Tips for Earning a Congressional Nomination
1) Most Congressional nomination selection decisions are based on a point system. Find out in advance how you can obtain all available points
2) Don't randomly shotgun your Congressional nominations application for every Academy. You should be intimately familiar with the mission of the service and the purpose of each school
3) Know in advance how many nominations your Congressmen and Senators can make for your interested Service Academy. It will be to your advantage to know if there is flexibility in this area
4) Timing is critical when submitting your grades and test scores but the general rule is early is better
5) Be sure to follow up and update your profile, the timing of the updates is very critical to getting your profile and application to the top of the "stack"
6) Apply to all possible sources of nominations and know the detailed requirements of each
7) Learn and prepare for the commonly asked questions for the essays and Congressional nominations interview. Surprising to some, there is a right and wrong answer.
8) Be prepared to discuss back-up options as those ideas demonstrate the strength and quality of your commitment
9) Understand that your education is fully funded by the taxpayers of America so they will seek to determine your motivation and goals
10) Don't assume your Congressional nominations coordinator has all of the answers and has your interests in mind. Make sure you proactively follow up and learn about the process as it will be vitally important in your preparation.
Information about Congressional Nominations
Congressional nominations are required for Service Academy appointments unless a student receives a nomination from another accepted category. Members of Congress may nominate up to 10 individuals to compete for each vacancy. As a member of Congress, the Vice President is allotted five nominees to attend each Academy at any one time. Every U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator is also allotted five constituents to attend the Academies at any one time.
To increase your chances of receiving the necessary Congressional nominations, you should apply for a nomination from your U.S. representative, your two U.S. senators, and the Vice President or President, if qualified. If applicable, students should also look into eligibility for a nomination in one or more of the non-Congressional categories. Be aware that a Congressional nomination does not guarantee that students will receive their Service Academy appointments.
To obtain the name of your senator, visit Senate.gov, and for your representative, visit House.gov. You can then access each member's website for specifics on application procedures and deadlines.
Each senator and representative has considerable latitude in awarding their Congressional nominations; however, most are based upon some combination of academic achievement, leadership performance, and subjective determination.
Service Academy Coach can assist in giving you the guidance and recommendations to improve your profile and increase your chances of receiving a Congressional nomination.
Preparing for the Congressional nominations and Liaison Officer Interviews
The Service Academy interview and the Congressional nominations interview is one of the many hurdles you will need to successfully clear before obtaining an appointment. Although directed at the Service Academy application process, the following is good advice for any school or job interview.
- Dress professionally (white shirt, tie, and blazer or suit for men; professional blouse and skirt or pants for females)
- Bring a note pad and pen for notes. Be prepared with intelligent questions
- Bring a copy of your transcripts and activity sheet/resume
During the Interview:
- Greet your interviewer(s) with a warm smile and a firm handshake
- As most interviewers will be former/active military, show respect with regular use of “Yes sir/ma’am, No sir/ma’am”
- Make eye contact with the person you are addressing
- Speak clearly and use proper English avoiding slang
- Answer with honest and deliberate statements
- Give pertinent examples that highlight your accomplishments and answer the question being asked
- Relax and be yourself!
Prepare for These Commonly Asked Service Academy Interview Questions:
- Why do I want to attend a Service Academy?
- Which Service Academy do I want to attend and why? Be prepared to articulate compelling reasons for your interests
- What do I expect to receive from an Academy education?
- Why am I a good candidate for the Service Academies? Also elaborate on real life examples and highlight your achievements
- How have I prepared for the hard work, sacrifices, demands, and life at a Service Academy?
- What does honor mean to me? Have real life examples ready
- What are my professional goals? Keep in mind that a Service Academy education prepares you for a career of service to your country
- Be prepared to discuss your failures and what you learned from them?
If you have any questions regarding these facts and tips and would like to understand how to improve your chances of earning a Congressional nomination, please complete our Contact Form.