NMC2010

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ModifiedBass

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Might as well get this thread started. Don't recall which branch of service you're in, but doubt that matters much in regards to BOLC. Could you just give a brief overview of your experience, weekly schedule, etc.? Was considering doing it this summer as well before school, but decided to do it next summer.
 
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NMC2010

NMC2010

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Alright, so I'm Army HPSP. I'll preface all this by saying I enjoyed BOLC and met some cool people I hope to stay in contact with. Also, it's pretty laid back since you're an officer, AKA, nobody will be dumping out all your stuff on the floor while you're doing drills, no sergeants screaming at you or anything like that.

BOLC is 6 weeks total, separated into two 3 week portions. The first 3 weeks is didactic and takes place at Fort Sam Houston. The last 3 weeks are field training, done north of San Antonio at an Army camp called Camp Bullis. There will be 8-10 platoons (50 soldiers each), so 400-500 other students in the course with you. A majority of your time will be spent with your platoon, chosen based on alphabetical order of your last name. Since you're an officer, they'll expect you to be in leadership positions. They will either ask you to volunteer or assign you to be a battalion, company, or platoon leader, platoon sergeant, or squad leader. This means you're responsible for others in your squad or platoon. Accountability is HUGE to them, and they'll get unhappy if this isn't done right.

Also, be sure you ALWAYS have your orders with you. Make sure you send them to the travel agency too, or you'll have to pay for your round trip flight. Here's a general idea of what to expect:

Didactic 3 weeks:
- #1 thing you will do for the whole course: wait. You will do a lot of sitting around between waiting for buses, classes to finish, etc. The Army's unofficial motto is, "hurry up and wait."

- First will be in-processing. This is basically just a paperwork dump. You'll spend the first 3-4 days doing paperwork, getting introductory lectures to the Army, learning about basic finance, Army living, overview of what you'll learn, what you'll need for next few weeks, etc.; just standard things you'd expect at any orientation.

- You'll have time to go to the Exchange store to buy some gear you didn't purchase online. You can also get ranks sewn on to your hat and get dog tags and things needed for the field here.

- When not in class, you'll practice basic Army drill (how to march, move in ranks, etc.) on a daily basis

- 2-3x/week you will do physical training (PT), and will be required to take a diagnostic PT test the first week. The PT stuff is done all 6 weeks, and encompasses basic warm up and conditioning drills to work on cardio and flexibility. You'll be getting up at 4 AM in the morning to do this.

- First classwork will be about Army values and leadership characteristics

- Most of the remainder of classwork focuses on "Resilience training," which is a lot less exciting than it sounds. This is essentially an attempt to teach you how to have a successful mindset in a leadership position

- Other classwork in second week involves learning about counseling, promotions, regulations, and AR form numbers

- The last week will focus on more relevant things. You'll learn the different roles of care traveling from the battlefield to the combat support hospitals (CSH). These are called Role I, II, and III. Also mixed in with this will be IED training, composite risk management (CRM), land navigation training, and some other things I forget

- A typical schedule might be like this:
+ 4 AM: Wake up, go to PT
+ 6 AM: Go back to hotel, shower, eat breakfast
+ 7:30 AM: Go back to AMEDD building at FSH to stand in formation for breifs
+ 8 AM: Classes
+ 12 PM: Lunch
+ 1 PM: Classes
+ 5 PM: Dinner
+ 7 PM: Return to hotel

- There is a midterm and final exam over stuff you learned

- Your hotel will be on San Antonio's "River Walk." This is a nice walk along the river (surprise) that's connected to a ton of restaurants, bars, a mall, stores, random attractions, and the Alamo. It's a pretty awesome place to stay, and you're free to do whatever on the weekends so long as you don't get arrested for being drunk.

3 Weeks of Field Training:

- This is going to be warm. Drink a lot of water and have some patience. You will be in full ACU's (Army Combat Uniform), will be wearing a MOLLE vest, carrying an assault pack and your M16. You may also get stuck carrying a radio for a week (beware if they ask for 11 volunteers). They will ask you to volunteer for many tasks like ammo, trash, and chow duty. You WILL stand around in the sun in formation doing nothing quite often

- You stay in tents (they're air conditioned, hallelujah), but are not allowed in them till 5 PM or later.

