Posted on May 22, 2019
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original post below
update:
It's been around 1 year, making a update on request and personal obligation. I opted not to pursue joining the airforce after the few month of passing tests and the signing date at MEPs. If you are like me and viewed this post for insight, here's what I learned after not doing it nearly a year or so ago:
- you can't just decide after a few months or a year that you don't like the direction things are headed
- if you find you just want to try a new lifestyle, trust me, you can get fit and do so more easily while free
- enlisting before you potentially go to OCS is 'not' honorable, a way to gain experience, etc., instead many finish enlistment and then applied successfully to OCS as civilian; you can talk and/or look up frequency of this happening online, and find thru the years it is actually what happens.
- enlistment to OCS is a trick or based on not really knowing: you will in most cases be used for the duration of contract, and then realize the above, so it's not some temporary/experience gain transition
- joining any military branch is not a great option for what I wanted and where I was, OCS looked great, air-force good way to help them out and improve fitness, but you'll find the government and people are all the same; if you feel people slow you down, disagree with leadership, ever felt you were too efficient, faster, smarter, and that sort of thing actually happened in the real world, guess what, whatever you have will likely get worse in the military, you should not join just for that reason.
- fitness, comradery, new sense of purpose, was what I was looking for: again, it's easier without joining any outdated lock-in contract that you can't get out of.. once you start one, the other stuff comes, then you find you either don't want it, or whatever
- if you are anything like I was, trust me, emotions and feelings are temporary. you'll get started somewhere. being considered as a possible candidate that can get a slot at OCS, going in, seems great, but it's for different type of people. give it time, restart your fitness routine, etc.. the military is not going to buff you or make you better than you can by your own, especially if you are/were like me, disapproving of professors, disapproving of general education, do stuff in 1 day then free time for long time, and other factors

and finally, don't let it dissuade you if you are joining, but if you have managed to get STEM, you've already shown you make adult decisions, work hard temporarily for better gains later on, and passed through the first wave of bad things thrown at you.

As for the rest of my experience (opinion/optional):
if you haven't experienced the suck (as infantry say), then you should probably think out what you'll be doing in the military. try running with 40lbs for a mile, it's not as easy as it sounds whether you can do it the first time or not. maybe you went to the DMV and had a bad experience. try going to MEPs. half an hour late due to traffic? need to take some '1990s entry tests? too bad, the slots are available, but go home and reschedule. On the big 'shipout' day: you can be early to arrive as I was, not the first to start any stations, finish it all early, then sit around and wait around 2-3 hours for the rest of them (mainly tricked highschool kids probably in for a ride if they do join) and doctor to arrive, and it was almost like a joke experience. You start to realize it's all the same. You can encounter a highly efficient group, but just because it's under the government label, it doesn't mean you'll find great people and great efficiency all around you; more likely you'll have some weird experiences, just like at a DMV or any other brief exposure with the government. I am sure they can get their act together, and not have someone waiting around for hours for a posture test, but wow, the highlight of many hours wasted at MEPs that morning was that the airforce Lt. was smoking hot and the instructor Sgt was cute. ASVAB is designed for like right out of highschool, scoring high on it and being applauded is just a joke to feel good. Realize you're still going to be doing what that sales major or highschool whatever next to you is doing. If you are at all like me, where even going to college seemed somewhat of a childish experience at times, and never challenged me much, trust me, same people and same things will happen in the military, but you can't just 'walk away' from the nonsense once you are in. Note that I am not 18, deciding if military will be a benefit, far less experienced, a bit brainwashed about what the military will be like the reinforced idea you grow up with about the government being highly efficient and military being like the videos; obviously that is mostly a scam. If you're a vet you know this, or you cover it up with an idea of honor so you don't even joke about it. When you actually get there, I won't underestimate you, you will realize how it is, even at the beginning/entry stages.. be ready for a strict-highschool type of environment. Even if you've become good at what you do, faster, efficient, specialized, you are just another meatslab for the government, military, agency, that's putting you through processing: you're simply to be on time at all times and do things that are dangerous, inefficient, slow, and ridiculous, because you are told to do so. I had a perfect attendance one year - in highschool, probably didn't matter at all. I dislike offices, the idea of being managed, and in general, avoid anyone who tries to impose that the arrival time is somehow related to your performance .. it all seems like some childish thing you used to adhere to in highschool or before. thus, you'll find more time than not, even OCS has a lot of 'rich parent' types who chose to major in generic business or sales. there's lots of enlisted people from highschool, wish them the best & hope they use the resources in the military to better themselves. yet, rather than the idea of like hiring STEM engineers, getting pilots, mixing in some good leaders with the cocky ones etc.. the same problems in the real world are present in the military and anywhere else you go. No shadowy government efficiency there, it's mainly just people following protocol. the problem of some individuals just trying harder and working more for no reason vs some real skills flying under the radar, is a problem of the western style recruitment model. So, it's their loss if they get someone who seems to be have good work ethic, but is 3x slower, and suggest the model works 'most of the time' and/or get all bitter and pissy about skillful people not caring being a real thing. If you have STEM, I would say weigh your options before you even go into OCS, and then don't waste their time either, be certain 100% you are going to want to do it before you even call and potentially get a slot to begin the process. I was just in a tough time, bored, a lot of other emotions and other crap last year, so, again, if any of this sounds like you, think it out first. Maybe you'll start a career or something will happen a week later that starts you on a different path.
If you've worked with things you disagree with, just read this and realize, it's not all just a bunch of pretty girls and easy time. There's felons, jocks, tryhards, same types of people anyway, but obviously more physical roles.

