Officer Candidates School

Despite what you may have heard, Marine Officer Candidates School (OCS) is not boot camp for officers.

The mission of Officer Candidates School is to train, evaluate, and screen officer candidates to ensure they have what it takes to lead Marines.

Candidates who show up to OCS are expected to be physically fit, knowledgeable, and of sound moral character. OCS exists to ensure you have the qualities expected of a Marine officer.

If you don’t have what it takes, the Marine Corps will NOT hesitate to send you packing.

The Marine Corps spends a great deal of resources evaluating and training it’s officers to ensure they are quality leaders.

OCS Training and Preparation

Officer Selection Officers (OSO) and NROTC units provide the training you need to be successful at Officer Candidates School. To supplement the invaluable guidance that comes from your units, these resources will further enable your ability to train and prepare.

General Information

Mission and Organization – The mission of OCS is to train, evaluate, and screen officer candidates to ensure that they possess the moral, intellectual, and physical qualities for commissioning and the leadership potential to serve successfully as company-grade officers in the Operating Forces.

History of Quantico – A historical overview of Quantico, VA. The heart of development and military education for the United States Marine Corps.

Training Phases – Learn the five distinct training phases that Marine Corps Officer Candidates School is divided into.

Candidate Billets – An overview of the responsibilities, assignment procedures, and tour of duty for billets at Marine Officer Candidates School.

Evaluation

Evaluation Process – The Marine OCS evaluation process provides a method and basis for screening officer candidates for commissioning.

Leadership Evaluation – Leadership is the most important aspect of Marine OCS. Candidates will be evaluated on their leadership ability from the second they check in to the last moments before graduation. The leadership evaluation category comprises of 50% of your grade at OCS. One must demonstrate the characteristics of a Marine leader to graduate from OCS.

Academic Evaluation – Everyone at Officer Candidates School is either attending college or has already graduated. It should come as no surprise that candidates are expected to maintain high academic standards. The passing grade for all examinations is 80%. Failed, or missed, exams must be made up on the weekend. The retake grade does not get factored into your academic evaluation score. The retakes are there to ensure candidates are able to pass all exams.

Physical Fitness Evaluation – As Marines, we thrive to possess the physical capabilities necessary to perform in austere environments. Candidates are placed under strenuous conditions to include hot and cold weather environments, sleep deprivation, and mental exhaustion.

Seniors Commissioning Course

This is the most useful resource provided. Unfortunately, the juniors material is unavailable. The courses should be read prior to OCS.

Juniors Commissioning Course Material – Marine OCS 6-Week Commissioning Course (Juniors) Student Outline. This is a PDF file you can download from Google Drive.

Seniors Commissioning Course Material – Marine OCS 6-Week Commissioning Course (Seniors) Student Outline.

Extra Items to Pack

2 Rifle Cleaning Tools To Add To Your OCS Packing List

Resources

Operations Order Skeleton – A template to help you write orders faster and get the format down.
Operations Order Shorthand – Some of the abbreviations are beyond the scope of OCS. Use this as a guide for developing your own shorthand.

Common Questions

How long is OCS?

The length of Officer Candidates School is dependent of the program you enter through.

PLC Juniors – first 6-week session is the summer between your sophomore and junior year of college (may vary)
PLC Seniors -second 6-week session is the summer before your senior year of college (may vary)
OCC – Single 10-week session after graduating college
NROTC Marine Option – Single 6-week session before your senior year of college (may extend to after you graduate)
MECEP – Single 10-week session before beginning college

Where do I need to be physically upon arriving at OCS?

Read the article Benchmarks And Workouts For TBS. A Good Reference For OCS Candidates As Well.

141 COMMENTS
  • Pat
    Reply

    How long is the contact for with a 4 year degree?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      4 years active, 4 years in the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR). Note that IRR is not the same as the active reserves. You won’t have drill on the weekends or anything. Your essentially a civilian and it’s unlikely you will get called back to active duty.

      1. Pierre
        Reply

        What are the minimum physical requirement to start boot camp?

        1. USMC Officer
          Reply

          The minimum is not going to cut it at OCS, so I’m not going to answer the question. Check out this article with some fitness benchmarks.

      2. Miguel Diaz
        Reply

        Sir,
        I am almost done with my Bachelors Degree but I have a question I had a GED not a High School Diploma . Also my age is 27 what would be the age limit ? Thanks in advance .

        1. USMC Officer
          Reply

          GED is fine, your college transcripts will have the most weight on your application. The age limit is 28.

          1. Miguel Diaz

            One more question if you get 285 or higher on the pft will they be able to do an age waiver ? If I am pass the 28 .

  • Cesar
    Reply

    Is there a certain type of degree you have to graduate with?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      No, the Marine Corps gives no preference to any particular major.

