Mar 6, 2017
Hello all!

I am currently a junior applying to the USMA next year and I am curious about how the nomination process works... Can someone explain to me how to apply for a nomination process, how it works, and how the competitiveness of the nomination reflects an individual's chance of getting into USMA...

Thanks in advance!
Find out who your US congressional Rep is, as well as both of your US Senators. Each will have info on their particular Academy nominations applications and processes. Test scores, grades, athletics, leadership accomplishments, essays, and an interview for each, along with letters of recommendation.

Now go get on it.
1. One senator insisted on proof of application to USMA. DS had not saved the initial welcome letter from USMA and asked RC staff for assistance. They seemed uncertain of what was requested by the senator and did not answer the question. DS finally found the document on the portal somewhere, but it was kind of aggravating....

2. letters of recommendation: DS assembled this information sheet for recommenders, piece mealed from all 3 MOC instructions:

Letter of Reference Instructions

You have been asked to write a letter of reference for a young person applying for a nomination to a military academy. The military academy selection process is very competitive. Over 12,000 bright, young, high school and college students apply to each academy every year. Each academy can admit just over 1,000 as new cadets. Each applicant must be nominated by a U.S Senator or U.S. Representative.

Your letter of reference is vital to making good selections in this highly competitive process. To give the best chance of succeeding, please read and follow the instructions listed below.

Screening Committees use letters of references to judge:
Leadership potential,
And desire for a military career.
Recommendations can address dedication to American freedoms, work ethic, leadership presence, academic potential, or other qualities that make for a well rounded candidate.

Please answer how you are uniquely positioned to judge the applicant’s potential for success at a military academy and military career (military service yourself, community/business leadership, etc.)?
Tell us who you are and how you know the applicant.
Describe performance that you have personally witnessed to best convey a sense of the person we are evaluating.

Keep these factors in mind in preparing your letter.

Send the letter in Word or pdf format:
- via email to ....senator@
- By letter to Senator .....
-By letter to Congressman ...
3. Assemble a resume, review with parents, assemble now so as to have ample time to add forgotton points later.
4. choose recommenders - review choices with parents or others. Monitor verbal and nonverbal feedback when you ask recommenders (one recommender asked me 'so you want an evaluation?' making sure i knew that he was changing the wording from a recommendation to an evaluation - red flag). 2 of the 3 MOC allowed DS to upload recommendation letters himself - and thus review the letters - and thus enabling you to obtain other references if necessary.
5. ask recommenders if they wish to receive instructions via email. email them or hand them your resume, similar directions as above, and stamped addressed envelopes, all bundled together in a manila envelope.
6. Shake their hand
7. DS interviews with MOC were 3 hour one way trips. Arrive early. We left home at 5 am, arrived 8 am, dressed in the car, sat in the car until 830 am, entered building with empty stomach and scouted for bathroom, etc.
8. Buy a NEW suit 1 month before the interview. DS wasn't sure which color to buy - I handed him a slate grey suit.
9. Do not send a profile picture as unshaven, as our DS did.
10. our MOC varied in their notification of interview times. Two offered our pic of 3 different dates. One called 2 days before and said "your interview is scheduled in 2 days at 9 am at...."
11. quarantine suit, tie, shirt, shoes, socks, shaver in a zipped garment bag
12. Wait.
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Don't over think the letters of recommendation. Each MOC will have a committee, or several committees around your state, which interviews about 250 candidates, probably in a single day. Once all the nomination packages are in, a staffer at the MOC office puts together a package of everything submitted for each applicant who is being interviewed. Thus, the committee member needs to read through all that stuff. Trust me, as someone who has to read legal briefs a lot, straight to the point is better than long and flowery.

Don't hesitate to tell those writing letters to attest to outstanding character, intelligence, and accomplishments, and to give a perspective on how they know that. But two page letters will possibly just get skimmed, whereas, a half page letter might actually get read. Just saying.