Dogeli Rojas, Senior, Psychology major tells us about her process applying to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer after graduation!
One of the most intimidating questions anyone could ask a student that is about to graduate is, “What are your plans for after graduation?” The fortunate ones have already found jobs, others will continue to further their education, and the rest fall somewhere in-between. While the question is intimidating, it is never too early to start thinking about it. In July 2014, I submitted my application to the Peace Corps in hopes that I would be granted an opportunity to serve as a volunteer after graduation and am happy to say that I have recently accepted an invitation to serve in Zambia from June 2015 to August 2017.
The Peace Corps is a 54 year old volunteer organization which allies with developing countries around the world to improve the quality of life in the following sectors: education, health, community economic development, environment, youth development, and agriculture. Needless to say, it has something for everyone. My decision to apply to the Peace Corps was based on a few things I knew I wanted:
- To take a break between undergraduate and medical school.
- To do work in the health sector.
- For my work to mean something to me and more importantly to the people I serve.
- To be given the opportunity to travel – who wouldn’t consider that in their decision?
One of the most important questions I think you can ask yourself when considering the Peace Corps as a post-grad option is, “What can I contribute to the lives of the people I may be working with and what am I looking to learn from them?”
Before beginning the application, be sure to have the following:
- Two letters of reference (one from a close friend and another from a volunteer/job supervisor).
- A resume & cover letter.
- An essay explaining why you want to apply and how your experiences have prepared you for the position you are applying to
- An idea of where you would like to serve and what sector you would like to work in.
Once the application is sent and is being considered for a position, you will receive an email from a recruiter to set up an interview. Although more intimidating than a phone interview, I would highly recommend choosing to do a webcam interview. If you choose to do so, I would suggest booking a room at the Career Center so that you have a private and quiet interview space – you have to bring your own computer, but you can use an Ethernet cord for uninterrupted internet access. Ethernet cords can be signed out from the ITS Help Desk at the Lally School of Education.
For more information, about the process, please visit the following resources!
Application process timeline: http://files.peacecorps.gov/openings/PC_Process_infographic.pdf
Available positions (based on departure dates): http://www.peacecorps.gov/openings/?from=pcv_lp
Interview questions often used: http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Interview_Questions
Good luck to you too Dogeli! We can’t wait to hear about your adventure in Zambia! Check out our follow-up post with Dogeli’s tips for the Peace Corps application process. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet with a Peace Corps representative at their Information Session in the Career Center, Monday, March 30th at 3pm! For more information visit our website or eCareerCenter!