  • Paul
    Reply

    What if you have a 3 year Bachelors Degree that is Compacted, from a 4 year Bachelors Degree, in Science? From The Art Institute San Diego.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      As long as you have a degree from an accredited school, it doesn’t matter how long it took you to get it.

      1. Paul
        Reply

        Thank you very much. I’m a prior enlisted, Marine and did 5 years 8 months active duty. I want to come back to the Marine Corps after completing my degree, in about a year. What should I start doing, I’m a Senior now in College, should I stat getting the process started? My motivation for the Corps is very high, the only reason I left was my Command, and I didn’t want to go back to the fleet after completing Marine Security Guard duty, as an enlisted ground pounding, Devil Dog. Is becoming an Officer the best route, for a prior Enlisted?

        1. Andy
          Reply

          Hey Paul,
          First thanks for your past service and hopefully future service. Since you are wrapping up your senior year by this point. I would definitely say go talk to an OSO (i.e. XO of your local RS) immediately if you haven’t already. You will most likely for to the Officer Candidate Course (OCC), the 10 week course. You’ll be right in your element as this is the route that all of the active duty enlisted guys go to (MECEP and ECP) IOT become an officer. The first few weeks of that course are essentially how to tie your boots and make your rack and other very basic stuff, however it picks up quickly. Obviously make sure you are as fit as possible before showing up. Everything else, you’ll be a step above most others with your experience as a Devil. Most important thing to take from this is go see the OSO like now haha. Good luck brother!

  • Amanda
    Reply

    Do you have to have a 4 year degree or will a two year degree work ?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You have to have a Bachelors Degree.

  • E. Whitfield
    Reply

    Sir,

    How competitive is the selection process for OCS? What are the required scores (ACT, SAT, ASVAB)? Work outs? Diets? Any and all advise you’re will to share is greatly appreciated!

    I’m currently overseas (Sasebo) with my AD Navy spouse, a year away from my bachelors, on an accelerated program. I don’t have any stellar volunteer experience… I’ve been working since 18 and was a Resident Assistant in college back home. Currently I work on base and maintain 18 units.

    Female. 21. Estimated graduation date March2017.

    Thank you!

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You need a minimum SAT score of 1000 and a bachelors degree to apply for the OCC Commissioning Program (for those who apply after obtaining a degree).
      Your GPA and Physical Fitness Test (PFT) score will have a large impact on your application. Those should be your primary areas of focus for the next year. The site has some example workouts to prepare for OCS. However, to get ready for the PFT you really need to run and start doing pull-ups.

      1. E.Whitfield
        Reply

        Thank you for the quick response! Would there be a way for me to do the Seniors program once i’m established as a senior? If so what is that requirement? Thank you in advance!

        1. USMC Officer
          Reply

          You cannot do PLC Seniors without having done Juniors first. If you are already a senior in college, the recruiter will likely recommend that you apply for OCC once you graduate.

  • E.Whitfield
    Reply

    In addition how competitive is the program!?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      With budget cuts and downsizing it is becoming increasingly competitive. I do not have the latest acceptance rates.

    2. A. Powell
      Reply

      A 3.0 or better and as close to a 285 pft will get you well into the spotlight. I was 1st increment summer 2015.

  • Micah Murphy
    Reply

    What are the dates for the PLC Juniors this summer 2016?

  • Johnathan Hunt
    Reply

    Anybody with experience going from Air Force enlisted to becoming a Marine Officer. Just wondering about your experience and your transition.

    1. Andy
      Reply

      Have two buddies that were enlisted Army and Navy that went through OCS as well as a ton of mustangs from the Corps. The biggest thing at OCS is to shut out your pride since you’ve already been through a version of bootcamp and may rate the same as the sergeant instructors that are tearing your head off. This is especially true for enlisted Marines going through OCS. A couple of my friends were DIs before going to OCS and were being paraded around by people that are literally their buddies that they may have even worked closely with in the past. As for folks from different services, as far as I know, as long as the instructors themselves don’t find out AND you don’t make yourself a target then it won’t matter; you’re just another candidate. Worst case scenario you get spotlighted and harassed for a second about being an airman then they forget to care about you haha.

      After commissioning, whatever you were before no longer matters; you are a Marine now. Everything will be based on performance (a lot of academy kids have trouble understanding this haha). Hopefully this answered your question! Good luck

  • Moshe Dee
    Reply

    Becoming at age 24 OK plus what’s the most demanding and challenging mos an officer can obtain in the Corp.

  • Larry Boyd
    Reply

    Quick question about shaving.

    As an African American, It’s hard for me to shave with a traditional razor (no matter how good it is) without getting razor bumps or razor burn of some sort. It’s a combination of sensitive skin and naturally curly hair.

    With that being said, would I be allowed to use an electric trimmer/clippers during OCS? I’ve heard of them being approved by medical during in-processing.

    How true is this?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Yes, electric shavers are good to go. In extreme cases, medical can authorize you to not have to shave for a few days. But if you go this route everyone if going to hate you, especially the drill instructors. Stick with the electric razor.

