You’d be surprised at how many people are interested in serving in the Peace Corps but are discouraged to apply because it seems like a daunting application process. This was absolutely not the case for us, so we wanted to clarify and share how seamless the experience has been.
The Peace Corps altered their application process earlier this year allowing applicants to select their top three countries of service, as well as their program sector. We were happy beneficiaries of this change — Tess selected Mexico, Panama and Togo (all Environmental Education) and Khalan selected Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico (all Community Economic Development). This change not only enhanced their application process, but has positively and dramatically impacted the number of applications received in just one fiscal year. In 2015 alone, Peace Corps received 23,000 applications thereby obliterating its 40-year record and increasing its application total by 32 percent. Big score for the Peace Corps!
Below is a rough timeline which gives you an idea of how the application process was for us:
- May 1 – Submitted Application (Transcripts, 500 word essay, two references)
- May 1 – Received instructions to complete Health History Form
- May 11 – Submitted Assignment Selection Form and Health History Form
- May 12 – Completed Soft Skills Questionnaire (very fun activity!)
- May 14 – Received email indicating consideration for country
- May 14 – Received email to schedule phone/Skype interview
- May 28 – Interview with Peace Corps recruiter
- July 27 – Received invitation to serve, including review of assignment description
- July 27 – Received access to medical portal (MAP) providing special instructions for medical clearance process based on Health History responses.
- August 3 – Received Pre-Departure Checklist with complete list of tasks
- August 11 – Received instructions to initiate background investigation
- September 28 – Received non-medical pre-departure activities including the New Volunteer Portal and LearningSpace (three short webinars)
- October 5 – Received Medical Clearance
- October 6 – Received email from Country Desk Officer with instructions for Passport/Visa paperwork
- November-February – Participated in Peace Corps online group chats and received Spanish assignments on Duolingo, Pre-Departure Kits/Activities and Staging information
- January 21 – Tess received Mexican site assignment (Receiving this information was specific to Mexico only).
* Full disclosure, the timeline was not exactly the same for both of us since we have different assignments, but this gives a pretty good overview of what one could expect.