One of the privileges of serving in the United States House of Representatives is the opportunity to nominate outstanding young people from the 16th Congressional District to be considered for an appointment to our nation’s service academies. Admission to a service academy is a two-tiered process. First, the candidate must meet the minimum admission standards set by the individual service academy. These standards include, among others, medical, physical, and scholastic qualifications. The second tier is obtaining a nomination from an official source. An individual must meet the admission requirements of the academy, as well as, receive a nomination in order to be considered for an appointment to the academies. It is best to apply for nominations at least one year prior to the desired date of entry.

Acceptance to a service academy requires a nomination from an official source: one of the applicant’s U.S. Senators, his/her U.S. Representative, or the Vice President of the United States. Children of career and/or retired military personnel may also seek a nomination through the Office of the President of the United States. Applicants should pursue all of these avenues to increase their chances of securing a nomination. Beginning in May of an applicant's junior year in high school, the student may request a nomination application packet from my Peoria District Office. Please contact my Peoria District office at (309) 671-7027.

Service Academy Applicants must be:

  • U.S. Citizens
  • Legal Residents of the 16th Congressional District of Illinois
  • At least 17 years of age, but not yet 23 years of age by July 1st of the year of admission (or not yet 25 years of age by July 1st of the year of admission to U.S. Merchant Marine Academy)
  • Unmarried with no dependents
  • By law, graduates of the service academies are appointed to active duty as commissioned officers and serve in the appropriate branch of the military for a minimum of five years.

Please be sure to contact the service academy of your preference directly to establish a pre-candidate file. Candidates are evaluated for admission based on academic performance (high school record and SAT or ACT scores), demonstrated leadership potential, physical aptitude, and medical qualification. Each service academy will be able to answer specific questions and schedule individual medical examinations. Due to the rigorous physical program at the academies, all candidates must meet their specific medical and physical requirements.

Note: Such examinations are separate from my nomination process and are required prior to receiving an appointment to a service academy. The ultimate selection of appointees rests solely with academy officials and is based on their competitive evaluation of all nominees.

Seeking a Nomination: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps to apply to a Service Academy?

1. Meet the Basic Eligibility Requirements (see above)

2. Gather All Required Documentation

  • Social Security Number
  • ACT, SAT, PSAT or PLAN (Pre-ACT) scores
  • 9-digit zip code (Find zip+4)
  • High school’s ETS Code
  • High school's address
  • Congressional District

3. Apply Online and Complete Candidate Questionnaire

4. Contact Field Force Representative or Blue and Gold Officer

5. Apply for a Nomination

6. Medical Examination

7. DODMERB will provide exam date and location (by fall of Senior year)

8. Complete CFA (Candidate Fitness Assessment)

9. Take ACT/ SAT Exams and Submit

10. Monitor Application Status

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What is the criteria used in selecting applicants for a nomination?
Nominations are based on a "whole person" evaluation. Factors such as academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character, and motivation are taken into consideration and compared with other applicants. My office utilizes an Academy Review Panel which will review all applications to determine which candidates will be interviewed. Interviews are held in early December and 16th Congressional District nominations are announced no later than January 31st each year. Return to Top
Will a candidate automatically be selected by the service academy after they receive a nomination?
No. They will be placed among a select group of nominees, and the academy of the candidate’s choice will make the final decision. If selected, they will receive an Offer of Appointment (admission) directly from the academy admissions office. Return to Top
What if a candidate chooses more than one academy? Will they be limited to a single nomination?
No. Candidates can be nominated to multiple academies depending on how well they have competed among this year's pool of candidates. It is also possible to be offered multiple appointments. Return to Top
When will a candidate know if they have been offered an appointment by an academy?
Academies will begin to notify candidates of their admission status in February. All offers of appointment are generally sent out by May. Return to Top

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact:

Office of Congressman Darin LaHood
100 NE Monroe Street, Room 100
Peoria, IL 61602
Phone: (309) 671-7027

Please visit my website at: or you can check out my Virtual Academy Program at:

Note: Nomination packets for the Class of 2028 (entering the service academies in the Summer of 2024) will be available after May 1, 2023. Please call the Peoria District Office (309) 671-7027.

*Completed service academy nomination applications must be submitted to the Peoria District Office by Friday, November 17th, 2023.

To obtain specific information on the service academies, contact them directly:

(USCGA does not require a nomination)