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Applying for a Naval Commission

fccpopeye

Registered User
This is for those interested in applying for a commission as a Naval Officer. Those already in the process may also get some good gouge here so please take a look.

Some background on myself: I am a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, with almost 23 years active, currently working as a Naval Officer Recruiter. I work with all persons applying for a commission with the exception of the medical/dental/nurse programs. I have also had a couple of tours recruiting on the enlisted side so I am also very familiar with the process there. My rate is Fire Control, Surface Warfare qualified, with various ship tours from destroyers to an oilier (I even spent time on a submarine). I also earned my Officer of the Deck Underway qualification on my last ship tour. I am very Pro-Navy and live by the core values, Honor, Courage and Commitment. I state this now so all who read this will know that I will state it like it is and I do not believe in “sugar coating” anything. So, that being said;

Applying for a commission is a long process. Anyone who has already been through the process can vouch for this. It is different for each person, so please do not expect the same process as the last person. It should be similar but most definitely will not be the same. Why is this? Everyone is different, different goals, backgrounds, desires, programs, etc.

First step in my mind is determining that you want to apply. Gather all the information you can about the Navy from every source possible. Use this forum as a great starting point. Explore the different programs/positions that may be available. Once you have done this you will probably have many questions about various areas that still need answering. Now it is time to contact a local Officer Recruiter. This will help accomplish two things, one, give you a chance to get those questions answered, two, find out if you are eligible for applying for a commission. Keep in mind that officer recruiters are not as spread out as the enlisted recruiters. You may be a good distance from the nearest one. Some people I have worked with were 3-4 hours away.

This is where I, the recruiter, come in to play. Now I will explain the process that you can expect. Please understand this is all from me, other recruiters may work differently.

During my first contact (which is typically via the phone or email) with some one interested in applying I ask many questions to determine their eligibility and also to try and gauge their competitiveness. I also ask numerous questions to help determine what the individual is looking for. The questions generally cover, but are not necessarily limited to, the following areas:

Age, Citizenship, Marital Status, Educational Background (Colleges, Degrees, Majors, GPAs, etc), Any Military Background, Height/Weight, Medical History, Police/Legal History, Experience (particularly in the area of interest), Hobbies, Interests, etc.

Once this is done and the person is eligible, I let them know where they stand at this point. I will then let them know that they will need to take a test (ASTB) to further determine their eligibility/competitiveness. This test is not necessary for all programs but is for most. This forum has a lot of info regarding the ASTB so check it out. The one thing I need to impress on anyone planning on taking the test, STUDY! Remember, you can only take this test a total of three times in your lifetime (this is a fairly recent change). Don’t waste the first one. You must wait 30 days before taking the second test and an additional 90 days for the third and final test. I can’t stress how important this is. The scores you receive will be OAR, AQR, PFAR and FOFAR. OAR is vitally important to all programs. It is computed from the math, verbal and mechanical sections. The other three are from the aviation sections and are also extremely important for those applying for aviation positions. Some non aviation positions require a minimum AQR to apply so those not interested in becoming an aviator do not skip these sections in your studying. The test (in my office and I believe in most recruiters offices) will be given on a computer. This allows for an instant score following completion. Paper tests are also available and may be the only thing available in some locations (even where a computer is available and the system is down, which does happen). Scores from these will take some time as they must be sent to NOMI in Pensacola for scoring.

OK, you are eligible, competitive and eager to apply. The main application process is broken into two parts. (Please understand that some programs will differ within this process) The first part is where the ADDOCS are submitted. These basically consist of the actual application form itself, official transcripts from every college you have ever attended and, letters of reference/recommendation. Some programs may require a resume. Some may require an interview with a Naval Officer in the field you are applying for. Please keep in mind that most of this needs to follow certain guidelines so please let the recruiter and/or processor guide you here. Example, the form DD370, Request for Reference, must be utilized for letters of reference. Bottom line, find out from the recruiter/processor what is needed and take care of business.

ADDOCS will be sent to CNRC in Millington TN. They are typically imaged and sent via the internet. The package will be scrutinized for correctness before being sent to the community managers of the areas that you are applying for (Yes you can apply for up to three areas on one application). Each area does things differently. Basically you will need to wait until they look at your package and decide if you are what they are looking for. This could take from days to weeks (and possibly longer). Patience. If they like what they see they will let the recruiter/processor know with a PROREC yes (a PROREC no ends the process, talk to your recruiter if you want to keep trying).

