Do You Go Back Home After MEPS? What to Expect and Prepare For

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

So, you’ve completed your visit to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), and you’re wondering what comes next. MEPS is a crucial step in your journey toward joining the military, involving medical examinations, aptitude tests, and interviews. But what happens after you’ve passed all these hurdles?

Understanding the next steps can help ease any anxiety you might have. Whether you’ll head back home or move directly to basic training depends on several factors, including your specific branch of service and the timing of your enlistment. Let’s break down what you can expect after your MEPS experience.

Understanding MEPS and Its Purpose

Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) play a crucial role in the journey of joining the military. They ensure that each recruit meets the necessary physical, academic, and moral standards set by the different branches of service. Grasping the purpose of MEPS helps alleviate uncertainties and prepares you better for the process.

What Is MEPS?

MEPS is where the military evaluates potential recruits to determine their eligibility for service. The process includes medical examinations, aptitude tests, and interviews. MEPS ensures that recruits are physically fit, mentally prepared, and morally suitable for military duties. Typically located in major cities, MEPS facilities serve as the starting point for your military career.

The Role of MEPS in Military Enlistment

MEPS serves several critical functions in the enlistment process. First, it conducts comprehensive medical exams to identify any conditions that might disqualify a candidate. Second, it administers the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to assess your skills and determine the military jobs suited to you. Finally, it includes background checks and moral assessments to ensure recruits meet ethical standards.

Individuals typically receive detailed briefings and undergo various tests and checks over 2-3 days. You’ll stay at designated lodging facilities during this period. Completing MEPS signifies that you’re ready to proceed to the next steps, which might involve returning home or heading directly to basic training, depending on your service branch and enlistment contracts.

By understanding the comprehensive role of MEPS, you can navigate the process with confidence and clarity, knowing exactly what to expect as you begin on your military journey.

What Happens During a MEPS Visit?

A MEPS visit ensures recruits meet all necessary qualifications. Evaluations cover medical exams, aptitude tests, and interviews.

Medical Examination and Fitness Assessment

MEPS evaluates recruits’ health and physical readiness. Doctors conduct thorough medical exams, which include vision tests, hearing tests, blood tests, and urinalysis. This ensures recruits meet the health standards necessary for military service. Also, fitness assessments determine physical capability through exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and running. Meeting these standards is crucial for moving forward in the enlistment process.

Aptitude Testing and Job Selection

Recruits take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, which measures strengths and abilities across various domains. The ASVAB helps determine job suitability within the military by identifying roles that match individual skills and competencies. Based on ASVAB scores, recruits discuss potential career paths with a counselor, considering personal interests and the needs of the service branch they are joining. This step tailors each recruit’s path to both their capabilities and the military’s requirements.

Do You Go Back Home After MEPS?

Whether you go back home after visiting the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) varies based on several factors. MEPS, crucial in determining your eligibility for military service, demands decisions reflected in your immediate post-MEPS plans.

Same-Day Return Scenarios

If everything goes smoothly at MEPS, you might return home the same day. Typically, recruits who complete their physical exams, aptitude tests, and other evaluations without issues don’t need to stay overnight. Your local MEPS’ scheduling and how early your evaluations start also significantly impact this.

For instance, suppose you begin the day early, cover all necessary exams, and there are no extraordinary delays. In that case, same-day processing and a quick return to your home are likely. But, factors like travel distance to MEPS and the availability of transport might affect your final schedule.

Overnight Stays and Exceptions

Some recruits need to stay overnight. If you face any delays in processing or need additional medical examinations, an overnight stay becomes necessary. MEPS provides accommodations for those needing more time for their evaluations.

Also, recruits traveling long distances to their MEPS might also receive accommodations to ensure they’re on time. MEPS also makes exceptions for those arriving late in the day who’ve missed critical processing windows, requiring them to stay and continue evaluations the next day. In such cases, you’ll stay overnight in provided accommodations and resume the process early the next day.

Recruits should prepare for both scenarios by packing necessities for a potential overnight stay. Being ready for any situation ensures a smoother and more comfortable MEPS experience.

Preparing for Your MEPS Visit

Your upcoming visit to the Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) is a vital step in your military journey. Being well-prepared can make the experience smoother and less stressful.

What to Bring to MEPS

Arriving at MEPS with the right documents and personal items is crucial. You must bring:

  • Identification Documents: A valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
  • Social Security Card: Ensure it’s the original card and not a copy.
  • Birth Certificate: Bring the original or a certified copy.
  • Medical Records: Any pertinent medical history documents, including immunization records and doctor’s notes.
  • Prescription Medications: Any current prescriptions in their original bottles with labels.

Pack a small bag with personal hygiene items, a change of clothes, and any necessary supplies for an overnight stay, just in case additional evaluations delay your process.

Mental and Physical Preparation Tips

Your mental and physical readiness is just as important as your documents. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Rest Well: Get a full night’s sleep before your MEPS visit. Fatigue can affect your performance in medical exams and aptitude tests.
  • Eat Right: Have a healthy meal before you leave. Avoid heavy, greasy foods that might upset your stomach.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water starting the day before to ensure you stay hydrated for medical tests.
  • Stay Calm: Anxiety can hinder your performance. Practice deep breathing exercises, and remember you’ve prepared for this.
  • Fitness Routine: Maintain a regular fitness routine leading up to MEPS. It ensures you’re in good shape for any physical assessments.

Following these guidelines helps ensure your MEPS visit goes smoothly and efficiently, keeping you one step closer to your enlistment.


Exploring the MEPS process is a pivotal step in your military journey. By understanding what to expect and preparing thoroughly, you’ll be better equipped to handle the evaluations and interviews. Bringing the right documents and maintaining both mental and physical readiness can significantly enhance your experience. Remember, MEPS is designed to ensure you’re fit for service and placed in a role that matches your skills. With the right preparation and mindset, you’re well on your way to achieving your enlistment goals.


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