The application process for the Peace Corps is quite a long process. Peace Corps says it takes, on average between 3 and 9 months to get from start to finish. When I started the process, I was very curious about other people's experiences, so I will share mine in hopes of helping another curious sole like myself.
March 29, 2010- Submitted my online application. This in itself was a huge feat as my application was over 30 pages long.
April 8, 2010- My local Peace Corps recruiter contacted me to give me more information and let me know what I needed to work on now- Fingerprint cards, Background check, Questionaires about job experience, romantic involvement, dietary needs, and a few other forms. She also scheduled an interview time.
April 15, 2010- All of my recommendations were finally submitted online. Each applicant is required to have three recommendations filled out online. They like to have them from a friend, an employer, and a volunteer supervisor. In my case, a substantial part of my volunteer work has been through the recreation department where I work, so I had my best friend from college, the head of the recreation department and the program supervisor for the recreation department fill mine out. That didn't seem to matter and they were somewhat flexible with it all.
April 19, 2010- Interview date! I met with my local recruiter and RPCV for an interview. I dressed as I would for a job interview, but the overall interview was much more laid back. It really was much more of a two-way conversation. I was asked about my interest in Peace Corps, location preferences, adaptation, and some scenarios. Prior to my interview I googled "Peace Corps interview" or something of the sort and lots of pages came up with information. After having been through the interview, the questions listed on the sites were very accurate. I was also able to ask my recruiter any questions I had about her experience, which was great- its always nice to hear another person's experiences.
May 5, 2010- I received a call from my recruiter telling me which program she was nominating me for. This is one of the first milestones. If you don't get nominated, you don't move forward. However, being nominated doesn't mean you are accepted. In my case, I was nominated for a Primary Education/Teacher Training in the Pacific Islands and given a tentative departure date of early October. Again, this does not mean this is the program you will be on. It all comes down to when you get medical clearance and whether or not the program is full when they are ready to invite you.
May 14, 2010- I was mailed my HUGE medical and dental packet. It was full of lots of fun information and paperwork for both myself as well as my doctor and dentist. This is the part of the application process that takes the longest. If you get in to see a doctor and dentist right away and they deem you healthy from the start it can be quicker, however if the dentist recommends anything being done, even if it is optional- if it is written on the PC form it becomes required, it can take a lot longer. If you have your wisdom teeth still and they are not fully in/developed, you will need to get them out and believe me oral surgeons don't have the most availability. I started my medical and dental work almost right away, but it is now the end of August and I am still working on it.
July 26, 2010- Peace Corps received my medical information and was in the process of reviewing it.
August 18, 2010- Peace Corps contacted me and said they needed a few more doctor's signatures and was requesting them by Friday (2 days away). I scheduled my appointments as soon as possible (luckily was able to get in on Friday) and faxed them the doctor's notes.
August 20, 2010- Peace Corps received my dental information and was in the process of reviewing it.
August 30, 2010- Peace Corps mailed me a letter stating they needed a final letter from my oral surgeon about my wisdom teeth removal. I got the letter and am going to mail the information back to them tomorrow- this time they provided an overnight mail envelope so they clearly want to get it squared away asap.
September 1, 2010- I called Peace Corps to find out where my medical stuff stood/if they needed more from me. I first called the number of my medical assistant- they will be out of the office until the end of September. So much that does. I called back and this time asked for the nurse who has called me previously. I left her a message. She called me back later on because she couldn't find one of the forms I had faxed in (while on the phone she found it). She entered all of that in and said all that I need now is one more form from a doctor with signature. Not quite what I wanted to hear, but if that being the last thing is exciting!
September 2, 2010- Woke up to an email saying there was a change in my file. Peace Corps gave me dental clearance!
September 7, 2010- Went to the doctor again and was put on new medication. However, I have to have a one month follow-up to see how my migraines are doing. I guess medical clearance will be delayed another month.
September 10, 2010- Was called by Peace Corps from my new nurse (apparently they passed my paperwork over to a different nurse). She confirmed the one month follow-up with my doctor and said providing that goes well, I should get medical clearance at that point. Hopefully! I am sick of going to the doctor and sick of waiting.
October 11, 2010- Yet another doctor's appointment. Was told I have a cement cervix- not a good thing to hear! Doctor changed course of action and wanted to try a new medication, but this time a one month trial wasn't good enough- he wanted to do another three months of trial. Not what I wanted to hear. That puts off medical clearance until January at the earliest!
February 4, 2011- Switched doctors and went to one of the top lady parts doctors in the state. She successfully did her job. Faxed documentation to Peace Corps. I figure one more follow up appointment in March and then medical clearance hopefully.
February 10, 2011- Woke up to a status change on my online file saying the Office of Medical Services had reached a verdict. I should be receiving a letter soon.
February 10, 2011- Received a phone call from a Placement Specialist (forget the whole email and Placement Assistant step) giving me under 24 hours to decide if I could accept a placement in Eastern Europe leaving in April and asking for an updated Skill Addendum to see what other placements are available.
February 11, 2011- Emailed Placement Specialist back saying April is too soon and requesting a placement for August/September/October. Received a response 2 hours later saying that is no problem. They will look for a placement at a later date that fits with my skills. Also made a note on my file documenting my experience in recreation and program planning, not just education.
February 12, 2011- Received in the mail the official letter stating I have received medical clearance.
June 9-12, 2011- Received an email from my Placement Officer wanting to check in. Tried calling him back, left message. Sent email reiterating I would love to chat and when he could reach me.
June 14, 2011- Talked with my Placement Officer and my invitation is in the mail!
June 17, 2011- Received Invitation (the wonderful Big Blue Packet)
June 18, 2011- Emailed in my Acceptance of my Invitation
June 20, 2011- Received an email back confirming my acceptance and providing more information about passport/visa, aspiration statement/resume, and reminder about medical/dental clearance.
September 2, 2011- Lost medical clearance due to current unknown illness. Told I would not be able to go unless I was able to regain medical clearance in one week.
September 9, 2011- After much fretting, regained medical clearance.
September 11, 2011- The journey began!
The key to applying for the Peace Corps is being flexible. Nothing is ever for sure with the Peace Corps.