Students who want to serve their country as officers in the military can apply to the U.S. Military Academy, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Applicants need excellent grades, solid test scores, and with the exception of the Coast Guard Academy, a nomination from their senator or representative.
As Nebraska’s senior senator, I have had the privilege of nominating hundreds of qualified young men and women over the years. My staff and I carefully review Nebraska students’ applications to see if they are a good fit, and I then nominate many of them.
At the service academies of the U.S. military, young men and women are transformed into America’s future leaders. Graduates have a guaranteed job for at least five years, and after that time, they can choose to remain in the military or pursue other opportunities. Many go on to successful careers in business, medicine, law, and other fields.
In fact, if you look at which schools prepare their students to earn the highest starting salaries, service academies are at the top of the list. Graduates of the Naval Academy, for example, earn a median starting salary of nearly $80,000.
There are other benefits, too. At many private universities, expenses like tuition and room and board can cost more than $70,000 a year. But at service academies, your education is completely free, and the military pays for students to pursue summer internships, learn new languages, and travel around the world. Those who attend even receive a monthly stipend.
This year, I was proud to nominate 27 exceptional Nebraskans to the service academy of their choice. These young men and women are from all over the state of Nebraska and expressed an interest in many different fields of study, from engineering to the sciences.
Students can ask for a nomination to a single school if they are certain about where they would like to attend, but many applicants aren’t sure which academy would be their preference. Students can receive a nomination to more than one if they choose – this year, I nominated several students to four different academies.
This nomination is important, but it is just one step in a rigorous process. These students will go through the same application process as students who want to attend traditional colleges, and only the most qualified applicants will gain admission.
If you or someone you know are interested in attending a service academy, please reach out to my office. Applications open as early as February of your junior year of high school, and aspiring military academy students are encouraged to get a head start by applying early.
The U.S. military’s service academies aren’t for everyone, but they offer opportunities that students can’t find anywhere else. The skills future officers learn there will be invaluable no matter what they choose to do with their lives.