Do’s and Dont’s of USMC OCS

Check out this post on the updated blog!

I don’t remember where I got this, but a friend emailed me this great list.  I hope it helps you out!

It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the following “do’s and dont’s,” but don’t get too bogged down in the specifics of them.  You will pick them up quickly once at OCS.  The important thing is to get in the mindset of an Officer Candidate.  You must be humble toward the staff, but loud; aggressive in your leadership and actions, but tactful toward your peers.  Start mentally preparing now, and your transition to “Candidate mindset” will be much easier.

    •          DO BE LOUD.
    •          DO BE AGGRESSIVE.
Do Be Loud!

Do Be Loud!

    •          DO AS YOU’RE TOLD.
    •          Do speak in the third person – “This Candidate request permission to make a head call.”
    •          Don’t say I   – “I request permission to make a head call.”
    •          Do address the staff by billet and rank – “Good morning Gunnery Sergeant, Candidate Smith request permission to speak to Platoon Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant Erwin.”
    •          Don’t say you – “Good morning sir, I request permission to speak to you”.
    •          Always speak to staff at the position of attention (POA), never at parade rest or at ease.
    •          Do salute all officers when covered (wearing 8 point cover), don’t salute officers in the field or when in formation.
    •          When the staff says “ZERO!” yell “Freeze!” and don’t move.
    •          Memorize the Basic Daily Routine (BDR) of your staff, this will make every day easier on you.
    •          Do be organized.  Having a specific spot for everything and knowing where everything is helps to alleviate the stress.
    •          Do keep you foot locker and wall locker within regulations.  The regulations are in your Candidate Regulations.
    •          Don’t ever lean against the bulkhead (wall) or racks (bed) or put your hands in your pockets.
    •          Don’t eyeball your staff or the area.
    •          Do memorize your rifle serial number and don’t ever leave your rifle unattended (the sergeant instructors will steal your rifle and then you will have to get it back).
Do be confident!

Do Be Confident!

  •          Do make sure that your weapon is always on safe and your ejection port cover is closed.
  •          Don’t ever take your rifle in the head (bathroom) unless specifically instructed by your staff.
  •          Do sew your white nametapes on your blouse if they come loose, or the staff will rip them off and you will have to re-sew the entire nametape.
  •          Do make sure that your utilities (and all other items) are clearly marked so that you don’t lose them.
  •          Do have your candidate regulations on your person at all times.
  •          If assigned an essay, make sure that you complete and turn it in as soon as possible and before the time hack given.  Write legibly.

60 comments on “Do’s and Dont’s of USMC OCS

  1. Mr. DJ says:

    how do you not bring your rifle to the head without leaving your rifle unattended?

  2. Candidate says:

    I guess in OCS, some scenarios are designed for you to fail!

  3. occ says:

    you leave your rifle with your rack mate or a battle buddy, thus your rifle is not unattended

  4. Tiffanie says:

    Is that truly all of the do’s and dont’s about the hardcore marines?? and is there some type of repercussion for accidently not speaking in third person?

  5. pvt kelley says:

    Sir im in jrotc can i do boot camp as a jr in high school

  6. johnson says:

    no you have to finish high school and or have a high school degree

  7. Orlando Torres says:

    My son has a 231 on his PFT and a 77 on his ASVAB. My question is what are his chances of being selected into OCS? He has applied for PLC junior and they have been making him take PFT after PFT but im wondering if there just not being upfront and simply telling him hes not going. He is optomistic and since he got recruited hes lost 65 pounds and on his first PFT he got a 200. Also do they take in consideration that he is hispanic? I love my son but i dont believe he deserves speciall treatment because he is a minority.

  8. Hi Orlando,
    1) Is he working with an OSO or a recruiter? Recruiters only do enlisted, Officer Selection Offices handle officer contracts.
    2) Is that his highest PFT? 231 is very very low to get selected for OCS. My class average was about 280 on our final PFT.
    3) Hispanic doesn’t matter I believe. I think the only ratios are female/male.
    4) What timeframe did he apply for? If it’s early summer he is probably not looking competitive with only a 231. Things might have changed but as is, the Corps is looking to downsize and with the recession there are too many applicants.

