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Traditional OCS attrition/drop out rate, and other questionse

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  • Traditional OCS attrition/drop out rate, and other questionse

    First of all, thank you for your service.

    A quick bit about myself: I am considering enlisting in the MA national guard with traditional state OCS in my contract. I have spoken with my recruiter. I am an attorney, and would have liked to pursue a JAG direct commission, but no slots are available in my region, so I am considering going for a commission "the old fashioned way:" basic then state OCS (I would be looking to do Military Intelligence or maybe Supply).

    I have considered entering the military at every stage of my life, and regret not doing ROTC during college or seeking a commission after.

    Now, I think the guard would be a good fit for where I am at in my life and career (I'm 26, will probably be 27 before first official PFT). I spoke with a recruiter, and he is giving a very rosy picture of OCS, and from my many friends in the military, I have a sense it's much harder than he's presenting it.

    I asked him what the attrition or drop out rate was for state OCS: He says 1-2%. I have a hard time believing that 98-99 out of every 100 officer candidates finish OCS successfully. What were the failure rates like in your OCS classes? What were the common reasons for candidates to fail/drop? What happens if I fail?

    I asked what kind of PFT scores I need, realistically, to be a competitive/successful officer candidate: He responded by telling me what I need before starting basic training, and then quoted the minimum passing PFT score. Can anyone tell me realistically, what I should be scoring on the PFT before starting this process (to basically not embarrass myself/be in the middle of the pack).

    I asked about how much choice I have in an MOS if I complete OCS: He says it's very open right now, but ultimately up to the needs of the Army. This makes sense to me, but can any of you offer an assessment of how many people from your OCS class got the MOS they wanted, how they did so?

    I need SLRP for my graduate school debt, he says I can get 50k for a 6 year contract, even after becoming an officer: But, if it's a maximum of 7,500/year, that only comes out to 45K for six years. What am I missing here? (besides 5 grand).

    Ok, so those are my questions. I ran a number of searches on the forums and online to find answers to these specific questions without much luck, so please don't respond with the "there's a search bar in the top right," answer, ha.

    Thank you for your responses. I am taking this decision very seriously, and hopefully that comes across.

    Regards,

    Last edited by NGwithJD; November 29th, 2013, 12:08 PM.

  • #2
    I would not concern yourself with the drop out rate of OCS because that could reflect numerous factors. If you want to succeed at OCS, then been in reasonable good shape that will provide you a good and decent PT score and show that you have leadership potential. I knew NCOs that failed OCS (and they were great at PT) because they were not officer material. Also, just understand as an OCS candidate, branch selection is based on numerous factors. You will have to sit down with the recruiter to get the whole low down on education and loan repayment benefits and do not sign the contract until you wholly understand what it entails.
    Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; November 29th, 2013, 02:21 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by NGwithJD View Post
      I asked him what the attrition or drop out rate was for state OCS: He says 1-2%. I have a hard time believing that 98-99 out of every 100 officer candidates finish OCS successfully. What were the failure rates like in your OCS classes? What were the common reasons for candidates to fail/drop? What happens if I fail?

      It's not very scientific but the drop rate is probably close to 50%. The bulk of the drops, are dropped on request. The candidates just don't want to deal with OCS. In my class, there were a few injuries and were medically dropped.

      I asked what kind of PFT scores I need, realistically, to be a competitive/successful officer candidate: He responded by telling me what I need before starting basic training, and then quoted the minimum passing PFT score. Can anyone tell me realistically, what I should be scoring on the PFT before starting this process (to basically not embarrass myself/be in the middle of the pack).

      If you can pass the minimum APFT, you can enroll into OCS. However, the better shape you're in the less chance of injury and if your state uses an OML for branching, the higher on the OML you'll be.

      I asked about how much choice I have in an MOS if I complete OCS: He says it's very open right now, but ultimately up to the needs of the Army. This makes sense to me, but can any of you offer an assessment of how many people from your OCS class got the MOS they wanted, how they did so?

      How branching is conducted will vary from state to state. Some use an OML, while others you can fill any open vacancy. There is a mix of needs of the NG, your needs/wants and what can provide you a long term career.

      I need SLRP for my graduate school debt, he says I can get 50k for a 6 year contract, even after becoming an officer: But, if it's a maximum of 7,500/year, that only comes out to 45K for six years. What am I missing here? (besides 5 grand).

      I haven't kept up on the education benefits.

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      • #4
        I appreciate you both taking the time to weigh in, thank you.

        Does anyone know about the SLRP issue? And anyone else who has also been through state OCS that can share what their class drop rate was like/why people drop or fail? Basically, I'm just trying to assess whether it's something I could succeed at. I graduated near the top of my class from two solid universities, and I believe I have a good work ethic, but I'll need to improve my fitness level.

        Can anyone point me to any sites/videos/literature that portrays what the state OCS experience is actually like? Or even just give me a rundown of what a typical OCS weekend is like?

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        • #5
          The drop rate is high because the days are very long. Most programs begin Friday night and end Sunday afternoon with little or no breaks. Compare this to a normal unit which usually has down time and evenings off. It's like basic training every drill. Most quit in the very early stages and go back to their units.

          Can you pass the course? Yes. The academics aren't hard and if you're in decent shape you should be ok.

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          • #6
            I would suggest speaking to your states OSM; he would be able to answer your questions regarding SLRP.

            Concerning the dropout rate at OCS, it varies upon phases, states, programs. I would say it is closer to 25% overall, with the first phase having the highest rate of drops. As Redleg has already mentioned, most drops are requested, there is an element of stress involved that some candidates don’t want to deal with. The other two factors that create a high amount of drops are, LandNav (a compass and a map kick some peoples butt), and feet (ensure yours are prepared for running in boots everyday).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by NGwithJD View Post

              I asked what kind of PFT scores I need, realistically, to be a competitive/successful officer candidate: He responded by telling me what I need before starting basic training, and then quoted the minimum passing PFT score. Can anyone tell me realistically, what I should be scoring on the PFT before starting this process (to basically not embarrass myself/be in the middle of the pack).
              One of the easiest ways to stick out in an negative way is to fall out of a formation run. These runs are really slow (8:30-9:00 pace for 3-5 miles in my experience), but during both OCS and at my unit people always fall out. Don’t be that guy.

              At Federal OCS (and I believe State OCS follows the same standard), you have to finish the 5-mile release run in 42:30 (or 8:30/mile pace) or risk being dropped from the course.

              Now if your definition of “competitive/successful” is finishing at the top of your OCS class, I’d say be close to 300 APFT with particular emphasis on the run. You compete with other candidates for branches, so the better you do, the better your chances of getting what you want. At FOCS, the release run times were one of the biggest separators on the OML.

              Also it seems your recruiter doesn’t have a lot of experience dealing with OCS candidates. It wouldn’t hurt to reach out to your state’s Officer Strength Manager for more up-to-date guidance. He can help give you an idea of what kind of officer openings are available. I would recommend asking him about Federal OCS. I’ve heard the same 50% State OCS attrition rate (DoRs) from LTs in my company. My FOCS class graduated 80-85% (with the remainder being injuries, land nav failures, and the one girl who got pregnant over Christmas exodus). It may not be an option, but it won’t hurt to ask.

              http://www.massnationalguard.com/Bec...didate_Program (contact info at the bottom of the link)

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              • #8
                Thank you, this is all very helpful information.

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