The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is a necessary step in joining the military. The MEPS is a Department of Defense joint-service organization staffed with military and civilians. Their job is to determine if you meet the physical qualifications, aptitude and moral standards set by each branch of military service, the Department of Defense, and federal law. Each branch of the service has a liaison (representative) at the MEPS and each branch’s trip to the MEPS will be slightly different. Chances are your recruiter has told you what to expect and what to bring, here are a few extra tips that will help make your experience at the MEPS the best possible.
1. Pay attention – Your recruiter should have already told you what to bring, what not to bring, what to wear and what not to wear. Remembering what your recruiter told you will be very helpful, after all he or she is the expert in joining the military. You will also be given a briefing when you arrive at the MEPS, make sure you follow the rules. Each MEPS will have slightly different rules, but no sleeping during your processing and no cell phone use in the building are standard rules for all MEPS. The following additional guidelines will make your day at MEPS go much smoother:
- Remove all piercings.
- Do not use foul language. Profanity and offensive wording or images on clothing are not tolerated.
- Don’t wear a hat; they are not permitted inside the MEPS.
- If you wear eyeglasses or contacts, bring them, along with your prescription and lens case.
- Bathe or shower the night before your examination.
- Wear underclothes – both top and bottom. You may spend quite a bit of time in just your underwear, so “going commando” is not an option.
- Don't bring stereo headphones, watches, jewelry, excessive cash or any other valuables.
2. Be professional – This is part of the military hiring process, try to make a good impression. When asked a question, "YES and NO" are much better responses than "YEAH and NOPE." Remember you are representing your recruiter and whatever branch of the military you are applying for so act like it. I always tell applicants to wear shirts with collars and remind them that everyone at MEPS has a say in the military process so treat them with respect.
3. Get some rest – Your day at the MEPS is very important, it is important to be sharp. The MEPS process starts between 5:30am and 6:30am so go to bed early the night before. You will be tempted to stay up and hang out with the other MEPS applicants, but being rested is much more important. Not only will it make your day more enjoyable, it will help you do better on many of the physical tests including the vision and hearing tests. I suggest that you don't use the pool at the MEPS hotel. It can make you more tired and the chlorinated water can affect the vision and hearing tests.
Your day at the MEPS will be long, remember what your recruiter told you and follow the rules you are given at the MEPS. Be professional and courteous, the military job you are applying for could depend on it. And remember to get some rest. Being rested will help you do the best you can on the physical and mental tests. MEPS doesn't have to be a bad experience, it can be a day you look back on as the beginning of your military career.
Next Step: If you are considering joining the military, your next step should be to speak to a recruiter from the service of your choice. Military recruiters can help you determine which bonuses and career fields you may qualify for.