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The Peace Corps Lottery

Amy Potthast writes: "The reason getting an invitation to Peace Corps becomes such a problem now is the way the nomination process works. If you aren't familiar, it may help to know that after you apply and interview, you can get nominated to join the Peace Corps from your local recruiting office. Then your application travels to the headquarters office in Washington, D.C., where your placement officer considers whether you are a good program fit for a specific country assignment, and invites you. (In the mean time you undergo a medical and dental examination to be deemed physically fit to serve in a developing country where medical care isn't always on par with that of the United States.) Sounds easy, right? Well the problem is that Peace Corps regional recruitment offices throughout the country race against each other once, quarterly to get all their applicants nominated through an online system and because the number of applicants has far outnumbered the openings, within 15 minutes of opening the online process, one day every three months, the generalist slots all get taken up. If generalist positions made a small percentage of Peace Corps openings, the problem wouldn't be so dire. But generalist positions make up about half of openings. Not only that, but the generalist contribution to Peace Corps is important. The power of the Peace Corps is that it not only provides needed technical assistance to developing countries, but it also transforms people who don't necessary have a lot of prior international or development experience, who may otherwise never have the opportunity to live oversesas for that length of time, and to learn another language. " (via
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