  9. Orlandoo Torres says:

    1) Yes he his working with an OSO i believe he is a Captain.
    2) His last PFT was a 231 they told him he needed a minimum of 225 to get in but i guess 280 is a lot more competitive.
    3) He applied for PLC junior.
    Thank you very much for answering my question.

  10. Good, the Captain should steer him right in most everything. The PFT to *qualify* is 225. Aka, with a 226 PFT your application is allowed to be forwarded to a board who looks at all the best candidates and only invites the top X% to OCS. That’s the real cutting score that matters. PLC Juniors isn’t as hard to get into usually but 225 is the bare bare minimum to have an actionable packet, not to get automatically into OCS. I didn’t know anyone with below say 250s.

  11. Orlando Torres says:

    Ok, thanks i guess hes chances are pretty much zero with a 231 PFT. Hes just gonna have to work harder then. Thanks alot you have truly helped me and my son. I just have one more question is it harder to get into aviation then ground or is it the other way around?

  12. Jessica says:

    what essays would they ask you to write and on what?

  13. Torres it’s usually harder to get into Aviation than ground. Right now I know of multiple candidates not getting either with 300 or near 300 PFTs. It’s just plain hard to get in now, period. Jessica, they’ll just assign the most random topics. If you screw something up, you will have to write on that topic probably. I had to write one on bearing when I couldn’t hold back a laugh at another candidate who fell on his butt in his skivvies. It was hilarious. Lost 45 minutes sleep writing how I should not have laughed…

  14. Candidate Price says:

    Torres, don’t let your son lose hope! All it takes is training, and it sounds like that’s what he is doing. If he bumped up his PFT 31 points, he’s showing some heart. He’s just got to keep at it!

    If he doesn’t get into Juniors he’s still has more opportunities. If he will be entering this Fall semester as a sophomore he can apply again to go for Juniors Summer 2012.

    If he is entering this Fall semester as a Junior, then he can still aim for the 10-week OCC.

    If he really wants it, he just has to keep training HARD and he’ll get accepted.

  15. David B says:

    Summer candidates that got selected had a PFT of 280 or higher. It was the most selective group they have ever had.

  16. Tom S. says:

    Do I want to know what exactly you have to do to get your rifle back?

  17. Robert says:

    I’m looking to apply for OCS, but I know that I don’t have the PFT score to do it yet. My concern is, if I apply now, and don’t make it, am I done, or can I apply again?

  18. Usmc Ocs says:

    Yes. It is a long process so you have time to improve after the initial interview with an OSO.

  19. Tom S. says:

    Are there any special requirements for candidates with glasses?
    I need glasses to read far away signs but otherwise prefer not to wear them.
    I have heard that if your medical record indicates you require corrective lenses, the Sergeant instructors will make you wear them all the time. Is this true?
    Not a big deal if it is, I am simply trying to become as informed as possible before I leave for Quantico.
    Thank You

  20. Usmc Ocs says:

    Yes, Tom, you will just have to get a prescription from the medical inscreening at OCS and they will give you some issued glasses to wear. You will have to wear them the whole time, and they are the clunky (but strong) 1970’s style frames. So be it, it isn’t a big problem, you won’t be alone with them on.

  21. Mike Hammons says:

    Hello, I am a 29 year old male in the Navy (6 years active duty) and will be getting out soon with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. I will turn 30 in December and I will be getting out in January. I am a triathlete and usually score 292-294 on PFT. I have twice scored 300. In your opinion, what are my realistic chances for being picked up for OCS?

  22. Usmc Ocs says:

    Mike, your background is slam-dunk, but the only concern would be your age. I would ask your local Officer Selection Office if age waivers are easy to come by.

  23. Hull says:

    hi, I am applying for occ 209 in Jan. i scored 277 on the pft. i am going for aviation(already cleared medical through pensacola and passed astb with 6 6 6. what do you think my chances of getting selected are. also i am applying as “other” because of my native amreican background if that makes any difference

  24. Tuan says:

    Does anyone know when the last date to submit your packet for OCC 209 is? I haven’t been able to get a hold of anyone from the office due to the Marine Corps’s birthday and Veteran’s Day. I’m waiting on a BUMED waiver that was supposed to come back already and haven’t contracted yet. I think I might miss the boards this time around and heard there won’t be an OCC summer 2012.


