University of Vermont

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Vermont Regional Office of the Peace Corps


Your Guide to the Peace Corps Application Process

On average the application process takes nine to twelve months.  If you would like to move your application along quickly it is important to turn all paperwork in as soon as possible.  Before you are matched with a country and a program, Peace Corps makes sure you meet at least the minimum program qualifications, and are medically, legally and financially cleared.  Each clearance is one step in the application process.  

You have control over how fast the process moves along any time you have paperwork in your hand.  The faster you return the requested paperwork, the faster your application moves along.  Some steps in the application process are out of your control and Peace Corps asks you to remain in contact with your Recruiter or Placement Officer and be patient.  

Your file can be updated throughout your application process.  If your address or telephone number changes, it is important to make the update through MyToolkit, which you will be able to access shortly after completing the online application.  You can withdraw your application at any point during the process but you must contact your Recruiter or Placement Officer IMMEDIATELY so another eligible candidate can be considered for the position Peace Corps was reserving for you.  You can also put your file on hold for up to one year.  This gives you time to gain more experience or complete something you have been working on.  You must contact your Recruiter or Placement Officer as soon as you know you need an extension so your file can be handled accordingly.  

Your Recruiter can withdraw your application if one month has passed with no communication from you, or if you have missed any established deadlines.  It is important to stay in contact with your Recruiter during the first THREE steps (listed below) of your application process and as needed through the remaining steps.

To make your application process slightly easier we've laid out some basic steps for you:

    Step 1:   Application

      • Complete and submit your application on-line at the Peace Corps web site.
      • Peace Corps no longer accepts paper applications. If you have already applied and filled out a paper application, don't worry - it's still valid.
      • To make completing the application as easy as possible, you will want to have the following information on hand:
        • Complete work history including dates of employment, physical address & telephone number and the name of your supervisor.
        • A list of all volunteer programs and activities you have participated in. Peace Corps is looking for a commitment to volunteerism and community service. You will need to complete the name of the sponsoring organization, the dates you volunteered with them and the activities you were doing.
        • A list of all schools you have attended and copies of all certifications/licenses you may have (CPR/First Aid, Teaching, EMT, etc).
        • A list of all financial responsibilities (credit cards, mortgages, car loans, school loans).
        • A complete history of any prior offenses, arrests or warrants for arrest (not including parking tickets, speeding or similar).
        • The full name, address and telephone numbers for 3 people you would like to serve as your reference. Do not ask these people to write you a letter at this point and time. They will be sent a form to complete once Peace Corps has received your application. Choose your references wisely. There are many applicants whose files could not be forwarded to the next step because a reference had not returned the necessary paperwork. Choose people you know will be prompt with filling out and returning the form. One reference should be from a work supervisor, another from a volunteer supervisor, and the last from a friend or coworker.
      • There are two essays you must write. The first is a short essay describing any cross-cultural experience you have experienced. This essay is not a discussion of the places you have travelled or sites you have seen. Rather you should discuss an experience when you realized you were either in another culture or were interacting with someone from a different culture. This can be a description a conversation you had with someone or how you felt being in a different culture or working with someone from a different culture.
      • Once you have all of this information together it should be relatively easy to complete the application. When you are happy with how you can answered all of the questions (including the Health Survey) you can submit it on-line or via the mail. Applications should not be E-mailed to your recruiter.

    Step 2:   Additonal Forms

      • After submitting your Peace Corps application your Recruiter will review your application.
      • If qualified, your Recruiter will then contact you and send you a packet of information and a letter outlining how to complete additional forms also enclosed in the packet.
      • The packet will contain information describing the programs you may be qualified for. The packet will also include additional forms to complete. Some of the information being requested on these forms may seem like a repeat of your interview. These forms allow you to expand upon your skills and really highlight what you can do. Take the time to complete them as fully as possible.
      • Get all this information back to your recruiter as soon as possible.

    Step 3:   Interview

      • When you have completed the paperwork from Step 2 contact your Recruiter to set up an interview.   
      • The interview is a chance for your Recruiter to get to know you and for you to ask any questions you have about Peace Corps. On average the interview takes an hour and fifteen minutes (or three hours for couples).  Applicants are expected to treat this as a professional interview and should come prepared and dressed accordingly.

    Step 4:   Nomination & Medical

      • After your interview and paperwork are complete your application enters a pool of applications from all over the U.S. Your recruiter is trying to create a tentative match between your skills and requests with the needs and requests of all PC country offices. When you are able to leave, what you are qualified to do and to a lesser extent what language skills you have play heavily into creating this match. Your recruiter is limited to what countries and programs are still open.
      • Once he/she has identified a one or more likely matches you will be contacted and asked to choose the one you prefer. If you have a regional preference and you do not get it - it is often because you are not qualified for any of the programs being implemented in that area, those programs have already been filled or your departure time-frame does not match when that country/region is receiving volunteers for training.
      • Once you have been nominated to a program and a region you should expect to receive a medical packet in 2-3 weeks. If you do not receive this packet by the 4th week contact your recruiter.
      • With medical and dental forms in hand, visit your doctor and dentist to have them completed. Depending on your medical history, you may need to visit more than one doctor. It is very important to have ALL forms filled out thoroughly. The information provided will be used to determine whether you are medically eligible to serve as a PC Volunteer AND it becomes your medical file in the country you eventually serve in. Make sure your doctor and dentist understand the importance of these forms and the will become your complete medical history for the medical professionals caring for you overseas. If the paperwork is not completed to the satisfaction of the PC medical office, you will be asked to complete them again.
        • NOTE: you will not be responsible for paying for all medical and dental appointments during the application process. You will receive forms to give to your doctor/dentist so that they can bill Peace Corps insurance.
      • Send in all medical and dental forms to the stated addresses.
      • Now the waiting begins. It takes a minimum of 6 weeks for medical to review and process your paperwork. During this time they may contact you to request more information or ask questions If/When they medically and dentally clear you, your file moves to the legal and security departments.

    Step 5: Placement

    It usually takes 4 to 12 months from the time you first submit your application until you leave for you country of service.

    Step 6:   Pack your bags and make a difference!

    Peace Corps
    207 Morrill Hall
    University of Vermont
    Burlington VT 05401

    Tel. 802-656-8269

    Last modified February 16 2010 03:57 PM

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