Jan 19 2021
**Audio is not available of this week’s column**
Nebraska’s high school seniors have a lot to look forward to in 2021. Years of hard work in the classroom have led up to the college applications that many of them submitted last fall, and now, all that’s left to do is wait.
According to a report from the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, about 80% of seniors who go on to attend college will stay in-state for their education. A smaller group will choose to go to college out of state, but many of them will eventually return home to Nebraska.
It’s worth remembering that some of the best universities in the country aren’t what many people consider traditional colleges. These institutions offer a first-rate education, they’re highly ranked nationally, and they even guarantee you a job after you graduate. And perhaps best of all, those who get in are able to attend on a full scholarship.
Students who feel called to serve their country as officers in the military can choose between the U.S. Military Academy, the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Those who choose the Merchant Marine Academy can go on to serve as Merchant Marines or in any other branch of our armed forces, and those who choose the Naval Academy can earn a commission as officers in either the Navy or the Marine Corps.
Nebraska has a proud heritage of military service, and as a U.S. senator, I have the pleasure of nominating extraordinary young men and women each year to attend one of these academies. They go through a rigorous application process, where my staff and I evaluate each of them based on their grades, extracurricular activities, and test scores. I then go on to nominate many of them for the service academy they would like to attend.
This year, I nominated 37 of Nebraska’s most promising young people to attend the service academy of their choice. These students are from all across our state and come from all walks of life, and taken together, they applied to attend all five of the major academies.
A nomination from a senator or congressman is a required part of a student’s application, but it doesn’t guarantee them admission. These students now move on to face the admissions committees at each of these schools. That’s not an easy task – less than 10 percent of those who apply get into the Naval Academy, for example, and only 11 percent get into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
But after all of the hard work and stress that goes into applying, the students who gain admission will earn a truly world-class education. And outside the classroom, the discipline they learn from military life will better prepare them for life’s challenges, both in the armed forces and as a civilian.
I nominated these 37 students because I believe that each of them would make excellent officers in the United States military. With so many deserving young people choosing to use their talents to serve our country, our state has a very bright future.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.