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Starting an Enlisted Application for OCS

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Some tips to help you cross over to the Dark Side. :p :icon_smil

To get started on the package, you should download OPNAVINST 1420.1A

Read it, including the checklist in the appendix.

Starting the Application
1. Review/Start the application, figure out which designators you qualify for and are interested in. A good source to go to for info on each community is the Bupers website under Community Managers. The requirements for your app/physical/scores will be dependent on what you choose, so decide before you get much further. Talk to the officers in your chain-of-command about your application to get their opinions on which designators will be best for you. Keep in mind, they will be biased toward their own community. This is also a great time to start hitting them up for letters of recommendation. Unless you are a complete dirt-bag, you will get tons of support from the officers in your chain-of-command, especially the former enlisted ones.

Pre-commissioning physical
2. Call Tricare to schedule a Pre-commissioning physical, this could easily take over a month to get done.

Taking the ASTB
3. Call the recruiters to set up your test, they usually have it at least once a month. Don't necessarily take the first available date. Give yourself some time to study. If you rush into it and do poorly you can retake it, but there is a mandatory wait period, 30 days for the first re-take I think. Find as much study material as you can for the test. Look at the ASTB forum on this site for some great info. There are study guides to download and discussion about other study materials and strategies. I used the ARCO study guide, the Navy's Basic Machines correspondence course, and a book called "How to be a Pilot" I picked up at a local bookstore. The Basic Machines course is available on the Navy Advancement Website. You will need to log-in to access it. I highly recommend this book for everyone, especially those without a technical degree. I initially took the ASTB 8 years ago for the Seaman-to-Admiral program and got a 54. I hadn't had any college at that point, and didn't take physics, trig, or calc in High School. It covers most of the mechanical comprehension questions I remember from the ASTB, including: levers, block-and-tackle, inclined planes, hydraulics, gears, work, power, force, etc.

4. Look at the designators you want to apply for, and the officers available at your command to determine whether you will have to go outside for any interviews. The instruction says you need at least one in each desig. Make sure you involve your Chain-of-Command if you need outside interviews. Always make copies of your complete package and provide it to each of your interviewers at least one day prior to your board. This gives them time to prepare and gives you an opportunity to meet them in a less formal setting prior to the board. You don't want them to see your package for the first time when your interview starts, it's no fun to sit around for 10-15 minutes while the board members read your package (can happen if you trust the Career Counselor to deliver your package instead of doing it yourself :irked_125 ).

5. Order all your college transcripts; you don't want to be left holding your package for something as simple as this. If you are due to graduate and will complete all other items prior to your grad date, talk to your advisor or registrar about getting a letter ASAP in lieu of the pretty diploma. I submitted a certified "completion of requirements" letter with my package just to get the ball rolling, prior to sending my official final transcript.

These are some important initial steps, in the order that makes most sense to me based on the time it took for me to complete them. However, this is not set in stone! I actually took my ASTB over a year before I applied. Your scores are good forever, but if you retake it, the most recent counts.

You will need your command to get involved at some point (interviews, recommendations). So, painful as it may be, keep your CCC, and Chain-of-Command informed. Who knows, the system might actually work for you, and make your submission easier. ;) The first step at my command was to run a request chit to apply to OCS. This chit went through the CCC, and everyone else up the chain to the CO.

Good Luck! :thumbup_1


Twidget, Not only is this great advice for an OCS package, but excellent advice for anyone considering an officer program. Thanks for the posting!


Registered User
Wow! That is some great information. Thank You! Can I submit my package to my CoC even if I only have 4 classes left? I will be 35 years old in November 2006. What is the best thing for me to do. The CCC here does not really have any information for me as far as OCS; I have been doing everything online myself; it’s really hard to get help on this. Anyway, I have not taken the ASTB yet and in order to take it I have to fly 6 hours away from where I am currently stationed. I hope I don’t have a difficult time with the ASTB because I haven’t taken basic classes in years. Well, what advice can you give me.


If you are in your last semester with an anticipated graduation date, by all means get your package rolling. The ASTB is a huge part of the early qualification process, helping to determine what you can apply for and for what designators you may be competitive. There are a multitude of resources to use for preparation including: the gouge on this site (highly recommended, the Navy Basic Machines correspondence course (available through e-learning), the ARCO guides (available online at no cost at www.petersons.com/navy ), the Cliff's Notes guide, and anything else you can get your hands on.

Send me a PM and I'll try to get you in touch with the Enlisted Apps Processor, maybe he'll have another way for you to get the ASTB out of the way without all the travel, though if you're at a remote station you may just have to make the trip. At the very least, he may be able to give you some guidance about where you sit in relation to other enlisted applicants, and help you pick your designator.

Good Luck, and feel free to post, PM, IM, or email any other questions.



Registered User

Thanks for the great information. Do you have any further recommendations for us enlisted? I think that the ASTB is what worries us the most. Do you know if the Navy College Office on the bases offer this test?




No, I don't know of any Navy College Offices that give the test. You need to get in touch with the Recruiting District in your area to find out where they administer the test. Find the NRD near you at theNavy Recruiting Command website. As far as any other advice, if there's anything you're wondering about, just ask. Maybe it will jog my memory to come up with more info.

The ASTB is probably the most stressful part of the process, since everything else should take care of itself. If you've been doing a good job, and can express yourself with confidence, your evals, interviews, letters of recommendation, and C.O.s letter should all reflect that. Likewise, your GPA and PRTs show your academic and fitness past performance. All these items are more of a reflection of who you are and what you've accomplished through your experiences.

The ASTB, and to some degree the recommendations, are more measures of what your potential as an officer. It's really the only level playing field evaluation of candidates, as so many things from your record are dependent on your duty station and the people you work with. Evaluating GPAs as an indicator of potential is also very subjective due to applicants wide range of schools and degrees.


Another note, especially where letters of recommendation are concerned; be bold and confident! Letters of recommendation from senior officers, especially Admirals, in the designator for which you hope to get selected, carry a tremendous amount of influence. Of course, the key with any letter of recommendation is that it be substantive and sincere. If your CO thinks you'll make a great officer, try his or her boss too!


"What's the worst they could do....say no?" :)
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