- You still do PT

- Classes are mostly interactive = you're doing what you learn

- Learn how to clean, sight in, and fire your weapons safely. These are the M16 (rifle) and M9 (handgun). You will be tested on how to clear, disassemble, reassemble, and do a functions test on both of these weapons. You will also have to clean them, and will get to fire them on the range

- Learn how to assemble and transmit messages on a radio, learn how to send a 9-line medical evacuation w/ military alphabet. You will be tested on both radio assembly and sending a 9-line

- Do land navigation using compasses and maps to find and navigate to different coordinates. You will be tested

- Go through the NCS gas chambers (tear gas) so you can learn to "trust your mask"

- Perform the Role I, II, and III medical evacuations the final week

- A typical day looks pretty similar to the didactic portion. Get up, PT, breakfast, activity, lunch, activity, dinner, return to tent

- You will be eating MRE's once or twice a day, and will have at least one hot meal provided per day

- Drill and Ceremony competition

- Come back and graduate!

I'm sure I missed some things here, but the list is pretty comprehensive!
 

agent2362

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your hotel isn't always on the river walk in San Antonio. My BOLC last year (2013) was only 3.5 weeks long and we stayed at the military motel on Ft. Sam (aka renovated barracks). We did all the didactic online so we skipped most of the first 3 weeks. We also didn't do PT very much. Aside from learning how to wear a uniform and learning proper military protocol, I cannot say I think BOLC is very useful (to dentists at least, since it is oriented at understanding battle field casualty care, mass casualties, ect) and its very boring (e.g. at Camp Bullis it took us two 16 hour days to get 350 people to fire 40-50 rounds). Maybe they should shorten it to a long weekend and cut out the extraneous stuff. However, you are getting paid for all this stuff and you get to hang out with some great people, everywhere from 1st yr med school to residents to prior 18Ds (former Green Beret medics = awesome dudes) to seasoned surgeons (one surgeon in my class 'started' in at the rank of L. COL due to his prior experience).

I think I appreciate the experience now more than I did a year ago. No doubt there are annoying things (lots of silly online modules to pass every year, commanders call, ect) but you find tedious annoying aspects to any job, civilian or military. It's an experience you will remember.
 
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AirborneDentist

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Great comments. One thing I would like to add is the 6 week course is only in the summer for those officers that graduate dental school on time. Those that cannot go to the HPSP course go to the 3 month course that follows.
 
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Hey did they give out physical fitness honors during bold for those who scored well?
 
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NMC2010

NMC2010

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Hey did they give out physical fitness honors during bold for those who scored well?
^ Agreed with agent2362 above.

It goes on your ORB (officer record brief) if you score a 90+ in each of the 3 sections (pushups, situps, 2 mile run) for 270+/300. There was also one special award given to the male and female that scored highest on the APFT. The male was in the 360s, female was in the 340s (you can exceed 300 if you get above the "100 score" in each of the 3 categories).
 

AirborneDentist

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^ Agreed with agent2362 above.

It goes on your ORB (officer record brief) if you score a 90+ in each of the 3 sections (pushups, situps, 2 mile run) for 270+/300. There was also one special award given to the male and female that scored highest on the APFT. The male was in the 360s, female was in the 340s (you can exceed 300 if you get above the "100 score" in each of the 3 categories).

If you score high on the APFT, it does not go on your ORB. It may go on your Academic Evaluation Report (AER) from BOLC or Officer Evaluation Report (OER) once you get to your duty station.
 
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NMC2010

NMC2010

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If you score high on the APFT, it does not go on your ORB. It may go on your Academic Evaluation Report (AER) from BOLC or Officer Evaluation Report (OER) once you get to your duty station.
You're absolutely right, sorry for the typo there - thanks! I mix the two up as I've never actually seen either of them, aside from touching up on them in some of our BOLC lectures last year.

They also noted if you scored well on the didactic portion of the course on your AER, if anyone was curious.
 

AirborneDentist

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Your PT score won't be a big deal on your eval from BOLC. However, once you get into the Army and get an annual evaluation, it will be a bigger factor.
 
Apr 27, 2015
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What's the hotel situation for the first 3 weeks- do we have our own room? And if so, would it be reasonable/possible to have the girlfriend come down and stay with me for a week-ish?
 