  • Neena
    Reply

    Why is it a single 10 week session for prior enlisted marines and only a single 6 week session for the people that went through NROTC?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Prior enlisted Marines in the MECEP program used to do just the 6 week program after their first year of college, but the failure rate led to the Marine Corps deciding to send them to the single 10 week course prior to starting college. OCS is heavily focused on infantry tactics, so sending MECEP Marines to the 6 week program prior to having at least a year of college probably wouldn’t work out too well considering the failure rate was high when those Marines had a year in NROTC to get caught up.

  • James tallakson
    Reply

    What would it take for someone in the national guard and still in college to go to OCS for the Marines? Is it just the conditional release process? What if you have service connected injuries that have been taken care of, will a clean military physical be enough to get you in?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Acceptance into a commissioning program will supersede your enlistment. Yes, you will get a physical during the application process and once you arrive at OCS. If all checks out, you have nothing to worry about.

  • Jarrod
    Reply

    I am leaving for OCC class 224 on January 7th. What are your recommendations for purchasing boots before OCS? I currently own McRae temperate weather boots. How many and what pairs are you issued at the beginning? Is there an opportunity to purchase different boots on liberty? Thanks!

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You will get two pair of boots that you’ll be required to wear in the first couple weeks as the staff tries to help you break them in. One will be hot weather boots and the other for cold weather. You can buy at Exchange during liberty, but you’ll have so much gear at that point you’ll probably hold yourself back.

  • C. Hric
    Reply

    For those who just started in January 2017, what day will graduation be held?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Candidates will have the opportunity to call back home with that information.

  • Jacob Darabaris
    Reply

    In the case that I pass the board in the coming months, I will be doing the 10 week program this summer. When are the start and end dates? If it makes a difference, my local office is in Lexington, KY.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Your most likely on the 3 June 2017 to 12 August 2017 class. Here’s the published projected dates.

      1. Glenn Sullivan
        Reply

        I have a client that signed his papers to go to OCS this summer and no longer wants to serve. He feels intimidated by the recruiter and came to me to ask advice. 1st, I am a veteran myself and I promote service, but not to those who genuinely have a complete change of heart.
        What needs to be done to withdraw from their slot? Please be specific. Also, are there any repercussions that would prevent him from joining another branch of the service in the future after completing their Master’s Degree?
        Thank you.

        1. USMC Officer
          Reply

          He simply needs to tell the recruiter. OCS applications can be withdrawn. It’s not like the enlisted side. Applicants can fail or drop out of OCS. It looks bad on recruiters to send candidates who fail the program, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

          If he withdraws before attending OCS, he can still join later on. However, if he fails or drops out at OCS, he won’t qualify for other commissioning programs.

  • Regina
    Reply

    Reading that the candidates that are commmisioned will go directly to sign in to the basic school, will they have time off til that Monday, following sign in?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      There will be a few days in between. Don’t worry though. TBS is nothing like OCS, you will be treated as an Marine officer not a recruit/candidate.

  • Lane N
    Reply

    Sir,

    What is the general length of the liberty period between commissioning and TBS? And then between TBS and your MOS school? Thank you.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      There’s really no average. Some people have 12-14 months between OCS and TBS while others have 3 days. MOS school will start within a few months after TBS, unless you get Communications which could have a 5-6 month waiting period.

  • Jaime A
    Reply

    I’m an OCS hopeful who will be graduating with a bachelors degree right after the summer 2017. I’ve inquired with an OSO for information regarding the application process and Physical Fitness Test details. The OSO recommended that I apply for the July board of 2017 for selection; however, I am not in ideal physical condition at the moment (I literally started training 8 days ago). I would like to be in top physical shape for the application process and put myself in a position to become a leader among leaders if I were to be selected to attend OCS.

    I was wondering if you might have any information regarding the OCS selection board application deadlines after the July 2017 board. I would like set a goal date to work towards after my graduation from university.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Sorry, the OSO you are working with would have the most accurate information for you.

  • JJ
    Reply

    I have a bachelors degree from a UC school and recently started the OCS application (even went to MEPS). But I also applied to graduate schools in case I didn’t get into OCS. Lo and behold, I got into Harvard and Emory. I am now in the dilemma of choosing the Marines or a masters degree from Harvard, which is two years long. Is there any benefits or downsides with applying to OCS again in two years at the age of 25 but with a masters degree from an Ivy League?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You will be highly qualified if you get a Master’s degree. Although, I’ve never met an officer who commissioned after already having a Master’s Degree. I think it’s going to be difficult for you to accept a commissioning with a Second Lieutenant salary when other job opportunities will be available.

      1. JJ
        Reply

        The Marines is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now so hopefully I don’t get disillusioned after I graduate. I’m definitely not doing it for the money so I think I’ll still fulfill my dream of joining the Marines.
        Thanks for the reply

  • J H
    Reply

    I’d appreciate everyone’s ideas.

