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MECEP FAQs

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I was selected for MECEP in October 2001. I graduated and got commissioned in December 2004. Some of this may be dated, as I went through Prep School in 2002. Use MCO 1560.15L and the latest MARADMIN regarding MECEP and hopefully you'll have someone working with you who can/will help you out. Anyway, there has been a lot of discussion about and I have gotten several PMs about this lately, so I wanted to try to put it all in one place for other MECEP students to add to. Some of this is copied from posts I’ve made, some from PMs, some from other, older sources I had typed up.

So, here are some of my thoughts. If some of you who are in the program right now know of some updates to this information, let us know.

College admission/major selection
--By the time you get the MECEP selection results, hopefully you've already applied to several schools. You may already have one picked out, but I met very few people at prep school who hadn't changed their minds at least once. Some even changed at the last minute, switching colleges while at the prep school. If you haven't applied already, you may be behind the power curve. Contact the AMOI/MOI at the schools you want to go to. They can help you out in some cases. At a bare minimum, they will at least know who you are when you show up. Some colleges even "recruit" MECEP students. I got letters from several colleges asking me if I was interested. Of course, some actually told me it was best that I find another school because they didn't want any more MECEP students. So talk to them and see if you can get any help from the unit.
--As far as your major, it doesn't really matter as long as it is accredited. So basically, no "General Studies" degrees. I wanted to do electrical engineering but with a family I didn't think I could pull it off. So I went with building science (construction management). I joked about changing to music education and the MOI told me that was fine. But I didn't. I changed to Finance and graduated a full year early.

Tuition Assistance and VA Benefits
--You may not use TA while in MECEP. This doesn’t apply between selection for the program and actually starting MECEP Prep. You may use your VA benefits while in MECEP.

Things you can do to help yourself
--The most important thing is (went through this my last year I applied) that the title 'education officer' does not convey any special knowledge on the individual. Start now reading MCO 1560.15L (MECEP order) and the last year or two's MARADMINs regarding the programs. Learn them inside and out. Practice putting together an application yourself (formatting everything you need to type) so that next year when it comes time, you will have an idea of what everything should look like. Typically the role of the education officer involves signing TA paperwork and not much else. Don't let an education officer who is uneducated on enlisted commissioning programs screw up your chances of getting in.
--Start working on your personal statement. Start thinking now about which schools you might want to pick. Make 3-5 choices, if not more, have 1 or 2 serious picks and a few backups. I can't tell you how many times I changed my mind. Sometimes it was because I just realized I didn't want to live in the town the school was in, in one instance I called the MOI for basic information on their NROTC program and he threatened me on the phone because I wouldn't give him my SSN.
--Definitely ask around your squadron and see if there are any MECEP grads you can talk to. I never really talked to officers unless I had to, but once they started to find out I was leaving for MECEP, most of the officers in the squadron stopped by to tell me good luck and give me hints to make it through college, OCS, and TBS.
--Once the board gets closer, you should have by that point contacted a couple of your serious choice schools and talked to the MOI. This may have changed but when I was trying to get in, I was told that a few MOIs from around the country are there during the selection process, so it never hurts for someone to know your name and know that you've been actively trying to find out about their program.
--Between now and when you apply, talk to whatever officers write your fitrep. Tell them your intentions and ask them if they can make appropriate (positive) comments about your potential for service as an officer, and to give you a break out (such as "in the top 5% of Sgts I have ever worked with" or "one of the top 3 SSgts I have ever had in my command") on your next fitrep(s). That advice was given to me both by MCRC and by the enlisted career counselors.
--Also, don't know if I mentioned this earlier, don't be afraid to 'draft' your own endorsements and report of interview board. You know best how to highlight your strengths and if you give the board and the CO some good things to work with they just might use it. My last year, I wrote my board report, squadron CO's and group CO's endorsements. The board read it and signed WHAT I GAVE THEM. So did the squadron CO. The group CO made one minor change to fix some wording he didn't like and signed what I had written.

Flight contracts
--Yes, MECEP students are eligible for flight contracts (SNA or SNFO). Pass the ASTB and a flight physical and that’s about the only requirements. Your MOI and AMOI should do the paperwork for you, have you sign the training agreements and then they can send your request off.

Edit: Read this thread
 

gaijin6423

Ask me about ninjas!
This is awesome gouge, especially the suggestions to know the MCO like the bible and write your own recommendations. The order not only specifies who must sign what, but it also provides examples of how to format your application letter.

