Can I join the Marine Corps after attending a University or college

Can I join the Marine Corps after attending a University or college?

you can join the Marine Corps as an enlisted personnel immediately after high school or as a commissioned officer after college.

Although college fees are quite expensive, joining the Marine Corps after college can be a great way to serve in the Military.

Reports show that about 200,000 people apply to join the Military every year.

180,000 of these, applied as enlisted personnel while only 20,000 applied as officers.

This huge discrepancy is because of the application requirements which often require college degrees for officers.

Hence, you chances are high for a successful application with college degree.

Applying with a college degree also allows you to graduate basic boot camp training as an E-2 while other candidates with no college degree remain at E-1, if you choose to enlist.Can I join the Marine Corps after attending a University

But if you join as an officer, other general enlistment trainings are skipped and candidates are trained in Officer Candidates School (OCS) for 10-17 weeks.

At the OCS, candidates are trained on how to manage enlisted personnel, give orders, assign tasks, plan missions and how to lead in battle.

Joining the Marine Corps after college also comes with great benefits such as the College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) that help college degree holders to repay their student loans up to a maximum of $20,000.

It also allows you to gain more relevant experience and training that prepares you for a leadership role in the Marine Corps at a young age.

Plus, advancements are quicker and more frequent when you join the Marine Corps after college. Of course, there is also the higher salary.

Do degree holders who enlist in the Marine Corps start at a higher rank?

First, it should be noted that there is a difference between enlisting in the Marine Corps and commissioning.

Enlisted personnels have specific knowledge, abilities and skills required to perform specialized functions that are critical to the success of their missions.

Commissioned officers, on the other hand, are trained to plan missions and coordinate enlisted personnels.

While enlisting trains you to perform the functions of enlisted personnel, commissioning trains you to be a Marine Officer.

That said, degree holders are usually advised by Military Recruiters to consider commissioning as an officer rather than enlisting.

They are quite different and commissioned officers do not enlist. Candidates who join the Marine Corps with a college degree

and successfully complete the Officer Candidates School (OSC) are graduated as Second Lieutenants (2ndLt).

It is the entry-level commissioned officers rank with command of a platoon consisting of about 16 to 44 Marines.

Second Lieutenants rank higher than all enlisted personnel and all non-commissioned officers.

Specifically, Second Lieutenants are the direct superiors of Chief Warrant Officer 5 and rank below First Lieutenants.

So degree holders who join the Marine Corps with their degrees and undergo officer trainings start at a much higher rank than their counterparts who simply enlist in the Marine Corps with high school diplomas.

Should I join the Marines before or after college?

Joining the Marines before college means you will only have the option of enlisting and you will have to start from the lowest rank of enlisted personnel, i.e. Private.

You will need more time, perhaps even decades, to rise through the ranks and reach your goal.

Plus, your low ranks in the Marine will also be reflected in your pay check. It’s the lowest pay grade in the Marine Corps with a basic salary of about $20,797.20 per annum.

On the other hand, joining the Marine Corps after college means you can undergo commissioning to become an officer.

Joining the Marine Corps as an officer means you start as a Second Lieutenant with a platoon under your command. It means more responsibility and more authority.

The higher rank also translates to a higher pay. A Second Lieutenant receive a basic salary ranging from a starting pay of about $39,445.20 per annum to $49,636.80 over the years.

Aside from the increased authority and increased pay that comes with joining the Marine Corps after college, you will also have more post-military career prospects.

If you ever want to work after you leave the Marine Corps, having a college training and degree will be indispensable.

It guarantees that you will have more opportunities for employment.

Plus, there are programs like the College Loan Repayment Program (CLPR) that will assist in the repayment of college loans.

The prospect and frequency of promotion when you join the Marine Corps after college is also greatly improved.

In light of the obvious benefits of joining the Marines after college, it would be a better decision to join the Marine Corps after college rather than before.

There is also the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program that provides stipends that cover tuitions,

books and other expenses to qualified students who enroll in relevant military and leadership courses during college or university.

It is a kind of military scholarship and the students are subsequently commissioned as officers in the Marine Corps.

What rank do you start out in the Marine with a college degree?

A college degree makes you a prime candidate to serve as an officer in the Marine Corps.

If you choose to commission as an officer, then you will start as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps with all the bells and whistles of the rank.

However, if you choose to enlist with your college degree rather commission as an officer, you will start out as a Private First Class or E-2 which is the second-lowest rank in the Marine Corps.

What does it feel like enlisting in the Marines with a college degree?

If you go through the Officer Candidates School (OCS) and become an officer in the Marine Corps, then you may have to deal with subordinates who doubt your competence or,

even worse, question your authority because of your perceived lack of military service experience.

However, your leadership training, character and the overall discipline of the Marine Corps will win out.

Enlisting as part of the other enlisted personnel will give you a different experience.

The experience will be greatly determined on whether people know you have a college degree or not.

Plus, how you relate with them matters a lot.

Understand that a lot of the enlisted persons only have high school diplomas,

so coming across as if you are more intelligent or better than they are is a sure way to get a nasty experience.

Be down to earth and never give your superiors reasons to feel intimidated by your degree.

More on United States Marine Corps

The United States Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775 to supplement the Naval Forces. At its inception, the Marine Corps was a completely independent part of the United States Armed Forces but Congress later integrated it into the Navy in 1834.

Although the Marine Corps operate as an independent part of the Armed Forces, it is still technically under the US Navy. As such the highest ranking officer of the Marine Corps,

i.e. Commandant of the Marine Corps, reports directly to the United States Secretary of the Navy.

The USMC carry out amphibious and expeditionary operations that include guarding US embassies, serving on US Navy ships,

protecting naval bases and protecting US interests anywhere in the world by providing a swift and ready strike force.

With only 184,100 active duty personnel, the Marine Corps has the third lowest number of active duty personnel of the six branches that make up the US Armed Forces.

But that does not detract from its power as the Marine Corps is regarded as one of the most elite fighting forces in the world.

Plus, the Marine Corps is a rapid response branch of the Military that makes it indispensable in cases of emergency.

That’s why it is regarded as the “tip of the spear of the US Armed Forces.”

Self-sufficiency is another key distinction of the Marine Corps. You see, the Marine Corps has its own logistics system, airpower and artillery.

Consequently, officers are trained to be perform specific duties that are essential to the self-sufficiency of the Marine Corps.

However, all personnel are properly trained to work as an infantryman regardless of any other special trainings.


This post has provided relevant information that the United States Marine Corps and the means to get the best out of serving in the Marine Corps. We hope you find it useful in your journey.

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Written By Michael Larry


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