    I’m old… will be 27 this year (2017).
    I have terrible GPA (but above 2.0 which is a minimum standard, I heard) with a bachelor degree in science from the state university.

    I’m working on my PFT and recruiters (not OSO) asked if i’d be interested in mustang course i.e. enlisted to officer route.

    How likely is this?

    I don’t mind starting from the bottom (i think bachelor degree starts you from E5) but how soon can I be the NCO then finally apply for commissioned officer?
    Time is against me and i’d love to join and serve but i’d like to end up as an officer (not NCO).

    Thank you in advance.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      I DO NOT recommend you follow the recruiters advice. It will be at least 4 years if not closer to 5 or 6 before you will have what you need to build an enlisted to officer application. Having helped Marines create those applications, I personally believe it’s a far more competitive process. You’ve met the minimums academically so try to excel in what you can control. A 300 PFT and some extra-curricular/community service can go a long ways in your application. If you don’t get it the first time through the boards you can keep applying.

  • Anon
    Reply

    I know this will probably draw immediate ire from some of the commentators, but here goes. I go to a small private college, and a recruiter has reached out to our campus via email multiple times advertising the 10 week summer program for graduating seniors. In the email, the officer marketed the program as something you could do without necessarily committing to become an officer, but it seems like most people enter this program with the express purpose of becoming an officer. I’ve never seriously considered joining the armed forces, but I have an interest in doing the program. Do people do this program for the physical/fitness, leadership/discipline/toughness aspects even if they don’t plan to enlist?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      If they’re referring to the 10-week OCS program, you are committing to joining the armed forces. Yes, you can fail out of OCS, but if you complete the course you will commission immediately and be committed to 4 years.

      1. anon
        Reply

        if you don’t commission, do you go back to being a civilian? if you finish the ten weeks and don’t want to commission, can you just walk away? no out processing or any of that? what happens if you’re in the middle of the tenth week and just walk out without dor? is that a crime?

        1. USMC Officer
          Reply

          You can opt to leave up until signing and taking your oath. Yes, you’ll go back to your normal life. Leaving a commissioning program is a guarantee you’ll never be accepted into another program from any service.

  • Will
    Reply

    If I am a new enlisted with a bachelors degree, will I go to OCS before or after boot camp?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Boot camp and OCS are two completely different careers paths. If you enlist, you will go to boot camp and NOT be a Marine officer even if you have a degree. If you want to be a Marine officer, you need to apply for the OCC program through a local OSO.

  • Colt
    Reply

    Officer,
    What does a Congressional Letter of Recommendation do for you as far as OCS goes?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Those types of recommendation are usually used to get into a military college like the Naval Academy. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to have one for an OCS application, but I can’t quantify the impact it will have on your application.

      1. Colt
        Reply

        So is the Congressional Letter of Recommendation a requirement to get into a military college?

  • Bryan Overton
    Reply

    Hello,

    I’m going into my senior year of my undergrad and my goal was to apply to be an officer. I noticed that you stated they take GPA into consideration. My GPA was above a 2.0 but not by a lot. Im 21 and a collegiate athlete so I’m in pretty shape so the fitness part isn’t a problem. I’m just worried I won’t be accepted because of my grades. I didn’t take college as seriously as I should’ve. I wanted to be a marine to put structure and purpose in my life to make up for my negligence in college. Any suggestions ?

    Thank you

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      I suggest that you meet with an OSO and submit an application. It’s difficult to speculate given many factors are considered.

  • William Madden
    Reply

    Hello,

    I’ll be a freshmen in college next year and was wondering how common it is for a candidate to attend PLC Juniors after their freshmen year. The reason I ask is that I’m required to do a semester long study abroad for my major, and the spring semester of my sophomore year is the most common time to do that.

    Thanks

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      It’s fairly common to go after your freshman. Just ask the OSO.

    2. USMC Officer
      Reply

      It’s fairly common to go after your freshman year. Just ask the OSO.

  • Erik
    Reply

    As someone who was a collegiate athlete, I suffered a few difficulties that led to a below average GPA (2.2). How much would this make a difference when being considered for OCS?

    I have a lot of connections to the military and have plenty of great letters of rec. Does that outweigh a poor GPA?

    Thanks.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      I suggest that you meet with an OSO and submit an application. It’s difficult to speculate given many factors are considered.

  • Drew Parker
    Reply

    Can you succeed at OCS without having much knowledge going into it? Do they teach you well enough in order for the candidates to catch on to the new information being presented? Also, do you get a decent amount of study time for the exams? Obviously if you can’t tell, the academic aspect of OCS makes me the most uneasy. Thanks!

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      OCS is structured to teach you everything needed to be successful. No prior knowledge is required, but that just means you’ll have to study more. The academics portion is very straight forward. You get a class, study the material (yes you will have time), and take the test.

