Each year, the Academy selects approximately 275 to 300 young men and women for entry into the Plebe Class. They come from every State of the Union, as well as from backgrounds reflecting every facet of American life. The Academy encourages diversity and recognizes the value of a Regiment of Midshipmen representing all races, colors, creeds and ethnic backgrounds found in this nation. Students from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply for admission. Certain general eligibility requirements for admission to the Academy do exist. Candidates must be of good moral character. They must be at least 17 years of age and must not have passed their 25th birthday before July 1st in the year of entrance. They must be citizens of the United States either by birth or by naturalization, except for a limited number of international Midshipmen specially authorized by Congress. Candidates must also meet the physical, security and character requirements necessary for appointment as U.S. Navy Reserve, Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP) Midshipmen. Candidates must obtain a Congressional nomination to the Academy, submit a completed application, and qualify scholastically. The Office of Admissions evaluates each candidate’s high school record and class rank, standardized SAT or ACT scores, recommendations from school officials, history of extracurricular activities, ability to pass a Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), and other evidence of character, leadership and potential for academic achievement. Admission to the Academy is based on all of the above factors. The application deadline is February 1st.
Definition of Terms
The terminology listed below will be used frequently in this section on Admissions. Candidates should familiarize themselves with these definitions:
Nominating Authority: A member of the U. S. Congress (House of Representatives or Senate). Each Representative and Senator may nominate 10 candidates to the Academy each year. The President and Vice President are not nominating authorities for the Academy. In addition, the U. S. Delegates for Guam, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as the Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, may nominate 10 candidates annually.
Applicant: A man or woman applying to a member of Congress for a nomination to the Academy.
Nomination: A nominating authority’s submission of an applicant’s name as a nominee for consideration for appointment to the Academy. The applicant must be a resident of the same state or territory as the nominating authority. Students should apply to the Academy at the same time that their nomination request is being evaluated.
Candidate: A man or woman who has applied to the Academy and has been designated as under consideration for admission.
Qualified Candidate: A candidate who meets the minimum requirements on the standardized entrance examinations and has fulfilled the other minimum criteria for admission consideration.
Principal Candidate: A candidate who has been found scholastically qualified and who will be admitted to the Academy contingent upon the completion of prescribed medical, security and SSOP requirements.
Alternate Candidate: A scholastically qualified candidate who would replace principal candidates who decline or fail to qualify for a final appointment, or who do not meet the requirements of the SSOP program.
Remedial: Term used to define the physical conditions requiring correction and/or compliance determined necessary by the U.S. Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB) in order to be medically qualified. (Example: removal of impacted wisdom teeth.)
Candidates should pursue studies in high school that will prepare them for the Academy’s rigorous program. The quality of work is important. Eighty-six percent of the Class of 2025 ranked in the top 40 percent of their high school class.
To be appointed to the Academy, candidates must have satisfactorily completed their high school education at an accredited secondary school or its equivalent. They must have earned at least 18 units of credit. Three of these credit units must be in English, three units in mathematics (from algebra, geometry and trigonometry), and one unit in physics or chemistry with a laboratory. These requirements are minimums. The Academy strongly recommends that candidates take four years of mathematics and both physics and chemistry. Courses in mechanical drawing and machine shop are also desirable. Successful completion of pre-calculus or calculus satisfies the trigonometry requirement. By February 1st of the year in which they are seeking admission, candidates must submit with their official application evidence of completion of all academic requirements. All required courses must be completed by June 15, or by the date of graduation from high school. Time extensions will not be granted.
All candidates are required to take either the standardized College Board’s Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT I) or the standardized American College Testing Program’s test (ACT) on scheduled dates at convenient testing centers throughout the country. Required testing must be completed by the first test date of the year in which admission is sought, unless permission is requested and received, in writing, from the Academy’s Director of Admissions. All tests should be taken within 16 months prior to the month of enrollment. The minimum standardized SAT I or standardized ACT qualifying scores for admission will be determined by the Academy for each entering class. The Academy does not accept the non-standard, or un-timed, administration of the SAT or ACT. It is the candidate’s responsibility to register for the examinations. Registration instructions are contained in information bulletins available at no cost to most secondary schools. Members of the U. S. Armed Forces should find copies available in their units’ education offices. Testing and registration information is also available at http://www.collegeboard.org (for the College Board’s SAT) or http://www.act.org (for the American College Testing Program). In the event that you have any questions concerning test requirements, or if you are unable to meet the established examination deadline date, contact the Academy’s Office of Admissions. Candidates must request the testing agency to submit their test scores to the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York 11024. The cost of the examination must be borne by the candidate. The Academy’s SAT code number is 2923; its ACT code number is 2974.
Candidates must be nominated to the Academy by a U. S. Representative or Senator (see previous definition). USMMA does not accept military service-connected nominations. Nominating authorities select their nominees by any methods they wish, which may include a screening interview. This screening may be administered as early as July of the year before appointment is sought. Nominees must reside in the state or territory that the nominating official represents, or have a “home of residence” in the state or territory represented by the nominating official.
