The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

July 15, 2014

Peace Corps allowing its applicants more choice

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Peace Corps will begin allowing applicants to choose the countries and programs where they want to serve as part of an update to the international service organization's application process.

Previously, applicants could only identify preferred countries, meaning they could be sent to a country of little interest to them. Being able to pick specific countries to serve in will help align their service with personal and professional goals while also attracting the most qualified people to each program, according to the Peace Corps.

"A modernized, flexible application and placement system will help Peace Corps recruit Americans who are not just interested in imagining a better world, but rolling up their sleeves and doing something about it," Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said in a statement. The changes were to be announced Tuesday.

The updated online application will also reduce the time it takes to apply, from about eight hours to an estimated one hour, by removing repetitive information and only asking for the information needed by each specific program or country. Because of the length of the old application — more than 60 printed pages — some people who started the application never completed it.

The new application also gives applicants a definite date by when they will know whether they were accepted into the Peace Corps, allowing them to better plan ahead.

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