  • Emmanuel
    Reply

    If i get a bachelor degree, would i still get accepted if i did poorly on the ACT and SAT?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      If you already have a bachelors degree and are applying for OCC, your transcripts/graduating GPA will hold the most weight.

  • Carlos
    Reply

    Hello, I’m about to get my Associates degree but have not taken any kind of ROTC classes in my entire life. I was doing a research about USMC and I got really interested in a really late time of my life I think. I was thinking about taking ROTC classes as I get my Bachelor’s. Do you recommend this? Are these required for OCS ? Do they help me in some kind? Would they make me a better candidate? Or could I go on without them?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      I am a product of the ROTC program and personally think it was one of the best decisions of my life. Mainly because it came with a scholarship that allowed me to afford college. To clarify, ROTC is a commissioning path and you cannot take the classes without being a part of the program. First, does your school have an ROTC program? Second, are you thinking of applying for the scholarship? You can join the program without being on scholarship. The program is NOT a requirement for OCS, but is designed to prepare you for the condensed 6-week course. Note, PLC is two 6-week sessions, OCC is one 10-week session, and ROTC is one 6-week session. Given the ROTC OCS class is condensed, you are expected to already know what is taught in PLC Juniors (the first 6-week class).

  • David
    Reply

    I just graduated from college with a B.S. in Physics, an a minor in Mathematics. I’m 30 years old, can I still attend ocs or am I to old.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You would have to ask for an age waiver. Most age waivers are only granted for those who were prior enlisted, but you should talk to an OSO and see if they’re willing to process your application.

  • Jeff
    Reply

    If i go in the OCS training and finish the 10 weeks but decide it’s not for me can I just leave? I’m being told yes but, a lot of people disagree?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      It’s the Commanding Officers who has the final say on whether you will go on to graduate and accept a commissioning. With that being said, someone who is confident they don’t want to lead Marines will likely drop far before graduation.

  • Colin
    Reply

    I tried posting this earlier but I don’t think it worked. If I want to pursue an even higher form of education after my active duty would the Marine Corps pay for it?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Yes. You can use the GI Bill after service which should be sufficient to cover graduate school for all but the most expensive schools out there. You can also try to get selected for Naval Postgraduate School, or some other higher level education programs, that allows you to go to school while active duty. The best part about NPS is you retain the GI Bill that a spouse or dependent may be able to use in the future if you fulfill the requirements.

  • Michael
    Reply

    I’m considering applying to be a Marine Officer, yet I graduate with my masters in January. Should I wait until I’m awarded my degree before I apply?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Michael,

      I would find the nearest OSO and get the application process started. It’s going to take a while to get the application submitted to the board. Then you have to wait until the board convenes and results come out. Then you have to wait to be assigned to an OCS class. It’s going to take several months, so if you graduate in January I don’t expect any conflicts.

  • Charlie
    Reply

    Sir,

    I am interested in applying for OCS, and had a couple of questions. I read on becominganofficer.com that winter OCC does not accept Females, is this still true?

    Secondarily, I was wondering if on completion of OCS can one defer a commission, and enter the Corps at a later date without having to re-complete OCS/or without turning down a commission?

    Thank you,
    Charlie

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Yes, the summer course is still the only one that accepts females.

      If you want to enter at a later date, I would suggest requesting a difference OCS class (the next year). I’ve never heard of deferring a commission. I’ve seen Marine officers commission and opt to go to a later Basic Officers Course. During the interim, you are in the individual ready reserve (IRR) which basically means your a normal civilian, and you don’t get paid or have health care/benefits. This occurs more with NROTC graduates, but I’ve seen some OCC graduates get a few months off between OCS and TBS. The longest I’ve seen was two years, but that was an NROTC graduate.

  • Moises
    Reply

    Hello, i wanted to know if Marine OCS candidates have to take the ASVAB ? Also i have three small tattoos on my lower right arm. (not offensive) will this disbar me from becoming a Marine officer ?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      No, you do not have to take the ASVAB. Tattoos are not officially a disqualifier, but it does negatively impact your application.

  • Theo
    Reply

    Hello,

    I am a US and UK dual national who was educated under the UK system. Can I apply for OCC if I came from a UK university with a baccalaureate degree?

    Also, how can I graduate as a USMC lieutenant?

    Thank you,

    Theo L.

  • Namer fakhoury
    Reply

    I graduated 2016, have a ba and a new born baby too. I want to compress the timeline of training if possible, what is the most compressed timeline you can provide? So ocs is 10weeks, tbs is how long? Then the occupation schooling is a minimum of 4 weeks but depends on the agreed occupation? I really appreciate your time

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Everything you’ve said is correct. 10 weeks for OCS (OCC Program). 6 months for TBS. MOS schools vary.

