This is a much earlier update than my current pattern but I was inspired tonight and felt like updating this bad boy. I know I am long-winded, but what can I say? Anyone who is willing to have a little insight from someone who has gotten this far won't mind reading so it's really a choice of the reader, not the writer. With that said, I am about to nail the essay section the packet so please take note... you may appreciate my advice.
First of all, this was the part of my packet the SFC, my Recruiter and his 1SG were most impressed about, or at least that is what they all expressed to me. It wasn't one of the first things I did either. It wasn't until after my physical (literally two weeks before my board meeting) that I became serious about the essay and sat down and wrote it, then wasted precious pieces of paper hand-writing it--thats the SECOND part of this blog, which is also critical. I brainstormed for about a month prior to writing it and it wasn't even convencing to myself. I didn't know what the board wanted to read, what they were focused on, what they found appealing. None of this information was available on any site I searched, or any blog I read. HOWEVER, I read this particular blog which was extremely helpful http://armyfs.blogspot.de/ about this girl who applied for OCS years ago... 2006ish! I highly recommend people to explore this girl's blog. Meanwhile, as far as the essay was concerned, I really did not like hers. Ironic? Let's not forget, a few years ago Army OCS was 100% acceptancy and now it is not, so I wanted to be as original as possible. So, by reading her's I knew what NOT to write.
I thought about publicizing my essay here, but (1) I only let 1 other person (besides the board) read it and (2) I wanted to avoid plagiarism at all cause, so I was advised by my dear friend (the one who got to read it), that I only give very detailed pointers as to write the essay, or at least my thought process behind writing my own. I hope this is very helpful to some of you are struggling with the topic as to "Why I Want to be an Army Officer". This is going to be more like a college English class summary:
1. Be honest - Think of "why I want to be an Army Officer" as a question, not an explanation. Why DO you want to be an Army Officer? What makes your so unique? Why can't you just enlist? What are you bringing to the Army? This is your only moment to truly shine during the USAREC Board, so make it count.
2. Cut to the chase, first sentence should say everything - There was a young man, straight out of college a few weeks who e-mailed me via ArmyOCS Portal, asking for pointers. He didn't say one thing about himself until the 6th sentence of his introduction as to why HE wanted to be an Army Officer. Remember, the people reading these essays are already officers; do not make your essay a research paper on what you think leadership is. These people already know we are civilians, we do not have the background or knowledge as they do so there is no need in trying to prove you know something you really have no idea about... yet.
3. REMEMBER: you will not be at the USAREC board - If there is one thing you would say to the board, what would it be? Treat each sentence as if it were precious. Make each sentence count; in the intro quickly state your main reason... service may seem cliché, but you know what... why else would you join? Your life is on the line and Selfless Service is one of the Army Values. Elaborate about yourself in the body of the essay... How do you stand out? What have you experienced? How have you come to this conclusion?
4. Be a little self-centered - I say this only for the simple fact that you will not be present during the selection board, which (in my opinion) is the most important part. Use this moment to talk about yourself and your accomplishments WITHOUT sounding completely conceited and full of yourself. When you re-read your essay, each sentence should refer back to the original question "Why I want to be an army officer... I want to be an army officer because _____________________________________" imagine it like that... and if each sentence can fill in the blank more or less, you are on the right track :-D
And the conclusion just is what it is... give it a finish without sounding corny.
As far as hand-writing your essay, I know it may sound a bit odd, but according to the blog above, we are suppose to write it perfectly. That's such a subjective term, right? Well, "perfect" for me was typing it first, then literally writing the paper using the same boarders and font... literally. The first word of each line of my written paper was the same was my typed version... I said, literally... Some people may disagree, but hey... it worked for me! Took me a week and a half of non-stop "messing up and re-writing" but... IT WORKED!
People give a lot of importance to the numbers, such as PT, ASVAB and GPA when they look at the statistics of the packets for each round, but to be honest, it is all about the total-package. I found that the statement was a very important component, and I would not take it lightly since that is your only sense of presence at the USAREC meeting you have, without actually being there. Later your DA Photo, but as long as you look sharp, is it possible to go wrong during the DA Photo? Maybe I should write a blog about that too...
Please, if you have any more questions, do not hesitate to leave comments... I will even read essay's to critique them, despite the date you read this blog.