What Makes a Competitive Applicant?
Peace Corps (PC) accepts applicants from all majors. Some assignment areas have more rigid requirements such as possessing particular degrees while other assignment areas have more flexibility in how one may achieve appropriate experience in that area. For many assignment areas, volunteering and/or working in that sector for a solid amount of time, makes an applicant eligible for the position. This means that an applicant who is majoring in journalism can be just as competitive as an applicant majoring in agribusiness.
A good first step is to explore available job positions within the Peace Corps. Job postings can be found online at www.peacecorps.gov. Find out what PC is looking for and look for ways to develop transferrable skills here at UF.
Gators now also have the advantage of enrolling in the Peace Corps Prep program on campus to enhance their skills for Peace Corps service. PC Prep was launched in the Fall of 2015 and is offered in conjunction with the International Scholars program. It is open to undergraduate students across all majors and is designed as a way to help guide students through the process of gaining relevant skills. Find out how you can internationalize your degree and build your resume for sector specific work through Peace Corps Prep.
UF degrees beneficial to Peace Corps
The University of Florida has a wide range of colleges and departments that provide majors in areas that Peace Corps needs. There are also a number of minors, certificates and other academic programs offered at UF that will enhance an applicant’s competitiveness. Peace Corps has some work sectors that are in high demand by the countries we serve. Agriculture and environment are particularly difficult sectors to find qualified individuals. Education and Health are the largest sectors, encompassing about two thirds of the total number of PC positions. Majors and certificates in TESOL, STEM teaching, Health Education, Public Health, etc. are therefore very helpful, although not necessary.
Again, all majors are eligible for Peace Corps service. While taking specific coursework can certainly assist in developing skills which PC seeks, applicants are competitive based on the skills they have. Some gain those skills through coursework and others have sought out work and volunteer experiences that have allowed them to practice relevant PC skill sets. In addition to sector specific skills, PC seeks culturally competent individuals with leadership experience, who are engaged in their community.
Here at UF there are lots of ways to gain PC relevant skills outside of your coursework. Think outside of the box. Look into a FAB trip or study abroad. Many student organizations provide both leadership and sector specific skill building opportunities. Create your own development project and apply for a Projects for Peace grant. Work with International students. Volunteer at a local organization. For additional guidance on finding a relevant experience here at UF, contact the PC Advisor.