How OCS Views College Extracurriculars

College Student’s Question

I’m an incoming college freshman trying to prepare for OCS after college. My question is:
What extracurricular activities look best for OCS? Do they even care for extracurricular activities much at all? Do team sports look great or just clubs, or are they all the same in worth to OCS Admissions?


Extracurriculars with the following components look very good:

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Perry, a Middlesex, N.J., native and the motor transportation chief with Motor Transportation Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, lifts weights during a CrossFit workout on the flight deck of the USS Gunston Hall, June 14, 2012. The 24th MEU, along with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, is currently deployed to the U.S Central Command area of operations as a theater reserve and crisis response force. The group is providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (Photo by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein)
Circuit-training Marines on a US Navy ship.
  • Military
  • Sports teams
  • Fitness
  • Leadership
  • Public speaking
  • Community service or volunteering
  • Academic development
  • Starting your own business
  • Part-time jobs beat spending that same amount of time playing video games or beer pong, but aren’t necessarily significant differentiators

The Crux is Leadership

For each extracurricular, by far the most important thing you can do is develop your leadership, test your leadership in a leading role, or show impressive initiative in something like creating your own business or leading work projects.

Remember, at OCS, 25% of your grade is academics, 25% physical fitness, but 50% leadership.

Thinking Outside the Box

Since publishing this post, we’ve heard from multiple candidates about the benefits of unusual or unique extracurriculars. Examples include: volunteering with non-profit startups, taking diverse classes such as “Issues in Feminism,” and being a part of a campus club helping to prevent sexual assault. Ethical drive, adaptability, broad interests and a general interest in helping others are excellent leadership traits.

Keep an open mind about such opportunities, follow your passions, and sell yourself and your experience to your OSO. You never know how a board might view your activities.

Further Reading

Do everything you can to develop your leadership skills before OCS–in college or even in high school if possible.

One thought on “How OCS Views College Extracurriculars

  1. My extracurriculars require a degree of commitment, and as such I only have two worthwhile mentions. I’m the project manager and chief engineer of my school’s Design/Build/Fly team, and I serve as a house leader of my school’s engineering honor society. Unfortunately I do not have any volunteer experience or sports team participation. Given that I am going for an NFO contract, how would my extracurriculars appear to the selection board?

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