A candidate should apply early for a nomination. Some nominating authorities establish deadline dates for the receipt of nomination requests in order to allow adequate time for processing and evaluating requests. The ideal time for a candidate to apply for a nomination is in May of the junior year in high school. Nominating authorities must submit the names of their nominees to the Academy by January 31st of the school year in which admission to the Academy is sought. Candidates should visit their nominating authorities’ websites for additional information and instructions on requesting a nomination.
Visiting the Academy
Students who are considering attending the Academy are strongly encouraged to visit the campus. There are two types of visits available while Academy classes are in session.
Day Visit (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays) Only for high school students. This visit consists of an admissions briefing and an escorted campus tour. Students must arrive at the Office of Admissions no later than 10:30 a.m., when they will meet with an admissions officer who will provide information and answer questions. At noon, visiting students will be paired with a Midshipman escort for lunch with the Regiment of Midshipmen in Delano Hall. They then attend afternoon classes and activities with their escorts and finish at approximately 4:00 p.m.
Overnight Visit (Tuesdays and Thursdays) Only for high school seniors and graduates who have submitted at least Part I of their application to USMMA. This visit consists of an admissions briefing and accompanied overnight stay. Students must arrive at the Office of Admissions by 10:30 a.m., when they will meet with an admissions officer who will provide information and answer questions. At noon, visiting students will be paired with a Midshipman escort for lunch with the Regiment of Midshipmen in Delano Hall. They then attend regular afternoon classes and early evening activities, such as sports practices and club meetings. Visiting students will have dinner in Delano Hall and will stay overnight in the Midshipman escort’s room. The following morning, they will have breakfast in Delano Hall, and attend morning classes with their escort. Their visit will conclude around noon (they do not have lunch again with the Regiment). Parents and family members (maximum of two) who arrive with the student are invited to participate in the admissions briefing. However, only the visiting student may eat meals and attend classes. Parents and family members may continue to tour the Academy on their own. Meals are available in the Seafarer Restaurant. Overnight accommodations can be arranged at local hotels.
Briefing Only Visit (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays). Younger students may visit the Academy for a “Briefing Only” session, but may not participate in the Day or Overnight Visit programs until they have reached the higher grades detailed earlier. There are also several periods during the year when escorted visits to the Academy are not available, but a briefing with an admissions officer is possible:
- The weeks immediately before and after final exams;
- The week of break and the first week after Midshipmen return from break;
- The weeks of the winter holiday break;
- The period from the Friday before Memorial Day weekend until the middle of August; and
- Several “blackout” dates during the course of the academic year due to special campus events.
During the periods when escorted visits are not available, students may still arrange a “Briefing Only” session with an admissions officer. Note that this option is not available during the period in July when Indoctrination of Plebe Candidates is underway. The Academy campus is closed to visitors during Indoctrination.
Students interested in visiting the Academy should email the admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. All visits must be scheduled at least one week in advance.
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) permits the appointment of Midshipmen from nations other than the United States. By law, no more than 30 international students may attend the Academy at any one time. International students interested in applying to the Academy may start an application on-line. They must contact the Office of Admissions at email@example.com to obtain additional instructions for completing their application. All international applicants must take either the standardized SAT or the standardized ACT. Applicants for whom English is not a native language must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination. All completed international applications must be received no later than February 1st of the year of enrolling at the Academy. In order for an application to be complete, the Academy must receive all required application components to include all high school/secondary school (pre-university) and college/university transcripts (in English), your passing (at or above minimum) SAT and/or ACT scores, and your passing (at or above minimum) TOEFL scores (if required). If your original transcript is not in English, you must also provide a certified translation of your transcript in English. If the Academy does not receive all of the above information by February 1, the application for admission will be denied.
All international applicants must also supply the Office of Admissions with the results of a full medical examination, in English, or accompanied by a certified English translation. All Academy Midshipmen, as required by regulation, must be physically qualified to sit for the USCG-administered Merchant Marine Officer license examinations before completing their studies and graduating from the Academy. Medical disqualification is a cause for rejection of admission to the Academy. The United States does not offer any scholarships, grants or other financial assistance or aid to international students for attending the Academy. All expenses are the student’s responsibility. An international student must demonstrate an ability to pay for an Academy education before receiving an appointment to the Academy. The Academy does provide enrolled inter- national students with the same required uniforms, textbooks and transportation allowances that U. S. citizen Midshipmen receive.
Upon enrollment at the Academy, students will be required to complete an electronic form for a security clearance. A security clearance is necessary for commissioning into the armed forces. All questions must be answered accurately and truthfully so that your clearance is not delayed. To verify thier place of birth, students will be asked to submit a certified copy of thier birth certificate. Address any inquiries about the security clearance to the Office of Admissions. (Note: Students must comply with security clearance requirements necessary to obtain Transportation Worker Identification Credential.)
