When many applicants think about the physical requirements for admission into a Service Academy, they traditionally think about the fitness aspect. However, there is a key element that isn’t talked about much until it becomes an issue: height and weight requirements. 

A lot of candidates don’t have to consider this requirement, but in some cases, either extreme for height and weight can cause an issue. Typically, being underweight is much less of an issue than being overweight. DoDMERB will usually highlight that you are over the weight requirements and then the admissions team will address the issue. 

Your student’s height and weight are measured during their DoDMERB physical as well as during the Candidate Fitness Assessment. If your student’s weight exceeds the allowable limit for each academy, they will be asked to provide measurements so each admissions team can estimate body fat percentage.

Make sure to know where you fall in the ranges below for each Service Academy so you can plan accordingly.

Does your Student Meet the Height and Weight Requirements?

Here’s how to tell:

Step 1: Review the acceptable weight ranges for each Academy below

  • Does your student fall within these ranges?
    • Yes – Your student meets standards! You’re done!
    • No – proceed to Step 2

Step 2: Take measurements to determine body fat percentage (only if you don’t fall within the acceptable weight range)

  • Use a calculator that uses the neck, waist, and hip measurement method to determine body fat percentage
    • If your student is below the maximum allowable body fat below in this table, you meet standards

Chart Showing Maximum Allowable Body Fat Percentages for the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and West Point

Exceeding Service Academy Weight Standards May Mean an Applicant is Simply Muscular!

Many candidates who exceed the weight limits are below the body fat percentage requirements, as many are athletes. Being aware of what your student’s body fat percentage is during the application process is key, and the methodology that the academies use to calculate body fat percentage. 

Air Force Academy Requirements

Weight standards must meet the baseline commission criteria for the Air Force. The Air Force Academy has the strictest body fat requirements, requiring men to be 18% body fat or less and women to be 26% body fat or less. 

If your student falls outside of the allowable weight (regardless of sex), a qualified individual must complete USAFA Form O-220. School nurses, family physicians, and paramedics are permitted to fill out this form.  The admissions team will then calculate body fat. If the candidate is above 18% for men or 26% for women, a waiver will be considered. 

Maximum USAFA Allowable Weight Based on Height

Chart showing maximum weight allowed for Air Force Academy

If you are above the weight limit listed above, the admissions team will want your measurements. These follow the standard Air Force requirements, which include a waist and neck tape for men and a neck, waist, and widest part of the buttocks tape for women. You can read more about how to calculate your student’s body fat percentage using Air Force standards here

Naval Academy Requirements

The height and weight requirements for Annapolis are from the Naval Academy Medical Appendix. The Merchant Marine Academy has the same entry requirements for height and weight.

The height requirements for the Naval Academy are 4’10” to 6’8”. Waivers are possible for height.

The Naval Academy is more forgiving than USAFA, requiring men to have body fat 25% or less, and women to have 35% or less. If you don’t fall within the ranges for weight shown below, the admissions team will ask for measurements to estimate body fat percentage. Waivers are not possible for body fat percentage above these limits. 

Weight Range for the Naval Academy and Merchant Marine Academy Based on Height

Chart showing maximum weight allowed for Naval Academy

West Point Requirements

West Point requires candidates to meet the height and weight requirements for the Army listed below for 17-20 year olds. The maximum weight allowed increases with age. You can review West Point’s specific height and weight guidance here

The Army standards for maximum allowable body fat percentage for anyone aged 17-20 are 20% for males and 30% for females. 

Weight Range for West Point Based on Height

Chart showing maximum weight allowed for West Point

What’s Next? To calculate how West Point will calculate body fat percentage, you can use the instructions from the DA Form 5500, which is a neck and waist measurement calculation. 

Now that you understand the height and weight requirements, make sure your student is positioned for success with our Candidate Fitness Assessment score calculator to predict performance on the fitness test.

Want to simplify the service academy application process? We are here to help you navigate the entire admissions process from acing your interviews and essays to receiving a Congressional Nomination. Schedule an initial strategy session today!

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