Candidates are appointed competitively by the Academy for the vacancies allocated to their state or geographical area. Each state has an assigned number of appointees proportionate to its representation in Congress. After the Academy has selected its principal appointees, the remaining qualified candidates will be designated as alternates to be appointed in order of merit should openings occur within their states.
In the event that a state fails to satisfy its allotment, appointments to fill the unfilled vacancies are determined from the national list of alternates, ranked in order of merit as described above. A candidate's competitive standing is established by test scores on the standardized SAT or ACT examination, high school class rank, academic record, evidence of leadership potential, interest in a maritime career, letters of recommendation, and other factors that are considered effective indicators of motivation and probable completion of training. Bonus points are awarded to candidates with at least six months of sea service aboard merchant or naval vessels.
The Secretary of Transportation may appoint up to 50 qualified applicants per year to the Academy. Any applicant to USMMA can be considered for a Secretarial Appointment. Applicants without a congressional nomination are encouraged to contact their regional admissions officer to request consideration under this appointment authority.
Early Notification of Admission
Highly qualified candidates may receive early notification of their appointment after complete evaluation of their qualifications. All other candidates will be notified of their status on or about late March/early April of the year in which they seek admission.
Candidate Reply Date
The Academy ascribes to the universal candidate reply date of 1 May. All principal appointees are required to notify the Academy either of accepting or declining their status by that date.