DODMERB / General Questions about Service Academy Admissions

Provided in the following are answers to the most commonly asked questions about DODMERB or questions surrounding admissions to West Point, Air Force Academy, or the Naval Academy.  If you need additional information, please contact Service Academy Coach at

What percentages of students who apply are accepted to West Point, Naval Academy, or the Air Force Academy?

-          West Point, Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy are generally known and highly regarded as one of the most selective colleges by US News and World Report and Forbes magazine.  On average, the Academies admit 11-15% of the total number of applicants.   Those students must also obtain nominations through their Congressional offices or other nominating sources.

What are the qualities and characteristics that the Academies look for in qualified candidates?
-          The Service Academies evaluate the “whole person concept.”  They look for students who excel in academic and scholastic achievements.  Generally, over 75% of the incoming class at the Service Academies graduated in the top 20% of their high school class.  Many of the students are also Valedictorians or Salutatorians of their senior class.  The Academies are also looking for students who are athletically minded and physically fit with over 83% of the incoming class having participated in varsity athletics in high school.  They are not just looking for good students and good athletes, but individuals who also possess innate leadership characteristics.  Those students should be able to demonstrate leadership skills and experience within their clubs and communities to receive the Service Academy appointments.
What is DODMERB?
- DODMERB is the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board and is the ultimate medical authority for medical examinations and records review for admissions to the Service Academies and ROTC scholarships.  As a part of the applications process, candidates will receive notices from the Service Academies on how and when to schedule their DODMERB exams once critical elements of the candidate's applications portal are completed.  

Can Service Academy Coach assist in the DODMERB applications cycle?
- Through our own experiences, we can assist candidates and their parents navigate the complex and cumbersome medical examinations and review process even before the records are submitted so as to prevent any unnecessary disqualifications or waivers.

My son/daughter has been deemed to be disqualified for admissions by DODMERB, now what do I do?
- Unfortunately that happens regularly (approximately 20% of each Service Academy's entering class must obtain waivers) and the candidate will generally have to go through the disqualification waiver or remediation process.  It is imperative that correct documentation and favorable statements and records are provided to the medical authority.  Take caution that extraneous and questionable materials should not be submitted.  If you need help in this process, please
contact us.   

When should you apply for admissions to the Service Academies?
-  Students should apply for admissions between April 1st of their junior year in high school and no later than January 31st  of their senior year in high school.

When should you apply for Congressional nominations?
-          Students should apply for Congressional nominations no later than late summer (generally around August) of their senior year, check with Service Academy Coach or their individual Congressional offices.  As a general rule (exceptions apply), students should apply for a nomination during the spring of their junior year in high school or as soon thereafter as possible.  Many members of Congress evaluate candidates and make their decisions in early fall.

What are the age requirements for admissions to the Service Academies?
-          Students must be at least 17 but not older than 23 on the date or year they enter the respective Service Academy.

How many nominations is each member of Congress allowed to give?
-          Each member of congress may have five constituents attending the Service Academies charged to them at any one time.  When a constituent leaves the Academy, a vacancy is created and up to ten candidates may be nominated to fill each vacancy.

 When should students take the SAT and ACT tests for admissions to the Academies?

-          Students should take the SAT or ACT tests during their junior year and first half of their senior year.  Generally, test results from the December ACT and January SAT are the last ones an applicant can use to qualify as a candidate for Appointment.

