The acceptance rate of OCS is about 60%. It means 60 candidates are accepted from every 100 applicants. So, getting into an officer candidate school is very competitive. The best part of Officer Candidate School is civilian college graduates and current military candidates have separate admission slots. It means college graduates and current military candidates don’t have to compete with each other.
- OCS stands for Officer Candidate School and it is also known as Officer Training School (OTS)
- Applying to OCS is open to civilians, active-duty enlisted, Army Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers with at least a bachelor’s degree
- In OCS, direct Commissions face the same eligibility requirements as standard civilian college officer candidates
- Active-duty enlisted troops have different application processes compared to civilian college graduates in OCS
Overview Of Officer Candidate School
In the USA, each of the military branches has its own version of Officer Candidate School or OCS. The army is the largest branch of the US military, and they began their OCS during “World War II” in order to quickly commission the infantry officers. The program in OCS has a duration of 12 weeks and it is completed at Fort Benning in Georgia. During the 12-week program, Army instructors put civilians and select enlisted troops through rigorous leadership and military training to mold them into Army officers. After completing the 12-week program, service members are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. The civilian candidates have to complete the Army’s Basic Combat Training (BCT) first. This training introduces officer candidates to the fundamentals of Army service. In OCS, there is a three-pronged approach to creating officers. OCS represents one prong while S Military Academy (West Point) and the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) represent the other two prong.
Eligibility Requirements Of Officer Candidate School
How you want to join Officer Candidates School will determine the OCS eligibility requirements for you. In OCS, three categories of applicants exist –
1. Civilian College Graduates
2. Civilian Specialty Graduates/Direct Commissions
3. Currently Enlisted Soldiers
Applicants from these separate categories do not compete against each other. Here candidates compete for spots against individuals within the same category. Below are the eligibility requirements of three categories –
Eligibility Requirements Of Civilian College Graduates
1. A U.S. citizen
2. A college graduate with at least a four-year degree
3. Between 19 and 32 years old
4. Eligible for a secret security clearance
Eligibility Requirements Of Direct Commissions
Direct Commissions face the same eligibility requirements as standard civilian college officer candidates. But the particular direct commission specialty will overcome the specific requirements for that field. In fact, many of the direct commissions allow older applicants which is not possible for civilian college graduates.
Eligibility Requirements Of Currently Enlisted Soldiers
1. A college graduate with at least a four-year degree
2. Must not have more than six years of Active Federal Service (AFS) upon arrival at OCS
3. Between 19 and 32 years old
4. Eligible for a secret security clearance
Application Process Of Officer Candidate School
How will be the application process also depends on which path you pursue. Here, the civilian candidate will follow a different application process than current troops.
Application Process Of Civilian College Graduates
1. First, the applicants have to apply for an OCS spot with their local Army recruiter
2. After applying, the Recruiting Battalion will check the application and confirm whether the application has met all OCS eligibility requirements or not
3. Next, the application will be reviewed by the Recruiting Battalion OCS Board
4. Then, the applicant will be interviewed by a board of three commissioned officers to review your personal history, general training, and experience
5. These three officers will provide an independent appraisal of your fitness to commission
6. The next step is acceptance or rejection. If you are rejected by the board then you will be informed about it
7. On the other hand, if your application is accepted then your application package will be reviewed by the Army Recruiting Command OCS Review Board
8. This board will provide the final approval
9. If you are selected then you will be assigned an OCS class date
10. After being accepted by the Review Board, you will be enlisted into the Army’s Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP)
11. Finally, this program will allow you to schedule a BCT date, which you will complete before attending OCS
Application Process Of Current Enlisted Troops
Active-duty enlisted troops have different application processes compared to civilian college graduates. All the soldiers must complete the below OCS application steps –
1. The first step is to confirm chain-of-Command support. It means you must have support from the chain-of-Command before applying for OCS.
2. Then you have to submit the application package that includes an Army-standard application form along with supporting documentation
3. You have to submit the application package to the chain to your unit commander
4. Then the unit commander will review and approve or deny the application
5. If your application is approved then the application package will be forwarded through an intermediate commander to the installation commander
6. If the installation commander approves your application, then he/she will convene an OCS interview
7. Next, the soldier will be interviewed by a board of three commissioned officers to review your personal history and assess your fitness for commissioning
8. After the interview, if you are approved then your application package will be forwarded to Army Personnel Command (PERSCOM)
9. Next, at PERSCOM, an OCS selection board will review your application package and make the final selections
10. Finally, if you are selected for OCS, PERSCOM will assign you a branch
Determining Military Specialty
For current enlisted troops, PERSCOM determines the branch where prior-enlisted officer candidates will be assigned. But for civilian officer candidates, the assignment involves a process known as “branching.” Before the OCS training, the candidates are ranked according to the top military branch preferences. During the training period, the same candidates receive a ranking against their peers, known as the Order of Merit List, or OML. Then the needs of the Army dictate where candidates will be assigned. However, if you can rank at the top of the OML then you can choose the first choice for a branch. Moreover, at the middle point of the OCS training candidates will attend their Branching Ceremony. In the ceremony, the candidates will find out their future military service branches.
FAQs About Officer Candidate School (OCS): Acceptance Rate, Eligibility, Admission Requirements, etc.
What GPA Do You Need For Officer Candidate School?
If you want to apply to an officer candidate school then you will need a minimum college GPA of 3.0 or higher. OCS also looks for technical degrees and other areas of need.
Is Officer Candidate School Hard?
Officer Candidate School is very selective when it comes to admission. Therefore, you will have to go through hard competition against other candidates. Officer Candidate School has an acceptance rate of 60%.
Does OCS Check GPA?
OCS doesn’t have a minimum GPA requirement. However, having a GPA of 3.0 or more will help you get into OCS quite easily. OCS looks for candidates who have a degree from an accredited college/university and has no other issues.
What Is The Cut-Off Age For OCS?
The general age requirement of OCS is between 19 and 32. Moreover, you have to be eligible for a secret security clearance.
Are There Drill Sergeants At OCS?
Yes, there are drill sergeants at OCS. These drill sergeants are known as Drill Instructors and the OCS candidates are instructed by Drill Instructors.
Last Updated on November 15, 2022 by Magalie D.
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.