What's the Peace Corps application process timeline?

By Sarah Finnegan
July 28, 2017

“How long did it take you to get an invitation?”

“When were you asked for an interview?”

“Is it normal to not hear anything for two months?” 

Check out pretty much any Peace Corps-related forum and you’re likely to see people asking about the timeline of application to interview to invitation. You’ll see answers that range from weeks to months. 

The current application timeline is significantly more streamlined and transparent compared to the “old” application timeline (back in my day…), but even with these improvements, waiting for a decision can be stressful.

To get a grasp on what the application timeline could look like for you, it’s first good to know the basics. Programs typically begin accepting applications seven months prior to the “know-by” date. The “know-by” date means one thing: it is the absolute latest date you could receive an invitation decision for a particular program. Even though there’s that seven-month window, on average the application timeline is less than 90 days. Placement officers make decisions more on a rolling basis, which means you could receive an invitation before the application deadline even rolls around!

As with many things, your own application timeline will depend on a number of factors: when you applied, your technical skills, your interview performance, the “popularity” of the position, etc.

But there are a number of things you can do to potentially expedite the process:

  • Apply early! When you wait until the application deadline to apply, you’re applying along with (literally) thousands of other applicants. By applying early (i.e., a few weeks or months prior to the application deadline), your placement officer is more likely to look at your application soon after it’s submitted. This may lead to a quicker interview request.
  • Apply for a featured job! Featured positions typically don’t have as many applicants as we would like, so it’s likely that your application-interview-invitation timeline could be speedier. 
  • Respond quickly to any requests that your placement officer makes (legal history, skill addenda, language skills clarification, interview requests, etc.). If you’re worried you’re not receiving communications, log in to the Applicant Portal and check your communications tab.
  • If you’ve interviewed for a position, make sure to hound those references! You cannot move forward in the process until we have received your references, so do everything in your power to make sure that’s not what’s holding up your application. Pro tip: make sure at least one of your references is a job supervisor reference.

I’ll end with this caveat (and it’s a big one): No news is neutral news. The Peace Corps is competitive and sometimes we go through hundreds of hours of interviews in order to make the best decisions possible for our Peace Corps host communities. So just because you haven’t heard anything from your placement officer in a few months, don’t fret! Continue researching your program and gaining additional relevant experience (and let your placement officer know about that!) and before you know it, a decision will land in your inbox.

Ready to start your Peace Corps journey? Connect with a recruiter today.

Sarah Finnegan

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