Service Academy Coach Direct Customer Testimonials 

At Service Academy Coach, we do not advertise nor actively promote our services.  Our foundation, and like that of the Service Academies, is based on trust and integrity.  The request for our coaching services either comes from referrals of past customers or customers needing help with our knowledge and expertise.  This is how we became recognized by the National Media and Publications Organizations.  We prefer it no other way because as we work with our students and their parents, trust and mutual respect is the hallmark and foundation of our client’s success in working towards a Service Academy Appointment.  Parents are encouraged and are sometimes requested (not always necessary) to be a part of the coaching sessions for their insights and perspectives into the student's past history to ensure all outstanding attributes are captured in the applications, essays, and profile.  Below are just some of the recent testimonials from actual and recent customers.  (Names are authentic but complete names are redacted to protect the privacy of our clients - all testimonials are directly provided by the parent of appointees)

​My Husband and I talk about what the journey would have been like ‘sans Vu - our coach.’ Perhaps not a journey at all. Thank YOU for everything you’ve done for us. I hope one day to meet you in person and demonstrate that strong handshake that you coached Jared on, and maybe add a hug to it.  YOU’VE helped our son grow as much – or more – than any teacher or sports coach in his life – thank you for the difference you’ve made in him.  Our dear friends have a sophomore who is interested in USNA. He is a highly recruited baseball athlete and a scholar as well. Can I connect you? I didn’t know if you had capacity, didn’t want to make assumptions.

We will continue to keep you updated. His BFE will be arriving Monday;)! I’ll send photos!!!

​T. Ryley, Mother of USMA 2024 Appointee


Now that Joey has completed his basic training at West Point I thought I would write you a note to say thanks for the time and effort you put in to make that happen.  Last week we had a nice visit with Joey on the Acceptance Day weekend at the United States Military Academy.  We brought his grandmother and grandfather, as well as his girlfriend to the event.  Very impressive ceremony.  In the bleachers, I kept glancing over at Amy, Grandma and Grandpa, and Zoe.  I couldn’t help but notice the look of true pride on all of their faces, even in the wilting heat of the mid-August day on the Hudson.

I know that Joey worked very hard during the application, nomination and appointment process.  This was the hardest thing he ever did in his life.  At times I sensed his weariness and feelings of being overwhelmed during the process.  In the beginning I gave him a 10% chance of being appointed.  As we progressed through the process we kept giving him higher and higher odds to succeed.  I attribute this directly to your skills and effort over the many months you were engaged with us. 

I can see why the completion of the application reduces the overall number of candidates.  I do not see how Joey would have completed the required elements without your coaching.  As a matter of fact, during the Navy liaison officer interview, conducted in our dining room, out of the 30, or so, candidates the officer was scheduled to interview he indicated that our son was the only one that was totally complete and prior to the deadline.  At this point I increased his chances of being appointed to the high 80%’s.  I must have asked him five times if this is truly what he wanted.  His response, “Huah”.

Writing the essays to the congressional representatives.  Joey was not a great writer.  I believe that your coaching, teaching, encouragement, and direction allowed him to produce succinct and articulate essays.  More importantly, he learned how to do it himself which will stay with him forever

Interview preparation with the liaison officers from the service academies and congressional representatives.

 At 17 years old, Joey had not had much experience with the interview process, nor did he possess good interpersonal skills.  Again, your coaching and teaching during the mock interviews for these requirements provided Joey with the confidence skills he needed to make these successful.  Out of 34 nominees to the service academies by our congressmen, as you know, Joey was selected one of four primary nominees, which guaranteed him an appointment. This came right around the Christmas holiday. We were filled with such joy and pride I felt I would burst.  We are now at 100%.

Again, thanks for your efforts during this process.  We are very proud of Joey and very grateful to you for the coaching efforts.


Rick M., Father of USMA Appointee 2024


​My daughter visited USAFA, USNA, USMA and USCGA; decided to attempt admission to USAFA as first choice, USNA as second choice and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; ROTC program as third choice. 

Sara was lost in the complex academy admissions process. Her high school college guidance resources were unfamiliar with the more complicated academy process, gave inaccurate guidance, incorrect information and damaging advice. Information from political leaders needed for nominations was confusing and at times conflicting. Sara needed help from someone who knew the academy process. While Sara was a well-rounded student and sure of her aspirations, she was not straight-A. Sara had the potential for admission but was lost procedurally and strategically to complete the requirements for entry to any of the academies.