original post:
I am currently 25 w/ a STEM degree in the Computer Sciences. I guess I'm yet another one of those people who are unsure what they want to do in their life moving forward. I am going through the enlistment process (air force); if I don't want to go, I just won't join DEPs or I won't go on the shipping date, but that's my last choice. I am a bit worried about committing when I get mixed input about enlistment not being for college grads and others saying I'll probably have fun and get away from life for a bit.

Anyway, I was wondering if someone can tell me more about the OCS from civilian process. The recruiter told me that I should contact him in a few months.

Do you think it would be worth it for me to even try with only a 4 year degree, and is anyone w/ experience able to talk about the applicant process?

I've been living as a civilian too long and so far my experiences with getting the requirements for enlistment done have involved mostly 18 yr olds going into service (and a few others of all age-groups). It does feel a bit fun, like fun I haven't had in a couple of years, but it feels a bit like I am going backwards, and I should maybe just "get a life" again in the civilian world (which is kinda hard to me imo, after working a year 9 to 5 jobs and just leaving recently).

I'd rather be treated with a bit more respect and get a bit of credit for doing what I've alredy done, so OCS seems like a route I'd be interested in. If I were 18, thinking in this way, I'd just do the opposite and enlist.

I have heard it's going to take 1 to 2 years to even get considered with all the applicants who are interested. So if I were to enlist in the mean time, it seems like it's true that I might not gain anything from it, other than some physical fitness perks which I might end up not liking anyway. I have 90 in the Asvab and I got my physical done, but I failed the duck-walk (lol).. I am considering contacting my recruiter again and rescheduling to get it done. I'll only have a month or maybe 5 weeks at best to decide to enlist, if or after I swear in to DEPs (as I mentioned).

So is OCS a viable route from the civilian world, or is it too competitive, and is it worth enlisting in a branch like the Navy or Airforce to I guess just "have some fun", even knowing OCS might never contact you? (Personally, I am not really thinking of joining just to have some extra $ so..)

From what you see I might be too lazy to be in the military and be pushed around about what clothes I am wearing and all the other rules. (lol, did that in highschool already so..) Doing some research it seems that telling people to enlist to do OCS because it'll take like so many years is probably a recruitment scam, because most would want to go into OCS if they pre-qualify, and you can enlist first to help pay for the college degree anyway (but I already have that).


Edit:
I didn't get a lot of direct Y/N answers for the main question, but I've determined enlisting first overall does not really help an individual's chances. You will need approval from your NCOs once enlisted. So even if you can get through the forms, recommendations, and even get accepted after that (which might not even happen at all), it just seems that you will be much busier and unable to focus much on applying to OCS; and then you might not even get accepted. Based on what I've already talked about and researched, I've noticed a lot of people who chose to go that route end up finishing up their contract and then re-applying as an officer (as a civilian). Very few seem to actually get pulled into OCS while they're still finishing their enlistment contract.