  • Roberto Estudillo
    Reply

    I am prior service as a Marine Veteran with an honorable discharge, served from 2007-2011. I currently have a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree and am serving as a Federal Officer with DHS. What would be the age limit for a prior service like me for OCS? I’m currently 30 years old. Thank you in advance.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      30 is the cutoff! You should contact an OSO immediately if this is something you want to do.

  • Sarah
    Reply

    Hello,
    Thank you for all the information on this site, it’s very helpful.
    I plan on going to OCS this summer, however, I I will be finishing my Masters degree in a year from May, so I won’t be going to TBS before June 2019. Can I still commission directly after OCS ? Or do I have to defer a commission until I graduate and can go to OCS?

    Thank you for your help

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You can go into the IRR (individual ready reserve) for that year long period. ROTC graduates immediately become IRR Marines until they go to TBS. It’s something you should talk to your OSO about and Platoon Commander at TBS so they can schedule you for a later date.

  • P. Cornelius
    Reply

    If injured while an officer candidate, drawing pay, is there any eligibility to draw VA disability benefits?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      VA disability is only once you separate from the service. If you get permanently injured and the service chooses to medically separate you, that’s when VA disability would kick in.

  • Jason
    Reply

    Hello,

    I am currently a senior in college expecting to graduate with a Bachelors pretty soon. I am interesting in joining the Marine Corps after college but is having thoughts of joining the enlisted side or becoming an officer.

    If you can shed some light on this, what would be a more valuable route?
    Joining the enlisted side (serve 4 years) and apply to become an officer?
    or
    head straight to applying to become an officer?

    Respectfully,
    Jason

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      If you are about to graduate, I see no reason why you shouldn’t apply to go the officer route.

  • Brandon Deane
    Reply

    Hi,
    If I wanted to become an officer and I did the 2 6 week courses and then the 10 week course with no bachelor degree under my belt, do I have to get the degree?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      The 10-week course you can only go to if you have a degree. The two 6-week courses is the PLC program and requires you be enrolled in school. You must have a degree to commission.

  • Peter Murray
    Reply

    I have a much younger friend who I’m encouraging to join the Corps by applying to compete in the OCS program.
    If for any reason an OCS candidate fails or drops out of the OCS training before completion, are they rejected and return to civilian status, or are they required to serve for a period of time as an enlisted Marine?

    Thanks for all the good information on this Q & A website!

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      If you are commissioning through NROTC, there are repercussions to failing OCS (paying back tuition or enlisting). Other than that, if you fail out of OCS and aren’t able to try again you just go back to being a civilian.

  • David
    Reply

    Greetings,

    I recently finished my 4-year enlistment in the Marines. I completed about a year and a half of community college while I was in and am now transferring to a private university. I’m expected to finish my degree in December 2020. While in, I injured my shoulder and gained some weight. My shoulder is now healing better after surgery and the weight is slowly coming off. I put in a package to the naval academy a few years ago and was denied, but I never lost sight of becoming an officer. I separated because I realized becoming a GI Bill student was the fastest way to finish my degree and earn a commission. When should I contact my local OSO? Also, I am currently applying to become a reservist at a nearby unit while I finish my degree. Is this a good idea? Thank you.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      If I were you, I would focus on school, physical therapy for my shoulder, and getting back into shape (1st class PFT at least). The reservist option is a personal choice for you I can’t comment on.

  • Juan Guzman Jr
    Reply

    I completed 6 yrs in USMC reserve from 1998 through 2003 in an infantry company. I’m currently 40 yrs old and have a Criminal Justice BA . I also have a Masters in Education and have my license as a licensed professional counselor. I would like to become an officer and go to OCS. Is it possible to still join?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Sorry, you are past the age requirement of 30 or less.

      1. Michael
        Reply

        I have a question. I read online that the max age for all the officer programs without a waiver is 28. However, I also read that age waivers will be considered for both prior service and civilians all the way through 34. Is this accurate?

        1. USMC Officer
          Reply

          Yes, but I personally have only seen those with prior service actually get the waiver.

  • K
    Reply

    I am a prior enlisted Marine, in law school, and considering commissioning as a Judge Advocate isn’t the Marine Corps. The highest rank I achieved was Sergeant. As prior enlisted, would I bring the uniforms/gear I already own or will I be issued a completely new set? Also, during OCS, would I wear my enlisted rank insignia? Just wondering because my Charlies obviously have my rank sewn on. Oh and what about ribbons and medals?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You can bring cammies, but they will make you buy new sets. Officer candidates do not wear rank insignia and you won’t be required to wear Charlies, so that can be handled later on. Your ribbons/medals will carry with you. You won’t need them for OCS, unless you commission immediately after graduating OCS.

