Enlisted with Degree ---- Options

So I enlisted for Active Duty recently. I will be shipping out next month, right after I turn 26.
My tentative MOS is 35P, Cryptologic Linguist, which I am very excited to take on. I enlisted for 5 years, the first of which should be spent training at DLI.

A lot of friends of mine who are prior service slapped their heads when they found out I didn't apply for OCS. I have the desire to start off as enlisted, gain the experience, and learn the basics of soldiering. However, I understand how becoming an officer is something I should have pursued since I plan on being married within the next year or two.

I hear there aren't many slots for OCS. Recruiters don't mention OCS to Army applicants, and those I know that have asked more about it were advised to just go in enlisted, thus giving a better shot at applying during service. Is this just a ploy by recruiters to get these men to go through the quicker process?

Do I have any options? Would one have to wait until re-enlisting before applying for OCS? An issue for me is that I have a 5 year enlistment, and would be 31 when finishing it. Would I be past the age limit by that point?

I was also considering the possibility of going into the reserves after serving active duty, and possibly trying to earn a commission at that point.
I obviously have very much to learn about what applying for, becoming, and serving as an officer entails. But it's something that I have been convinced by friends that I should look into.

I am happy going in as enlisted. I want to start off learning from the very basics, and to determine what kind of skills I can bring to the table. I just want to know what my options are. Any help appreciated.

oh yeah, I also heard some things about Green to Gold. I don't really understand the info on the websites, so I would like to hear any info about that. Such as, how would it apply to me, already having a BA.

Thank you
Original Post
Green to Gold will not apply to you, that program is to earn your degree through a 2,3, or 4 year option.

You are close on the age limit, I just read an unwaiverable 28 as the maximum in the most recent MILPER message on OCS submission.

The reality is that you would have faced a long commissioning turnaround on your contract and ridiculously high direct commission standards for the board, (The only guy we got through the process in the last year had a Masters Degree and 280+ APFT and excellent board presence) only to reach an OCS class with a 50%+ failure rate. The Army has not taken this drawdown lightly on the officer corps and it seems like you have fallen into a great MOS. I wouldn't stress about it too much but if officer is your only goal, it may be difficult for you.
Thank you all for your responses. I figured the drawdown would have a big impact on the chances of getting accepted into OCS. And the failure rates are at 50% nowadays? Wow!

I wouldn't say being officer was my only goal. My decision to join the army had more to do with serving and life experience.

I will reassess things once I get settled in, and have a better knowledge of how things work. If I feel that the path is right for me, I'll take bighughes advice and give it a shot. Can't hurt! I'm excited for the next few years of my life, either way.
Well realistically once you are finished with your initial training, and start your actual job, you can apply then. Just as long as you are doing the right things and can obtain solid LOR's.All the while not letting bottom-dwellers you come across decrease your drive for your goals.

So to be clear here you will not have to wait until the end of your enlistment to start prepping your packet and submitting it for approval. You obviously will have to go through BCT, and DLI, and then once at your unit is when the race starts. Stay driven
It is a HUGE misconception among lots of people that, if you have a degree, that you SHOULD be an Officer.

The degree is a prerequisite for application to Army OCS. It is NOT a determining factor or guarantee of success at OCS or being an effective Army leader.

Not everyone is Officer material, regardless of their educational level. It takes a certain person, with the desire to lead and help develop others. It take determination just to apply for Army OCS. If you think that you should be an Officer JUST because you have a degree, then you are mistaken. I was accepted for OCS, attended, and was unfortunately medically relieved, but I saw some very "questionable" people get commissioned as well as some top-notch Officers come out of OCS. Having a degree does not guarantee success. It is a starting point, and nothing more.

I really wish this misconception would go away. Not everyone with a degree SHOULD go to OCS.

Originally posted by afromla:
I was also considering the possibility of going into the reserves after serving active duty, and possibly trying to earn a commission at that point.

Add 8 years to the date you signed in DEP. Once you complete your RA portion, the remaining time will be in the Reserve (IRR). It should be no problem to get you in a drilling status at the transition point or from the IRR.

There are 35P USAR positions near where your IP traces, I think an assignment is feasible.

If you can make SGT and complete WLC (not unreasonable in 5 years for a moderately motivated troop) you might apply for direct appointment. This way you could skip OCS.

If direct appointment won't work for you, you may apply for OCS

There seems to be (currently) a bit higher demand for Reserve officers.
Wow! First and foremost, do your own research! One of the most wonderful things about the Army is the fact that there are rules, regulations and instructions for virtually everything. I enlisted with a degree and I had my own reasoning to do so. Partially I wanted to expreience the Army as a Soldier, so that when I do become an Officer, I understand better what the Soldiers are going through.

