- Obviously, talk to an Officer Selection Officer (OSO), or officer recruiter, if it’s something you’re interested in. (Contact an OSO through the official site: http://officer.marines.com/ )
- Come in with an idea of what you want to do/achieve, show that you have already thought about it and that you’re motivated.
- Cultivate a good relationship with your OSO as this can help you get contracted. There are a few ways to do this: go to the workouts your OSO sets up, keep them in the loop about what is happening in your life, talk about problems/worries you’re having.
This shows your OSO respect and shows that even when you’re going through a tough time, which is bound to happen, you are mature enough to talk about it and mature enough to prioritize. An OSO is looking for a motivated and mature individual.
- Understand that you will fail. I failed my first two PFT’s (failed the run both times). Failure isn’t something that will set you back in the eyes of your OSO. They are there to help you achieve your dream so they will be more than willing to help.
- Never give up. If you fail, don’t quit, and furthermore, work on your own. When I failed my second run, I stopped, said I couldn’t do it. Then I gave it another try five minutes later. I failed that time too but it was the fact that I was willing to try again that my OSO was proud about.
- Understand it’s a process. My case was special. I enlisted first, then got in contact with my OSO, so I had to contract, if I wanted to go to OCS, which I did, before my enlistment ship out date, which meant I had about a month and a half to contract. In the majority of cases, it takes much longer to contract, sometimes upwards to a year, so don’t get discouraged. If you want it, and you put in the effort, you will get contracted.
- Finally, put in the effort. I went from not being able to run 3 miles at all and being average on pull-ups to contracting with an 18:37 3-mile time with max pull-ups and max plank, all within a month and a half. It can be done, and I kept my OSO informed of my progress because I did a lot of it on my own time.
My path was a little different than most. I didn’t even think about going the Officer route at first so I ended up enlisting first. After I had sworn in and received my ship out date, May 18th, the OSO from my district got in contact with me and asked if I was interested in becoming an officer.
Meeting an OSO
Honestly, I had no idea, I had never looked into it, but I said I would love to sit down and talk with him. This was early March of this year. So I meet the OSO, who I was shocked to see looked more like me than the stereotypical Marine. He was my height, so average, and was built, but more lean and athletic than just having pure bulging muscles. That was, for me, a little comforting.
He explained the different types of commissioning routes and briefly explained OCS and throughout the talk, it definitely seemed like the better fit. So I asked him what would be needed from me in order to go to OCS this summer. Well, the big hurdle was to contract before I had to ship out, so I had about a month and a half to do so. Needed to run a PFT and pass with a high enough score to be competitive (approx 270+).
As my journey into the military was rather quick (I literally swore in and signed my enlistment contract about a week after meeting my first recruiter in late February), I had only ran an IST and hadn’t been training at all. I was in good shape, played high level sports my entire life, but I had never ran three miles in my life.
Failed my first two PFT’s, both times because of the run. Took a week in April to recover, because by this time I had been training like a maniac, and just focused on pacing myself on the run.
Heading to OCS
Came back, finally passed the PFT with a score of 277, a good enough score to stand a decent chance at getting selected. I continued training and the final PFT I ran before the Selection Board convened ended up being the one used at 293.
I went from not being to pass a PFT, to passing one with a high enough score to maybe get selected, to almost running a perfect PFT which meant I was most likely going to get selected, all in the matter of a month and a half. Continued to train with the Captain and heard back that I got selected to go to OCS this June as part of the PLC-Combined Class. I was in Alpha Company 3rd Platoon. I got injured on a Fartlek Run (watch where you step) and was medically dropped from OCS on my birthday, July 16th with the option to return, which I hope to do so in the near future.