No, that is not necessarily true. A current plebe from my daughter's high school gained appointments to USNA, WP, USAFA, and ROTC scholarships to each service.
On the other hand, at some point you will have to make a decision about which service you most want to join, and why. Many MOCs (maybe all) require candidates to list the academies in order of preference. If you get only one nomination, and it's not to an academy that you really want, you may be stuck. There have been better posts than mine in response to this question in previous years, so you might want to search the forum for more info.
I think one of the BGOs would be the best source to answer this post but here is my opinion.
What I really think happens is that each academy looks at you from the information that you submit, then they make their choice. USNA does not consider science and reading scores from the ACT, however, USAFA does. Therefore, your science and reading scores on the ACT could make your academic score more or less favorable to USAFA than it is to USNA.
Why would USNA dismiss you just because you looked at other acadamies? I don't think they would. All academies want the best candidates and will pursue who they consider the best whether or not they have an appointment to another academy or not. IMHO
Someone I know who was applying was specifically told by the WP recruiter that he should apply to more than one SA regardless of what he thinks his 'first choice' was. He did and just recently got accepted to USNA.
Don't see any reason why they should have a problem with you applying to more than one. If someone also applies to some other public/private colleges (as part of their back-up plan) doubt the SA would even know that unless you told them.
I understand where you're coming from; when I first started applying around this time last year, I had no clue which service academy I wanted to go to.
None of the service academies asked me where else I was applying to on the application, other than in the interview. I would doubt that where else you apply affects your chances.
I would recommend analyzing your choices and to make a decision early. Many MOC's only offer a nomination to one academy, and placing the academy of your choice as #1 improves your chances of getting a nomination to that academy. Some may disagree with this strategy, but making a decision early gives you some peace of mind knowing that you have a single goal to achieve.
alright thanks for the replies. I doubted this when I read about it, but I wanted to make sure.
right now, if anyone is curious, I'm trying to decide between West Point and Annapolis, in no particular order. I'm only a soph., so obviously I still have plenty of time to make a choice. I'm going to a USMA meeting for prospective students at the D-Day Museum in NOLA, and I will most likely be visiting Annapolis in the summer. I'm definitely gonna take my time to weigh my options to try to figure out what the best decision is for my family and me.
Daughter had full appointments to both USNA and USAF with Congressional nominations for both. Her heart was at USNA with AF as the backup plan. She of course went with her first choice and sent AF notice she would not attend.
Here is my opinion:
There is no issue applying to multiple service academies. Each academies application process is similar and separate. You have to get accepted academically, pass the CFA, and get cleared by DODMERB. Assuming you get nothing but positive news from 2 or more academies, you only have 3 out of the four pieces you need for an actual appointment. Without the 4th and final piece, a congressional nomination you have nothing.
This is where strategy and your gut instinct comes into play. Some congressional districts are much more competitive than others, how does your district shape up? Your congressman has a district, your Senators receive applicants from across the state.
Strategy 1 is you are going to go to USNA or nothing so you select USNA as your #1 choice for all 3. Strategy 2 is I want USNA but if I don't get it I will go to AF or Army as my backups and not look back. Select USNA #1 for your congressman and one Senator and AF etc. #1 for the other senator. There are other variations on this and some congressman or senators may offer you a choice during your interview. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to members of congress.
The hard part in all this is it's all a guess. If you are on your game, the academy applications will be in by September or October. Our Congressional applications had to be in by the end of October. Generally the academies do not start informing applicants of their status until late October or later at the soonest. So to a certain extent you make you choice and live with them.
One of the smartest things you will be doing is going to visit each academy. Each of them is different, and only you can decide what you like and do not like.
As a BGO, I've seen this question many times. First of all, this issue primarily concerns MOC noms as the SAs don't care if you apply to more than one and your chances at one will not be harmed by applying to more than one. It also does not apply to USCGA, which does not require noms.
There is no definitive answer. However, here is some guidance. IF you live in a competitive geographic area (examples include: VA, MD, PA, TX, CA, FL and numerous others) where there are many more candidates than available nomination slots, my recommendation is that you choose up front the SA you most want to attend and put all your eggs in that basket.
The reason is that MOCs will typically ask you to pick one SA or at least rank them (most require you to pick). If you pick one SA for two MOCs and one for your third MOC, you risk not getting an interview for the "one" MOC. This happened to one of my candidates. He listed USMA first with two MOCs and USNA first with one. He didn't even get an interview from his USNA MOC so his choice was made (he did get into USMA, so all not lost).
The above strategy (distributing your picks among MOCs) is perfectly "legal" and works IF (and only if) you would be equally satisifed at more than one SA because, in competitive areas, you are extremely unlikely to get a nom to more than one SA from the same MOC.
If you have a Pres nom, the above strategy may not be as dangerous because you know you have a nom to your school of choice. However, relyiing on a Pres nom alone is also dangerous -- although many people do get appointments with only Pres noms, many do not. Pres noms are not competitive and SAs like to see candidates earn competitive noms from MOCs. Not required, but desired.
IF you are in a non-competitive geographic area (for example: AK, ND, SD, MT, ID, WY), there may be more nom slots than there are qualified candidates, just based on population density. In those cases, you may be able to obtain noms to more than one SA from the same MOC.
The bottom line is that, at some point, you'll have to make your choice. My strong suggestion is to do all the research you can during your junior year and senior summer so that your decision is made by the time you must state your preferences to MOCs.
Two other points. As noted above, USCGA is a GREAT school and does not require noms, so always consider applying to it (I applied and was accepted and almost went there -- great school). Also, USMMA is a great option that is not as "popular" or well known. Thus, you may be able to "double up" a nom to USMMA plus one of the "big 3" SAs.
I got appointments to USMA, USNA, and USAFA despite saying I really wanted to go to West Point. I visited USNA just to see it and fell in love in the community. My advice is apply to all of them because at least you are giving yourself a chance. It is a lot of work, but in my case I would have made the wrong choice if I had only applied to West Point.