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  • Captain Harper

What is the application process for OCS? How long does it take?

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

This post will give a general overview of the process and timelines of applying to OCS. They are basically the same for both Platoon Leader's Class or Officer Candidate Course. This post also assumes that you have met and spoken with an Officer Selections Officer (OSO). If you have not, you can request to be put in contact with your nearest OSO by completing this questionnaire.

The application process can be broken down into three phases: Applicant, Candidate and Selectee. Your Officer Selection Team (OST) will guide you through these phases.


Following the interview with your OSO, you will be issued a form commonly referred to as the "Rough App". Short for "Rough Application", this document collects all of the required information so that it can be properly formatted into a final application package. The Marine Corps requires all applications to follow a specific format using specific forms. Your OST will handle the majority of the administrative side of this phase to ensure that everything is completed correctly and your application will not be rejected on a technicality.

You will need to provide the following types of information and verifying documents:

Personal Identifying Information (SSN card, birth certificate, contact information, etc.)

Educational History (Official SAT/ACT scores, official transcripts, academic certification, etc.)

Family Information

Extracurricular Activities

Residence & Employment History (if any)

100 Word Essay on why you want to become a Marine Officer

Contact information for people you wish to use as references

Physical Fitness Test (PFT)

Personal statements for any applicable waivers

During this phase, you will also complete the process to become medically qualified for OCS. You can read more about this process here.


Once your application is complete, you will finalize your application by signing it in the presence of your Officer Selection Officer and take the Oath of Enlistment. Although this event is commonly referred to as "Contracting", it is a bit of a misnomer. A thorough read of the "contract" will reveal only an obligation to attend OCS if you are selected by the board.

At this point, your application will be submitted to the selection board, awaiting the next convening date. You will also be considered a Candidate in your Officer Selection Team's Pool. During this phase, you will be responsible for maintaining or improving your physical fitness, maintaining educational standards if applying for PLC and staying out of trouble. (This is not the time to go out and get tattoos, experiment with drugs or get DUI's!) You will also have the opportunity to run more PFT's and improve on your original score. You can read more about what you can do to increase your chances of getting selected for OCS here.

It is best to use this time wisely. Successful candidates will have begun preparing physically, mentally and academically for OCS during this phase or even earlier. There are many resources available on this site and others, including the official OCS website, to assist in these preparations. Your OST will help guide you during this phase as well.


There are three selection boards each year, with results released approximately a week after the board concludes. If you have been selected, you will have a few more steps to complete during this stage before you ship to OCS. You will need to provide financial information so that you will be paid, certify that you are in good health and good legal standing, and perform a final PFT.

How long does it take to finish an application?

As unsatisfying an answer as this may be, the total time it takes to complete an application depends greatly on both your circumstances and your level of dedication to the process. Because your application cannot be completed and submitted without the assistance of an OSO, it is important to begin as early as possible no matter when the next selection board convenes. It is also critically important to be responsive to communications from your OST. They are working to ensure that your application is complete and any number of things may suddenly crop up and present a road block. Your quick response may mean the difference between a non-issue and a delay of several weeks. (For example, your ability to provide your vital documents.)

Under ideal circumstances, an application could be completed in as little as three weeks if the applicant does not require any waivers and they are proactive with the process. If you do not make your application a priority in your life and/or require waivers, your timeline can be dramatically expanded by weeks or more. Some past applicants have required over a year to complete their applications due to medical waiver issues.

Due to the variable nature of this timeline, it is easy to lose motivation and give up midway through the process but becoming a Marine Officer is more than just signing on a dotted line; it's a calling. It is a profession that requires women and men with the perseverance and determination to overcome any obstacle. If you think you meet this standard and want to become an officer in the Marines, check out the website below and request to speak to your local Officer Selection Officer, Captain Chad Harper



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