For students who want to experience a military environment while getting a first-class education, the five service academies offer an outstanding education and full four-year scholarships. Tuition, books, board and medical and dental care are all fully paid for all four years.
The competition to get in is fierce. Admissions criteria include:
- High school academic performance
- Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
- Athletics and extracurricular activities
- Leadership experience and community involvement
- A congressional letter of recommendation (not required by the Coast Guard Academy)
Graduates of all academies receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are commissioned as officers in their respective Service branches. After graduation, they are obligated to serve a minimum of five years.
There are five service academies. Entrance to these schools is highly competitive. Applicants for every academy but the Coast Guard’s need a nomination from the vice president or a member of Congress.
Students attend the service academies for free. In return, they agree to spend the next several years as military officers.
- United States Naval Academy - Trains future Navy and Marine Corps officers. It’s also known as “Annapolis” for its location in Annapolis, MD.
- There is no Marine Corps academy.
- United States Air Force Academy
- United States Military Academy - Trains future Army officers. It’s also known as “West Point” for its location in West Point, NY.
- United States Coast Guard Academy
- United States Merchant Marine Academy - Trains students for military and civilian careers. New graduates have two choices. They can join the Navy or the Coast Guard as an officer. Or they can get a job in the civilian maritime industry at sea or ashore.
Sources - todaysmilitary.gov , USA.gov