Now it is time for the second part, the FINDOCS. These basically consist of a medical physical (normally done at MEPS), Physical Fitness Assessment (running, sit-ups, push-ups), Background Investigation Security Questionnaire, fingerprinting, and various other papers primarily statements of understanding. The big hold up here from my experience is getting through MEPS. It just takes time. Once all of this is together it will be sent to CNRC and be scrutinized, then sent to the community managers. Now it will wait until the next selection board. Every area is different, some hold boards every month others are as long as once a year. Check with the recruiter. Some wait until they have a sufficient number of packages until they hold a board. Again be patient.

Finally, after possibly many months, you receive the word. Provided you are selected you will have more paperwork, a commissioning or enlistment ceremony (counting on the program), and of course congratulations on your selection to the Navy. You will also have a report date to OCS/OIS.

Now the disclaimers. Every program is different and they may have additional steps/requirements that may need to be accomplished (Ex. JAG applicants need to provide a full length picture as part of their ADDOCS). Some programs may not require a certain step or item (Ex. Nuclear Propulsion Candidates are not required to take the ASTB). Ask your recruiter. Some programs may not be open. Some programs may need a preponderance of experience while others won’t. Ask your recruiter.

To keep this somewhat brief, :) I have not gone into detail for each program. This will certainly raise questions. I am also sure that some have had experiences that could help others. Use this thread to ask the questions, tell the experiences, so all can gain the knowledge necessary to understand the process.

Good luck to all and hope to see you in the fleet.

FCCPopeye
 

KBayDog

Well-Known Member
This is friggin' awesome, Senior Chief. THANK YOU.

Webmaster/moderators - any chance of posting this by itself somewhere on the site? This one single post will answer 99% of the questions most new guys have (except "What percentage get..."). Great stuff!
 

fccpopeye

Registered User
Thank you KBayDog, I also posted this at usnavyocs and sticky'd it there.

I am always open for questions from anyone so do not hesitate to ask them if you have them.
 

webmaster

The Grass is Greener!
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
Senior Chief, thanks for taking the time to post such and indepth review of the application process. While we can explain many of the different career paths and training down the road, we always get back to, "when in doubt, contact a recruiter"!. For those looking at joining the Navy, this is the straight gouge, and a succint explanation of the steps involved.

Thread has been stickied... Thanks again,

John
 

airgreg

low bypass axial-flow turbofan with AB driver
pilot
Good stuff Senior. Wish I had someone spell it out like that for me.
 

H60Gunr

Registered User
Thanks Senior for the gouge. Can you discuss in more detail the selection process for NFO? Based upon what you said, I am submitting an OCS package that is in its final stages before being routed to CNRC. I am trying to be picked up for NFO (first choice). Can you tell me what types of backgrounds including experience level, prior enlistment, awards, ect. that are typically associated with this designator or the types of individuals selected for NFO? This might sound like an ambiguous question but the reason I'm asking is that being enlisted with an aviation background, having a Masters degree, good LOR's, and other aircrew credentials, I'm trying to determine if i fall into the catagory of those being 'considered'. Thank you. - AD2

AD2
 

DairyCreamer

Registered User
PFA / LORs

I am curious as to whether it affects your application package at all to try and submit your PFA score to the board in the ADDOCS? If you can score well, would they look at that at all in determining selection, or should you leave it out as a possible source for them to further scruitinize selection?

Also, what about the LORs? I know you mentioned DD370, and that's fine. How many numerically can you send? My recruiter told me that you can basically shove most anything their way (as long as it's not completely overboard, no pun intended) and they'll look at it. I will have a wide range of references available to me this next round, ranging from the CO of the local NROTC unit, to a bunch of profs and such.

Just curious how to put the best foot forward! Thanks so much!

~Nate

PS - This is round 3 for me... first time I applied too early (1.5 years till grad), 2nd time I got a letter saying I was "in the upper echelons not selected," and was "encouraged to apply again" (though seemed like a form letter). Round 3 should be sometime next month.
 

fccpopeye

Registered User
H60Gunr said:
Thanks Senior for the gouge. Can you discuss in more detail the selection process for NFO? Based upon what you said, I am submitting an OCS package that is in its final stages before being routed to CNRC. I am trying to be picked up for NFO (first choice). Can you tell me what types of backgrounds including experience level, prior enlistment, awards, ect. that are typically associated with this designator or the types of individuals selected for NFO? This might sound like an ambiguous question but the reason I'm asking is that being enlisted with an aviation background, having a Masters degree, good LOR's, and other aircrew credentials, I'm trying to determine if i fall into the catagory of those being 'considered'. Thank you. - AD2

