This article is published in the 2015 I’m First Guide to College

Military Service Academies

Each year thousands of cadets and midshipmen enter our nation’s service academies. They come from all walks of life and bring with them a variety of experiences. Their common aim is to be challenged at the highest levels and serve our country in the most noble of professions. Cadets and midshipmen at America’s service academies accept a lifestyle that is both unique and demanding. Though they differ in terms of their histories and missions, the military academies have more in common than most people think.

Range of Opportunities

Service academies all offer a rigorous four-year program. Their main focus is on developing leaders of character to serve our nation both in peace and during conflict. Tuition, room and board is paid by the federal government. Every academy graduate receives a Bachelor of Science Degree and a commission as an officer in the uniformed services. Each academy is a top-rated undergraduate college offering majors in Engineering, Math, Science, and the Humanities. When cadets and midshipmen graduate, they have made lasting friendships through bonds forged under intense pressure and high moral and ethical standards demanded by our service academies. They are prepared to rely on each other to get the job done.

The healthy balance of these assets is considered by our Admissions Boards. Cadets and midshipmen are taught by men and women who are at the top of their fields. The ratio of students to teachers is among the lowest in the nation. The primary mission for instructors and professors is classroom teaching. Equipment is start-of-the-art and the unique challenges are unmatched. No other schools offer the range of opportunities available at a service academy.

Training and Leadership

Our academies are focused not only on providing a first-class education, but on training and leadership. Cadets and midshipmen are part of a very special team—America’s Team. These young men and women are the ones we turn to, to maintain our national defense. It’s a big job, but these academy graduates are very well prepared. We look for well-rounded candidates: individuals with character, academic prowess, physical toughness, and the potential not only to excel at the academies but also as officers and leaders in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Merchant Marine.

The principle rule of conduct is based on honor. Cadets and midshipmen do not lie, cheat, or steal. Just as they learn to use the most advanced technology in the world, these young men and women also develop an inner confidence that keeps them on the path of honor and integrity. In the process cadets and midshipmen join a long and distinguished line of academy graduates. These graduates thrive on the strength of their vision and the courage of their team.

Service academy graduates excel in every sphere of influence. For those who want to reach their potential, they have the help they need to find it at any one of the five service academies.

This article was prepared and approved by the United States Air Force Academy, United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy, and United States Merchant Marine Academy