Sara sought coaching advise from several college admissions specialists, interviewed three potential service providers. Service Academy Coach (SAC) was selected because of their specific, specialized understanding of the Service Academies, admissions requirements, scheduling and candidate assessment. SAC was very well versed in the nuances of all of the academies and particularly knowledgeable of USAFA; Sara’s #1 choice. SAC developed and delivered a personalized, 1:1 program structured to address all admission requirements of the academies including nominations. SAC worked through the summer to coach Sara through development of a clear, effective, accurate candidate profile document (resume). Assess strengths / weaknesses.

Aspiration assessment: Is the academy path right for candidate? It’s not for everyone. Does candidate understand the commitment? Reinforce Air Force honor code.
Assist in developing mitigation strategy to address weaknesses, leading Sara to pursue leadership opportunities at school including swim team coach, committee leadership assignments, club swimming leadership roles.
Reinforce the 4-pillars of character; service, integrity, leadership, commitment. Make clear their importance to the academies, need to keep central to the academy admissions process. Keep them as the beacon through the process.
Coach in the development of an attack plan, schedule, to complete the admissions process.
Assess physical performance, achievements in physical testing for admission. Set performance goals.
Plan to pursue schedule successfully in manageable steps with realistic goals, objectives. 
Clarify confusing and often contradicting information from academies, political leaders with respect to process and schedule.
Expert review of all documentation including draft request letters for required letters of recommendation from faculty, other third-parties, all essays as required by USAFA, USNA, US Senators, US Representatives.
Pre-interview drilling to prepare for interviews with USAFA, USNA Officers, Senate staff and US Representative staff.
Invaluable moral support and encouragement through a complex, daunting admissions process.  

Sara had the aspiration and much of the background needed for admission to a service academy but was lost in the process, confused by the procedures and without a strategy for success. She was mis-guided by poor college counseling support services at school and was on a path towards rejection by any service academy.  The SAC process and experience provided the guidance, structure and a manageable action plan for success with critical review of submittal documentation / essays and key interview drilling to prepare for interviews with Air Force and Navy Officers, military attorneys and political staff. Sara would likely not have been admitted to the Air Force Academy and may not have even completed the application without SAC support. SAC sessions were all well-structured, goal-oriented and reinforcing. Sara completed the SAC process with a clear understanding of the requirements for admission, worked to develop physical, character and leadership skills coveted by the academies. The process polished her presentation skills and she performed extraordinarily through all interviews; a key determinant for academy admissions. She entered the Air Force Academy with energy and enthusiasm, performed superbly through Basic Cadet Training and is loving the USAFA experience. Sara is where she belongs and is there in large part because of the effective support from SAC. 

Wayne D., Father of USAFA Class of 2024 Appointee


The service academy's appointment process was overwhelming and full of unknown logistics. As any other parent, we wanted to support our son’s desire to attend a service academy but we were helpless. In our very first meeting, Our coach emphasized the fact that decision of joining an academy should be of our son’s ONLY and nobody else, including us. Therefore, once he is ready and have firmly decided then he must reach out to him (instead of parents). This was the first step in itself that affirms the trust and mutual respect upon which his services were built upon instead of any monetary value of professional fee. From the day our son initiated the process to getting the appointment to all three academies (USNA, USMA & USAFA), every interaction was insightful and humbling experience.

I and my wife has seen our son growing up with uncompromising work ethic, making sacrifices for his team on and off the sports field, and amassing numerous academic and athletic accolades. But, so is every deserving candidate to service academies – they are all young man and women of great talent and passion. Every student brings certain personality, motivation, and drive but not necessarily a clear way to connect the dots and express who he/she is. That’s where Mr. Tran brings that shining sun out of the cloudy weather. The best way to describe the services of Mr. Tran is by giving an analogy. A kitchen pantry might have all the ingredients. But unless a caring mother knows a proven recipe to prepare a delicious dish by using the RIGHT proportion of each ingredient and enlighten the soul by its presentation, all the individual ingredients are useless. 

We are fortunate to have Mr. Tran who treated us as a part of his own family. We are honored for our son’s decision to attend the Academy and serve the country. Mr. Tran, we cannot express our gratitude in words for providing our family such a pride. THANKS YOU.

