Nov 30, 2013
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I'm interested in doing Americorps for my gap year before I apply to school. I have heard from many people that it is becoming more difficult to be selected due to the state of the economy. More recent grads are opting to do programs like these instead of being unemployed. If anyone has any personal experience with this program (getting accepted/rejected) please let me know.
 
Apr 23, 2013
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I'm interested in doing Americorps for my gap year before I apply to school. I have heard from many people that it is becoming more difficult to be selected due to the state of the economy. More recent grads are opting to do programs like these instead of being unemployed. If anyone has any personal experience with this program (getting accepted/rejected) please let me know.
It's too variable from program to program to tell you. Some Americorps positions are highly desirable and I imagine more competitive; others aren't.

It IS true that more and more overqualified people are being forced into Americorps positions instead of proper paying work (any remotely legal-related Americorps job will be immediately flooded with candidates who have JDs due to the horrible law market right now). But again, the competitiveness for a specific position will vary highly.
 

Jennyfishy

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Mar 24, 2013
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It definitely depends on which area you want to apply to (and how early). I only know of a couple programs but some of my friends got into those with their preferred location placements (mostly city year, one in food nutrition).

Flexibility in relocating will be a helpful trait to have to help your odds!
 

karayaa

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Dec 5, 2012
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FWIW, I have a friend who was a doula. She was a stellar applicant. I don't know how useful such anecdotal evidence will be for you.
If you want to do it, apply. I don't think anyone can predict your chances. Just go for it.
But apply all over the country, for a broad range of positions, because they're often flexible and might be able to adapt it to your specific interests.
 

otterxavier

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Dec 30, 2012
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It really varies. The AmeriCorps program that I did matched ~25% of applicants -- but it was in a large city and provided housing, which made it more desirable. On the other hand, a placement in the rural midwest or south, e.g., would be less competitive. I'd also guess that placements that are more related to health and medicine will be harder to get than, say, a placement at an after-school program or a historical society -- something that is less directly linked to a professional career path. You'll also have a much more successful application if you have a strong history of community service.

Keep in mind, also, that it's tricky to apply to med school while doing AmeriCorps. You'll likely have very little time and energy at the end of the day to work on applications, it may be hard to get time off for interviews, and your income will not allow for application fees, interview expenses, etc. unless you have savings or support from family. It's a great experience and I'd strongly recommend it, but be prepared to deal with those challenges.
 
Oct 21, 2013
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Keep in mind, also, that it's tricky to apply to med school while doing AmeriCorps. You'll likely have very little time and energy at the end of the day to work on applications, it may be hard to get time off for interviews, and your income will not allow for application fees, interview expenses, etc. unless you have savings or support from family. It's a great experience and I'd strongly recommend it, but be prepared to deal with those challenges.
I disagree with that. I'm currently in AmeriCorps and it is so much less stressful than other post-grad jobs (i.e. research). Rather than being worked to death by PIs for 14 hours a day and on the weekends, my AmeriCorps position is a 7am-3pm job at a high school. We do have a 1700 hours requirement for this position, which averages out to a little less than 8 hours per day. So while some days I might have to work a bit longer because there are more stuff going on, it is never expected that I need to labor away for like 14 hours a day.

Having attended 10+ interviews in October and November, there never was any problem about missing days. My supervisor knew that I will be gone for interviews during these months from my AmeriCorps interview, and so they have been very supportive and understanding of me taking days off. Of course I did make a few of my interviews on the weekends and during school in-service days to minimize the impact and I stayed after school couple times a week and tutored students to make up for the lost hours.

Also, living in a relatively inexpensive city, I don't think I'm having much trouble coughing up the dough to attend all my interviews while on an AmeriCorps stipend.

While my experience might not be the experience for all AmeriCorps program, but I don't think it would be that tough, since you are technically volunteering. I'd strongly recommend the experience as I've already learned quite a bit and it's only 3rd month for me.
 

aesculapian

7+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2010
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It really varies. The AmeriCorps program that I did matched ~25% of applicants -- but it was in a large city and provided housing, which made it more desirable.
Was your experience health/medicine-related, by any chance?

Keep in mind, also, that it's tricky to apply to med school while doing AmeriCorps. You'll likely have very little time and energy at the end of the day to work on applications, it may be hard to get time off for interviews, and your income will not allow for application fees, interview expenses, etc. unless you have savings or support from family. It's a great experience and I'd strongly recommend it, but be prepared to deal with those challenges.
I hadn't thought about all of that. Thanks for making that point!
 

bambam92

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Nov 26, 2012
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Cant be overly completive since the majority of americorps people I know are kids that couldn't get into med school on first attempt, so they kill a year doing americorps...
 
Oct 21, 2013
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Cant be overly completive since the majority of americorps people I know are kids that couldn't get into med school on first attempt, so they kill a year doing americorps...
If 100 people applied for a job as a deli clerk, then all of a sudden it is WAY more competitive than med school. Why don't you get off that high horse of yours.
 
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otterxavier

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Dec 30, 2012
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Was your experience health/medicine-related, by any chance?
My specific placement was, but the overall program wasn't.

I disagree with that.... While my experience might not be the experience for all AmeriCorps program, but I don't think it would be that tough, since you are technically volunteering.
I guess this is just a your-mileage-may-vary kind of thing. My program only "granted" ten vacation days (some of which were taken up by a family emergency), I had responsibilities that could not have been rescheduled for an interview, and paying for a plane ticket would have wiped out an unfeasible portion of my (post-rent) income for the month. It was an incredibly rewarding experience, don't get me wrong... but I'm glad I wasn't applying to med schools in the middle of it. Something to evaluate carefully if you're pre-med and applying to a service corps program, I guess.