What are the SAT/ACT college codes for West Point, Annapolis, or the Air Force Academy?
-          US Naval Academy (Annapolis) – SAT 5809, ACT 1742
-          US Military Academy (West Point) – SAT 2924,  ACT 2976
-          US Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs) – SAT 4830, ACT 0530
Are graduates of the Service Academies eligible to compete for graduate scholarships?
-          With the growing complexity of technology, international diplomacy, and world commitments, the Service Academies and their respective branches of service encourage all graduates and officers to pursue graduate education, even while on active duty.  Qualified and selected graduates compete and may be selected for fully funded Master’s programs at civilian graduate schools.  Up to two percent of each graduating class may attend medical school immediately following graduation.  Graduates also compete for prestigious awards and scholarships including: Rhodes Scholarship, Marshall Scholarships, Gates Cambridge Scholarships, Harry S Truman Scholarships, George Mitchell Scholarships, Rotary Foundation Scholarships, Fulbright Scholarships, Churchill Scholarships, National Science Foundation Fellowships, Hertz Foundation Scholarships, East-West Center Fellowships.
What are the curriculum requirements of the Service Academies?
-          Although it may vary slightly from West Point to Annapolis to the Air Force Academy, the Academy’s curriculum consists of core required classes complemented by elective programs, the choice of which leads to a Bachelor of Science Degree and an academic major.  Cadets may choose from a variety of majors including several areas of discipline in Engineering, Sciences, Computer Science, Legal, Foreign Languages, Chemistry, Operations Research, Humanities and Social Sciences, History, Political Science, Psychology and many others.  Please check with Service Academy Coach or the Academy's curriculum for more information.
What are the graduation requirements?
-          The baseline path to graduation requires cadets and midshipmen to complete a set number of electives defined by the disciplinary field.  Cadets/midshipmen must successfully complete the baseline requirement of a set number of required and basic academic courses (core requirements), seven semesters of physical education, and at least four military science courses, and generally achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
Can cadets and midshipmen validate or place in advanced placement courses?
-          Cadets and midshipmen may validate certain core courses if they have sufficient knowledge of a subject to meet the appropriate department’s standards.  Credits earned in other accredited colleges, advanced placement examination scores, and validation tests administered at the Academies are considered in validation decisions.  Advanced placement examination scores are generally used in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, History, Social Sciences, and Foreign Languages.  Validation of a core course allows a cadet or midshipmen to substitute an additional elective in place of the validated course.
What is covered with a Service Academy education?
-          Cadets and midshipmen will receive full tuition, room and board, medical and health care, and a monthly pay.  The pay covers the cost of uniforms, books and supplies, with a modest amount left for personal spending and a savings account.  The amount for personal spending and savings is negligible upon entry due to initial expenses for uniforms, notebook computers, supplies, and related in-processing expenses, but gradually increases throughout the years while at the Academy.  

What is provided by Service Academy Coach? 
- Service Academy Coach will personally coach the student to maximize their opportunities and provide them with individualized support and recommendations throughout the highly competitive Service Academy admissions process. We review the student's background and profile and then help the student plan their future course selections.  In addition, we also provide recommendations for extracurricular activities that will optimize the student's chances of earning an appointment.  We also provide a roadmap and checklist to ensure the student maximize his or her opportunities.  We discuss strategies for obtaining letters of recommendation and the subject material which the letters should possess.  Our services also include assistance with writing essays, resume, and activity sheets.  We also conduct mock interview consultations, and help in the preparation of the student’s applications for the Congressional nominations as well as the Service Academy appointments.
How is Service Academy Coach best suited to help my son/daughter gain admissions to a Service Academy?
- Our consultants are graduates of either West Point, the Naval Academy, or the Air Force Academy.  We have over fifteen years of direct experience working with talented students mentoring them in various programs and helping them earn Service Academy appointments.  Our team members have direct and successful experience with the process as they have all gone through it themselves and earned nominations and appointments to their respective Service Academy.  Some members of our team participate on Congressional nominations committees so they have the added knowledge of providing key insights into the nominations process.  As this has happened before, if your son or daughter happens to work with a Service Academy Coach counselor that resides in their district and that individual works on the Congressional nominating committees, we will recuse that counselor from working with your child to prevent any conflicts of interest. 

What distinguishes Service Academy Coach from a high school guidance counselor who should be helping my student with admissions?
- Very few counselors have gone through the Service Academy Admissions process, much less graduated from the Service Academies.  Our staff are all Academy graduates and have gone through the process and have the expertise to guide the candidates through the trials and challenges of earning Service Academy appointments. 
- The Service Academy admissions process is an overwhelming process and attention to details is vital.  High School counselors can only give summary advice based on what they read and hear; therefore, the student is essentially on their own.  Service Academy Coach offers that personal and individualized attention for every aspect of the Service Academy admissions process.
How are the consultation sessions conducted?
- With the availability of numerous communications media such as teleconferencing, email, Skype, and fax, we work with students anywhere across the United States and its territories.  Given opportunities, we may be able to conduct guided tours and conduct our consultation in-person.

When should students look to work with Service Academy Coach if they are interested in admissions to West Point, Naval Academy, or the Air Force Academy?
- Since the entire Service Academy admissions process generally takes approximately 12 months to complete, it requires thorough preparation.  Some students start in junior high school to meet the criteria and requirements.  Most students should start their preparation as early as the second semester of their sophomore year in high school and no later than their junior year.  The benefit to our clients in starting early is that we can help to maximize the student’s academic curriculum, intellectual interests, and extra-curricular activities which may also benefit their other college options.  The guidance we provide will also help them when they apply to other colleges and universities.

Does the student also need help from their high school counselor if they are working with Service Academy Coach?
- We provide complete assistance on the Service Academy admissions process so that the student may not need to go to their high school counselors.  Generally, we have much more experience and insight than most high school counselors about the Service Academies.  But we also recommend that the student keep their high school counselors informed of their activities and seek additional perspectives; as it is always good to have a second or third opinion.