Academy Nominations 2021

Because of the extremely keen competition for nominations, you are urged to apply to every nominating authority for which your eligibility allows (i.e., Senator Jones, your Congressman, Presidential, Vice-Presidential, Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans, etc.).  While you are encouraged to apply to a number of sources if eligible, you should not specify a different academy with each application; careful thought and consideration should be given to your first choice of an academy and it should be listed as your first choice across the board in order to increase your chances for receiving a nomination.  That said, if you receive a nomination from another source, I will not be able to duplicate that nomination.  In order that more Alabama students will have an opportunity to be reviewed by the academies, please let me know immediately if you are nominated by another authority.  Additionally, should you change your career goals and decide not to pursue a nomination to a service academy, please notify me, as it will offer the opportunity to another student.
Please note that each Congressional Office uses a selection process that is designed to meet its own needs and standards.  The different procedures are often confusing to applicants who apply to more than one source; however, last-minute misunderstandings can be avoided by carefully studying and following the instructions of each office.
Residency:  Applicant must be a legal resident of Alabama.

Application Form:  The enclosed application must be completed and returned promptly.  Formal candidacy is established in my office upon receipt of the application.  It is not necessary that you send all the required information at once but if your application is not received within a reasonable time after your initial inquiry, it will be presumed that you are no longer interested in pursuing a nomination.  The manner in which the application process is handled by the student seeking nomination indicates the seriousness of the individual and his/her drive to attend a service academy.
Recommendation Forms:  The enclosed recommendation forms must be completed and returned to my office along with your application.  Limit the number of recommendation letters to three (3) as instructed.  The first recommendation letter should be completed by your school counselor, advisor or principal, while your other two recommendations should be from individuals of your choosing; I am looking for three letters of quality, especially when the author has firsthand knowledge of the student.  If you have additional recommendations, please forward them to the service academy of your choice where you have opened a pre-admission candidate file.

Transcript:  In addition to your academic selections and performance, your official high school transcript must show your final junior year grades and numerical class rank.  If your school does not rank students, please have your counselor or advisor indicate that.  Also, it is your responsibility to request that your counselor or advisor send an up-to-date transcript and keep your records current.

College Boards: For admissions purposes, the SAT and ACT are the entrance examinations recognized by the service academies.  Applicants are responsible for taking one of these standardized tests (though many choose to take both) and for requesting scores to be sent to the academy/academies, as well as to my office.  In order to be considered for nomination, you must be tested prior to the application submission deadline of Friday, November 13, 2020.  [This requirement will be monitored due to the current situation with COVID-19]  Please direct SAT and ACT scores to my office by indicating “Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama” as the score recipient with the designated code on the CEEB form.  If you are unable to include my office in your original choices for test reports, please send me a copy of the report you receive in order to save time and the additional report fee.  If you submit more than one set of scores to my office along with your application, the higher scores will be counted and/or super-scored.
Qualifying Medical Examination:  Each individual service academy will recommend a schedule of medical examinations to the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB) after receipt of your pre-candidate questionnaire, which is used to open a pre-admission candidate file at the academy. There is no cost to the candidate for the examination. Be sure to mail the appropriate yellow, blue, green or white cards as soon as possible to the corresponding academy/academies.  
Leadership:  Leadership and physical fitness are judged from the information provided on your application form.  This information should be kept up-to-date.  Unlike civilian colleges, the service academies place strong emphasis on physical training.  In addition, the academies place a high premium on leadership roles and extracurricular activities.  Therefore, consideration must be given to each candidate's proven ability in these areas.  It must be noted, however, that leadership can also be evident in areas other than athletics.
The top ten (10) applicants will be selected as nominees per every one (1) vacancy at the Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy; these 10 nominees are referred to as a “slate.”  The Merchant Marine Academy only accepts 1 slate per year regardless of vacancy.  I rank each slate competitively, meaning that upon my submission, the respective service academy will then review all 10 nominations for the most qualified candidates.  Therefore, the service academy has the ultimate and final responsibility to appoint a nominee for entrance.   
Selection of the top 10 candidates for nomination for each slate is made competitively on the basis of a composite of academic factors (60%) and leadership potential, extracurricular activities, physical fitness, and recommendations (40%). The following criteria are used:
  1. School records:  A competitive candidate will often stand in the upper 20% of his/her class and maintain above a 3.5 weighted grade point average.
  2. College Board Scores:  A competitive candidate will often have an SAT score of 600 or better in both math and verbal and/or a composite ACT score of 29 or better. 
  3. Motivation:  One of the most important considerations in the selection of a nominee is the candidate's desire to attend a service academy.  It can also be the most difficult to measure. Therefore, a competitive candidate will show diligence and timeliness in completion and submission of his/her application, as well as sincere expression in his/her personal statement.

Please direct all correspondence regarding service academy nominations to Pam Blackwell using the following contact information:
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby
attn: Pam Blackwell 
2005 University Boulevard
Suite 2100
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Telephone: (205) 759-5047
Fax: (205) 759-5067
*Due to the high volume of inquiries and submissions, written correspondence is preferred.  Candidates, as well as their supporters, are encouraged to email her anytime for assistancePlease send these via regular mail.  To confirm receipt of the packet, please email Pam Blackwell at 
Note: Please scroll down to find the link to the Application PDF.

Service Academies Information
United States Military Academy at West Point United States Naval Academy
Director of Admissions
600 Thayer Road
West Point, NY 10996-9902
Candidate Guidance Office
117 Decatur Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5018

United States Air Force Academy United States Merchant Marine Academy
Admissions Office
2304 Cadet Drive Suite 200
USAF Academy, CO 80840-5025
Admissions Office
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Kings Point, NY 11024-9997

US Coast Guard Academy

U.S. Coast Guard Academy
31 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320-8103
1.800.883.USCG (8724)

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