Star Spotlight: Nicole Maus

Senior Nicole Maus is applying to the selective United States Military Academy, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy. The application includes a Candidate Fitness Assessment and nomination from a congressman or senator.


Senior Nicole Maus sits in front of the Donnelly building Nov. 21. Maus donned her mother’s army jacket, used during her time in the service. photo by Cassie Hayes

by Gwyn Doran and Cassie Hayes

story by Gwyn Doran

What is physical training for your application test like?

In 30 minutes, you have to do a kneeling basketball throw, a flexed arm hang or pull up, a shuttle run, push ups, sit ups and a one mile run. It’s all pretty crazy. I’ve been training for a few months now. The hardest part [about applying] is the physical test. But you’re not the only one doing it; you’re doing it with a thousand other people in your grade who want the exact same thing you do.

Despite that, you still want to pursue this?

Yes, I want to see how far I can push my body, and that’s just the perfect way to see because you will literally be at the bottom of a pit of despair. That’s the point where you say I can do this, I’m doing this for a reason.

What is school like?

It’s as normal as a college for any, it’s just much more structured. The Honor Code is a big thing: A cadet shall not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do. You have to go to class; it’s not like I have a 9 o’clock class and I don’t want to go. You have to go, otherwise you’ll get in trouble. It’s not a party college. It’s all about finding where you want to go and what major you want to be. You go to school for 4 years and they pay for your college, and then you have to serve for 5 years after that. Right now, my first choice as a major would be chemical engineering, but I don’t really know about that.

What has it been like watching everyone else go through the regular college process?

It’s hard because not only am I doing all of this crazy stuff for the Academies, I also have to do the normal college search. I have to have a backup because there is a high chance I’m not going to get in, so I had to do all the same searching for colleges like everyone else did, but I guess I didn’t do it as hard because I’m so set on going to the Academy. [College counselor Debbie Hudson] is constantly helping me. She and [math teacher Ashley White] had to write me a letter of recommendation at the end of my sophomore year. It’s really great that they would go through all that trouble just for one person.

Have you always wanted to do this?

My brother is at the Naval Academy right now. My dad went to West Point and my mom went to Army ROTC. My dad always talked about it because he’s still friends with all of his classmates. I didn’t necessarily want to do this; I wanted to be different and go to a normal college but I visited the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs during the spring break of sophomore year and it was so cool. Ever since then I’ve wanted to do that even more and more.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I would definitely say the service aspect. With our service projects we do here, being able to serve people [became] so cool and such an awesome opportunity. To be able to serve not only a small group of people, but my entire country, is going to be really cool. I keep thinking about how amazing it’s going to be. I think that’s what’s pushing me forward, keeping me motivated. It’s really exciting.