New competition for the Peace Corps

By Molly Hanson

Entering the Peace Corps has become much more competitive after changes made during summer 2014 to the application, which has simplified the process.

The application, which in the past took eight hours to complete, has been streamlined according to regional Peace Corps recruiter Kera Halverson.

“We were finding the application was a huge hurdle for people when applying,” said Halverson.

The application now only involves uploading a resume, the writing of one essay and listing two references. This simplification has also meant that the Peace Corps only interview those who it is very serious about choosing to go into the Peace Corps.

“At first you have to qualify for the job so of course we look for hard skills,” said Halverson explaining how candidates are chosen to become a Peace Corps volunteer. “If you want to be an English teacher, have you taught English?”

From there a candidate needs to show cultural sensitivity during the interview process, ability to adapt to different cultures, flexibility, persistence and leadership.

“Anyone who has worked abroad knows that nothing goes to plan,” laughed Halverson.

These changes in the Peace Corps application have made the jobs of recruiters like Eric Luckey, the UW-Madison Peace Corps recruiter, much more instrumental for students looking to join the Peace Corps.

“It’s becoming a lot more competitive since the new application process, to the point where qualified applicants are being turned away because of the number of applicants who are applying,” Luckey said. “As it’s getting more competitive things that are gonna get people into the peace corps [like] advising, working on their resume, working on their essays, continuing to get qualified applicants to apply is going to become more difficult.”