There are several routes to becoming a Marine Corps Commissioned Officer. One of the most common ones is the Enlisted Marine Corps Commissioning Education Program. “This is the program that allows active duty status while going to a four year college full time,” stated Gunnery Sergeant Ben Dillion. Sgt Dillion is the Pacific Career Retention Specialist for the U.S. Marine Corps.
To be eligible for this program a Marine Corps applicant must be between the ages of twenty and twenty six years old. They have to have a score of 74 or above on the Armed Forces Qualification test, at least 1000 on the Scholastic Assessment Test, or a 40 on the ACT test. If you are a Marine Corps enlisted member and you are interested in applying for this program you also must also write and submit a 500 word essay about why you want to be a Marine Corps Officer.
The essay is an important element; it is used to judge how effectively the Marine can communicate, and to examine the reason why the applicant wants to be a Marine Corps officer. The entire package of the application must be submitted to the Marine Corps Command Recruitment center by 31 January of the year in which the Marine is applying.
“They make it a long process intentionally, to make sure the Marine who applies has a chance to make a intelligent, informed decision. It also helps the people who review the package to choose the best candidates for Officers for the Marine Corps,” said Corporal Kurtis Adams. Adams is a recent accepted program applicant, and has served in the Marines as a computer repair technician.
Included in the Marine application need to be conduct and proficiency marks, education history, medical evaluation, recommendation letters, and any other material that could impact the candidate’s application. After the application is submitted there are a number of informal Officer boards that are scheduled. Applicants are interviewed by commissioned officers that examine their application, and talk to the Marine in an interview format.
Once accepted, they attend a prep school for a short period, at Marine Corps Center in San Diego. Many Marine applicants have never attended college and must therefore be taught how to study and succeed at the college level. After that the applicant begins his college career at the four-year college of their choice. After college is completed they attend an OCS school, and upon graduation from Officer Candidate School are commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.