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NMC2010

NMC2010

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What's the hotel situation for the first 3 weeks- do we have our own room? And if so, would it be reasonable/possible to have the girlfriend come down and stay with me for a week-ish?
I can almost guarantee you'll have a roommate, so you won't be able to have your gf stay with you. We had to pick our roommates on the first day, else we'd get paired up with whoever was left. You're going to want to talk to people at the airport/bus and try to find someone you like/has something in common with you. If you get stuck with someone you don't like, chances are you'll be out in the evenings with your BOLC friends exploring/eating/drinking anyways.

There were people who had gf, wife, etc. visit, but they had to pay for their own separate rooms in San Antonio. From what I remember, it may also be difficult for them to stay in the same hotel as you, because the ones we were in were both booked. This might not be the case when you're there, but it's something to keep in mind.
 

StanleyThomas

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Two questions, first in regards to uniform requirements and second for GJMeig:

OP: What are the uniform requirements for BOLC? I was casually told 2 sets of ACU's and 1-2 sets of physical fitness uniforms. My recruiter is about 75 miles away and I have a base around the corner. I was going to get these on my own if I can receive clarification on exact requirements. Also- could you detail the insignias/badges you need made to go onto your uniform.

GJMeig: Last year you indicated you would be going to BOLC this summer. Are you registered, do you have orders?
 
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Great comments. One thing I would like to add is the 6 week course is only in the summer for those officers that graduate dental school on time. Those that cannot go to the HPSP course go to the 3 month course that follows.
What is considered "On Time"? Do you know when the course usually takes place (what month)? Thanks
 

AirborneDentist

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The course goes from mid June to the end of July. You would need to graduate by mid June..or thereabouts.
 
May 13, 2013
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I tried searching the threads but still a little unsure... we will be getting our pay during BOLC but I'm wondering about when? I didn't find a clear answer. I understand that the financial paperwork takes a bit to get processed but a rough estimate would be helpful so I can plan ahead for my move to Ft. Jackson. Also, another random question, I have my CAC currently which I got as 2LT. Now that I am a captain can I get a new card down at FSH when I head down for BOLC?
 

ModifiedBass

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Two questions, first in regards to uniform requirements and second for GJMeig:

OP: What are the uniform requirements for BOLC? I was casually told 2 sets of ACU's and 1-2 sets of physical fitness uniforms. My recruiter is about 75 miles away and I have a base around the corner. I was going to get these on my own if I can receive clarification on exact requirements. Also- could you detail the insignias/badges you need made to go onto your uniform.

GJMeig: Last year you indicated you would be going to BOLC this summer. Are you registered, do you have orders?
Yes, I am registered and have orders to attend this summer. I plan on scheduling my flight tomorrow, as well as getting more clarification on the uniform/item requirements prior to arriving.

I tried searching the threads but still a little unsure... we will be getting our pay during BOLC but I'm wondering about when? I didn't find a clear answer. I understand that the financial paperwork takes a bit to get processed but a rough estimate would be helpful so I can plan ahead for my move to Ft. Jackson. Also, another random question, I have my CAC currently which I got as 2LT. Now that I am a captain can I get a new card down at FSH when I head down for BOLC?
I read in the handbook that it may take up to a month while we are in BOLC to get paid due to the processing delays. However, I also read that you may choose to receive up to a $2500 pay advance on the second day of paperwork while at BOLC.
 
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StanleyThomas

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Awesome. I look forward to meeting you there GJMeig. I will be one of your underclassmen at Penn this fall (D1). I chose to do early-entry BOLC to situate myself for externships other summers/residency bid right out of school. Perhaps we could room? I know we must board 2 per room at BOLC. Army student handbook states that we are actually allowed to choose our roommate (same sex).

As far as uniforms, at least for ACU's and combat boots, I would recommend purchasing the minimum required amount. Army will be phasing out digitized ACU and tan combat boot for a Scorpion W2 ACU (better desert blend for middle east / eastern warfare) and darker boots. Phase in begins this summer/fall and is mandated full-switch to new uniforms by 2018 (when we will be wearing them full time).

Suggested amounts were 3 ACU's
2 pairs combat boots
2-3 physical fitness uniforms

http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/bolc/ "Student Handbook" link

My recruiter told me the ASU could be purchased at BOLC, if it was necessary to be purchased for this course.
 

polonid2

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I will also be attending BOLC this year. Looking forward to meeting everyone!