It is ideal to think you can enlist and then be sent off to officer school after 2 or 3 years, gaining the experience, and so on, then transitioning into the program. It also seems more honorable, will help you gain experience, and become a better leader. Although after seeing some of how the govt actually functions, I think it's a high chance the whole process would just end up being inefficient, and those in charge would just follow the existing rules and milk the contract time out. I am still considering both options, but I am a bit less interested in enlisting at the moment. Going to make sure I have the tests all done, and then consider it. I am not sure enlisting is for me even though it's always an option on the table. Thanks for the other insight and responses.
Posted in these groups: Size0 OCS
Edited 15 d ago
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MAJ Patrick Hairston CISSP, CAP, MCSE
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"I'd rather be treated with a bit more respect and get a bit of credit for doing what I've alredy done"
You are already failing with this statement. Respect is earned in the military. Your degree will get you none. Humility is a huge trait in being an officer and learning to be a leader. In the military, you start at the bottom in everything and work your way up. You don't just come in barking orders at privates and walking around like you are in charge. You have to learn to obey commands and understand why you have to obey them. You also have to understand Rank doesn't imply authority. Ask any LT who tried to give orders to an E8. It's hilarious.
My recommendation? Yes, go enlisted, Army of course, but any of the other services are fine, try for one of the computer MOS's you would be interested in. Get a Top Secret Clearance. Get to the Rank of E5 and possibly E6. Then you will have some experience. Then apply to OCS. Then and only then, you may be possibly ready/worthy to command and lead soldiers. Good luck.
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MAJ Patrick Hairston CISSP, CAP, MCSE
MAJ Patrick Hairston CISSP, CAP, MCSE
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I didnt say I didnt like the system. I didn't tell you not to try. I'm just giving you the benefit of 20+ years of military experience where I have experience that's going to give you a better chance of success. I've done what you are trying to do. I know the way, I've already walked the path for you. I was just letting you see the footsteps behind me. I had soldiers in my command like you. I know how you think. It was my job to. I commanded three times, one in combat, one an AIT company full of young people, just like you. I know what makes a successful soldier. I believe in telling the truth. Most of the time, the person entering thinks they know everything already. I was just letting you know that sentence you said puts up red flags as to motivation. An E1 with a Master's degree gets no more respect than an E1 with a BA.
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MAJ Operations Research/Systems Analysis (Orsa)
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So, I feel like your original post had a very aristocratic feel to it and I think that is what MAJ Hairston is keying on. My original response was going to be a lot less eloquent and much more pointed than his, so I’m glad I refrained. You seem to have a few erronious impressions. One big one is that the enlisted corps is a haven for the less than college educated and those with advanced degrees would get nothing from it. You also seem to imply the enlisted corps is a place to “have some fun.” In the American military, we professionalize our enlisted corps. I enlisted with two college degrees. At my last posting (I do Operations Research), the Staff Sergeant who worked with me had a PhD in aerospace engineering. A former First Sergeant of mine had a masters in cyber security. The enlisted side is not where you go to “have fun.” You will gain valuable experience there just as MAJ Hairston said. Whether you are enlisted, warrant, or commissioned, the expectations and breadth of possible experiences are the same in frequency, just different in the type of experiences. Given what I have read here, I second the notion that you might be an individual who would benefit the most from experience as an enlisted member prior to entry as an officer. I think you need to really experience that perspective first. Also, the wearing of the uniform and the rules aren’t just trivial. It’s a matter of pride in yourself, your nation, and the people you serve. It’s not really comparable to wearing uniforms and rules in private school. So, if you are truly interested in investing yourself in this process, I would recommend some enlisted time first. You are only two years older than I was when I did it 17 years ago, so your wealth of experience from the civilian world is probably about on par with what I had. No, your prior experience won’t gain you that immediate advantage whether you go enlisted or officer, at least initially. As you move along you will see where those skills will fit in and give you a “leg up” though.
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MAJ (Join to see) -
Thanks. No I don't mean to say that enlisted is not a specialized career path. In fact there are people who go enlisted when they can be officers just because they want the job, as you said. I would be more open to enlisting if there was something like a '2 year commitment rather than a minimum of 4 years. Some countries that have mandatory service only have a 2 year commitment which seems to work pretty good for its citizens. Not sure why there's not a 2 and optional 2 type of commitment yet in the US.
I have noticed in some way, a lot of people in the military like to imply that recruits or newcomers are wrong.. I wasn't trying to say enlistment isn't useful or that you must choose either the college route or enlistment route; which probably fully pay for college later, or in my case, could even finance a masters while learning some other skill. In fact enlistees who use the GI Bill probably end up better than most. Not writing a book to cover each rule/case doesn't mean that I hadn't thought of it.
Thanks for the advice tho, I am consideringit if I can get the jobs I want.
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MAJ Operations Research/Systems Analysis (Orsa)
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So the reason why the US does that isn’t apparent now, but if you ever have an assignment like NATO or something where you get a lot of exposure to foreign militaries, you quickly see the differences. Also, we tend to be highly specialized. Two years in a lot of cases won’t cover AIT. Like my AIT was 2.5 years long. The military deserves to get its investment out of you after that. (Join to see)
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Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
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Depends on what the AFOQT says would be your best career choices, and yes with a STEM degree I am steering you to the Air Force. If the career fields you qualify for interest you, talk to an AF recruiter and go the OCS route. Sorry Army and Marines, but if you went into those services as enlisted you would be bored to death.
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MAJ Ken Landgren
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In the Army they take some folks off the streets to allow them to go OCS. I enlisted and went OCS.
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