USMC College to Officer Programs

United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate Eliana Scott, an officer candidate with the Officer Selection Station Riverside, shares her experience in the Platoon Leaders Course while being a full-time student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in Riverside, California, Nov. 18, 2021. The Marine Corps PLC allows college students who want to commission as officers to attend two six-week summer training cycles at Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. For more information, contact your local Officer Selection Station. (U.S. Marine Corps video by Sgt. Ana S. Madrigal)

If you are a college student and considering military service in the Marine Corps after graduation, you can test out the process with the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC). Sort of a military boot camp for officer candidates and part summer camp for those thinking about joining the Marines. However, come physically prepared as your physical fitness will be tested throughout the recruitment and PLC process. This is serious training that is designed to find officers for the Marine Corps and not meeting the standard is a sure-fire way to not getting accepted into the program. (article adopted from The Balance Career)

What is PLC?

The Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC) is an alternative for NROTC or OCS for college students who wish to become commissioned officers in the United States Marine Corps.

United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate Eliana Scott

College students can enroll in PLC when they are freshmen, sophomores, or juniors in college. Those who enroll as freshmen or sophomores attend two six-week summer training programs at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, located at Quantico, Virginia. Students who enroll in the program as juniors attend one 10-week summer course at OCS.

PLC summer class sizes are typically 250 to 300 students, broken into four to six platoons. The platoons train in a physically demanding environment where sleep deprivation, military tasks, and memorization are constantly forced on candidates to test their ability to handle stress. The course of instruction is much the same as the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School.

The Costs of College Programs

Travel costs, meals, textbooks, uniforms, and lodging, during the summer training sessions, are provided by the Marine Corps, and students are paid for their time. Additional financial assistance may be obtained for participation in active duty. Participants may receive tax-free financial assistance of up to $9,400 for Platoon Leaders Class participation. In addition, participants earn up to $5,200 during training. Most colleges will grant academic credit for the summer training. PLC Candidates are eligible to receive $2600 per semester in exchange for additional active duty. This is payable for the school year only, not to exceed three years. 

For those who accept tuition assistance (up to $15,600 over three consecutive years), there is a military service obligation of four years. However, there is no obligation if you do not accept tuition assistance. A member of the PLC-Aviation option or PLC-Ground option (including a Selected Marine Corps Reservist) who receives tuition assistance may be ordered to active duty as an enlisted Marine for not more than four years, if the member:

  • Completes all PLC program requirements but refuses to accept an appointment as a commissioned officer MCRs
  • Fails to complete program requirements
  • Is dis-enrolled from the PLC program for failure to maintain eligibility for appointment under 10 U.S.C. 532

Following commission, Marine Corps officers attend The Basic School, six months (also in Quantico) of training in leadership, land navigation, weapons, small-unit tactics, and communications.


To be eligible, the student must be a United States Citizen and be at least 20 years old. Further, they can be no older than 26 on June 30 of the calendar year they are expected to be commissioned. However, this age limit moves up to 30 years if they have prior service experience and depending on the length of the previous service.

The student must maintain a C average in order to be commissioned. Students are ineligible to apply if they have attained less than a “C” average in the semester/quarter prior to application. Students on academic, disciplinary, social, or moral probation are also ineligible to apply or receive any additional payments.

Also, they must have a combined score of at least 1000 on the verbal or math sections of the SAT, or a combined score of 45 on the verbal and math section of the ACT, or a minimum score of 120 (waiverable to 115) on the Marine Corps “GT” Composite Score of the ASVAB.

Other qualifying considerations include:

  • Must meet the moral standards for enlistment/accession
  • Must be eligible for a Security Clearance
  • Must meet USMC Weight and Fitness Requirements
  • Must be a full-time student in an accredited college or university

Aviation guarantees are available in PLC. Those who qualify will receive up to 25 hours of flight training while still in college, in order to familiarize themselves with general aviation before going to military flight school, following commission. In addition to the other requirements for PLC, applicants must achieve a passing score on the United States Navy and Marine Corps Flight Aptitude Battery. Additionally, applicants must be able to pass the United States Navy Flight Class Physical.

Law School PLC

Those interested in becoming a lawyer may be interested in the PLC law program. Under this program, the commission is delayed until completion of law school. After graduation from law school, applicants are commissioned in the JAG Corps. To be eligible for this JAG program, applicants must score a minimum of 30 on a 50-point scale, or 150 on a 180-point scale, of the LSAT. Under this program, applicants must be no older than 31 years old as of June 30 of the calendar year they will be commissioned (up to 35 if prior active military service, dependent upon the length of prior service).

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