United States Service Academies: Is One in Your Future?

Assistant Editor, Wintergreen Orchard House

May   2012



Military AcademiesPursuing a career as an officer in the military can be a very rewarding, yet challenging path. There are ample benefits to a career in the military, but there are there are also drawbacks of the lifestyle to consider. The following United States Service Academies are all public institutions aimed at providing undergraduate education and training for students wishing to become commissioned officers in one of the branches of the military. These prestigious institutions have extremely competitive acceptance rates and have a reputation of providing a top-notch education for those enrolled. They also have some great benefits, such as tuition, room, and board fully funded by the military branch in exchange for active duty service after graduation. In many cases, students also receive a stipend for uniforms, books, and supplies. If you are interested in pursuing a degree through one of these academies and serving in the military after graduation, give serious consideration to the following.

The United States Military Academy, commonly referred to as West Point, was founded in 1802 and is located in West Point, New York. The Academy educates and trains cadets for careers as officers in the Army. The Academy adopted co-education in 1976 but is still predominately male with about 15% of the total enrollment being female. Rules and regulations placed on students are generally stricter than other public colleges and universities, such as required uniforms, mandatory class attendance, and additional duties and responsibilities. Academically, the Academy offers of a variety of majors that all result in a Bachelor of Science degree. The Academy has a competitive athletic program with NCAA Division I football and a thriving rivalry with the Navy football team. Famous alumni include Robert E. Lee and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The United States Naval Academy, commonly referred to as Annapolis, was founded in 1845 and is located in Annapolis, Maryland. The Academy trains men and women to be officers in the Navy, and students are referred to as Midshipmen during their training. Additionally, the Naval Academy adopted co-education in 1976 but remains approximately 80% male. There are a number of majors to choose from all resulting in a Bachelor of Science degree. Regulations require Midshipmen to attend classes, military formations, and meals daily and all students are required to live in dormitories regardless of their year of study. There are numerous clubs and organizations available to students as well as NCAA Division I athletics in many sports. Notable alumni include Jimmy Carter and John McCain.

The United States Air Force Academy was founded in 1954 and is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The goal of the Academy is to train and educate men and women to be commissioned as second lieutenants in the Air Force. The Academy is the newest of the five United States Service Academies and adopted co-education in 1976 but currently has about 78% male enrollment. Cadets earn a Bachelor of Science degree in one of a variety of majors and are additionally trained in military discipline and physical fitness. A number of bands, teams, and clubs are available to students along with NCAA Division I athletics. Notable alumni include Frederick D. Gregory, former astronaut, and Chesley Sullenberger, the captain who safely landed Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in 2009 in what became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Admission to these Academies requires the student to be nominated by a government official, undergo a medical exam and fitness test, and meet the academic and age requirements. Serious consideration of these requires advanced planning and confidence that a career in the military is the right choice for you. The acceptance rates for these academies range between 7%-10%; therefore, students submitting applications should be prepared to have alternative options for college.

There are numerous options for students wishing to pursue military careers, if one of these options is out of your reach. Check out the College Xpress list of military colleges and research them all to find one that will help you achieve your service and academic goals.

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

About Kristen Healy

Kristen Healy

Kristen is an Assistant Editor at Wintergreen Orchard House, a sub-division of Carnegie Communications, where she manages data for Midwestern colleges and universities. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in Journalism and Communication and a minor in Political Science. She is psyched about blogging about Public Colleges and Universities seeing as she is a proud product of one. She hopes that her four years at the Massachusetts state flagship campus will help her to bring new light to a broad range of topics that can relate to attending a public college or university. Her college career was spent writing for the news section of UMass’s Daily Collegian, volunteering at the university television studio, and enjoying the sites and activities of downtown Amherst. Kristen loves to travel and spent part of her junior year studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, where she gained perspective of what it is like to attend a large university in another country. She hopes her experiences in public higher education will help guide readers through their own college journeys!

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