Thank you for your interest in serving our country! Each year I have the pleasure of nominating the best and brightest young men and women from New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District to our nation’s service academies. These academies include the Military Academy at West Point, New York, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. Of particular interest is the Merchant Marine Academy, which is not as well-known as the others and about which I urge you to obtain more information on.

Applying to a military service academy is just like applying to any well regarded college, but you must also obtain a nomination from your Member of Congress. Attendance at the academies includes a free education as well as room and board. It comes with an obligation and commitment to serve in the U.S. military for a minimum of 5 years upon graduation (the Merchant Marine Academy obligation is different).



Bonnie Watson Coleman

Member of Congress

Service Academy Application submission period is now open for the 2021-2022 cycle.  

For your application to be accepted, it must be submitted entirely digitally, with all components saved as individual PDF documents and submitted in a single email by COB, October 18th 2021.  

Your application, and all supplemental required documents should be sent as individual PDF documents via email to with your last name in the subject line.  

This application cycle, our panel will be reviewing each candidate on a case-by-case basis. Our office will be waiving standardized SAT and ACT scores as a packet requirement this year. You may still submit your score, but you will not be penalized if you are unable to. Please provide a written letter of explanation as early as possible in the event that current circumstances prevent you from obtaining any required documents by the October 18th deadline (This also applies to students who are taking their SAT/ACTs at a delayed date and will receive scores on or after October 18th). 


In order to be considered for a nomination by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, each applicant must submit the following: 

1. Letter of Interest detailing why they would like to attend a Service Academy 
2. Application Form (found on the Congresswoman’s website) (includes a photo, essays and a signed certification form) 
3. Recommendation from a Guidance Counselor 
4. At least 2 recommendations from someone not related to the applicant 
5. Most Recent Transcript
6. ACT or SAT scores (optional)
7. Resume 


Note: For students whose Spring and Fall Athletics or Extracurriculars were cancelled due to COVID, please list all sports or clubs you would have participated in on your resume.  

Please save all components of your application as PDF files, titled “LastName ApplicationComponent” (ex: Smith Resume.pdf, Smith Transcript.pdf) 

Each applicant for a nomination must also have submitted an application to the Service Academy for which they are seeking a nomination. 
This application is solely the responsibility of the person applying, and as such, we expect to hear exclusively from the applicant. If students need to call during school hours, we suggest that they visit their guidance counselor’s office for assistance. 
After submitting an application to my office, the applicant must immediately file a pre-candidate application with the academy/academies of your choice if they have not already done so. Applicant must reside within New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District- if you are unsure as to what district you reside in please visit 

For questions regarding your application or required materials, please email my Service Academy Coordinator Dilara Boztepe at:



Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a nomination?

Members of Congress may nominate (recommend) 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 President (sons and daughters of career military personnel only)
  • The Vice-President

Applying to other offices will not affect your chances of securing a nomination from Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

Each applicant for a nomination must meet the following eligibility requirements as of July 1st of the year of admission to an academy:

  • Be at least 17 years old, but not have passed their 23rd birthday
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be unmarried, not pregnant, and without legal obligation to support children or other dependents
  • Must reside within the boundaries of the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey (address filed with my office must match the address on file with the academy)
  • Must meet the medical, physical, and academic requirements of the Academy.

What is the deadline for completing a nomination file?

This year the deadline for submitting a nomination packet to my District Office is October 18, 2021. This deadline is firm and late applications will not be accepted.

What happens after I have completed my nomination file?

In late November, you will be contacted by my Academy Coordinator who will schedule you for an interview with my volunteer Service Academy Board which is composed of enlisted and retired military personnel.

What criteria is used in selecting candidates?

Nominations are based on a "whole person" evaluation. Factors such as willingness to serve our nation, academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character and motivation are taken into consideration and compared with other applicants.

How many academies are there?

There are five service academies.
U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York
U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland
U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York
U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut (no nomination required)

Are the requirements the same for all of the service academies?

No. Although many of the qualifications are similar, each academy operates under its own admissions guidelines. Visit the academy of your choice via the web sites noted for each academy's particular admissions qualifications. It is not necessary to seek a nomination to the Coast Guard Academy, as the US CGA accepts candidates based on their own testing criteria.

Will I automatically be selected by the academy after I receive a nomination?

No. You will be placed among a select group of nominees, and the academy of your choice will make the final decision. If selected, you will receive an offer of admission (an appointment) directly from the academy.

What if I choose more than one academy? Will I be limited to a single nomination?

No. You can be nominated to multiple academies depending on how well you have competed among this year's pool of candidates. It is also possible to win multiple appointments.

When will I know if I have been offered an appointment by an academy?

Academies will begin to notify candidates of their admission status in January. All offers of appointment are generally sent out by May.

Additional Questions?

Contact Dilara Boztepe, my Academy Coordinator, at (609) 883-0026 or

Here are the forms you'll need: 

The Service Academy Application

Service Academy Counselor Recommendation form

Service Academy Non-Counselor Recommendation form