Congressman Juan Vargas

Representing the 51st District of California

Military Academy Nominations

Thank you for your interest in the U.S. Service Academies.  As your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, I have the privilege each year of nominating a limited number of people to four of the five service academies.  The honor of attending a service academy comes with an obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation.  I wish you the best as you pursue your goal of service to our country.

Seeking a Nomination: Frequently Asked Questions

Who can give a nomination to a Service Academy?

Members of Congress may nominate applicants who meet the eligibility requirements established by law.  A candidate may seek a nomination from the following:

  • A member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents the congressional district in which the candidate resides.
  • Both U.S. Senators from his or her state.
  • The Vice-President of the United States.

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

For West Point, Air Force and the Naval Academy, you must be at least 17 and not past your 23rd birthday on July 1st of the year that you would enter the academy.

For the Merchant Marine Academy, you must be 17 and not past your 25th birthday on July 1st of the year that you would enter the academy.

For the Coast Guard Academy, you must be 17 and not past your 22nd birthday on July 1st of the year that you would enter the academy.

Marital Status: Must be unmarried, not pregnant and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents.

Residence: Must reside within the boundaries of the 51st Congressional District.

Skill/Fitness: Must meet the medical, physical and academic requirements of the Academy.

Are the requirements the same for all service academies?

No.  Although many of the qualifications are similar, each academy operates under its own admission guidelines.  Visit the academy of your choice via the websites noted for each academy's particular qualifications.

The Nomination Process

1. Nominations for West Point, Navy and Air Force:

A letter requesting consideration for a nomination should be sent to my office as soon as a decision has been made to pursue a military academy nomination as an education/career choice.  This is usually done midway through the junior year of high school or later.  An academy application/data sheet can be downloaded from this website.  The fully completed application packet must arrive at my offices no later than November 1st.

Upon receiving a properly completed nomination application packet the candidate will be scheduled for an oral interview/evaluation by Congressman Vargas’ Academy Nominee Selection Board in early November.

The Board is primarily made up of former military personnel with a unique knowledge of the requirements of the academies.  The Board will closely look at all aspects of those individuals being considered.  Basic competitive nomination considerations are covered later in this document.  Those who qualify will be ranked in order of merit, with the most highly qualified individuals receiving nominations as availability at each academy allows. This slate will number up to ten individuals per each opening available.  There may be more qualified applicants than available openings.  In such case, the first ten will be submitted with the other applicants placed upon a stand-by list.

The selected nominees will be announced by December 31st.  The slate of ten nominees chosen for each opening, (minus the Academy Nominee Selection Board's rankings), will then be forwarded to the academies indicated, where they will be evaluated by the Academy Selection Board of each institution.  Once more the nominees will be ranked in order of merit, with the most highly qualified being offered an appointment to fill the vacancy at the academy.  Other qualified nominees on the slate may be considered by the academies for appointments as qualified alternates.  Normally the appointments by the Academies are offered prior to the end of April, although at times they may come later.  Upon receiving an appointment, the academies will provide guidance on those tasks which will be required by their institutions.    

2. Merchant Marine and the U. S. Coast Guard Academy:

For the Merchant Marine Academy, the initial nomination selection process is similar to the other academies, however there is no dedicated position available.  Each nominee must then compete statewide for the vacancies and selection is then made by the Merchant Marine Academy.

For the Coast Guard Academy a congressional nomination is not required since the Coast Guard Academy accepts candidates based on their own selection process.  A candidate interested in applying must contact the Coast Guard Academy directly.

3. Competitive Nomination Considerations:

  • The FIRST consideration is academics. Each individual's grade point average (GPA), class rank, SAT and or ACT scores will be considered.  Every candidate must have a SAT and or ACT score available for the interview;
  • The SECOND consideration is leadership experience and potential command ability. This is based upon the individual's extra-curricular activities as submitted in a statement with the application packet. This would include involvement in sports, school, civic, work and personnel/social activities;
  • The THIRD consideration is established upon the motivation and desire of the candidate to attend a service academy and serve in the armed forces.  To arrive at this consideration, each candidate is asked to complete and submit an essay of 500 words entitled  "Why I wish to attend the (name of academy) Academy and serve in the armed forces." Evaluations will be based on upon writing skill and content;
  • The FOURTH and final consideration is comparative in nature, appraising each applicant's attributes against all other who are applying.   

4. The Application Packet:

— PDF iconService Academy Application .pdf

The academy application data sheet above should be downloaded and filled out completely and returned to my office.  The mailing address is on the application. 

For verification purposes, be sure to include the following:

  •  an official copy of your most recent high school transcript
  • A sealed official copy of your SAT/ACT scores is required for your application to be considered complete
  • Please also submit unofficial copies of all your SAT/ACT scores
  • A resume of extracurricular activities
  • Two letters of recommendation supporting your nomination.
  • An essay of 500 words or less entitled, “Why I wish to attend the __ Academy.”

The completed application packet MUST arrive at my office no later than 5:00 pm on November 1 of each year. Postmarked applications will not be accepted. Please mail or deliver to:

By Postal Mail:

Congressman Juan Vargas
Attn: Jenn Maldonado

333 F Street, Suite A

Chula Vista, CA 91910

In Person: 

Chula Vista District Office                                 

Congressman Juan Vargas                                
Attn: Jenn Maldonado                                     

333 F Street, Suite A                                       
Chula Vista, CA 91910                                    

Imperial Valley Office

Congressman Juan Vargas
Attn: Jenn Maldonado

380 North 8th Street, Suite 14
El Centro, CA 92243

5. Additional information:

All candidates in addition to applying to my office must also apply directly to the specific academies that they are interested in and fill out a candidate questionnaire via the respective academy web pages.

All candidates should arrange to have their ACT/SAT scores sent to my office.

The SAT number for Congressman Vargas is 0192.

The ACT number for Congressman Vargas is 7290.

Additionally, contact should be made with the High School or College Career Counselor to obtain any information which they might have regarding the appointment process.

Should you desire further information, please feel free to contact Jenn Maldonado at my Chula Vista office.

I wish you the best in the pursuit of your dream.  My staff and I will do all we can to assist you.

PDF iconAcademy Brochure.pdf