I applied for MECEP in 1998 as a Cpl, and my experience was similiar except for the FITREP (good PRO/CONs and letters from my SNCOIC, OIC, etc.). To be honest, MECEP was seen as this mysterious, ultra-competitive program, but I was accepted the first time I applied. Not trying to yank my own cord here, but if there are any enlisted Marines looking into it, they should not view MECEP as unobtainable.

In my case, I also underwent the USNA application process. I was accepted into the Naval Academy Prep School (NAPS), and accepted the chance to go. Three days later, I got the nod for MECEP as well, but I'd already signed on for NAPS. I won't argue for or against either program here, but if you're really interested, send me a PM.
 

USMCRugger

Registered User
Is it possible to have too much college? I applied to MECEP this year even though I met the requirements for MCP, for some reason I thought MECEP would be less competitive. I had a solid package and wasn’t selected, so I’m wondering if it had anything to do with it. Your thoughts…
 
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Crowbar

New Member
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Super Moderator
Too much college? That I don't know. We did have a Marine in my prep class who needed one year of college to graduate. I would recommend you get a copy of your MBS/OMPF and then call the career counselors. They have access to your records, but that way when they refer to "fitrep dated whatever to whatever" you have the latest info right in front of you and can see exactly what they're talking about. They can point out trends and generally give you ideas to help yourself out. That fitrep break out idea was the best thing they ever told me.
I'll tell you not to get discouraged if they tell you you aren't competitive enough or something to that effect. I went to see them on the MMEA road show and was told what I needed to work on for NEXT YEAR'S package since I had no hope of getting in. I didn't bother to call him back the following week and make him eat his words when the results came out.
 

awhonda1

Registered User
I'm nearing the end of putting my mecep package together and i was wondering if there are anymore tips or little "got ya's" that i should be looking for.
 

usmcegan

One of the last from VMGRT-253
I went MECEP in 2000, got commissioned in 03 and winged last year, so my info is dated as well. One thing that is definitely the same is that if your package is missing anything or something is done wrong, it will never even be seen by the board. They're all prescreened for the board members, and from what I heard about the year I was selected some 150 packages were discarded. We had an Officer in my command who had been an MOI, so he screened my package and made recommendations, see if there are people in you command with ties to any commissioning program and ask for their assistance. Double and triple check EVERYTHING. Finally, there is a POC on the MARADMIN, call him/her a few weeks before the board convenes (so you have time to send in changes) and ask if your package has been screened and if there is anything else that he/she needs from you for you package.
Other than that, college experience shouldn't matter (we had guys with none and one who was only 23 credits away from his degree), PFT score is huge and so are test scores (ASVAB, SAT, etc). The board only knows you by what you submit and it is briefed by one member to the others (so most only see your photo), so make sure everything you want them to know is in there.
 

MongoUSMC

New Member
pilot
Howdy all.
Was a MECEP myself and graduated in 2004. Just wanted to add that the program is designed to make you a Marine Officer...not pilot. There are still many more hoops to jump to get there and just being selected for the chance to become an officer is commendable. That being said, it was always in the back of my mind that I was going to be a pilot some day of the pointy nosed variety. So as you go through the gauntlet keep your blinders on and accomplish each step...get selected, pass MECEP prep or BOOST, graduate college (and get air contract early), OCS (is after your first year of college), TBS (do well and avoid being tagged as an air contract), API, Primary, Advanced.

Obviously not in the RAG yet so my blinders are on and my scope is limited as far as what happens after this.

1. getting selected... saw some great advice earlier on this... remember that at this point you are an enlisted Marine competing against other enlisted Marines of various MOS's. Gotta think about how the selection board is going to compare all of you. PFT, rifle range, CONDUCT... and the write up. While I was in the program I heard all sorts of stories about how other guys had generals writing letters in their package... I was not one of them... the officers I had for my letters were able to translate what I was doing in words that I believe the board could understand. So in other words, if there was an infantry officer on the selection board and he was reading about an aviation mech, he is not going to be overly impressed with a Lcpl with CDI, AGI, NSI etc. but if it is worded in a better way it would sound like.... "Lcpl has over achieved for qualifications normal for a Sgt and continues to accomplish tasks well above his grade." Extra education is another solid indicator of desire for this program... do the PME.

