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  • OCS Federal vs OCS State

    Hello All,

    I am hoping to get some expert advice that I can share with my husband. He is currently slated to begin OCS Federal in November, but he is now wondering if the State OCS is a better option. He has been hearing mixed things such as it is better to do State OCS because of the networking and the opportunity to get better jobs (because the people assigning the jobs are often the ones who trained you). That Federal OCS is only good if you want to move to other places. Then others say the biggest difference is pulling the band-aid off slow or fast! My husband just wants to ensure that his choice will provide him with an opportunity to get a job.

    I am hoping that you can share your experiences, provide some insight, and/or point me in the proper direction so that I can do additional research.

    Thanks!!

  • #2
    Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

    I went through Federal OCS the same time last year. He's lucky and gets to miss the Benning heat. Obviously I'm biased, but I see it as the best OCS program, especially for non-prior service. I never saw the appeal of taking 18 months to commission if you can knock it out in 12 weeks. And unlike AOCS, FOCS gets weekends off to recharge (typically). Also, I have yet to meet anyone in person who has anything good to say about the State OCS program (although you may find some on this board).

    As far as branching and networking, that is state-dependent. I commissioned in February, so I wasn't competing against any ROTC or State OCS candidates. I had a good PT score and finished high on the OML (Order of Merit list), and got my top choice of branch after I submitted my preferences to my state. Some NG candidates at FOCS with me knew their branch at the beginning, and others like myself found out at or near the end. Others (Minnesota IIRC) returned home with no idea. What state are you from?

    Also, when you say "find a job," do you mean his branch/unit assignment, or do you mean civilian job?

    Also, FWIW, I remember an 09S with me at BCT who tried to get his state to switch him from FOCS to State OCS, and he was rejected. I'm guessing since your posting and not your husband, he's at BCT right now?
    Last edited by enceladus; September 20th, 2013, 12:53 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

      Originally posted by enceladus View Post
      Also, I have yet to meet anyone in person who has anything good to say about the State OCS program (although you may find some on this board).
      Doubt it...

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

        enceladus

        Thank you so much for responding. We are in Texas. And yes, he is in basic right now. He finishes at the end of October, and goes right into OCS.

        Regarding a job, yes, want I mean is him getting top choice in branch/unit assignment.

        One thing I read about state ocs is the constant reminder that in a few more days you have to go back to the "torture."

        So it sounds like so long as he performs well he has a good chance of getting a top choice?

        He just doesn't want to make the wrong choice, but hearing that he could apply for the change, but get rejected sounds like federal may be the only option.



        Originally posted by enceladus View Post
        I went through Federal OCS the same time last year. He's lucky and gets to miss the Benning heat. Obviously I'm biased, but I see it as the best OCS program, especially for non-prior service. I never saw the appeal of taking 18 months to commission if you can knock it out in 12 weeks. And unlike AOCS, FOCS gets weekends off to recharge (typically). Also, I have yet to meet anyone in person who has anything good to say about the State OCS program (although you may find some on this board).

        As far as branching and networking, that is state-dependent. I commissioned in February, so I wasn't competing against any ROTC or State OCS candidates. I had a good PT score and finished high on the OML (Order of Merit list), and got my top choice of branch after I submitted my preferences to my state. Some NG candidates at FOCS with me knew their branch at the beginning, and others like myself found out at or near the end. Others (Minnesota IIRC) returned home with no idea. What state are you from?

        Also, when you say "find a job," do you mean his branch/unit assignment, or do you mean civilian job?

        Also, FWIW, I remember an 09S with me at BCT who tried to get his state to switch him from FOCS to State OCS, and he was rejected. I'm guessing since your posting and not your husband, he's at BCT right now?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

          At this point his only recourse would be to talk to the National Guard liaison at BCT, and ask him to pass this request to his state/unit. By the time you write him a letter, he asks his drill sergeant to set up the meeting, the meeting happens, the liaison passes the info along, etc, you'll probably be approaching the window where funding is locked in. To be blunt, this is something he should have explored before he shipped.