Applicants who indicate that they are in possession of a foreign passport will be instructed to return that document to the appropriate country’s embassy or consulate, requesting a return endorsement, which must be presented to the authority making the security clearance determination. This is because possession and use of a foreign passport instead of a U. S. passport may raise doubts about your allegiance to the United States. A security clearance will be denied or revoked unless the foreign passport is surrendered. Anyone having dual U.S./foreign citizenship, without possessing a foreign passport of another country, must abrogate that country’s citizenship. Failure to comply with these instructions will result in a denial of a security clearance, denial of a commission into the U. S. Navy Reserve or other armed forces reserve component, and disenrollment from the Academy.
Students must complete the application prior to the February 1st deadline. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this application early even before receiving a nomination from a nominating authority. Early filing of an application will expedite processing of the admissions file.
Candidates must apply for admission to the Academy on-line at https://www.usmma.edu/admissions.
A candidate for admission to the Academy must meet the medical requirements for appointment as a U.S. Navy Reserve Midshipman. Medical examinations are conducted by a service academy examining facility designated by DoDMERB. DoDMERB is the Academy’s screening authority and it makes the final decision on a candidate’s medical qualifications. All candidates must be medically qualified for appointment by DoDMERB by April 16th of the year of entrance. The Office of Admissions will submit candidate names to DoDMERB for medical exam scheduling. It is the candidate’s responsibility to pursue medical processing to its conclusion in a timely manner. Candidates can check on their medical status by referring to the DoDMERB website at https://dodmerb.tricare.osd.mil/. Candidates are encouraged to complete their medical exam as soon as possible.
It is recommended applicants learn to swim before entering the Academy. Fourth classmen must demonstrate the ability to swim 100 yards using two basic strokes and 15 minutes of flotation. This requirement must be fulfilled prior to a Midshipman’s first shipboard training period.
Candidates are appointed competitively by the Academy for the vacancies allocated to their state or territory. Each state has an assigned number of appointees proportional to its representation in Congress. After the Academy has selected its principal appointees, the remaining qualified candidates will be designated as alternates; to be appointed in order of merit should openings occur within their respective states. In the event that a state fails to satisfy its allotment, appointments to fill the unfilled vacancies are determined from the national list of alternates, ranked in order of merit as described in the previous paragraph. A candidate’s competitive standing is established by test scores on the standardized SAT or ACT examination, high school class rank, academic record, evidence of leadership potential, interest in a maritime career, and other factors that are considered effective indicators of motivation and probable completion of a degree program. Bonus points are awarded to candidates with at least six months of sea service aboard merchant or naval vessels. On or before April 10, if the application was complete and received by February 1, students will be notified of their selection as a principal, conditional or alternate candidate, or if they fail to meet the requirements. Alternate candidates are subsequently notified if and when they are designated as principal candidates. Plebe Candidates report to the Academy for Indoctrination in late June or early July.
Highly qualified candidates with a completed application (Part I, Academic Information Request, Candidate Activities Record, essay, high school transcript, three School Official Evaluations, school profile, and senior courses in progress) will receive early notification of their appointment after a thorough evaluation of their qualifications. All other candidates will be notified of their status no later than April of the year in which they seek admission. Late appointments may be offered after May 1, in order to fulfill the incoming class size requirement.
Orientation/Briefing Day for Principal Candidates
All principal candidates may be invited to visit the Academy on a selected date in mid-April for a briefing program. Candidates have an opportunity to meet and discuss the Academy’s program with Midshipmen, faculty and administrative personnel. Attendance is strictly voluntary. Principal Candidates are responsible for travel arrangements and expenses associated with this visit.
Enlisted Armed Forces Personnel
An individual who enters the Academy in an enlisted status in a component of the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Coast Guard will not have their existing military service obligation (MSO) terminated. However, attendance at the Academy may or may not be credited towards fulfillment of an MSO, depending on the circumstances of each case and the military department involved. Disposition of enlisted members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are admitted to the Academy and accept appointment into the Navy Reserve SSOP is addressed in Title 10, United States Code, Section 516, as well as in applicable service regulations. An enlisted member of the U. S. Armed Forces seeking admission to the Academy should obtain additional details and guidance from their command personnel office or career counselor, to include guidance for requesting a conditional release from their service.
Here, in summary, are the steps necessary for admission to the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy:
- Request a nomination by contacting a U. S. Representative or Senator, preferably in May of your high school junior year.
- Complete and submit an application, along with the high school transcript and official SAT and/or ACT scores, to the Academy as soon as possible. All application components must reach the Academy no later than February 1st of the high school senior year. Applications completed early receive early attention.
- Pass a physical and medical examination administered by DoDMERB.
- Take either the College Board’s standardized SAT or the American College Testing Program’s standardized ACT examination no later than the first test date of the year seeking admission. The Academy does not accept the non-standard or untimed administration of the SAT or ACT.
- Successfully complete the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) by February 1. Candidates are permitted two (2) attempts at passing the CFA, as long as the results of both are received at the Academy by February 1. Submitting CFA results from your first attempt right at/around the February 1st deadline will likely prevent you from re-taking the CFA if you do not pass all items on the first attempt.
Additional information may be obtained from:
Office of Admissions
U. S. Merchant Marine Academy
300 Steamboat Road
Kings Point, New York 11024
Telephone: (516) 726-5643
Toll Free Number: 1-866-546-4778
FAX: (516) 773-5390