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Military Academy Nominations - FAQ

Frequently asked questions for those seeking a Military Academy nomination. Return to the application page.

What is a nomination?

A nomination (recommendation) is required in order to be considered for admission to a service academy. A candidate may seek a nomination from the following:

  • A member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents the congressional district in which the candidate resides
  • Both U.S. Senators from his or her state
  • Apply directly to the Vice-President of the United States
  • The Academies also reserve a select number of cadet appointments for nominees in the Military Affiliated, U.S. Territory, and International categories.

The majority of applicants to the academies obtain nominations in the Congressional and Vice Presidential categories.

Securing a nomination is a competitive process. To maximize the competitiveness of your application, you should seek a nomination from every source possible. Each nominating authority employs its own processes and deadlines. Once you determine the categories from which you will seek a nomination, you must contact the appropriate authority to make your request and follow their application processes.

For Congressional nominations, be sure to apply to U.S. Senators Bennet and Gardner as well as to Congressman Buck. Each congressional office has its own procedures and deadlines for accepting nomination applications.

When do I apply for a nomination?

The nomination application period opens April 1st of each year for those candidates who are high school juniors and will be seniors the following school year, or who have already graduated.

What is the deadline for completing a nomination file?

The deadline for submitting a nomination packet to Congressman Buck’s District Office is October 1 every year. Greeley and Castle Rock interviews take place each year in October or November, dates to be determined. You must start the pre-application process to your desired academy prior to interviews even if the academy’s application process will be open until after interviews.

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

Each applicant for a nomination must meet the following eligibility requirements as of July 1st of the year of admission to an academy:

  • Age: Be at least 17 years old, but not have passed the 23rd birthday
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Marital Status: Must be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents
  • Residence: Must reside within the boundaries of the 4th Congressional District of Colorado, except for applicants to the Merchant Marine Academy. Members of Congress may nominate anyone within their state to the Merchant Marine Academy.
  • Skill / Fitness: Must meet the medical, physical, and academic requirements of the Academy

Who do I contact to request an application or if I have questions?

You must submit the application online through this site.  For questions please contact Molly ( in our District Office at 970-702-2136. Questions should be asked by the applicant, not by parents or other individuals.

What must be included in my nomination file?

A complete nomination file consists of the following items:

  • Current photo
  • High school transcript
  • Official results of your American College Testing Program (ACT) results and/or College Board Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) results
  • An essay stating why you want to attend a service academy (500 words or less)
  • Minimum of three letters of recommendation
  • Completed Official Application.  Please do not send a resume in place of this application.
  • Applications must be submitted by October 1. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

What happens after I have completed my nomination file?

Applicants who submit a completed nomination file will be scheduled for an interview in October or November, dates to be determined. 

What criteria is used in selecting candidates?

Congressman Buck wants to nominate outstanding individuals from his district who will have the best chance to qualify for appointment. Nominations are based on a "whole person" evaluation. Factors such as academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character, motivation, and interest in a military career are taken into consideration and compared with other applicants.

Before applying for a nomination to Congressman Buck’s office, please check the academies’ standards for admission to be sure you will meet those requirements. 

Note: The following scores represent the minimum requirements for the standardized testing portion of your application established by the Academies:

Air Force Academy

  • Verbal   26
  • Math    27
  • Reading 28
  • Sciences 27


  • Verbal  590
  • Math   620 

US Military Academy

  • Verbal 26
  • Math 26
  • Reading 26
  • Sciences 26


  • Verbal 600
  • Math  600

US Naval Academy

  • Verbal 26
  • Math 30


  • Verbal 600
  • Math 600

Merchant Marine Academy

  • Verbal 26
  • Math 30
  • Reading 26
  • Sciences 26


  • Verbal 600
  • Math 600

Due to coronavirus, recent ACT/SAT test dates were canceled. Can I submit my application without these scores?

You may submit your application without the test scores. Once you have tested, you may email your scores directly to Congressman Buck’s staff at Please check with ACT/SAT for future test dates.  Although nomination applications are due to Congressman Buck’s office by October 1st, we will be accepting test scores by email through November 15.

How many academies are there?

There are five service academies.

Are the requirements the same for all of the service academies?

No. Although many of the qualifications are similar, each academy operates under its own admissions guidelines. Visit the academy of your choice via the websites noted for each academy's particular admissions qualifications. It is not necessary to seek a nomination to the Coast Guard Academy, as the U.S.C.G.A. accepts candidates based on their own testing criteria.

Who should I ask to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

You must submit letters from: 

  • 1 math or science teacher
  • 1 principal or counselor
  • 1 community member (i.e.:  additional teachers, coaches, clergy, scout leaders, employers, etc.)

*Note: Family members may not serve as references.

Both a recommendation form and a letter are required from each reference.

Applicants should request letters from references well in advance of the deadline. Late letters of recommendation will not be submitted to the interview board or considered in Congressman Buck's decision.

Will I automatically be selected by the academy after I receive a nomination?

No. You will be placed among a select group of nominees, and the academy of your choice will make the final decision. If selected, you will receive an offer of admission (an appointment) directly from the academy.

What if I choose more than one academy? Will I be limited to a single nomination?

No. You can be nominated to multiple academies depending on how well you have competed among this year's pool of candidates. It is also possible to win multiple appointments.

Each of the U.S. Service Academies offers fantastic educational and service opportunities. To maximize the possibility of receiving a nomination, applicants should strongly consider all branches of service, and apply to all or more than one academy. 

When will I know if I have been offered an appointment by an academy?

Academies will begin to notify candidates of their admission status in February. All offers of appointment are generally sent out by May.