  • Alex Hudgens
    Reply

    Just had a few questions about the MECEP training cycle since it’s ten weeks long. Is there any work out routine you’d advice someone to start before they go to ocs? Another question is what are the ten weeks broken down into?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Running: Hal Higdon 5k Program
      Pull-ups: Armstrong Pullups Program
      General Fitness: HITT Training (https://www.fitness.marines.mil/HITT_Programs/)

      There’s a lot of circuit training at OCS, so focus on high intensity workouts that make you want to vomit.

      Here is a sample schedule to give you an idea, but don’t take it to heart. It’s an old schedule and things change a lot.
      https://officercandidatesschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/ocs_schedule_winter_2008.pdf

  • Marie Merced
    Reply

    Hello, what is the age cut off date for civilians with a 4yr Bachelor degree wanting to attend USMC OCS? I am 31, (will be 32 Sept, 2019) and am wondering if I’ve missed my mark. Please advise, thank you.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You have missed the age cutoff, but you can apply for a waiver. I’d recommend contacting your nearest OSO and start the process.

  • Tarzan
    Reply

    Hello sir,
    I am a prior service but was medically discharged with 30% from the Marine Corps. I was placed on TDRL, and then I got transferred to the Permanently Discharched List. I got a RE 3P which I think is waiveriable and about to turn 30 in April 2019. I will graduate a BA in General studies in July. My fitness is at 190 and above. I am married with 3 kids and a dog. I changed my diet and training to stay healthy because of the medical condition that I got while active duty. And now the illness is not treated anymore and no medications for the past 5 years. My dream and motivation is to be a Marine, and I want to take the OCS route. I am drawing VA Disability Pay, and I’m willing to sacrifice that for OCS. I also work for DOD. I appreciate any advice or recommendation OSO.

    Thank you

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You’re in a very unique situation. I can only recommend you find an OSO and talk with them. The 190 is pretty low. I’d recommend you get to at least a first class PFT before engaging the OSO.

      1. Hurst Tipeni
        Reply

        Sorry about the 190. I meant to state 290 and above. I thank you for your response. The one i contacted in Kansas City told me that they wont touch me because of being medically retired. So i contacted Quantico and read them RE Code, and they said that code is waiverable, as long as a recruiter will take a chance on you. So im still going contact another recruiter. Thank you again for taking the chance to read and reply back.
        Respectfully

  • Mohammad Tanvir Hossain
    Reply

    Hi, I am currently 26 and about to start my master’s degree and would like to apply to OCS once my degree is completed. I’ve had a few run ins with the law more than a decade ago. Currently I’m considering joining the National Guard while doing my masters, my recruiter told me the Guard will most definitely approve my waiver, and that having Guard service will eliminate the need for a waiver when I apply for OCS in the Marine corps. Can you please shed some light on the matter?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      I would recommend discussing this with an OSO. I don’t want to give you false or outdated information.

  • Caleb McCubbin
    Reply

    Hey, I’m trying to decide what I want to do in the military and what route I want to take. I was wondering if I could do the marine reserves and get my 4-year degree. Then go to OCS? is that possible?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Yes, it’s definitely possible and is a common track for many Marine officers. However, if you’ve done well in High School I would recommend the NROTC program as a better alternative. You can get tuition paid for and exposure to the military while going to school. If your dream is being a Marine officer, getting a degree must be the priority.

  • Charles
    Reply

    When does the OCC 231 selection board convene? Was told by my recruiter that I would be presented to that board; however, I am still waiting on MEPS to clear me for a knee surgery. MEPS has had all the medical information for over 3 months and I was all cleared by my orthopedic. If I don’t make this board when would the next board convene?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Derek, your OSO will have the most up-to-date information and I don’t want to speculate.

  • Rachel
    Reply

    Hi Officer,
    I’m set to graduate with a BS degree by the end of this summer and am seriously considering going to OCS in the summer of 2020. I haven’t met with an OSO yet but will do so later this year. I think I’m both academically and physically fit and definitely above the minimum requirements, but public speaking more than about a paragraph worth at one time is my one weakness. At OCS, what is the very most public speaking a given candidate might do in one sitting?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      At OCS, you will be expected to lead drill (call out marching commands), do “hip pocket” class which are basically short teaching sessions, and show leadership. I’m quite introverted and am always striving to become a better speaker in front of my Marines. This is a skill which can be learned through time and experience and shouldn’t be a deterrence.

  • X
    Reply

    I’m planning to apply for and attend the OCS that is occurring the summer of 2020, which would be the summer between graduating with my bachelors degree and starting law school. I would be applying as a judge advocate program candidate. My OSOs told me that I would be able to return to law school immediately after finishing OCS and return for TBS 3-4 years later, after completing law school and passing the bar. Assuming I pass/complete OCS, do I commission as a Marine Officer then and there? If so, what do I do/what am I in the 3-4 years after commissioning but prior to going to TBS? Would I be a civilian or would I be a reserve officer? Also, under some circumstance, if I were to not to be a lawyer/my law school plans fall through after completing OCS, would I be able/required to serve a ground contract?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Yes, you will commission as a Marine and be in the Individual Ready Reserve which basically means you are a civilian. This is actually a nice perk because you will likely be a Captain by the time you start TBS which is very common. Yes, you will be required to finish your obligated time to the Marine Corps and will get an MOS out of TBS.

