There is a lot of information on Service Academy admissions on online forums and various websites, and our goal is to ensure you focus on the right areas for the Coast Guard Academy. Understanding the admissions process will help you apply effort to the areas that matter most in your application.
Here is an overview of the major sections in this guide:
Part 1: Mission of the Coast Guard
Are you interested in the Coast Guard, but curious as to what the typical day as a Coast Guard Officer looks like? It really varies a lot! The motto of the Coast Guard is Semper Paratus, or “always ready”. The Coast Guard prides itself on its Guardian ethos.
The Coast Guard is responsible for a variety of different types of missions. The mission statement of the Coast Guard is to ensure our Nation’s maritime safety, security, and stewardship.
You could be assisting Law Enforcement, conducting search and rescue missions, or responding to a natural disaster. Many of these fall under a port safety/security role. These are typically categorized into three categories:
1. Maritime safety
2. Maritime environmental protection
3. National defense
Basic Requirements – Who The Coast Guard Academy is Looking For
There are both legal requirements and additional requirements for admittance into The Coast Guard Academy. Legal Requirements:
- 17-22 years old
- U.S. Citizen
- Not pregnant; with no legal obligation to support a child
The standards are set high for admission into the Coast Guard Academy. Academics are the single most important factor, but athletics, extracurricular activities, leadership positions and overall character are all taken into account. The admissions team is looking to make sure you have what it takes to excel.
Part 2: How is the Coast Guard Academy Different?
Admission is Based Solely on Merit
The Coast Guard Academy is the only Service Academy that does not require any type of nomination, unlike the other four Service Academies and Congressional or service-connected nominations.
This means that the Coast Guard Academy admissions team directly chooses the most qualified applicants.
Smaller Class Size
At 300 cadets the incoming freshman, or swab class is about ¼ of that of the three core Service Academies.
Unlike the core three Service Academies, the Coast Guard Academy only offers nine academic majors:
- Civil engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Cyber systems
- Mechanical engineering
- Naval architecture and marine engineering
- Operations research and computer analysis
- Marine and environmental sciences
Different Admissions Fitness Test
The other four Service Academies use the Candidate Fitness Assessment, learn more about Coast Guard Academy’s Physical Fitness Exam below.
Part 3: Requirements for Admission
All the Service Academies require excellent academic performance, and the Coast Guard Academy is no exception. The best way to prepare for the Coast Guard Academy is to take challenging high school classes.
80% of all cadets had a 3.5 GPA or higher upon high school graduation and were in the top 25% of their class. About 50% of all cadets were in the top 10% of their class.
Coast Guard Academy SAT and ACT Requirements
The Coast Guard Academy recommends a combined score of at least 1120 for the SAT and 24 for the ACT. For the SAT, 50% of all students score from a composite 1240 to 1400. For the ACT, 50% score a composite of 26 to 32. If you are below these ranges, don’t count yourself out of the competition, just understand where you fall in the typical class.
In terms of taking the SAT or ACT, you should plan accordingly for the normal admission timeline in order to be reviewed by the application deadline of January 29th. We recommend that you plan at least six weeks from the date your test was taken for your scores to be sent to the Coast Guard Academy. This means you should plan to take your final SAT or ACT test no later than the beginning of December.
The Coast Guard Academy is looking for cadets who demonstrate leadership skills prior to attending the Coast Guard Academy. Although these skills will be developed while a cadet, the Academy wants well-rounded individuals who have shown a commitment to achieve students’ full potential. Taking on leadership roles in activities both through sports and in the community is important to begin to develop those leadership skills. After all, at the end of the day your student is looking to commission into the Coast Guard and lead Seamen!
Athletics are an important part of your application, with 85-90% of each class containing high school graduates with at least one varsity letter. 70% have been team captains of their sport.
The Coast Guard Academy Physical Fitness Exam (PFE) is not the same as the fitness test for the other four Service Academies. You can take the same “Candidate Fitness Assessment” for the other Service Academies once and use the results to apply to all schools, except for the Coast Guard Academy.
The PFE is comprised of three events:
- 1.5 mile run
This is the same test that is given to each cadet at the Coast Guard Academy at the beginning of each semester. For reference, here is a table of average performance for a recent Freshman (Swab) class:
The average PFE score for cadets accepted into the Coast Guard Academy is 225.
You can find the latest scoring chart at the Coast Guard Academy website here.