United States Coast Guard Academy. Founded in 1876, the United States Coast Guard Academy has a proud tradition as one of the finest and most selective colleges in America. The smallest of the five Federal Service Academies, the Coast Guard Academy provides a four-year Bachelor of Science program with a full scholarship for each individual. Unlike the other Federal Service Academies however, there are no congressional appointments. The mission of the United States Coast Guard Academy goes well beyond academics. The missions is:
"To graduate young men and women with sound bodies, stout hearts, and alert minds, with a liking for the sea and its lore, with that high sense of honor, loyalty, and obedience which goes with trained initiative and leadership; well grounded in seamanship, the sciences, and amenities, and strong in the resolve to be worthy of the traditions of commissioned officers in the United States Coast Guard in the service of their country and humanity." S tudents come to the Academy to be challenged academically, physically, and professionally. By providing excellent academic programs, a structured military regimen and competitive athletics,the Academy graduates competent and professional military officers to serve our country. The Academy's four primary objectives are: (1) to provide by precept and example an environment that encourages a high sense of honor, loyalty, and obedience; (2) to provide a sound undergraduate education in a field of interest to the Coast Guard; (3) to provide a living laboratory for leadership education; and (4) to provide training which enables graduates to assume their immediate duties as junior officers afloat.
After successfully completing the Academy program, each graduate receives a Bachelor of Science degree in one of eight majors and a commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Coast Guard. Each graduate is required to serve a minimum of five years of active duty upon graduation.
Admission to the Academy is based on nationwide competition. An average of 265 students enter the Academy each year out of approximately 5500 applicants. Mid-year students are not accepted. The student body, known as the Corps of Cadets, consists of approximately 850 cadets including approximately 30% women and 20% minorities, plus international students representing various countries.
The Academy experience goes far beyond an ordinary classroom curriculum. Freshman year begins in July, seven weeks prior to the academic school year. The first seven weeks, known as "Swab Summer," are an invigorating period of physical, military, and leadership training. The last week is spent sailing aboard America's active duty square rigger, Barque Eagle, America's Tall Ship.
Summer is devoted to professional and military training except for 3 weeks of vacation. Cadets spend five weeks of their sophomore summer sailing on board the training ship Eagle, three weeks at a Coast Guard unit, and two weeks sailing small boats. Junior summer involves the following training: leadership, specialized shipboard training, rifle and pistol, aviation, and leadership roles training the incoming freshman class. In preparation for shipboard life after graduation, seniors spend ten weeks aboard a Coast Guard cutter learning the roles they will be responsible for as junior officers. In addition, academic internships are available on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., and in Coast Guard specialty fields, such as mechanical and civil engineering.
Basic Eligibility Requirements : To attend one of the service academies, applicants MUST:
- be 17 but not yet 23 years of age by July 1 of year admitted.
- be a U.S. citizen at time of enrollment (exception: foreign students nominated by agreement between U.S. and another country).
- be of high moral caliber.
- be unmarried.
- not be pregnant or have a legal obligation to support a child or children.
- with the exception of the Coast Guard Academy, candidates must obtain a nomination from a U.S. Congressman, Senator, the Vice President of the United States, or the U.S. Representative (U.S. Possessions). (Note: Current enlisted members applying to attend one of the service academies do not require a nomination). An example letter can be found here.
P re-candidate questionnaires can be completed and submitted to the appropriate Academy by following the procedures at, or submitting requests at: