You have decided college is your next step after the Marine Corps. Now what?  Where do you begin and how do you handle all the paperwork required to apply?  Remember, you are NOT the same person who entered service, so give yourself credit for the life and work experiences you have attained since joining the Marine Corps.  Here are a few helpful suggestions to get you through the process.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Visit the Education Center on your installation and talk with the staff about your plans.  If you qualify, check out the Marine Corps Leadership Scholar Program, which was specifically developed to assist you with the admissions process and help you work toward getting into the college of your choice.  The first step is to create a list of target universities, including reach and safety schools. There are many great tools on the web that can assist you in your research.  Remember, there IS a school which is a good fit for you.

Start the application process

Make sure to follow the application process defined by your school, and ensure you track deadlines!  Confirm whether you would be considered a freshman or transfer applicant.  Make sure you meet admission requirements, especially for your intended major.

When completing the application:

  • Fill it out in as detailed a manner as possible and submit any required supplements
  • The essay questions may seem difficult to answer, as sometimes they are geared more toward a high school student.  Don’t stress, find the best possible way to answer the question and make sure your “voice” comes through
  • If required, send in your SAT/ACT scores by going to or  If you have not taken the SAT or ACT, you can visit your local Education Center to find out how to prepare and register for the exam
  • Request Letters of Recommendation.  Get on this early so your referral has plenty of time to write you a glowing recommendation
  • Request all official transcripts be sent to the university
  • Submit your Joint Services Transcript, in case you have recommended credit for those courses

Other things to consider

  • Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and look for other financial aid opportunities
  • Visit eBenefits and begin the process of filling out the paperwork
  • Make a copy of your DD214
  • Save a copy of ALL of your paperwork.  If you have talked with anyone in the Admissions Office about specific questions related to your application, always write down their name for future reference
  • Contact the Leadership Scholar Program, to ensure your application goes to the top of the pile

To learn more about preparing for about undergraduate admissions process, click here.