Things to Consider When Choosing to Join the Marine Corps

Recruiting Environment

Like the Army, the Congress decided to increase the size of the Marine Corps. However, the Marines have already met this goal by the end of Fiscal Year 2009 (September 30, 2009). Unlike the Army, the Marines never did have much of a hard time meeting their recruiting goals, despite the size increase.

With the exception of the Coast Guard, the Marine Corps is the smallest military service, and only needs to enlist about 38,000 new recruits per year (compared with the Army's average 80,000 yearly recruiting goal).

The Marine Corps requires a minimum ASVAB score of 32 to enlist. However, over the past four years, about 68.9 percent of all new Marine recruits have scored a 50 or above.

The Corps recruiting regulation only allows about five percent of their enlistees per year to join without a high school diploma. However, during Fiscal Year 2009, 99 percent of new Marine recruits had a high school diploma or at least 15 college credits. To even be considered for a GED enlistment, an applicant must score a minimum of 50 on the on the ASVAB (your chances are much better if you score at least a 90). The Marine Corps is the only service which requires a waiver if you admit to any history of marijuana use. However, if you've used pot less than 10 or so times in your life, it's very likely the waiver will be approved. The Marine Corps generally approves a higher rate of criminal history waivers than does the Air Force and Coast Guard, but -- because it is such a "physically intense service," generally approves fewer medical waivers.

In October 2009, the Marine Corps announced that it will no longer waive any criminal sexual offense, no matter what the circumstances.

While the Marines will consider qualified prior service applicants, all non-Marine prior service enlistees must attend the full Marine Corps basic training (the Marines are the only service with this policy).

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