  25. A Lee says:

    @ Tuan-
    I was initially told the packet submission drop dead date was 10/28/2011, it was bumped evidently to 11/4; last I heard: 11/11/2011.

    I do know the officer selection board convenes for western US on 11/15/2011. Not sure if eastern is separate- doubtful.

    I have also heard there will not be OCC for summer 2012. supposedly there will be OCCR.
    Maybe you could go OCCR and opt up to active after. I dont know if that route even exists. Ask your OSO. you do have the option to activate for 12 months immediately following your pipeline training- according to the most recent contract. That would put you at 2 years ish active duty right out of the chute.

    Good luck to you. Keep at those waivers. They almost kept me from contracting a couple weeks ago.


  26. Austin says:

    Hey all I recently applied and was not selected for OCC 209 I plan to try again the next time around ( when ever that ends up being). Anyone have ideas as to how to make myself look more competitive the next go around? I know a better PFT score is a must and am working towards that. Anybody have other ideas in the form of types of community involvement or certification/new skills might help out?

    Thanks in advance for any ideas!

    – Austin

  27. Jesse says:

    When is the deadline to submit your application to get into the 10 wk PLC for summer 2012. I’m a Junior in college, However, It’s been taking forever to get waivers, and they keep coming back saying they need more information.

  28. Candidate Mitchell says:

    I attended OCS myself during summer of 2011. Here’s the bottom line, do everything he mentioned in this post, it’s the truth. And you need to be in SHAPE, I’m talking 270+ on your PFT’s. It’s not that difficult to get to that point, unless your way out of shape to begin with. You should be fine as long as you continue working your way towards a better you. Also study knowledge and get together with your OSO and pick their brains. It’s good to know some things. A lot of things will be learned, and sometimes painstakingly. I graduated just fine, since I was aggressive, athletic, and had espirit de corps. It takes some time, but you need to push yourself mentally, and physically beyond your known limits. It’s the only way you’ll get better.

  29. Candidate Mitchell says:

    If your wondering why your not being selected on the board, then here might be a few things to consider when reapplying, or applying for your first time:

    1. How are you physically? You should be scoring fairly high PFT’s, with at least 270+, the higher the better. I personally scored a 296 on my PFT at OCS, it was a personal best. But you can make that perfect 300!
    2. Academically (you should be above a 2.0 average, the higher, the better, but that also depends on your intended contract (ground, air, law, etc.))
    3. Your personal attitude and appearance. (OSO’s like students who look sharp, well dressed, and properly address them by their ranks. OSO’s have a lot of say in a candidate’s application, and can personally recommend or de-recommend them.)

    Like my post above, follow instructions, and just do these basic things before selection/ship and you’ll do great. If anyone has any questions, your more than welcome to email me at: I’ll be glad to answer any questions you have. I’m a graduate of Juniors Summer OCS 2011 May-July.

  30. steve says:

    Ok so I need some insight. I am current Air National guard(since 08) with a signed release from my unit to join usmc officer side. I’m a senior in college w a 3.6 gpa. I do a 280 pft n have everything ready for selection except a physical and my official pft. The oso has recently changed and I have yet to speak with him as they have me working with a Gunny on my packet when before I was working with the oso. For the life of god this Gunny will not return calls, messages or emails and is very stsndoffish if I do get whole of him. My friend is working with same Gunny and is experiencing same exact thing. Is this normal????? If not what do I do?? I’ve contacted the office multiple time but keep getting refered to the same Gunny who will hardly work with me and my friend to. I need to be an officer in the marine corp this is my true Passion please help!!

  31. Capt C says:

    Maybe he doesnt like you because you cant spell “Corps” (among other things) correctly.