2. MECEP prep/BOOST... Not the same animal I know, but both have the same requirements...pass or go home. Big tickets at both the places are retaking the SAT and college selection. Get your nose in the books and take the prep classes, will pay dividends for getting into schools that you never thought were possible. Choosing the college is another big one... Knew a lot of guys/gals that just wanted to be closer to home... some were looking for the easier route. Time to remember why you are in the program... It's not to get a degree but to become a Marine officer, so I would advise selecting a college that sends competive candidates to OCS.

3. College/OCS... Get the degree and prepare for OCS. Bulldog should be a challenge, if it isn't you are not being prepared... That being said OCS is not overly difficult, but go in there with that kind of mentallity and you will be coming back again next summer for your final shot at it. AFTER OCS, start begging, kicking and screaming to take the ASVAB and flight physicals, the earlier you get this done before graduation the better. Have seen guys try and do this the fall of their senior year, they aren't wearing flightsuits right now. I'm not saying it can't be done, but at TBS the last thing you want to be doing with your 2 minutes of free time is taking ASVABS, flight physicals, etc... Just get it done. After that all you have is 2 or 3 years of getting your degree in underwater basket weaving and preparing for TBS.

4. TBS... see related links, I'm sure I have nothing unique to add.

5. Flight training... it'll be awhile.

OH yeah.. one more thing... Think age too. The Marine Corps is pretty solid in their age requirements for flight, most MECEPs will be pushing this... I had to get an age waiver for being 27 days over the limit... Have seen waivers for over a year get rejected, if you see you won't be able to graduate at 27.5 years of age, find a way to graduate early (extra classes, heavy summer workloads, college classes now) and try to find a college that will transfer a lot of college credit for your military time.
 

FlyMikeFly

Happiness is Vectored Thrust
pilot
Contributor
I had the opportunity to speak with a captain who (at the time) had just finished a month and a half in Quantico on a MECEP selection board, I think it was FY07. Anyways, he gave me some feedback on what they're looking for and some things that will get you turned down immediately.

1) Personal Essay- Limit this to two pages, do not include any frivolous info. Keep it personable, positive, and commentary. Include "Why you want to be a Marine officer? and why you think they should select you to earn a commission on the Marine Corps' dime.
2) Make sure your official photo is current and on file.
3) High School transcripts- highlight your class standing and GPA. This will help the screener, and will win you some cool points. Those two are the only two things they care about on the t-script.
4) Letters of Recommendation- Have at least three in your package. Make sure they're from commissioned officers that were in your chain of command, or are in your chain of command. Letters of Rec from third cousins who served in the Army Air Corps thirty years ago will not even be looked at.
5) Make sure your OMPF is squared away. Order a copy and go over it with a fine-tooth comb. They will pull this and have it at the board for review. The more complete it is, the better your chances.
6) Ensure your command, or whomever does your first endorsement, gets confirmation of receipt after they send it up to the next higher level. You may need to stay on top of them to get this done, but you need to make sure that it isn't just sitting on someone's desk (because this HAS happened).
7) Make sure your SAT is current and you score 1000 or better. If you took the AFQT you must score 74*. *This may vary from year to year, check the most current MARADMIN.
8) A 22-min run time on the PFT will make you money on getting picked.

Sorry if some of this was repeat from earlier posts. I have more that I can offer you if you're interested. GOOD LUCK!
 

FlyMikeFly

Happiness is Vectored Thrust
pilot
Contributor
There is an age restriction, but it's at the time of commissioning. I believe it is 27 and a half although I have no reference to cite here and now. The age waivers are becoming more challenging to grant these days so I've heard. I'll do some digging and find out some more info for you. I have a friend who commissioned last December at 28, and now he is doing IFS about to go to flight school. I'll get back to you on this one.
 

Crowbar

New Member
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Super Moderator
I got an email a while back from someone who had sat on the last two MECEP selection boards. I finally got in touch with him and got his approval to post it here. Hopefully it will help somebody out.
_____________________________________________

Leaders,

Just spent two weeks at Harry Lee Hall choosing the next generation of Marine officers at the FY10 MECEP selection board. The board agreed to recommend 100 superbly qualified candidates. I've got some gouge on the process I'd like to pass along--it is applicable to both your future candidates and how you, as RSs and RO's, write FITREPs:

Your candidates record is distilled into a 3-4 min brief like the following:

Briefer: "Here is Sgt Marine. He has a tattoo waiver. He is a 7202 and currently serving at PP&O. He has 5 years time in service, and has been a Sgt for 18 months. He is currently 23 yo and should be 27 at the time of commissioning [MECEP requires a waiver for a commissioning date past 30].

