January 20, 2002 - Personal Web Site: A Prospective Volunteer goes through the Peace Corps Application Process
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January 20, 2002 - Personal Web Site: A Prospective Volunteer goes through the Peace Corps Application Process
A Prospective Volunteer goes through the Peace Corps Application Process
Read and comment on this excellent web site put up by a prospective PCV who has documented every step of the Peace Corps application process from pre-application, through application, nomination, and invitation. The site provides a vivid view of what the application process looks like from the applicant's point of view. It is well worth reading by both prospective volunteers to see what awaits them and by members of the US Peace Corps who are interested in the Peace Corps reaching it's mandated level of 10,000 volunteers and are looking for ways to streamline the application process.
As Tim Carroll, first Director of the NPCA, winner of the Sergant Shriver Award for Humanitarian Service, and former Country Director in Pakistan and Poland said in his article in the Friends of Nigeria Newsletter:
Here is an excerpt from the site. Visit the web site at:
Stories from 635 volunteers who served during my five years in the field, had one persistent theme: nobody got through recruitment smoothly and no two people were treated to the same process. Surely some experienced professional can make recruitment an effective network for finding the brightest and best. Presently the task is handed off to a political appointee.
Peace Corps Application Process*
* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.
Peace Corps Application Process
10/00 - I request another application from the Peace Corps. They tell me they won't send me one because they already sent me one. I search for that first one but it is nowhere to be found. So I decide to apply online through the Peace Corps website. There are two parts to the application, the Health Status Review and the regular application form. This form is LONG, and I have to write two essays plus submit my resume and my high school and college transcripts. Yikes.
I also begin work on my application for CSU. You have to apply separately to both the Peace Corps and the University and be accepted into both.
10/29/00 - I submit the Health Status Review! It feels like a step in the right direction.
11/00 - I submit the first parts of my application to the English Department at Colorado State. This consisted of an essay, 2 college transcripts, an application form, a form about the PCMI program and a check for something like 30$. Also, the GRE is supposedly required but it says you have to take it by the end of your first semester of class.. what's up with that? What if I get a terrible score, do I get kicked out of school, or what?
11/24/00 - I finish my essays and my resume and upload them onto my Peace Corps application and send it! Wow, was that ever a good feeling! Here's my secret shame: after I finished the essays, I was too excited to wait any longer, so I didn't have anyone proof-read them. Ha ha, I'm terrible.
11/28/00 - I come home from work and hear Matthew Dufresne, the regional recruiter for the midwest, on my voicemail! He wants me to call him back... I have to set up an interview.. aaaa! It's so exciting! He says that he has mailed the next batch of forms.
11/29/00 - I call the Peace Corps office in Minneapolis and talk to Mr. Dufresne.. My interview is scheduled for NEXT WEEK! I tell everyone I see that I am interviewing with the Peace Corps. Also on this day, I get the packet containing the reference forms, the background check forms, and the fingerprinting forms. I hand the reference forms to my principal and my supervisor/coworker at work, and then in the evening I drive over to Kelly's to give her the "friend" reference form.
I also call the English department at CSU. They say they have recieved none of my reference letters, and that I have to send in a writing sample. I dig up a piece about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 from my Native American History class.
At the end of the day I get an email from Sandy, the Dean of the Modern Language department at UW- River Falls saying that she has mailed in her letter of reference to CSU
Weekend of 12/1-12/3 Kelly fills out her form and gives it back. I freak out about the interview.
12/6/00 - Interview day! It goes really well. It's kind of fun to be in downtown Minneapolis on a weekday morning. We talk about my expectations, and "what would you do in THIS situation?", and me being a vegetarian and having a boyfriend (he gives me forms to fill out regarding both of these!), and where I want to go, and experiences I've had with education. Matthew fingerprints me and I use the Peace Corps' typewriter to fill out my background check forms. At the end he says that he's going to nominate me, which means that as soon as all my paperwork is in and everything checks out, he'll forward my application to Washington. Then I'll have to do the extensive medical/dental checks and probably more paperwork, and if I pass that I'll be IN for sure! So as of now, I am IN, pending my background check and medical examinations. Needless to say, I am totally hyper and pumped up for the rest of the day.