  32. Jesse says:

    Took my PFT today at my OSO’s office…I plan on retaking it in two weeks after I brush up on the crunches, no reason why I can’t knock out 100, but today I didn’t. Anybody have any good advice for building up the endurance for crunches in two weeks. My PFT results: 3 mile Run-20 min:32 sec. Pull ups-19, Crunches-77. Total score was 257, I’m 6’1″ and 198lbs. I’m going back aiming for a perfect score, but won’t take it easy until I know I can at least hit 280+. Any advice would be great! Thanks ahead of time everyone!

  33. Candidate Mitchell says:

    Steve, learn to spell, and maybe have respectful patience for the Gunnery Sergeant. He probably has a lot of things on his hands, and maybe other candidates have priority over you. Go visit the office personally and see who you can communicate with there. Being impatient and frustrated over a simple communication problem is not that big of a deal. Stay frosty, and don’t say anything stupid.

  34. 17 says:

    I was just informed today by my OSO that I got accepted for PLC juniors this summer. My PFT was a mid 230’s (which is really weak, I got my pull-ups from less than 5 to 13 in the last 2 months, and raised my PFT from 200 to almost 240 in that time, and I hope to get my PFT to a 270 in another two month’s time), but I scored a 7/6/7 on my ASTB, did not take ASVAB (2260 SAT), and have a 3.3-3.5 GPA (Electrical Engineering at a prestigious research university). I also work up to 20 hours a week on top of a rigorous honors/engineering course load, just to give you an idea of how busy I currently am.

    Point is, just work as hard as you can on your PFT, and make sure your application looks good to the OSOs on the selection board.

    Good luck everybody.

  35. Leah Fordham says:

    Any idea what the dates are for OCS this summer (2012)? First and second increment. Thanks, Leah

  36. Sorry, that is very current information that the OSO’s will know before anyone else.

  37. Andrew says:

    I noticed someone mentioned they were accepted with a mid 230s PFT for PLC Juniors. So, maybe you all can give me some insight. I have been declined twice now for Juniors this summer. My package was ready in November, as I got all the required stuff done it a month and a half, my OSO didn’t submit it until the February board. My PFT for this board was a 256, sad to say I was declined. I have no waivers, no tattoos, 6’6 195lbs, no run ins with law enforcement and had a 3.5 last semester, overall GPA is 3.0, I am also a ground contract. This past board in March my PFT went from 256 to 276 ( I busted my you know what because all my OSO tells us is to increase our PFT). However, I was once declined again. I have been told constantly I am an outstanding candidate and that the OST thinks very highly of me and I have a good shot. But this proves wrong as I have been declined twice with notice in an email. Along with myself at-least 8 other Candidates attached in there as-well; all told to work on one thing, the PFT.
    A note has been taken mainly those who have been accepted so far are Air contracts. In this manner I asked if switching to Air would increase my chance, no solid response though, the concept was beat around the bush. Could anyone give me some insight of what is going on and what I can do to increase my shot for this last go around at acceptance to Juniors? My OSO always says “work on your PFT” well I jumped it 20 points in two months. The communication between me and the OSO is hit or miss. I call, no answer. I ask a question about board dates and results, I never get a set date; I find it out from another candidate up on the board with me. Maybe someone on here who knows a little about the selection process can give me some input. Sorry for the length, just some guidance or advice is needed. Thank you.

  38. The answer may be as simple as you compete with other applicants in your OSO region just as much as nationally overall, and that the lower PFT was from an aviation contract with a competitive score on the ASTB, which is as important to them as the PFT is to you ground guys.

    Also, it would help you if you were female as well as standards are often lower for them to get in. But what can you do for that.

    The OSO may not be as impressed with you as with other applicants, as well, and recommending them over you.

    Regardless, your overall package sounds like it should be accepted eventually, and I encourage you to keep trying. The OSO should be communicating more with you–is it possible to switch OSOs?

  39. Andrew says:

    If I could switch OSO’s I would. Myself and the OSA click more than me and the OSO as he is from a small town right up the street from where I live and have grown up. After talking to the other Candidates up with me on the board I have them beat for the PFT portion so that is not the question. Another thing the OSO has taken note of is when we run our monthly PFT’s I have to drive 65 miles one way and I have yet to miss one for 7 months. You have guys who live on campus 2 miles down the street who don’t come due to rain or what not. Needless to say i have ran 4 PFT’s in <30 degree weather and 2 of those were in the rain and I ran them by myself because the other 8 candidates who run with us didn't show up. I make it a necessity to be there every time to set an example of dedication because this is something I want. I feel as if I am doing all I can but its not mutual work ethic back to me. If I could switch I would but I am in a bad area to be able to switch.