  • Josh
    Reply

    Josh,
    Hello USMC Officer,
    I currently possess an bachelors in HR Management and graduated with a 3.5 GPA. I would love to become an Officer in the Marine corp. How do the steps work as far as training goes. Do i need to go through the 3 month basic training as regular recruits at MCRD and then train to become an officer in Quantico, or would i just flat out jump straight into OCS? i ask because if for any reason i failed would i fall back to becoming a regular Marine, or would i just go back to my civilian life? Thank you Sir!

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Hi Josh, you will not go to MCRD and you will not be forced to enlist. If you get dropped from OCS, you may be given the option to try again especially if it was due to an injury. In a nutshell, an OSO will help you develop a package which will get sent to a board. If you are selected by the board you will get orders to the 10-week OCS program. The OSO is responsible for helping you prepare physically and academically. After completing OCS, you will get orders to The Basic School in Quantico where you will be for 6 months learning the technical skills (shooting, hiking, navigation, operating in the field, etc.). Around month 5 at TBS, you will be given an MOS based on your preferences and performance. Upon graduating TBS, you will be to your MOS school and from there get orders to a fleet unit where you will finally have the privilege of leading Marines.

  • Doug
    Reply

    Hello sir,
    I applied for Platoon Leaders Class. I received a medical waiver late and therefore was not presented to the board until April. I was told I was an alternate select for PLC. How many alternates are typically chosen by the board and how likely is it they will get orders to ship to PLC?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Assume you will be going and start preparing now physically. The last thing you want is to get orders and feel unprepared.

  • Alejandro Traslavina
    Reply

    Afternoon Officer,

    I currently have my bachelors and would like to continue going to school for my law degree. What would you suggest, applying to OCC then pursuing further education if admitted or applying for MECEP. Also would the Marine Corps. have a preference and the kinda of law I choose study and practice?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You should apply for a Law Contract. You can go to OCS, get commissioned, and then go to law school. Upon graduating law school, you will become a Judge Advocate.

  • Kyle Cummons
    Reply

    I did 5 years on the enlisted side as a UH-1 mechanic and I am now currently 25 in the IRR. (EAS’ed 1 year ago) would I still be able to apply for the MECEP program and will i be able to get into aviation if i go that route.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      You have to read the MARADMIN for details, but considering you don’t have a command to endorse your package, I suspect you are not eligible. My recommendation would be to use the G.I. Bill to get your bachelors degree and then apply for an Aviation Contract if you want to become a pilot. Getting a degree in Aerospace or some other technical field will help you tremendously.

  • Lynn Arthur
    Reply

    My significant other left for the 6-week OCS program five days ago, and I still have not received a letter from him with his company or platoon number. I have done a lot of research that mail goes a long way, and I am anxious to do everything I can to help him. I’ve read that OCS candidates are allowed to send mail home during the “first few days”, but that could mean almost anything. Is there anyone who has gone to OCS who can tell me how soon a letter is allowed to be sent home? I am worried he didnt bring any stamps with him- will this delay how soon he can mail me? Would sending him stamps be a valid reason for sending him mail without his company or platoon number on it?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Hi Lynn,

      When I went through we were allowed to make one phone call on the second day to let our family know we had arrived and where mail could be sent. I’d recommend reaching out to his family to see if they’ve heard anything. I wouldn’t expect to see mail until the second week. There were letters I sent which didn’t arrive home until after I finished!

  • B. Deion
    Reply

    Hello,
    It is my understanding that a college sophomore/junior could attend 2 separate 6 week courses during the respective summers and upon completion of the second six weeks, candidates have the option to accept the commission of officer. What are the benefits of utilizing this training and not accepting an obligation to the Corps upon completion? Do candidates that complete and pass this course receive a certification or completion documentation?

    Thank you for your time and consideration of my questions,
    B. Deion

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      There is no benefit. If you do not accept the commission after graduating you will not be eligible to apply for an officer program again. I have never heard of anyone doing this.

  • Edwin Ortiz
    Reply

    I will graduate with a B.S. from a foreign university in Italy. Will this meet the requirement for acceptance into OCS?

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      Yes, it should. You will need to talk to an OSO about the specifics.

  • chad
    Reply

    My steps0n and I had a discussion… he is under the impression a civilian can join the corps and go straight to OCS without boot camp. Help me set him straight.

    1. USMC Officer
      Reply

      If your stepson has a bachelor degree, he can apply to go straight to OCS. The officer training pipeline does not include “boot camp”. Believe me OCS and TBS will set him straight!

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