 J. Sing, Father of USNA, USAFA, and USMA (Triple) Appointee Class of 2023


I would like to thank you again for your efforts in helping to get both of my grandsons accepted into West Point.  With my first grandson, Tony, the whole process was initially overwhelming. After reading about your organization, Service Academy Coach, I decided to seek out your expertise. Following the first interview, it was apparent that you could definitely help with the process. You led us step by step through the long and arduous procedure. All of the information was invaluable.  I particularly appreciated the mock interviews for both the academy and the nomination process. When it was time for my second grandson to apply, we still sought out your assistance even though we had been through it before.  Your knowledge of the whole process as well as your expertise made the difference in getting both of my grandsons accepted into the Long Gray Line at West Point.

Thank you again, 

F. Bal, Grandparent of Two USMA Appointees Class of 2023 and Class of 2022


As my wife and & I reflect on our son's journey over the past year, we find ourselves most grateful for the amazing impact, incredible insight, and steady hand that you’ve had on the process. Yes, our son has worked hard and made the sacrifices that put him in a position to apply—but so did every other candidate. I’m thoroughly impressed with caliber of applicants to the service academies. A major advantage that our son had was the advice that you provided, from essays to teaching about demonstrated leadership to the definition and application of Character. All of this provided a very powerful framework upon which to present my son’s qualifications.

As happy as I am for our son to receive an appointment, I’m more pleased with the growth that he has shown in this short window of time. His conversations and consulting with you have made him a better person.  He is better prepared to succeed in his future endeavors and to be a leader of integrity and consequence because of what he has learned from you. I am currently serving as a commissioner in our local BSA district and have the opportunity to train adult leaders in the principles that I’ve gleaned from you, emphasizing to them that every boy needs meaningful demonstrated leadership experiences.

So, you’ve been an incredible blessing both to our son and to our entire family. Thank you for your committed investment in our son’s success and for working with all of us through this exciting process. We couldn’t be more grateful.

Please let us know if there is anything that we can do for you.

R. Bell, Proud Parent of USNA 2020 Appointee, Los Angeles CA


My son committed to attend a service academy as a sophomore in high school.  While we as a family were able to gain a basic understanding of the process from the usual resources (academy websites, our Congressman and Senators’ pages, friends and acquaintances who had attended an academy), it quickly became apparent there were subtleties and nuances to the process that could be critical to our sons’ success.  While many people were very willing to give advice, we as parents wanted someone “on our side” who knew the process intimately and could tailor assistance to our son’s unique skills to be emphasize what he had to offer.  I interviewed several groups who claim to offer this assistance, ultimately settling on Service Academy Coach.
Once our coach decided our son would be a viable candidate and a good fit, we got down to the business of applying.  It started with resume building, identifying gaps in service and extra-curricular activities, discussion about what courses were best to take to be competitive, tips on SAT and ACT prep, preparing for Congressional applications and interviews, attending seminars and camps at the academies, the list goes on.  And always with an eye to the next step in the process, so we were never caught late in the process and were always prepared, even to the point that our son’s application was one of the first uploaded when the academy portals opened.

Even after our son received his appointment to West Point, our coach was still by our side with advice on preparation for R-Day and Beast Barracks.  The service was unbelievable, and even more so when considering what we thought was a fairly modest investment for the service we received.  We never waited for a call to be returned or an email to be answered, and our coach was always mindful about timing, reminding us of upcoming deadlines and next steps, a huge benefit to two working parents with a very busy teenage boy.  I truly don’t know how we would have managed this process without the Service Academy Coach.