  40. Andrew, that is a tough situation and a pretty weird one. Please don’t give up–keep trying to get in. If PLC doesn’t work out, there’s nothing wrong with OCC! Now push yourself for that 300 PFT.

  41. Austin says:

    I agree keep you head up and keep working at it. Though a word about the OCC option it is even more competive than PLC.

  42. Overall, perhaps. For you, maybe it’s a much better option. Don’t get hung up on percentages of thousands of people. You are 100% of just one person.

  43. Andrew says:

    OCC is alot harder. We had guys running over 300 on their PFT’s (if it were possible) for OCC boards and didn’t get picked up. These Candidates had 25 plus pullups no problems. Really smart guys and applied for 2 OCC classes with the new OSO, needless to say, they didn’t get selected either. Both of them chose to enlist.

  44. Mike says:

    Great Website, does anyone have any info on the PFT range of people being accepted on the last few PLC Summer boards, I have been hearing it is very competitive

  45. Andrew says:

    Yes, the average has been roughly around 275ish. However I have heard of some getting accepted all the way down to 235. I myself have been consistently running 280’s and have not been accepted. Yes, it is very competitive. Be prepared to work.

  46. adam says:

    Don’t waste your time with this this is stuff every marine, enlisted or commissioned knows during they’re first week in boot

  47. James says:

    I’m getting ready to have my initial interview in a couple of days and have been working on a list of questions to ask my OSO. I want to stand out as much as possible and come fully prepared, like everyone else I’m sure. Any advice on “must ask” questions or being prepared in general?

  48. Congrats! That was such a good question that for the first time ever I immediately had to sit down and give it the treatment it deserves as its own blog post.

  49. James says:

    This will help a lot! Thanks so much for the advice!

  50. steve says:

    What is the gpa requirement for applying to ocs? I am 25 with a BS in Kinesiology. My junior year killed my gpa and i graduated with a 2.29 overall. My goal is aviation but im afraid that i wouldnt even get looked at due to my low gpa.

  51. Sandy says:

    Our son just shipped out to OCS at Quantico, VA on June 2, 2012. Where can we find pictures posted of the candidates? I hear from other graduate parents that they enjoyed viewing these pictures and could often pick out their son/daughter. Thanks!!

  52. Jason says:

    2 months ago I started doing training with marine polees and talking to recruiters who got me in contact with an oso. I really want to get into OCS and am well aware of the competition that is going on. I had a lowish GPA my freshmen year and I am wondering if I get all A’s and B;s the rest of my school if my freshmen year will have a big impact. I have been going to the gym every day and doing spare push ups throughout the day. I have a tough time with pull ups I just am stumped on how to get more done. I also started doing volunteer work and getting involved in student government. I scored a 75 on my asvab and am in perfect health. I was just wondering if you had any tips for me and what I can do to increase my chances. Thanks

  53. Usmc Ocs says:

    Jason, please read everything on our new site. You will have more than enough preparation to do at that point:

  54. matt says:

    is it true if you have tattoos you cant be eligible for OCS?

  55. I was told my son would never get in because he’s your ‘average white boy’, so I’m sure it DOES help to be Hispanic. By the grace of God, he got in anyway.

  56. Dylan says:

    Also I have been doing the pyramid pull exercise of the entire course of a day just keeping a written log of where I am at. Is this good practice? My last question is what can I do to prepare mentally as well?

  57. Dylan, please read everything on our new site. You will have more than enough preparation to do at that point:

    For mental toughness, you need to push yourself through your plateaus physically. Also take showers as cold as your faucet allows. That will help for fall and winter classes, for sure.

  58. Matt Skros says:


    I am currently a freshman in high school and am preparing to apply for PLC. I have heard that PLC Juniors (the 10 week course) is tougher to get in to. Is this true?

    Thanks for your help!

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