As you can see from his picture, he is 71", 185 pounds and looks immaculate in uniform. His current PFT is 300 and his last two PFTs were 300. [Expect CFT to become part of the briefing process for FY11]

He has excellent test scores: SAT of 1400, ACT of 31, GCT of 135, and AFQT of 95. He graduated Omro, WI High School with a 3.5 and was 4th out of a class of 96. He attended 1 year at the University of Wisconsin and earned a 3.0 before enlisting. He's currently enrolled in Central Texas and taking Core Classes (Calculus, English II, Comp) and holding a 3.9 GPA with 4 classes remaining until he earns his AA.

Following boot camp, Sgt Marine went to MCT and on to primary MOS school, where he was the Honor Grad. He deployed to OIF twice and earned a NCM during deployment. He earned the billet of Senior Weapons Director, which is a 1stLt caliber billet and was nominated for the Aviation C2 Marine of the Year. He was Meritoriously promoted to Cpl in 2007 and combat Meritoriously promoted to Sgt in 2009. PME is outstanding, he's completed 11 schools and SNCO Career course as well as 41 MCIs. He wears the GREEN Belt. Adverse Material: Sgt Marine received a 6105 counseling at MCT for underage drinking in the barracks. He addressed that incident in his essay and shows contrition and responsibility to the event, and chalks it up to immaturity.

Sgt Marine has a 4.7/4.7 PRO/CONS for service and has three FITREPs. He has two reports in the upper third and one in the middle third. He has an excellent RO profile, with 342 below and 18 above. Both RS and RO's provided (2) breakout comments to include: Maj Smith (RS): SNM possesses maturity, initiative and drive to operate successfully at the officer level, as he's doing it right now. Strongest recommendation for commissioning programs; LtCol Smithy (RO) writes: "Concur with RS, Sgt Marine is highly recommended for the MECEP program."

Marine has three LORs, one from his company commander, one from his squadron commander, and one from a professor at CTC. All letters paint a picture of a mature, driven, creative Marine who has a real thirst for knowledge with limitless academic potential.

Sgt Marine's essay is neat, concise, and clearly articulates why he wants to be a Marine officer. I was particularly impressed with this part of his essay:

The Interview board recommended "With Enthusiasm" and further highlighted his composure, bearing, and desire to become a Marine officer. Received endorsement of "With Enthusiasm" up the Chain of Command. His squadron commander ranked him 1 of 2, the Group ranked him 1 of 8, and 2d MAW CG ranked him in the top third of 18 applicants. Wing CG further added "Sgt Marine scores a 300 on the Integrity PFT. He's clearly earned the right to the opportunity to become an officer of Marines."

Pros: High test scores, 300 PFT, excellent essay, honor grad/meritorious promotions, demonstrated academic excellence.
Cons: p. 11 for underage drinking 4 years ago.

Summary: He's a winner with a excellent record. I rate him a 6"


That's pretty much it. I presume that the same is the case for promotion and other boards, not only for enlisted Marines. However, here are the things I keyed on for MECEP selection:

1. Test scores. A 90 AQFT or a 1300 SAT is hard to ignore. Most officers today don't have that kind of test scores. That grabs attention. However, if your Marine has a 78 [Minimum to apply is 74], that is equally unimpressive. A Marine could really help his cause by taking the SAT and scoring highly. A smart kid will score highly on one of the tests and elevate his stock.

2. Demonstrated leadership. Not surprising, a Cpl acting as squad leader in leadership is impressive. Doing well in MOS schools and establishing a record of leadership successes adds a lot to the Marine's package. Too many Marines failed to articulate (or have someone write a letter articulating) their leadership opportunities.

3. Hidden facts: SRBs just don't do a good job of capturing the nuances of a Marine's career. If a Marine was an Honor Grad or Marine of the Quarter or even Meritoriously promoted, the briefer wouldn't know about it the Marine didn't include that in his Essay or have a Letter/FITREP articulate it. DON'T ASSUME the briefer will know these smaller, but very important details!!