          On the bright side, I still think he's a good place. I've talked to candidates who suffered through State OCS that would have given their left arm to go through FOCS. It's a unique opportunity for a NG officer to go through FOCS. I personally enjoyed my OCS experience (well, for the most part) and made some great friends that I still keep in touch with. Like I said, he'll be at Benning the ideal time of year...We got a 4-day off-post pass for Thanksgiving and President's Day, the 2-week Christmas Exodus fell right in the middle of the course, and we also got to spend one weekend in Atlanta, among other perks. Also, he won't have to worry about balancing his civilian job/OCS requirements like he would with State OCS.

          As far as branching in TX, I can't say. What branch is he interested in? Hopefully one of the O's here from TX can give you some info on that. I know one guy at FOCS with me branched Infantry and is heading to Ranger School soon, but that's one anecdote among the hundreds of lieutenants in TXARNG. But, certainly, performing well at whichever version of OCS he completes will increase his chances of branching what he wants to. As long as he's in good shape and not a jerk, he'll do fine. The graduation rate of my class was in the low 90's.

          When he comes home for Christmas exodus, have him get in touch his the TX Officer Strength Manager to see what his options are.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

            Quote Originally Posted by enceladus View Post
            Also, I have yet to meet anyone in person who has anything good to say about the State OCS program (although you may find some on this board).
            Doubt it...
            Please don't say, "In my experience...."

            The traditional program is painful but you do get to network and opportunity to see what's available or what are the better units. For AOCS or Federal OCS, he won't get that chance.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

              In the letter I received, he said the liaison told him state is better, that is why he is uncertain as to which option is best.

              It is good to hear that he will have a better experience in OCS. Since you mentioned weekends, will we know what weekends so that I can see him? Thanksgiving, will he get Wednesday-Sunday? And we can go anywhere? So we could go to ATL if we wanted for Thanksgiving?

              That is the biggest concern I have, the balancing act of training and his job. Plus, I imagine it is extending when he does BLOC.

              Sadly, I'm not sure which branch he is interested in.

              My husband is a great guy, dedicated and not a jerk, so I am sure he will do well on that aspect.


              Originally posted by enceladus View Post
              At this point his only recourse would be to talk to the National Guard liaison at BCT, and ask him to pass this request to his state/unit. By the time you write him a letter, he asks his drill sergeant to set up the meeting, the meeting happens, the liaison passes the info along, etc, you'll probably be approaching the window where funding is locked in. To be blunt, this is something he should have explored before he shipped.

              On the bright side, I still think he's a good place. I've talked to candidates who suffered through State OCS that would have given their left arm to go through FOCS. It's a unique opportunity for a NG officer to go through FOCS. I personally enjoyed my OCS experience (well, for the most part) and made some great friends that I still keep in touch with. Like I said, he'll be at Benning the ideal time of year...We got a 4-day off-post pass for Thanksgiving and President's Day, the 2-week Christmas Exodus fell right in the middle of the course, and we also got to spend one weekend in Atlanta, among other perks. Also, he won't have to worry about balancing his civilian job/OCS requirements like he would with State OCS.

              As far as branching in TX, I can't say. What branch is he interested in? Hopefully one of the O's here from TX can give you some info on that. I know one guy at FOCS with me branched Infantry and is heading to Ranger School soon, but that's one anecdote among the hundreds of lieutenants in TXARNG. But, certainly, performing well at whichever version of OCS he completes will increase his chances of branching what he wants to. As long as he's in good shape and not a jerk, he'll do fine. The graduation rate of my class was in the low 90's.

