Considering U.S. Military Academies

If you're interested in serving your country and getting a college degree, the U.S. military academies are well worth checking out.

The five United States military academies prepare students to become officers while providing them with a free undergraduate degree—in exchange for military service. The admissions process to these academies is extensive and very competitive.

The Five Official U.S. Military Academies

Although there are many military-style schools, there are only five official officer training academies operated by the U.S. Armed Forces.

What's the "Hitch"?

Upon graduation, cadets become second lieutenants or ensigns and must serve a minimum term of duty, usually five years plus another three years in the Reserves. If the student's chosen occupation requires particularly extensive training, the tour of duty may be longer.

Applying to the Military Academies

Except for the Coast Guard Academy, the military academies use a rigorous two-step application process.

The Coast Guard Academy uses an application process similar to most colleges. Their application is available online.

Tips for Applying to Military Academies

Think Twice Before You Apply

Attending a military academy is not like regular college. Academy students do not have the freedom their college peers take for granted, there is not much downtime, and time away from campus is extremely limited.

Academy programs are highly challenging on many levels: academic, physical, emotional, and mental. Time management is a significant issue. Not all students thrive.

What's Next?