Peace Corps selection is based on merit alone. The Peace Corps stands or falls on the Volunteers it selects. Selection is made for individual projects and every project has particular requirements.
Volunteer candidates first fill out a Volunteer application available from most Post Offices, The Washington Peace Corps Office, college Peace Corps Liaison Offices or United States Senators and Congressmen. The applications are numbered and information is coded on computers for fast reference. Each Volunteer candidate lists six references on his application and these are contacted, along with key persons who have taught or employed the candidate. Responses from these references play a major role in the selection process.
There are no personal interviews before invitations are issued for training. The Peace Corps has no regional representatives. Filling out the application is the only method of applying.
Volunteer candidates are then instructed to take the Peace Corps Placement Test. There is no passing score. Results merely help the Peace Corps Selection Division evaluate a candidate’s abilities in certain specific skill areas.
If a thorough analysis of all this material indicates that a candidate has the needed skill, maturity, motivation and character, an invitation to train for a project is issued. The candidate is free to accept or decline the invitation.
Potential Volunteers are carefully evaluated and their talents, interests, hobbies, experiences, all are carefully matched with one of the many existing project requirements. Peace Corps experience has shown that persons selected for training have the capacity and background enabling them to acquire a particular skill. During the ten to twelve weeks of training, the Peace Corps will make certain that you are trained for the job to which you will be assigned. It is the Peace Corps’ job to make use of those interests, hobbies and experiences that a potential Volunteer brings with him to the training site.
The selection process continues throughout training, giving the Peace Corps a chance to form first-hand opinions of the candidate’s qualifications to serve overseas.
Selection is made without reference to race, religion or political affiliation.
Two underlying factors guide the entire selection process. The candidate’s personality characteristics must be such that he can make a successful adjustment to Peace Corps overseas standards, and by the time he completes training he must be able to satisfactorily perform the job assigned to him overseas.
If a Trainee demonstrates during the training program that he fully meets the Peace Corps’ standards, he is selected for the project. His status has thus changed from a candidate to a Trainee, to a Peace Corps Volunteer.
To view an invitation to Peace Corps training click here.
*From “Peace Corps Facts,” circa 1965