As per the uniform purchases, did you guys go ahead and purchase the digitized ACUs beforehand, or are you going to wait to get there and hope that they have the Scorpion W2 OCPs (the newer model, I heard they are supposed to hit shelves sometime during BOLC this summer). Same question for the IPFUs, I heard they are phasing them out as well into a newer model (APFUs or something?), but the person explaining it to me was unsure about when this change was going to take place.

Also, does anyone know anything about reimbursement if we purchase beforehand, or does all of this come out of our pocket either way? The allowance given to us, is that like a credit thing for while we are down there, or is it just extra pay?

Just trying not to go $1k in the hole before I step foot in Texas hahaha.
 

USArmyHPSP

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Also, does anyone know anything about reimbursement if we purchase beforehand, or does all of this come out of our pocket either way? The allowance given to us, is that like a credit thing for while we are down there, or is it just extra pay?

Just trying not to go $1k in the hole before I step foot in Texas hahaha.
If you filled out the paperwork from the HPSP office, you should receive $1,000.00 advance pay on the 1 June payday. If you haven't filled out the paperwork contact the HPSP office and they will get you the paperwork so that you can get the advance at BOLC. In all cases, advance pay, or uniform allowance, it will be a part of your nornal pay process. The Post Exchange in most places will also let you open a low-er interest credit account for things such as this.
 
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Jun 11, 2014
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Same question for the IPFUs, I heard they are phasing them out as well into a newer model (APFUs or something?), but the person explaining it to me was unsure about when this change was going to take place.
AR 670-1: paras 12-1, In regards to the IPFU, "The wear-out date for this uniform is 30 September 2017." and "The mandatory possession date for this (APFU) uniform is 1 October 2017."
 
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Jun 2, 2015
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Really worried about getting my uniform on time. Military Exchange website totally effed up my ACU order...everything is backordered and they never told me until today. Any suggestions about other online stores that offer express shipping, or should I just wait to get my ACUs when I get to BOLC?

Also, would it be best to get my ASU (blues) tailored when I get to BOLC? I'm not exactly when I'll need to wear the ASU during BOLC. I'm assuming they have a tailor on post.
 

Jalcalde

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The only time you would wear it is after graduating from training if that. We wore ours after getting through basic training. I'd assume it is the same for Officer Training.
 
Jun 2, 2015
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Ok great, thanks.

Only other thing on my mind is my shin splints. I'm in good athletic shape and can definitely pass PT test. I run all the time, but the past few months after running a half marathon my shins have been on fire. I rest them, ice them, etc. However, I know we'll be doing constant running during PT. What's the protocol for guys/girls who get injured during the course of the PT? Don't wanna be a whiner, but I'm a little worried.
 
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FYI you can get your ASU's from marlow white. They have online ordering and also a location in N. VA if you are in that area. They are a bit more than PX but are much nicer.
 
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Great comments. One thing I would like to add is the 6 week course is only in the summer for those officers that graduate dental school on time. Those that cannot go to the HPSP course go to the 3 month course that follows.
How long is BOLC for those who join after residency?
 
Mar 30, 2015
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what is the cell phone/ computer usage like? are we able to bring them/use them? I like keeping in touch with family and friends with e-mail and staying connected with news, world events, etc....
 
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NMC2010

NMC2010

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Apologies for not getting back to everyone sooner. I assume most of you with questions about BOLC have already gone there this summer, but perhaps I can offer some feedback to others who have similar questions in the future.

Two questions, first in regards to uniform requirements and second for GJMeig:

OP: What are the uniform requirements for BOLC? I was casually told 2 sets of ACU's and 1-2 sets of physical fitness uniforms. My recruiter is about 75 miles away and I have a base around the corner. I was going to get these on my own if I can receive clarification on exact requirements. Also- could you detail the insignias/badges you need made to go onto your uniform.