Direct commissions are hard to come by and last I read in a MILPER, due to the draw down are virtually impossible to get as an active duty Soldier. Exceptions are for JAG and some specialties in the Medical Corp (i.e. Nurse, Physician, PA, etc). You can apply for OCS as soon as you get to your first duty station. However, letters of recommendation (LORs) are neccessary for this course of action, and can only typically be obtained once you have been with the unit for a while. Show your chain of command the caliber of Soldier you are, and your potential to lead as an officer.

If becoming an Officer is your goal don't let what others say your path should be determine your journey; do what's right for you. Green to Gold is still an option for you. You can do Green to Gold and earn a Master's degree. I will be starting my Green to Gold journey this fall.

To reiterate, you have to do what is best for you and your family. Only you know your desires, and can truely establish a way to reach your goals. I tell you this from experience.

I enlisted with a B.S. at the age of 27. I obtained the rank of SGT at 18 months TIS, I became a Staff Sergeant with 4 years TIS. I will, this fall, begin ROTC as a Green to Gold Active Duty Option Cadet. I am 32 years old, and did not need a waiver for this program. (If you obtain you commision through Green to Gold or OCS before the age of 35 you will be fine, and depending on the way you obtain your commision you can be as old as 38! Read the fine print, and know that there is an exception for almost every policy) Like I said, ultimately do what is right for you and your own goals. If everyone was an expert on life and what a person should or should not do or accomplish, then everyone would be successful, wealthy and prosperous. Good luck in your journey. I wish you the best.
Lots of great responses! Thank you very much, everyone.

I have been scouring the internet for information, but it seems like rules regarding earning a commission have been changing drastically in the last few years. Was seeking the most up to date info as possible, and haven't been disappointed using this forum.

I found that if I go to DLI, I actually have to wait a year after being assigned to a permanent duty station before I can put in a packet for OCS. If things work out the way I hope they do, I should have a narrow timeframe to go for it before hitting my 29th birthday.

I think it would be great to have that extra year to know if attempting to earn a commission would even be right for me. My goal is to reach my full potential, and make the best out of my army experience. I'd rather fall short than regret not having given it a shot.

Medicnco: I had heard something about Green to Gold also being applied towards a master's. Thanks for confirming that. Very interesting information regarding age..I hadn't seen that before. I will definitely be researching that more. I was intending on working toward a Master's anyway, or at least another Bachelor's.

Daddy Warcrimes: Thanks for that info on 35P being available in the area! That's really good to know. I figured getting commissioned in the reserves may be less difficult, and am definitely considering that as an option. I had a friend recently do that. But I had wondered what MOS' would be available should I decide to go reserve, and it's great knowing 35P is on that list.

I still have a lot to learn and experience. I just have a habit of spending all my time researching and planning ahead. I got 5 years ahead of me, but I'm already thinking 6 years ahead! Before enlisting, I approached it as doing a stint to experience something I've always wanted to do, and relive my dad's own experience. As my ship date approaches, I've been getting more excited about this journey ahead. Someone somewhere must be laughing at my naivete, but I feel like I'm going to enjoy my time in the Army. The challenges seem a lot more exciting than what I've seen in the civilian world so far.

Lastly, what are my chances of pursuing my longer term goals while at DLI? I know I will be consumed by the task of learning my language and passing the program. But will there be things I can do to work towards earning promotion points, and basically proving myself? Or will my 52 weeks(or more) be a sort of limbo. I know I should probably start a new thread on that, but seems like I got a good group here.

Thank you.
Lastly, what are my chances of pursuing my longer term goals while at DLI? I know I will be consumed by the task of learning my language and passing the program. But will there be things I can do to work towards earning promotion points, and basically proving myself? Or will my 52 weeks(or more) be a sort of limbo. I know I should probably start a new thread on that, but seems like I got a good group here.

You don't have time, if you are learning a difficult language, to do anything but study the language, unless you happen to be some sort of genius at learning languages.

Every day you will come home from school, and have to do homework/study, and you will already most likely have a massive headache from the school.

This is coming from someone that graduated with a 3/3. So if I was able to get a 3/3 and still felt that it was difficult, imagine if you are struggling to pass how much time you WON'T have.

Your current career while there is much more important than your long-term goals. Because if you fail the course, 35P is language dependent....which means you won't have a job.

Too many people treat the school as a joke or like college, and that's why so many people fail.
Originally posted by afromla:
I expected that to be the case. I figure I'll be able to use the year to push my PT scores while focusing on school.

After you graduate AIT and head to your first duty; go to the education center and speak to the ROTC counselor in using it to get your masters.

Yes, I agree that not everyone that has a degree should apply for OCS but if you have that desire; then why not pursue it. Or go Warrant later on.

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