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The Peace Corps Application Process

Requirements and Qualifications

To apply for volunteer service in the Peace Corps you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years of age. There is no upper age limit but volunteers must be in good general health. You must have a skill which is requested by a country in which the Peace Corps serves. To gain that necessary skill you need a few years of work experience in selected skill areas such as farming, forestry or carpentry, or a college degree plus strong leadership skills and community involvement. If you are an undergraduate, you still have time to build or upgrade your skills to improve your chances of being accepted into the Peace Corps by the time you graduate.

Most assignments require a bachelor's degree. There are some programs that demand a master's degree or 3-5 years work experience in a related area.

Any major can apply, but those with liberal arts degrees are encouraged to inquire early to find out about ways to enhance their eligibility and to better illustrate their skills that Peace Corps host countries call upon.

Married couples without dependents may serve in the Peace Corps, however it is necessary for both of them to apply and be accepted. The application process can be longer in these circumstances because both candidates must be assigned to the same location.

Hints for Applying

Make sure you supply all necessary information, and pay additional attention to the medical and legal information sections which if incomplete can often delay processing.

When asked about geographic preference it may be better to not specify any area or location.

Indicate a job preference and assignment that matches your experience and education.

Be sure to include everything about yourself that you feel will increase your competitiveness. (study abroad, volunteer work, hobbies, community involvement, etc.)

When writing your motivation statement, make sure you express your commitment to the Peace Corps as genuinely as possible. Be honest. Use personal experiences that have influenced your decision to apply.

The application process for the Peace Corps is a challenge in itself. Essays, letters of reference, medical examinations and interviews are all used to evaluate your commitment, motivation and cultural awareness. The entire processing of your application may take anywhere from 9 to 12 months and you are encouraged to apply one year prior to your availability date. To obtain an application and initiate the application process, you can call (800) 424-8580.

Last updated September 24, 1996 by Craig Maddox

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