The Process Overview

Candidate Action Plan.  You can click for a pdf laying out the entire process from possible candidate to headed to OCS, or view it as an image below.  This is very helpful for the hopeful Marine Officer.


Candidate Action Plan

Candidate Action Plan

The following is quoting from


Prospect Phase

During this phase, you will gather information in order to make a well-informed decision. The Officer Selection Office will initially screen you to determine your qualification to apply for a Marine Officer Program, conduct an interview or perhaps several interviews, and answer all of your questions. Before an interview can be conducted your OSO will conduct an initial screening and gather basic information about you. The goal in this phase is to ensure that you know enough about the Marines to make a well informed decision, and for both you and the Officer Selection Officer to confirm that you are, indeed, Marine Corps Officer “material.” Married prospects are encouraged to bring their spouse to the interview(s).
Information about Marine Officer Programs can come from a variety of sources, but the best source, by far, is the Officer Selection Office. Other resources include books, publications, pamphlets and brochures, insights provided by current and former Marine officers, and the official Marine officer web-site: See our Links page for some recommended resources. Your goal should be to learn as much as you can about our programs and what Marine officers do in order to make a sound decision about whether or not you’d like to pursue one of our programs.

Once you make your decision to apply and your OSO completes his screening of you to determine if you are basically qualified you will enter the applicant phase.

Applicant Phase

During this phase, you will apply for acceptance to a Marine Officer Program. You will choose which option(s) (Ground, Pilot, Naval Flight Officer or Judge Advocate) you want to apply for, but keep in mind that some options are much more competitive than others. The process consists of several different steps, to include mental testing (as required), a physical exam at a Military Entrance Processing Station, a physical fitness test, a background check, and gathering your academic credentials. This phase can be accomplished in a short period of time for applicants who meet the qualification standards and are motivated to make it happen. At times, an applicant will not initially meet the standard in a particular area. Through dedicated time and hard work, these prospects can rise to meet the standards for qualification.

The Marine Corps is looking for the applicant who is willing to demonstrate dedication and determination. This phase culminates when the applicant’s “package” is sent before the Marine Officer Candidate Selection Board for review and competitive consideration. The Board convenes several times throughout the year to select the most highly qualified applicants. For PLC, you can apply at any time during the school year, but the selection board process is similar to the “rolling admissions” process that many graduate schools utilize. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of selection.

Whole Person Concept -The Marine Corps not only evaluates academic and physical test scores but also considers external activities such as community activities, school activities, sports participation, and work experience to select those candidates who will attend Officer Candidate School. Once selected, you become a Marine Officer Candidate.

Typically, applications will be handed out at the conclusion of the initial interview, but if you want to get started on the application immediately, feel free to download it here.

Rough Application

Recommendation Form

Candidate Phase

This phase is broken down into three stages: pre-OCS, OCS, and post-OCS. During the pre-OCS period, you continue to learn what will be expected of you at OCS and to prepare yourself to meet those challenges. The Officer Selection Office will continue to prepare you both mentally and physically for the rigors of OCS.

The OCS period starts when you “ship” from the Officer Selection Station to Quantico, Virginia. Your Pay Entry Base Date starts here…an important date impacting your future pay as an officer. You will attend OCS for either two six-week sessions or one ten-week session, depending upon when you enter the PLC program. OCC applicants attend a 10-week course that is offered in January, June, and October. OCS is designed as a test to ensure that you possess the physical capabilities, character, intellect, and leadership potential required of all Marine Officers.

As stated previously, upon completion of OCS, you will return to school if you are in the PLC program. OCC and PLC Law applicants will receive their commission upon graduation from OCS and either begin active duty immediately, or go to law school if accepted to one of our law programs. Approximately four to six months prior to earning your Bachelor’s Degree, you will make the decision to either accept or decline your commission. If you accept your commission, you will be appointed to the rank of Second Lieutenant and assigned to active duty (ground officers and lawyers for three and a half years; aviators for six to eight years upon graduation from flight school).

3 comments on “The Process Overview

  1. Brozef says:

    Great article Pat. Thank you for the very helpful site.

  2. ALex says:

    What happens when you sign your contract? I recently turned in all of my paperwork and was told I needed to contract before my package being sent to the board. Thank you for your information and explanation on everything.

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