Essential Pittsburgh
5:16 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Peace Corps to Revamp Application Process

Karen Corey is the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania Recruiter for the Peace Corps.
Karen Corey is the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania Recruiter for the Peace Corps.
Credit Marcus Charleston / WESA

Since its creation over 50 years ago, the Peace Corps has been sending Americans overseas. Volunteers are sent to countries where their work can make a difference in the lives of others. However, applications for the Peace Corps are at an all time low.

Karen Corey, a recruiter for Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, talks about changes the Peace Corps is making to the application process, in order to attract more volunteers. Corey says there are three main changes to the application process to make it easier to enroll. The first step was making the initial online application easier.

“The actual application used to take about eight hours to fill out. What we’ve done is we’ve looked at the application again, we’ve thought about ‘what do we really know from our applicants right up front?’ We’re only asking for that most essential information, so now the application really only takes about an hour. We’re trying to eliminate the application itself as a barrier to Peace Corps service.”

The second change is a major one for the Peace Corps. Applicants are now allowed to choose which areas of service they would most like to travel to, in regards to their future career plans and skills sets they already possess, such as a language.

One initial concern however, is that less attractive, or possibly even more dangerous countries, will not be chosen. But Corey, who served her time in the Peace Corps in Samoa, thinks this won't be a problem.

“When I applied for Peace Corps, when I thought about where I’d really want to go, it was to some of those countries you’d think were less interesting or less attractive… Everybody has different experiences and different career opportunities, career paths they want to follow. We’re still going to have those applications who really are willing to go anywhere, and we’ll be fine.”

The last change in the Peace Corp application process is applicants now have “apply by” and “know by” dates, like a college or job application.

The minimum requirements for Peace Corps volunteerism are for applicants to be at least 18 years old and to be a United States citizen. There is no upper age limit for those thinking of applying.