              When he comes home for Christmas exodus, have him get in touch his the TX Officer Strength Manager to see what his options are.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

                Thanks RedLeg,
                That is why he is now torn. He was not aware of the networking opportunity prior to signing up for Federal. Did you do state?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

                  Originally posted by bpweston View Post
                  It is good to hear that he will have a better experience in OCS. Since you mentioned weekends, will we know what weekends so that I can see him? Thanksgiving, will he get Wednesday-Sunday? And we can go anywhere? So we could go to ATL if we wanted for Thanksgiving?
                  Let me dial it back a little....I'm just one dude who is speaking from very limited experience. Don't make any big decisions based on my word alone. There are certainly benefits to the State program, and I've met some great O's who came out of it.

                  As for leave/passes at OCS, dont make any plans yet. They are at the discretion of the company/battalion commander, and often are limited to on-post or a certain geographic radius. We were allowed to go home for Thanksgiving if we wanted, and were given ample time to arrange travel while at OCS. You also may have duty during a pass, or it can get cancelled at a moment's notice.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

                    If he is already in the pipeline for Federal OCS, he should just take it. He'll have a far easier time IMHO if he sticks with it. He's already in the mode having just been through BCT and he won't have to worry with the on-again off-again that Traditional (State) OCS has with it.

                    I personally did Traditional, and though I value my experience, I'd have jumped at the opportunity to do Federal and/or Accelerated (an 8-week NG specific fast track program). In FEDOCS he'll go through a 12 week gentlemens course. It's physically and mentally challenging, but doesn't carry some of the other intracacies that both versions of NG OCS do....those that have been through it will know what I'm talking about. I personally think he's getting the better deal.

                    At the end of the day though, a commission is a commission no matter the source.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

                      I'm an "O" in Texas who's dealt far more with State OCS than should be allowed.

                      If he got FOCS in Texas, the stars were aligned at his birth and he is the chosen one....

                      Not kidding.

                      He'll have plenty of time to make connections, rub elbows with people and the like once he gets back. If he is staying guard, one of the best places to network and get names is at BOLC. As far as branching here, we have FA, Armor and INF plus a slew of support branches. Aviation is just about a NO GO for us and MI is about the same (Side note - I know an LT who pinned Dec 12 and is still working on an Aviation slot).

                      While true that he is not competing with other new LTs for slot at that moment, he will be up against the other commissioning sources that are part of the FY14 cohort for the slots that are dolled out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

                        Originally posted by bpweston View Post
                        Hello All,

                        I am hoping to get some expert advice that I can share with my husband. He is currently slated to begin OCS Federal in November, but he is now wondering if the State OCS is a better option. He has been hearing mixed things such as it is better to do State OCS because of the networking and the opportunity to get better jobs (because the people assigning the jobs are often the ones who trained you). That Federal OCS is only good if you want to move to other places. Then others say the biggest difference is pulling the band-aid off slow or fast! My husband just wants to ensure that his choice will provide him with an opportunity to get a job.

                        I am hoping that you can share your experiences, provide some insight, and/or point me in the proper direction so that I can do additional research.

                        Thanks!!
                        My personal opinion is that it will have no impact on his career whatsoever, and that the only factor is the timeline. I was glad to get the idiocy out of the way in eight weeks at AOCS, but that's just me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

                          Originally posted by Jersey Dirtbag View Post
                          My personal opinion is that it will have no impact on his career whatsoever, and that the only factor is the timeline. I was glad to get the idiocy out of the way in eight weeks at AOCS, but that's just me.
                          Amen. I went to both. I can say that State OCS depends upon the command. If your state as a whole is generally known to be substandard, AOCS will seem like Ranger School compared to State OCS.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

                            Thank you all so much! I am going to share this with my hubby and hope that it helps him out.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: OCS Federal vs OCS State

                              Federal OCS. Next would be AOCS.

                              The majority of "networking" you're gonna get in state ocs is with other Candidates. Its cool to know a ton of other 2LTs later on, but he's going to have plenty of time to do that as a 2LT.

                              Timeline is a huge advantage to either program in several ways. I'd personally opt for federal.

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