Bad Idea?


May 19, 2011
Last month I was accepted to Virginia Military Institute. I plan on attending in the fall. Everyone at VMI is required to do ROTC for either Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force. Since it is not a service academy like West Point or Naval Academy you do not have to commission after you graduate. I plan on enlisting with a recon contract after I graduate. I was wondering since the Marine Corps is sizing down, will it be hard for me to obtain a recon contract in 3 years? Is this a question I should ask a recruiter? Also I've been told that I should just enlist now instead of going to college first and not commissioning. I have always wanted to enlist, but I want to get my degree first, and VMI appeals to me. I also feel like going through ROTC there will make me more competitive at BRC.
I knew a kid YEARS ago when I was in boot camp who joined the reserves and attended VMI. Only way to guarantee a Recon contract now would be to join one of the USMC Reserve Reconnaissance Units. Depending on your location this may be a viable option for you.

I can't speak for AD contracts other than those for Lat Moves.

Also, focus on becoming a good officer and scoring an 0302 slot at OCS/TBS, its great to have a dream and a plan, but everyone here will tell you, "Focus on the 25m Targets first." In other words, focus on what you can tackle now, rather than the maybes and Ifs down the road.

Good luck to you, mate!
Thanks! And if I join Reserve and then attend VMI would it be difficult to switch over to active duty after I graduate? How does that work?
IF you joined the Reserves AND you finished your undergraduate, you could choose to sign an AD Marine Officer Ground contract. However you could also attend PLC during your summer months off while still in the reserves as well. Lots of options for you kiddo, you just need to decide what is most important to you.
You have 4 years to decide if being an officer is right for you. I had several dozen guys in my OCS (Army) class who decided it wasn't for them and they punched out.

Like Castle said, you have options.
go to fucking college, see how you feel with a degree in your hands. Don't be an idiot, you have the means to attend a school for free? Do it, then enlist if your still up for it.
Thanks! And if I join Reserve and then attend VMI would it be difficult to switch over to active duty after I graduate? How does that work?

At this point in time, that may be easier said that done. Right now, there are many good Marines at my unit trying to go active duty but are running into walls and unable to do so due to a lack of funding and the needs for the Marine Corps.

F. Castle and Uncle Petey have great advice.

I would say go to college as well, but try to do so while enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve Recon unit.
This will allow you to do both of the things that you want. Then, you have quite a few more options at that point. You can go OCS for active officer, or try and go active duty enlisted (which may be easier after your initial 6 is up just from experience).
I would say go to college as well, but try to do so while enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve Recon unit.

The one issue with this is the military takes precedence over schooling. Training and schools can wreck havoc on a schedule at times. I tried that and missed numerous quizzes, midterms, and finals. Luckily my professors all worked with me, but I have heard many stories of professors not willing to work with student reservists. Not only that, but trying to get reading done or studying for a test on drill "weekends" takes your focus off of your task at hand, as does worrying about getting enough sleep right after drill for the final on Monday.

Just throwing out a little experience to help make a better decision. I agree with school first. Focus completely on that, then if you still decide to enlist, you can focus 100% on that once school is completed.
VMI? That stand for "Vagina Means Impurity"? I'll adjust my previous advice, go somewhere you can get laid, you know some place that sex is not an awkward glance in the shower after PT, followed by an hour of vigorous soaping and self disgust....Try a state it. LOL
A new recruit has every option in the Corps open to him while a prior service reserve Marine has to wait until after Jan 1st and then compete for a boatspace MOS or lat move into an approved MOS. If you want to know how it works this is the standing MCO. 1130.80A.pdf

It's your choice alone, but I would recommend you choose one route and put all of your effort into it. Don't worry about what might be available in 3 your best with whatever you're given and you'll rise to the level that you aspire.

And a big +1 to Uncle Petey's call on the school. College Student is the best MOS you'll ever have. Being around people (and really smoking hot, smart women) who don't all share your beliefs is a great life experience that forces you to think and defend your ideas. I think it's better for a young leader to be exposed to all kinds of people rather than a bunch of other guys just like you, with haircuts just like you, trying to have an officers career just like you, not getting laid just like you, etc, etc.
I think it would work to try and get the best of both worlds. You can go to college and be in a reserve unit. Yes, as everyone has said on here that can be difficult. I'm not in an infantry or recon unit so I can image that the training and optempo may be a little more demanding that what I have. However, instead of only focusing on military or only focusing on college, you can try to do both. It's really going to be a matter of which one takes a higher precedence in your life. Or, you can just go to a non-infantry unit, go to school, then try and change units once you're done with the degree (that's my plan).
Do you plan on enlisting or accepting a Comission as an Officer. If you plan on enlisting I would advise against taking the Recon contract if you plan on being an Infantryman whether you make Recon or not. The reason is when you go in on a Recon contract & don't make you automatically become Open Contract. Open Contract Marines have to chose between a list of immediate need MOS's none of them will be Infantry which usually has a 3-6mth waiting list. The best way to do it is to come in under an Infantry Contract go to ITB get your 03XX & after completion each class is asked who wants to volunteer for Recon screening.
SCCO, I do still plan on enlisting after. Thanks for the advice, I always thought that if you didn't make it (I plan on being as competitive as possible) you did go to Infantry. So they will ALWAYS ask who wants to take the Recon screening after ITB? And they let whoever volunteers take it?Because if that it the case it does sound like a better decision to enlist under an Infantry Contract.
Dude, I totally agree with the Old Man Uncle Petey about going out, smoking some beers and drilling cooch like black and decker. However, if you're fucking HELLBENT on becoming a Recon Marine, call up a recruiter and look into one of their Reserve units. They are in Georgia, Texas, Illinois and California. (There may be one in NM, but not sure) Do the research, and see if you're even willing to travel that much distance to train.

As far as teachers go, if they give you hell, raise hell. Most teachers are more than willing to work with you, but if they're not don't be afraid to raise the bullshit flag. I did the same thing when I was in college and I only ever had one teacher who acted like a dickhead, he stopped shortly after I called Student Services.

Also, you need to realize that just because you were an enlisted Marine in the Infantry or a Recon Company, does not GUARANTEE you a slot at 0302 or 0203. I have several prior enlisted friends who were studs in the 03 field go on to become Officers in Motor T, Supply etc. And NOT by their choice either.

Bottom line is, do your research before you make any rash decisions. And if you smash some hotties post about it.