My first application, which was unsuccessful, was in 2012 with a 273 PFT and with the same exact recommendations/letters/reason-for-joining/waivers/etc.
My second visit into the office was March 2015 and it was with a new Captain and Staff Sergeant, but the same civilian secretary. Instantly, the secretary vouched for me and praised me, telling everyone in the office that I was the “perfect gentlemen,” proclaiming how he enjoyed my previous collaboration.
I sat down with the Captain to go over my options and he asked when I would do my first PFT: “How about next week,” he said. I agreed, since from the beginning I made it my goal to never turn him down.
That PFT was 14 Pulls/ 80 Crunches/ 23:55 Run – terrible. Within 2 months, I dropped 20lbs and I was doing 20/100/21:00 and my final PFT came out to 285 with 20/100/20:22.
My Best Practices
- I met my OSO in/around March of this year, but the OSO office staff was familiar with me and my application (previous and current) once I walked in the door. He was very accepting from the beginning and very willing to get me back into the process.
- From walking in the door I treated every experience like an interview:
- 10-15 minutes early
- Acknowledge and greet the secretary
- Stand until asked to be seated
- Read something that is there and wait for the Captain or instructions on what to do.
- The first time I went there, in March, I wore a suit and tie. The second time I was there for a PFT, so PFT clothes. The third and fourth times I was there was to go over paperwork, so generally business casual or a shirt/tie.
- Never really any formal interviews, but I think the Captain and rest of the office learned what they wanted to know when we sat together. Every time I was there it was “yes, sir” or “no, sir” and “excuse me; may I ask a question.” I don’t think I know or have the secret recipe, but being respectful, punctual and real seemed to resonate with them. They want to make sure you’re not socially unfit or incompetent so any opportunity to talk or greet or meet someone I capitalized on.
- Pay and promotions
- Why did you join?
- Which path do you recommend for me?
- What would you change about your career in retrospect?
- What are other applicants’ PFT scores? Try to gauge what your competition is like (make them know or see that you’re hungry)
- Is there anything I can do to help? I would ask this every time I was there: Can I help organize anything; can I get a group together for PFT; can I get an email group together?
- I would always ask “so am I waiting for you to get back to me or should I reach out to you; and when.”
- Ask what they recommend for improving your run time or pull-ups
- Timeline of OCS-TBS-MOS school and how long each are and how they work.
Big Picture OSO
The OSO office seems like a grind. The office depends on the applicant being self-motivated and educated. If you have questions they will gladly answer them but I think that there are so many applicants and so much information to just freely explain or offer that they would be there all day talking about it.
I recommend asking questions that you can’t answer online and utilizing their time to answer specific/intimate questions:
- Timeline at OCS/TBS/MOS school
- What numbers the Marines are looking for in recruiting
- Acceptance rate of last class
- The biggest question I asked my Captain is if he recommended going active or reserve, and why? He recommended Reserves for me because they had a higher acceptance rate versus the active duty applicants.
Towards the end of the process, if selected, they will provide you with all the necessary tools and paperwork and forms.
Hopefully this helps give another perspective on the OSO relationship to others. Feel free to comment below with questions or your own experiences!