Peace Corps Celebrates First Year of Application Reforms

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2015 – Exactly one year ago today, the Peace Corps introduced historic application and recruitment reforms that have streamlined the application process and enabled even more of the best and brightest Americans to apply for Peace Corps service. A year later, the success of making the application process simpler, faster and more transparent is evident. Prior to last year’s reforms, only 23 percent of those who started the application completed it, while today an astonishing 95 percent of those who start the application complete the process.

“Peace Corps is breaking down barriers to service with these reforms and we’ve made great strides in ensuring all Americans know about Peace Corps service,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said.

In the last year, the agency has allowed applicants to choose the countries and programs they apply to, moved to an online application that can be submitted in approximately an hour and identified “apply by” and “know by” deadlines so applicants can better plan their futures.

At the heart of the recruitment reforms was Director Hessler-Radelet’s desire to ensure the Peace Corps did not lose high-quality applicants to an arduous process that included an eight-hour long application and months of waiting. Today, applicants can expect to hear if they have been invited to serve with Peace Corps less than 90 days after submitting their application, down 45% from the average wait of nearly 195 days prior to the reforms.

“The new application process is easier and much quicker—within a month I had applied, interviewed and been offered an invitation,” said Chelsea Gaylord, a Peace Corps trainee who departed for Uganda in June and, when sworn in, will serve as a health volunteer. “I realized my purpose is to work in health education and advocate for global health equity and the Peace Corps is an opportunity for me to continue to build these skills, advance my understanding of the worlds’ cultures, and gain experience working in developing communities to improve health.”

At the end of Fiscal Year 2014, the Peace Corps saw a 22-year high in application numbers and an increase in applications of more than 70 percent over Fiscal Year 2013. Since the initial reforms, the Peace Corps continues to make innovation its priority and works to cut red tape, increase transparency and reduce uncertainty for applicants. Prospective applicants can browse service opportunities by country, work area and departure date at

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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