K. McMillin, Father of USMA 2020 Appointee, Salinas CA


Our son's goal has always been to attend the US Service Academies.  Although he is an only child, I understand this career choice and the family support necessary.  My son is very smart, a strong athlete, and is viewed as a role model and leader at his school and sports communities.  I say all this because he started the application on his own.  We felt confident in him doing his best on the application process, but we were concerned with one specific and critical area - obtaining a required Nomination.  You can literally have a perfect package candidate (great grades, high test scores, strong athlete, leader in extracurriculars, and more), but if you do not obtain a Nomination, then your application process basically comes to an end.  The thought of that was difficult for me to accept.  I am always in prayer, and when I found the Service Academy Coach website (in April of my son's junior year) it was completely by chance - it proved to be a blessing.  They became the answer on how to best handle the Nomination process.  Our pre-consultation with the coach was an invaluable session.   The Service Academy Coach offers a thorough and strategic roadmap for preparing and completing the entire service academy application/appointment process.  I initially felt we only needed help in the interview process and obtaining a Nomination - that was our main focus.  But, our coach became so much more to our son, and our family.  Honestly, he was the help we didn't know we needed.  My son learned more from our coach in the following months than I could have imagined.  He provided clarity, coaching, inspiration, guidance, and mentorship and did so with an understanding and a true passion to help my son develop into the best candidate he could be.  Our coach was always flexible and generous with his time, and Skype enabled effective preparation sessions for all Congressional interviews, as well as other areas of the application process.  My son received an Offer of Appointment from each of the "big 3" academies (USNA, USAFA, and USMA)!  We were thrilled and thanked the Lord for these blessings!  We are grateful to our coach and will always consider him a part of our (new) military family.  Having the Service Academy Coach by our side was one of the best decisions we ever made.  We give our highest recommendation to the Service Academy Coach for anyone who seeks "a little to a lot" of professional help, support, guidance, and coaching.

G. Sur, Mother of USAFA, USNA and USMA 2020 (Triple) Appointee, San Francisco Bay Area, CA


My son had become determined to attend the USNA a couple of years ago.  This was completely foreign to me and husband as we had never been exposed to the service academies nor ever been involved with the military.  Before we contacted Service Academy Coach, my son and I did a lot of research on the internet and the USNA website about the application process.  While we felt we had gathered everything we could on our own, the whole process seemed overwhelming to me.  Additionally, I really had no idea whether my son was a viable candidate or not.  My initial contact with Service Academy Coach was professional and helpful.  Our coach stated that he would have an initial Skype session with my son to determine whether he seemed to have the qualifications and the motivation to pursue this.  His feedback that he would be glad to work with my son helped me to feel that his efforts would not be in vain (despite our understanding that receiving an appointment was still a long shot). 
Throughout the process, our coach was professional, knowledgeable, available, responsive and flexible.  My son chose the areas he wanted to have guidance on while forgoing some other areas that he felt he was already prepared for.  Some of the discussions he had with our coach around planning for various essays not only helped inform the essay writing but allowed him to think through some of his experiences and the impact they had on him so that he could communicate those in interviews.  As a parent, I found it a relief to have someone else to go to in order to problem-solve when situations came up with my son's application process.   Our coach always responded to emails in a timely way between sessions if we had a question.  The office staff was similarly responsive and timely in dealing with billing and scheduling issues. 

Overall, we found this consulting service extremely valuable.  I never doubted our coach’s integrity and am grateful that he was a part of this process - all the way through till my son received his appointment at USNA.  My son and I would not hesitate to use his services again as he pursues his dream and becomes a midshipman. 

V. Abel, Mother of USNA 2020 Appointee, New York, NY


The academy appointment process is a difficult one and can easily become overwhelming to some. Being a Naval Academy graduate, I assumed that it would be relatively straight forward. Frankly, after reviewing the full process and required steps, my son was somewhat intimidated. We decided to look into 'Service Academy Coach' to be sure we were tracking properly and had all the bases covered. I can say without reservation that for my son it was one of the best decisions we made. So much has changed with the process over the years that my experience from years ago was virtually useless. Our 'coach', was the consummate professional from start to finish, immediately establishing a very productive and effective 'coach to player' relationship with my son (and equally as important his mother!). The counsel provided was timely and very much worthwhile. Without question, my son was fully prepared for every step in the process and was very comfortable and prepared for all interview components. The fact that he was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy (LOA) in late August may speak to my son and his make up, but make no mistake it also speaks to the counsel and coaching he received throughout the process. To any future academy applicant, Service Academy Coach comes with our strongest recommendation.  I would be more than happy to speak with anyone who has questions regarding this great service.