GJMeig: Last year you indicated you would be going to BOLC this summer. Are you registered, do you have orders?
The amount of ACU's and IPFU's is up to you, but you will want a minimum of two. Personally, I had 3 sets of ACU's (only wore 2), 3 sets of IPFU's, 2 pairs of boots. I also don't have much/any body odor, so I could get away with using fewer sets easier than most. You'll end up re-wearing all of these before you can wash them. You don't have to have anything made on your uniform - all the insignias/badges they give you stick with velcro. The only possible exception is for your hats - many people get their rank sewn on the front of their hat (for most reading this it will be 2LT or CPT); the alternative is to pin it on, as there is no velcro on the front. This is doable (I did it), but sometimes the inside of the pin can poke your forehead if it's not just right.

You'll need name tapes for your ACU top (right side) and hat (back), pin/sewn on rank (2LT/CPT) patch for your hat (front) and ACU top (front center), an American flag patch for your right arm, and a "U.S. Army" patch for your left side. They'll give you a BOLC patch for your left arm, and you'll wear any prior MOS patches on your left arm as well (this is only if you're prior service). You should have 3-4 of each type of patch/tape (more for your name tape) in case they get lost. An easy way to remember where the flag and U.S. Army patch go is the Army is over your heart, and the Flag goes on your right arm that you use to salute.

Really worried about getting my uniform on time. Military Exchange website totally effed up my ACU order...everything is backordered and they never told me until today. Any suggestions about other online stores that offer express shipping, or should I just wait to get my ACUs when I get to BOLC?

Also, would it be best to get my ASU (blues) tailored when I get to BOLC? I'm not exactly when I'll need to wear the ASU during BOLC. I'm assuming they have a tailor on post.
You will not need to buy ASU's for BOLC. Even for the graduation ceremony, you wear ACU's. As far as the new ACU's go, unless they tell you otherwise, I'd definitely try to get the new ACU's if possible so you don't end up spending a few hundred bucks on a phased out uniform.

As far as the advanced pay goes (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this), they just take a $1,000 chunk out of your future paycheck. My recruiter at the time made it seem like this was just extra money they were giving me - it isn't extra, just splits up your future paycheck more.

Ok great, thanks.

Only other thing on my mind is my shin splints. I'm in good athletic shape and can definitely pass PT test. I run all the time, but the past few months after running a half marathon my shins have been on fire. I rest them, ice them, etc. However, I know we'll be doing constant running during PT. What's the protocol for guys/girls who get injured during the course of the PT? Don't wanna be a whiner, but I'm a little worried.
There isn't nearly as much physical training as you're expecting. Running is only a portion of the PT training, and you'll be doing nowhere near a half marathon. A lot of the people are out of shape when they go to BOLC, so someone who runs often, even in small amounts, will be above and beyond a majority of the people there. However, there were people who got injured. If this happens, really all you'll do is get clearance from a doctor/PA to get a temporary "profile" stating you can't do a certain type of PT. If this happens in BOLC, the probably won't do much. Once you're active duty, they will find an alternate form of exercise to suit your needs (i.e. walking, swimming).

what is the cell phone/ computer usage like? are we able to bring them/use them? I like keeping in touch with family and friends with e-mail and staying connected with news, world events, etc....
You can't use cell phones or computers while you're in class/training. After hours, you're allowed to use whatever you'd like. At the 3 week field training, you're allowed to bring your cell phone, and there are even some outlets to charge them in. It might be helpful to bring short extension cords/small power strips because many people will want to use these outlets. I don't think you can bring a computer to the field training, but you can certainly keep one in the hotel.

Also, thank you for the help answering questions here @USArmyHPSP and @AirborneDentist!
 
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Feb 23, 2015
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What a fantastic thread.

I'm currently applying for the Army HPSP scholarship. If I receive the scholarship would it be advisable to do BOLC before I even start dental school? Is that an option? Or would that be a bad idea because any social networks I established most likely wont mean much after 4 years (is that even important)? Are there benefits/pros for doing it early?
 

CougarDental

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What a fantastic thread.

