Non-Profit application deadlines approach

Consistently one of the top producers of volunteers and participants for both Teach for America and the Peace Corps, the University encourages students to consider these alternative non-profit, service-oriented opportunities for post-graduation. With application deadlines approaching, it is important that students, especially graduating seniors, understand their options and utilize available resources on- and off-campus.

Upcoming deadlines for Teach for America are Jan. 11, 2013 and Feb. 15, 2013. According to the Teach for America website, the advantages to applying earlier are: earlier notification of admission status; access to more available phone and final interview time slots and additional time to prepare for transition, which can include relocating, passing required tests, completing pre-service reading and classroom observations and interviewing with school districts.

The initial application requires a resume and a letter of intent in addition to the application itself.

In order to apply, one must obtain a Bachelor’s degree by June, have a 2.5 minimum undergraduate GPA and U.S. citizenship or national/permanent resident status. However, most applicants apply with a significantly higher GPA and have also held leadership positions, according to a Puget Sound press release.

“Teach for America corps members are top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in schools that can use the additional talent and resources,” a Puget Sound press release said.

If accepted after the quite extensive application process, new members attend a six-week training program after graduation and begin teaching in the fall.

On Oct. 26, Liz Weil, a current Teach for America member and class of ‘11 alumna, led an information session for Puget Sound students.

“When these kids are at school, they’re safe. I want to provide them with that environment where they can learn and grow. My greatest surprise during my first year was really how little accountability there was for me. I think that’s one of the problems perpetuating issues in education. It’s important that you can hold yourself accountable,” Weil said.

“Teach for America tries to prepare you the best they can. It is difficult in the sense that there are other people who have gone to college for education. But Teach for America nonetheless provides support,” Weil added. “It’s great to feel a part of a team and a movement.”

Not only do Teach for America corps members gain a unique experience and a new perspective, but they also get full salary and benefit, a two–year deferral for their loans, an AmeriCorps stipend and graduate school and employer partnerships, according to the CES website.

To learn about opportunies in the Peace Corps as well, and to hear Erin Carlson’s (‘04) experiences, please visit

According to its website, Peace Corp volunteers receive similar benefits, including: student loan assistance; a “readjustment” allowance upon completion of service; language, cross-cultural and technical training; transition, job support and social networking after service and two ways to incorporate graduate studies.

For the Peace Corps, Erin Carlson, a class of ‘04 alumna and the current regional recruitment supervisor for the Peace Corps Northwest Regional office, advises that students apply online at by Nov. 29 in order to be considered for assignments departing in 2013. However, the Peace Corps accepts applications year-round.

There are a variety of types of work for Peace Corps volunteers, including education, health and HIV/AIDS, environment, agriculture and food security, community economic development and youth in development. In addition to being able to travel almost anywhere in the world, Peace Corps volunteers get hands-on experience and also get to give back to the global community.

There are currently 22 Puget Sound alumni serving abroad as Peace Corps volunteers, and the University ranks number 5 in the nation among small colleges and universities. Since the agency was founded in 1961, 268 Puget Sound alumni have served in the Peace Corps.

“I decided to go into the Peace Corps after I graduated in 2004 because I really wanted to get the hands-on experience and give back to the community. Additionally, Peace Corps has a proven record of providing experience overseas and helping students get experience after graduation,” Carlson said.

Carlson worked as a Public Health Educator for the Peace Corps from 2005-07. While in Guinea, Africa, she primarily worked with a community health clinic as well as an elementary school.

On Nov. 13 there will be a Peace Corps information session from 12-1:30 p.m. in Wheelock Student Center 101. For more information visit

For more information on Peace Corps and Teach for America, visit and