3. FITREPs. Obviously a big deal. The applicant can't necessarily change this, but RS's and RO's can really help there Marines with key comments. Most RS's and RO's filled their Section I and Section K's respectively with a bunch of superfluous language that does nothing but make the Marine happy. Reviewers: Be concise and direct. If you've got a fast-burner who might be good for officer programs, put that in. Briefers are looking for promotability, officer selection, or SDA/independent billets. Retain? Obviously. I've considered writing: "Briefer: SNM exhibits outstanding integrity and leadership. He is imminently qualified for promotion, officer promotions, and independent duty. Brief him as a 6" That's really all it gets down to, so consider what you need to write and what is just filler.

4. Essay. This is the wild card that can make or break a Marine on the fence. There were plenty of Marines that I rated a 5 that became a 4 after a poor essay and likewise went from 4 to a 5. 6s were usually 6s because everything was excellent. Three keys to a successful essay
* Discuss why you want to be a Marine Officer. I'm not going to put words in their mouths, but you guys know what needs to be in there.
* Highlight areas that might not be readily available in the SRB, such as Honor Grad, Marines and NCOs of the Quarter, Meritorious promotions etc. This is their opportunity to sell themselves.
* Discuss their past mistakes. Some of the best essays I read were by Marines who made stupid mistakes (shoplifting in high school, NJP as a LCpl, drug waiver for entrance, etc). Addressing these issues head on and discussing how they learned from their mistakes is actually rewarded in this forum. We as leaders all made these mistakes and either got caught and learned from them or didn't get caught but learned the lesson anyway.

5. PFT. If a Marine is hovering around the 230 range for his career, forget it. S/He can do excellent in every respect, but if we don't think he'll make it through OCS, he won't get the slot. I 285+ PFT is ideal, but the candidate really needs sustained average above 265 to be competitive.

6. Actual College. Lots of strong candidates did atrociously in high school, finishing safely in the bottom 5% of their class. However, they got great college scores. Be careful, however. A 4.0 from two classes in basic comp at Central Texas College does not equal a 3.0 from Univ of Texas in Calculus. Reviewers check the transcripts. Again, if a candidate has some tough core college classes, he should highlight that in his essay. Point here is that good college grades can demonstrate the capacity for complex learning even if the candidate was a poor HS performer.

7. History of success. Lastly, I personally took a look at an intangible for "winners." We all know who they are--guys who aren't the smartest, fastest, or that don't even test that well. However, these are the guys that GSD--Get S#@! Done. They finish at the top of their class in every class and are the go to guy for a lot of things. They are usually the Color Guard NCO and the guy you want to represent you unit. In other words, a winner. These guys simply WILL NOT FAIL at college or OCS. Sometimes, a good CO's letter will highlight that and sometimes it comes from the letter. If I thought the guys was a winner, I always bumped him into the 5 or 6 ring.
 

usmc_7836

New Member
I am currently applying to MECEP. So far I have an 89 AFQT, 279 PFT, Expert X4, Brown Belt, over 35 MCI's completed, PME complete, and above average FITREPS. I have also already been accepted to The Citadel. I have submitted my package earlier in the year and the board convenes the 24th of this month. Well the other day I get an e-mail from MCRC stating that I am lacking one of the college credit requirements. This year you have to have atleast 12 college credits with 3 being a basic english course, 3 for basic math, and 6 in any other classes. Well I have all of those requirements, but I CLEP'd my math course and MCRC won't accept my CLEP. Now just a few weeks before the board, I can't do anything because I'm lacking the basic math class. It doesn't state specifically in the MARADMIN that CLEP's are unacceptable, but it does state that the credit hour requirements are to be actual class coursework. I hate to be turned down because of a CLEP when I have everything else in order, does anyone have any ideas on what I can do or what could help me even be considered by the board this year? I have went through my chain of command, but it seems like nothing can be done.
 

aw0341

New Member
7386- It seems like your out of luck for this year. Call Mrs Lomax at MCRC and ask her. I doubt you will be successful because according to the MARADMIN (as you stated) you don't meat the requirements. Where are you stationed at?
 

usmc_7836

New Member
MCRC came back and said I can do a waiver. I'm not sure if it will work or not, but I've got my fingers crossed. Also, does the board look at your contract physical? I am asking because I'm not finding it anywhere in my OMPF, but I do have a current physical that was turned in with my package. I'm stationed at MCAS Beaufort, SC.
 
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