Appointments in September?


5-Year Member
Feb 14, 2017
I am still trying to wrap my head around nominations v. appointments, but from what I understand an appointment is a "spot" in the upcoming class and has a nomination attached to it.

If that is the case, then how is USNA offering appointments in September if nomination slates aren't due until much later, say, January or so?

Maybe the appointments are only being offered to candidates with presidential noms?

The reason I believe appointments are being offered in September is because this document says so: Guidance for Incoming Class.pdf

Any help in understanding this is much appreciated!
I think you might be confusing LOA with appointment. An LOA is a conditional offer of appointment. Oftentimes the only requirement left to fulfill is
the nomination ( hence "conditional").There are LOA's offered in September every year.

There are certain nominating sources that come in earlier than the congressional noms.... that may be the reason for the very few appointments made in September.
the document I linked above says this:

September 1. Letters of Assurance and Offers of Appointment are made to outstanding candidates. Offers continue into the following spring as admissions files on candidates are completed and well-qualified candidates are identified.

Another question, if you get a LOA does that mean USNA feels confident it can find you a nom? Or is it possible you won't be able to attend if you don't get a nom?
Yes those who are being offered appointments before MOC slates are submitted have a Presidential Nom (there are a few other types, example a child of a 100% disabled vet or POW type of Noms too). If admissions 'wants someone bad enough' early on before MOC slates are submitted thy can offer an LOA. It would list any conditions that must be met (nomination as an example) to qualify for a full offer of appointment.
A Nom is a requirement to attend. A candidate must be 3Q with a Nom to be appointed. Never assume USNA 'will find' a candidate a Nom. If a candidate receives an LOA it is recommended to let the MOC office know. Remember if someone has an LOA they just need a Nom, not necessarily win their slate. Most with an LOA get a Nom. I say most because we hear every now and then of a candidate who doesn't get one (it's rare). It can be for a variety of reasons; maybe they didn't take it seriously, they only applied to one MOC member, maybe they are in an extremely competitive area among many others.
I re read the document and saw what you are talking about......I edited my first response . A candidate's congressional nominating sources are sent a copy of a candidate's LOA . The candidate still has to go through the same screening process someone without an LOA does.... so it is no guarantee. If you search these forums you will see remarks about candidates that have received an LOA but did not get a nom so did not get an appointment.
thank you NavyHoops and mjm

Use Search in this forum to look for "Class of USNA 2021 Appointment Thread." You can see the rough patterns for LOAs, types of noms, appointment offers, when they appear in the cycle. These self-reporting appointment threads pop up across all SA forums and go back a few years.

It may help to think:

Appointment: A reserved spot in the class that's yours to turn down or accept. Source: the Academy

Nomination: One of the list of prerequisites to be considered for a spot in the class. These come in many flavors, some competitive, some not. Sources: various. The Superintendent has some discretionary ones. These cannot be applied for. All you need is one nom. The general advice, though, is to apply for all for which eligible. That allows USNA better flexibility to work your package across several lists/slates, before eventually charging the appointment against a nom source. That's usually something that is not known by an appointee until much later, if ever. And it doesn't matter, in the end. An appointment is an appointment.

The LOA says we particularly want you, based on what we are seeing at this time. We are saving a spot for you IF you meet all the prerequisites to our satisfaction.