly recommend that you do your research regarding opportunities at any level and a link to that presentation and all of the details you need to know is here:

If the full academy experience is not for you, ROTC may be an option. Getting an ROTC scholarship is a great way to fund your college journey while serving in the reserve corp at school. There are different levels of ROTC and each college may or may not host the branch in which you are interested. It is very important that you do your research. There are also specialty programs like nursing and medicine that may require additional qualifications, applications, etc. Some colleges provide room and board, while others are a “tuition only” feature. Understanding what you want, the commitment behind your choice, and taking the time to prepare is of utmost importance. We can help.

Below are lists of service academies from Wikipedia. At the bottom of the article is another great source of info from our colleague Lisa Rielage, IEC.

Federal Service Academies:

State-supported maritime colleges and universities

Students at these academies are organized as cadets and graduate with appropriate licenses from the U.S. Coast Guard and/or U.S. Merchant Marine. While no longer immediately offered a commission as an Officer within a service have the opportunity to participate in commissioning programs like Strategic Sealift Officer Program (USN) and MARGRAD (USCG).

For dates and more advice: