I have noticed that many of you are looking at the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) as something you actually enlist into and it is not. The DEP is simply where you are placed once you have enlisted into the Marine Corps and are awaiting to ship out and while in the DEP your title will be "Poolee." You can be in the DEP for as little as 1 day or as long as 365 days unless more time is approved. It is not something you choose to be a part of and it is very important you do not make the DEP program out to be something it is not.
I constantly get asked questions such as these: Should I enlist into the DEP? How do I qualify for the DEP?, Can I fail the DEP? How much do I get paid in the DEP? What uniforms do I wear in the DEP?, and can I skip the DEP?. These questions are proof that many of you do not clearly understand what the DEP program is for. You do not have a choice in regards to being in the DEP. And you should not be looking at your enlistment process as if you will be enlisting into the DEP because you will be enlisting into the Marine Corps and not the DEP. Just like MEPS, the DEP is just a part of the enlistment process. The DEP is made to give you future Jarheads confidence and it is made to make you hard-chargers feel good about yourselves by making it seem like you are now in the USMC and a part of something special. That is all it is. Do not make things out to be something they are not. You are not a Marine while in the DEP and if you quit the DEP or if your ass gets kicked out, you will not get a dishonorable discharge or any type of discharge. Your contract is simply cancelled and life goes on.
While in the DEP you are supposed to be learning your USMC knowledge, doing some good ole Marines Corps PT to improve your IST stats and learning about the USMC’s ways by speaking with actual Marines and by going to various functions/events that are USMC related. Not every recruiting station will run their DEP program the same way. Some recruiters are more motivated and have more resources available to use such as nearby USMC bases, while some recruiters really don’t put much effort into the DEP. So just because you heard of one Poolee who did certain stuff while in the DEP, this does not mean you will also being doing the same shit.
I can never get a straight answer about how often poolees attend DEP meetings and I think this is because it varies from recruiter to recruiter. Some poolees go to weekly meetings while others only go every other Saturday. Some even have meetings 2-3 times per week while others say they only go 2-3 times per month.These DEP meetings/events for the most part will be fun, especially at first. Keep in mind if you are in the DEP for 10-12 months, these Poolee events can start to seem like one huge pain in the ass.
Some recruiters who are more hard-core will demand that you be there for every single meeting and they will even threaten you with that if you don’t show up, then you may be kicked out of the DEP. Chances are really good that if your ass gets kicked out for not showing up to a meeting, then you are probably being kicked out because you are a flaky prospect and you are an at-risk Poolee and not because of missing a meeting. It is always in your best interest to attend every meeting, but you should never allow for these meetings to get in the way of your regular life in things such as work, school, family emergencies or engagements and things of this nature. Remember, you are not a Marine yet and they cannot force you to attend anything. If you are going to miss a DEP function, make sure you tell your recruiter as soon as possible that these are your intentions. And if you are constantly missing DEP events, don't be surprised if you get kicked out of the DEP.
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have friends who use illegal drugs, and or if you have a history of drug use, once you enlist and are part of the DEP, you want to avoid these friends as best as possible and you want to avoid locations/parties/gatherings that might possibly cause you to make a major fuck-up. This is a real problem which I see happen often. Some of you will want to party that one final time or you will hang around the wrong crowd and sooner of later you will let the pressure get to you and you will fuck up or you are going to find yourself in the wrong place. Try your hardest to avoid situations that can result in negative consequences. This also applies to drinking alcohol, driving recklessly, hanging with the homies, etc etc. Once you enlist you need to think long and hard about the decisions you make because it is way too easy to screw up. In the event you have any type of police contact meaning you get a ticket, into a crash, are arrested, etc, you need to let your recruiter know ASAP and don't lie to them. I know you will be scared, but you have no choice but to tell them.
And whatever you do, do not enlist into the DEP until you are 100 percent positive that you want to go through with this. Do not enlist to see if you like it. Do not enlist to see if your scholarship comes through or not. Do not enlist because you felt pressured. Once again, only enlist when you are prepared to follow through with this important decision. And in the event of a life changing event such as a death in the family, quitting/exiting/leaving the DEP is not going to be a problem. Communication is very important, so keep your recruiter informed of what is going on in your life.