By Claire Michael, Management Intern, Career and Professional Development Services, ASU
You’ve decided to do Peace Corps, but you’re worried about being accepted? While the process can be competitive, there are some steps you can take to be the best candidate. Use these insider tips to ensure you are prepared.
1. Join the Peace Corps Prep Program
Did you know ASU has their very own Peace Corps Prep certificate that makes students 5X more likely to be selected for service? Be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity offered to current ASU students. Completing a prep certificate at ASU is flexible enough for most students to complete before they graduate (even if you join senior year). Get started by filling out bit.ly/PCPrepApp or emailing the program coordinator at email@example.com.
2. Take some language classes
Regardless of where you want to serve, any language will look great on your application because you’ll have to learn one wherever you go. The minimum requirement for Spanish-speaking countries is two 200 hundred level courses or four years of high school Spanish. For French-speaking countries, the requirement is one 200 hundred level course of a romance language (preferably French) or four years of high school French. If you learned it through another medium such as being a heritage speaker or traveling you may need to complete a proficiency test – this is determined on a case-by-case basis.
3. Seek out intercultural experiences
Being able to demonstrate specific experiences where you have interacted with or been immersed in new cultures unlike your own is key to your success. This is a skill that you must have to successfully serve in the Peace Corps. So what can you do? Take advantage of a study abroad experience or alternative spring break, seek out volunteer opportunities or student groups that provide opportunities to interact with or support other cultures.
4. Choose your sector focus and get experienced
There are six sectors you can identify to work in – Agriculture, environment, community economic development, health, education and youth in development. Gaining experience through your work, volunteering, classes, campus and community involvement, is imperative to being competitive for the positions in your chosen sector.
5. Give back and volunteer
Volunteering is a great way to gain valuable experience and also demonstrate to Peace Corps your commitment to serving others and improving the community around you. Be sure to seek out opportunities that provide exposure to the sector you are interested in working.
6. Meet with a recruiter
Did you know that ASU has a Peace Corps recruiter that is dedicated to just helping Sun Devils who are interested in serving? Make a connection with a recruiter now to get valuable guidance on building your experience and insider tips for completing your application process. Plus our recruiter is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who has tons of great stories and advice to share. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Do NOT apply to a position you are not qualified for
This should go without saying, but if you don’t meet the minimum requirements, don’t apply for the position. For example, if you don’t know Spanish and you apply to a Spanish-speaking country, you will not be accepted. It is important to focus your time and energy toward a position where you can be most successful. Connect with your recruiter for guidance.