AD2
This is one of the most asked questions and yet the most difficult to answer. "Am I competitive, do I have chance, etc". What I am going to do is make a few points to try and help the understanding here. We "hire" utilizing the same reasoning that others do. "What can you offer our company and the position you are applying for?" So what education do you have? Is your major along the lines of the position you are applying for? Are your grades "up there", above the average person? Do you have experience in the position you are applying for? Can you show recommendations that you are a good candidate for this position? Are you a "rounded" person, are you involved in and preferrably excel in more then one area? Sound familiar? ADDOCS pretty much covers this hence the PROREC. The FINDOCS are basically the "final qualification" stage, can you meet the physical condition required for this position. Now the part I can't answer, will you get selected? The board itself is obviously the deciding body. How do they decide? They use a "whole person concept" and basically pick who the best candidates are from the ones available. Maybe the "cut" of applicants is high and an individual wouldn't be selected from this cut, but next time could be a different story. If you want the position we have one advantage over most other companies, we hire more persons. This means if you are turn down your first time, you can try again because there are more positions. So bottom line, what do you have to offer?

P.S. AD2, I saw you info, I would say you are in the running. All you can do is wait and see.
 

fccpopeye

Registered User
DairyCreamer said:
I am curious as to whether it affects your application package at all to try and submit your PFA score to the board in the ADDOCS? If you can score well, would they look at that at all in determining selection, or should you leave it out as a possible source for them to further scruitinize selection?

Also, what about the LORs? I know you mentioned DD370, and that's fine. How many numerically can you send? My recruiter told me that you can basically shove most anything their way (as long as it's not completely overboard, no pun intended) and they'll look at it. I will have a wide range of references available to me this next round, ranging from the CO of the local NROTC unit, to a bunch of profs and such.

Just curious how to put the best foot forward! Thanks so much!

~Nate

PS - This is round 3 for me... first time I applied too early (1.5 years till grad), 2nd time I got a letter saying I was "in the upper echelons not selected," and was "encouraged to apply again" (though seemed like a form letter). Round 3 should be sometime next month.
PFA scores are part of FINDOCS and can not be submitted with ADDOCS. The guidelines of what documents and information can be submitted with ADDOCS and FINDOCS is pretty stringent so we can't change it. As for its consideration in your package I am sure it is considered. The weight it holds will vary according to the program, and the "cut" of applications submitted. The board may have similarily qualified individuals that the only difference is the PFA. As for LOR's, you can submit as many as you like. My only advice is ensure that they are all relevant. Are they from the right people and do they say good things? Remember that Naval Officers are leaders and managers so leadership and management are important. Honor, Courage and Committment, the core values are something else the board would look for. Are your letters saying anything about your ability to work in the field you are applying for? These are some things to consider with LOR's.

The bottom line in "putting your best foot foward" is to show the board what you are made of and are capable of. So ensure everything that you think is relevant is included somehow.

P.S. DairyCreamer they say the 3rd time is the charm so keep your head up, have patience and my best wishes towards your being selected.
 

Bandit79

Registered User
fccpopeye (or anyone who might know)-

Since it seems like you have some background in this area. I was wondering if you apply and get selected as an NFO, would it be possible to switch over to pilot?
 

fccpopeye

Registered User
I have been told that some NFO's are given a chance at pilot when seats open up due to pilots washing out during training. I have heard this from some that have been there but would actually like someone else who has been there to confirm this here. Also if they could, maybe explain the way it works so all can understand.
 

H60Gunr

Registered User
Senior, if a reservist gets called back to active duty while deployed overseas or simply in CONUS, what happens to the OCS package that is being reviewed - AND supposedly If the reservist gets picked up, will those orders to OCS take presedence over the reserve contract immediately? Maybe I'm wrong for thinking that the reserves can keep personnel based on the commands 'needs of the navy' until conditionally released. Any thoughts? Thanks.
 

fccpopeye

Registered User
H60Gunr

Interesting question. I honestly do not have a definitive answer. Most likely this would be handled on a case by case basis. If someone in the reserves has a package up for a selection board a Conditional Release is included in the package. This release is typically honored as soon as the individual is selected and sworn in. One fact here to consider is once selected, a person doesn't typically leave for OCS for a while (obviously not always the case, just had someone selected who is leaving in a month). If a selected reservist is deployed there may be some time to play with here due to the delay for OCS. This may mean that the deployment will be finished before complete release. What the individual is actually doing in the deployed status would obviously play a huge part also.

All I have really done here is explain some facts I do know and walked through it somewhat. If someone out there has some more knowledge on this please share it here.
 
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