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Prior Service

Armed Forces Enlisted Personnel

Enlisted members of the U.S. armed forces may apply, and are encouraged to apply, to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. This includes members on Active Duty, as well as members serving in any Reserve component or the Army or Air National Guard.

The application process for enlisted members is essentially the same as for students applying for admission directly out of high school.

  • Candidates must submit Part I of the application to establish their record (and to initiate the scheduling with the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB) for their complete physical examination).
  • Candidates must also submit Part II of the application, along with the required essay.
  • Candidates must have Part III of the application completed by the High School from which they graduated, and instruct the school official(s) completing the form to return it to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy along with an official copy of their Final Transcript (showing all 4 years of courses completed and grades earned) and results of the SAT and/or ACT test(s) taken.
  • At least one Letter of Recommendation must also accompany Part III.


For those enlisted members who have also completed some college courses, an official copy of their transcript(s) from each college/university attended must also be sent to the Admissions Office. The Academy is not able to evaluate an application for admission until all transcripts have been received.

A minimum total of three (3) letters of recommendation are required for all candidates to the Academy.  Service members must have at least one (1) from their high school.  If they have attended any college or university courses, they may obtain letters from current or past instructors/professors.  Letters are also acceptable from commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the current chain-of-command of the service members.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is the same as for all other applicants -- all application information (Parts I, II, and III, essay, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) must be received at the Academy Admissions Office no later than 1 March of the year the student is applying for entry. If, due to unusual circumstances (deployment, for example) an enlisted member requires an extension, they must receive approval for that extension from their Regional Admissions Counselor at the Academy prior to 1 March.

Evaluation Process

Applications from enlisted members will be evaluated and considered for admission directly into the Academy. However, depending on the length of time it has been since the enlisted member was last in an academic environment, a decision may be made instead to consider the applicant for the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI). The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy has a limited number of billets at NMMI, where students attend a rigorous academic and training program for 10 months and, upon successful completion and graduation, are offered admission into the Academy the following year. Enlisted members who do not meet all the minimum academic requirements for admission may also be considered for NMMI.

Enlisted members must also complete all other admission requirements. They must obtain a nomination from either a U.S. Senator or a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. That nomination may be from either their original home State of residence or the State in which they are currently residing, depending on where they are registered to vote. Individuals who are assigned and/or residing outside the United States must obtain their nomination from their original home State of residence.

Enlisted members must also successfully complete the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) and a medical examination conducted by DoDMERB. Failure to obtain a nomination to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and/or failure to pass the CFA, and/or failure to be certified as medically qualified for admission to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy will result in your application for admission being denied.

Age Requirements

Applicants to the Academy must not have passed their 25th birthday by 1 July of the year they are applying for entry.

In general, all branches of the uniformed services will release enlisted members to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy after they have received official confirmation that the member has received (and accepted) an Appointment. Individual circumstances may, however, preclude any release. Coordination through your chain of command to obtain approval to attend the Academy is essential.

If you have any questions, you may contact your Admissions Officer. Alternatively, you may e-mail the Admissions Office at:

Updated: Thursday, August 1, 2019
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