12/7/00 - I finish the Vegetarian form and the Relationship form. With the vegetarian form I think they want to know that you're not going to be unhealthy and refuse to eat meat, dairy, eggs, whatever even if you are dying from lack of protein. And also that if the culture dictates that you are supposed to eat meat, that you would just do it instead of offending people. For example, if the leader of the village has a party in your honor and serves meat, if you refuse it then he or she would probably be offended. On the form I wrote about how I went to France last spring and gave up veganism because I knew I didn't have as much control over my diet, and that protein is especially important when traveling, etc.
On the Relationship form, they're trying to weed out people who are going to ET (Early Termination - that means quit before you're supposed to leave) because they miss their boyfriend/girlfriend back home. Of course Ryan and I had already had long talks about the Peace Corps and being apart and all that hard stuff. It was (sort of?) easy for us because we both have different plans of what we want to do with our lives.. he wants to work for Admusic in Los Angeles and I want to do grad school and the PC, so we both saw that our lives were just going in different directions, and that neither one of us should have to give up our dreams. So anyways on the form I had to talk about our discussions and what we both thought would be the hardest part. I said that I thought my year in Fort Collins would be the hardest because that's when we would first be apart.
12/11/00 - My coworker/supervisor gives her reference form. The principal tells me that he lost his, but he thinks he knows where it is.
12/15/00 - I call Matthew Dufresne and ask if he can send a new reference form.
12/18/00 - I give the new form to the principal and he says "I'll have this done for you by the end of the day". He says this each day this week. In all fairness, he is a busy man, and I believe he felt bad about losing the form.
Also I call the English Department at CSU and they tell me they have the second reference letter, from Terry Mannetter, a Spanish prof at River Falls.
12/22/00 - I finally find the completed form in my mailbox and mail it in, with Rachel's form and the Vegetarian/Relationship forms. WOooooooOO! Rachel tells me that she has also mailed her letter of reference to CSU, which means that application is completed as well.
12/26/00 - I call Matthew to tell him I sent in the forms and to ask him what the next step is. He says that we have to wait to hear if I get into the TESL program at Fort Collins, and then he'll nominate me. He says the process is different if I am not accepted, but that I could still serve in the PC. So now I just have to wait to hear from CSU. They said they start looking at applications over Christmas break, and that I would hear sometime in January.
1/4/01 - After work I drove to the Southdale library to watch this new movie the Peace Corps made, called "Redefine Your World". It was part of an informational PC meething/recruiting event. Of course the movie was awesome and inspiring. It showed the lives of a bunch of different volunteers in different parts of the world. Matthew Dufresne was the host of the event, and showed some slides from when he was in Nicaragua. He also answered questions from the audience. I got a Peace Corps button and put it on my jacket.
1/8/01 - I called Colorado State to see if my application was all in and that everything was in order. The woman I spoke with said to call back on Friday.
1/12/01 - I called Colorado State again and the woman said that only two of my references were in! So I had to email Sandy and ask her to send hers again. She said I would hear whether or not I am in at worst within a month and at best before the end of January. I also asked her about the GRE. She said they don't look at your scores for admission, but that you have to take it by the end of your first semester of class. And I asked if you can get kicked out if you do poorly, and she said no! So basically your score doesn't matter, but you still have to take it. Weird!
2/22/01 - Maybe you're wondering if anything is ever going to happen regarding my application. Hmmmm... so am I! I called the English department at Colorado State today and asked about the status of my application. They said that I would hear 6 to 8 weeks after I sent it in. I'm pretty sure it's already been eight weeks.. I wonder if that means I'll hear any day now. Every day I wait for the mailman to come and then I look through the mail excitedly. I have to remind myself that if I don't get in to CSU, I'll still get to be in the Peace Corps, and that's mighty cool.
2/25/01 - Today I tried to email someone at the English department and my mail was returned because his mailbox was full. Of course!
2/27/01 - I emailed a different person at the English department. No response yet, and I think they're going on Spring Break next week. Also I spent some time on the web looking for snail mail addresses of people who are currently serving in the Peace Corps. I sent out three letters to total strangers (in Gabon, Senegal, and Bulgaria) just to say hello and ask them what their service is like. I also have emailed 2 people who have web pages similar to this one and who will be leaving shortly.
3/6/01 - The news is so exciting that I've started Page 3 of the Peace Corps Pages! Click HERE to continue!
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