P. Craig, USNA ’78 and Father of USNA 2019 Appointee, Boston MA


We were thrilled with our Service Academy coach. We liked that the parents were included in most of the sessions and that the sessions were interactive. Our coach was well prepared and had a plan, he kept us on track, throughout each meeting and throughout the application process. He answered our questions and offered guidance as needed. We had a great experience and we would recommend this service to other people interested in pursuing their education at a military academy.
 My son’s comments about Service Academy Coach: Service Academy Coach was a great program. Our coach was absolutely amazing. He made sure that he knew me on a personal level in order to really help me find my inner motivation for attending the Service Academies. Through asking difficult and engaging questions, my coach really helped me to give me an advantage over other candidates.  They helped to walk me through what I could expect during the interviews, from what types of people would be interviewing me, the whole way down to the different kinds of questions that would be asked. Having some of this "inside" information relieved a lot of stress from the interview process, and allowed me to be able to relax and focus on my answers. Overall, Service Academy Coach is a great company that has outstanding success with many of its students. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about going to a military academy.

M. Kovel, Mother of USNA 2019 Appointee, Everett PA


Service Academy Coach provided both the confidence and direction we needed for the lengthy application process.  Honest and direct feedback helped to assess strengths and determine our daughter's potential.  The interviews were excellent training and would be beneficial to college applicants for all military and civilian institutions. 

M. Nicol, Father of USAFA 2019 Appointee, Chester VA


Three years ago, I was looking through the Internet for information about how to properly approach an application to a service academy.  This was my son's goal and he wanted to do it all on his own, but I had no experience whatsoever with service academies and I had so many questions - how to start, in what summer programs should my son be participating, how to evaluate our high school curriculum, what sports are important, all of the hundreds of questions that come with the quest for a service academy appointment.  I am blessed and so lucky I stumbled upon Service Academy Coach. I can't say enough about the integrity, honesty, kindness and true compassion with which your consultant, Vu Tran, handled my son's file.  Vu was with us from the first phone call when I literally knew nothing to the last phone call, which was the awesome and exciting news of my son's appointment.  Vu is family for life although we've never met face to face.  He influenced my son in so many ways.  He gave my son a plan, a working module, to set small goals along the way so the big goal of appointment never felt insurmountable.  He was with us for three years, touching base every couple of months with phone calls, emails, or Skype. Whatever my son needed, Vu was there.  As a mom, I can promise you it was the best money spent toward helping my son with his goal.  My son grew close to Vu over the course of three years, and he felt totally prepared for the nomination interviews after going over possible topics with Vu.  He had a confidence he wouldn't have otherwise had and he grew to completely trust Vu's wise advice.  Vu is a natural mentor and without his help, this journey would have been SO much harder. 

S. Gardocki, Mother of USMA 2018 Appointee, Hilton Head Island S.C.

I really feel that your services were beneficial not only in refining and polishing my son's application and interview skills, but in finding his inner voice as to why he wanted to pursue a military career.  Our family is not that knowledgeable about the military and it was difficult for me as a mother of an only child to accept this field of choice.  After one session with Vu, not only did I have a better understanding of what my son was seeking, I felt at peace with his decision.  After Vu finished with me, he was able to work with my son throughout the application process and prepare him for his interview.  We were late at starting the process of looking at the Academies because it was something my son mentioned at the end of his Sophomore year in High School.  Apparently most kids know that they want to pursue this field earlier and spend many years compiling their resumes in order to compete for a nomination.  Vu helped my son organize his activities and accomplishments, which gave him a guide on how to communicate his leadership qualities and skills.  Vu was also able to give first-hand knowledge of attending an Academy.

Thank you so much for your understanding and guidance throughout this process!
R. Drollinger, Mother of USAFA 2018 Appointee, Salinas CA


Having no prior military connections, I did not know what to expect when my son decided that he wanted to attend a service academy. We tried working through the admissions process ourselves, but were often unsure of the process, priorities, and where to focus our efforts. So we reached out to the Service Academy Coach for guidance. Our first consultation with your consultant was very enlightening and gave my son clear insight into the expectations of the service academies and where he needed to concentrate his efforts. During the next few months, your consultant laid out a clear strategy for my son through a series of well-organized coaching sessions, keeping him focused on well-defined goals. His expert guidance through the application and nomination process was instrumental in my son receiving appointments to both the US Naval Academy and the US Air Force Academy. What differentiates your consultant from others is his commitment to truly educate my son, and not only guide him through the application process, but also prepare him for life at the Academy.  He was extremely generous with his time, always going above and beyond while he provided the coaching and encouragement that helped my son complete the process successfully. It has been a true pleasure to work with your firm and I highly recommend your services to anyone seeking an appointment to the service academies."

J. Prana, Mother of USAFA and USNA 2018 Appointee, Houston TX