I'm currently applying for the Army HPSP scholarship. If I receive the scholarship would it be advisable to do BOLC before I even start dental school? Is that an option? Or would that be a bad idea because any social networks I established most likely wont mean much after 4 years (is that even important)? Are there benefits/pros for doing it early?
I did it before simply because I didn't have much going on the summer between graduation and dental school so it was a good opportunity for me to just get it done and get paid for being there since I was married and trying to be a responsible adult by bringing home the bacon. Going to UCLA you're not going to get a break after first year to do it so it's either before or after school.
It's very rare and there were only a few of us that hadn't started school yet. If I recall correctly it was a matter of being proactive by getting in touch with the HPSP office and seeing what the availability was and going from there. Sure, I won't know as many people entering the Army with me in 2016 but I'm not going to be with the majority of them at my first assignment anyway. I do feel like I have a better sense of what it means to be on the Army scholarship and what's waiting for me after graduation, which has been nice. When I went, the Major General of the Army Dental Corp hosted a BBQ with the Colonels and residents in San Antonio so it was nice to pick their brains with questions about their experience with Army dentistry. Most of the class and the waiting during field exercises was pretty mind numbing tbh but you have to do it sooner or later and there were some silver linings.
 
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UPDATE: Quoted from krmower from the "Ask an Army Dentist" sticky on why you should do BOLC early:

"Nope. I think it improves the initial transition while also allowing some flexibility following dental school graduation. Not only will it open up the opportunity for externships at bases during the summer, but following graduation you can report as early (or as late) into the summer as you want to your first Army assignment."
____________________________________________________________________

What a fantastic thread.

I'm currently applying for the Army HPSP scholarship. If I receive the scholarship would it be advisable to do BOLC before I even start dental school? Is that an option? Or would that be a bad idea because any social networks I established most likely wont mean much after 4 years (is that even important)? Are there benefits/pros for doing it early?
@CougarDental nailed it. I also did it before school, mainly to get it out of the way and so I can immediately be a dentist when I start. Most of the things you learn don't apply to the actual practice of dentistry, but more towards military structure and protocol for your position as a Captain/Dentist. I think it will be simple enough to brush up on what we'll be using after we're back in for a few days.

I too agree with not being overly concerned that you'll lose connections during BOLC. Most of the contacts I've kept are with other HPSP students. There is a small chance you'll end up at the same place as the dental officers that lectured for you, but you have limited opportunities to network with them during BOLC. That applies to the dentists only; it's very unlikely you'll end up with the officers that train you, because most of them are BOLC teachers/specialists in other areas, not dentists.

Also, not sure on this next part (someone correct me if needed), but I think you don't get paid as an actual dentist until after you finish BOLC training. So doing it before is beneficial in the sense that you can get full pay immediately when you start instead of delaying it the ~45 days you're in BOLC.
 
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schmoob

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Did any of you have experience with prior service folks from other branches during BOLC? Are requirements or expectations any more stringent from them because they know some of the stuff? Or would it be the opposite, to allow the brand new accession opportunities to experience more of what training has to offer?
 
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From other branches, no - but there were some prior service people from the Army. They have the exact same requirements as the other new officers. Many of the prior service soldiers help the BOLC training officers to teach those of us who are inexperienced, but they aren't forced.
 

USArmyHPSP

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Academic Administration
Hey everyone, I was wondering how much time you have after dental school graduation until you have to report for BOLC
Depends on your graduation date. BOLC is generally from mid June (around the 15th) through the last week in July. So if you graduate on 15 May there will be ~30 days. The main reason that I'm mentioning this is that your stipend will stop once you graduate. Given this example, it is possible that you will not be receiving any money from 15 May until 1 July so be prepared.
 
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Mar 27, 2014
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Honolulu, Hawaii
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Dental Student
Depends on your graduation date. BOLC is generally from mid June (around the 15th) through the last week in July. So if you graduate on 15 May there will be ~30 days. The main reason that I'm mentioning this is that your stipend will stop once you graduate. Given this example, it is possible that you will not be receiving any money from 15 May until 1 July so be prepared.
Okay gotcha! I was also wondering how getting your dental practicing license fits into this whole thing? how would you know which licensing exam to take since you won't know where you will be assigned? Or do you take your clinical licensure exam after bolc and after being assigned a location?
 
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Nov 25, 2017
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Hey all, If you're HPSP and haven't done BOLC (Basic Officer Leadership Course) yet, feel free to ask me some questions here/PM me. I just finished it last weekend and would be happy to help while it's still fresh in my head.

Here's another person's perspective from the year after this thread, BOLC 2015:
ARMY BOLC 2015 - what was it like
Do you know if BOLC will count for active duty days? or will it qualify me for the Hazelwood Act if i enlisted in Texas?