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Author Topic: When will I hear if I passed the initial screening? Plus more questions  (Read 6614 times)

Offline Djs6990

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  • Posts: 4
  • PC Status: Applicant
Hey All.

I just finished my application/medical form/soft skills questionnaire/placement form a week ago today. About how long does it typically take for my references to hear from the PC? I am guessing that my references will know whether I passed the initial screening before I do because they will get a request to fill out the reference forms. Also, will I get a response if I did not pass the initial screening?

I am 25 but do not have a bachelor's degree. I do have an associates degree though in horticulture. Plus I worked on a family farm for 5 years and have been working in a botanical gardens for the past 2.5 years. Do you think that I would still be a viable candidate even though I do not have a bachelor's degree?

Lastly, I filled out my medical form and was completely honest on it because I thought it is better they know my medical issues up front. I have never had any medical problems, BUT I have been seeing a therapist for my OCD for a while now and have been seeing a therapist on and off most of my life. It is not something that has held me back in life or anything, not like I have been hospitalized or even needed medication for it (I did try medication many many many years back for a brief period of time). I just like to talk to my therapist as someone who is a solid wise person in my life. Also he has been very encouraging of me applying. Do you think that this will hurt my chances of getting accepted? 

Offline jessi22

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  • PC Status: Applicant
Hi there,

First off, congrats on getting past the first step! It is always important to take a few deep breaths at every step along the way to keep yourself sane.

In terms of when your references will hear: your references will only be contacted if you are invited for an interview, at which point the email inviting you to the interview would let you know to warn your references to expect communication from PC. Before you get invited to interview you would receive and email stating you have been placed under consideration for a program. The timeline for being placed UC varies, and not everyone who is placed UC is invited to interview. May I ask the timeline for the program you applied to (i.e. apply by date and know by date)?

In terms of degree/competitiveness of your application: This is really hard to say because it is dependent on so many things. For example, how many people apply for the same position you did, how qualified they are versus how qualified you are. Degrees aren't everything. Professional experience, volunteer experience, how you interview, your references, etc. all go into the package of what makes you a well rounded candidate. So, the short answer: there is no definitive answer. Just make sure to sell yourself on the aspects you do possess (don't sell yourself short), because depending on what posting you applied for you will be up against individuals with bachelors and masters degrees.

On your medical history: it is always good to be honest. I cannot speak from my own experience but I have heard both good and bad things about mental health histories in relation to the peace corps. Perhaps someone else could speak on this...

Offline Djs6990

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  • Posts: 4
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May I ask the timeline for the program you applied to (i.e. apply by date and know by date)?

There were a couple of programs that had apply by dates of Oct. 1 and know by dates were Dec. 1. Those were of the programs I was most interested in. They were both in Africa and were involved with farming, which is my specialty. When I filled out my placement form I did not put a specific place to go though. For all three sections I said I would go anywhere, but for the type of work I said Agriculture (first), Environment (second), and health (third).   

Offline jessi22

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Again, it is all dependent upon what program you were to get placed UC for, but if it is for one of the know by Dec. 1st dates, your wait shouldn't be too long. Typically the two months between the application close date and the final notification dates POs are interviewing quite often so they can get the remainder of their invitations sent out.

Best of luck!! Keep us updated on your progress!!

I am also waiting to hear back about a program with a know by date of Dec. 1st :)

Offline amanda_pearl

  • Forum Champion
  • Posts: 75
  • Cambodia CHE 2016-2018
  • PC Status: Applicant
I had my interview last month, and my interview request said nothing about my references being contacted. I told them when I applied, so they were expecting to be contacted eventually, but I only knew they were contacted because one of them emailed me to tell me they submitted the form. Mine were apparently contacted the day after I responded to schedule my interview.

As for the timeline, I don't think it is always related to the program in question. I applied in early August, and was placed under consideration two weeks later for a program with an apply-by date of 1/1. The time to hear back is extremely variable. Some people are UC a day after applying, and for others it takes months.

I also have a history of seeing a mental health specialist. I emailed with a nurse through MAP, and they indicated that most country placements need at least 6mo of stability without seeing a therapist to receive final medical clearance.

In regards to the degree question, approximately 95% of volunteers have at least a bachelors degree. The remainder have extensive work experience in the sector. You would meet the minimum requirements for several of the agricultural and environmental programs, but I haven't seen any health programs that you meet the requirements based on what you listed here. Since you meet the minimum requirements for a number of positions, you would be a viable candidate. If you don't get in this time, meet with a recruiter to revamp you resume, and apply again. You also mentioned that you have a first, second, and third sector choice, but the assignment selection form is not ranked. They will not prioritize the sectors you listed in order.

Offline PCVolunteer

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I had my interview last month, and my interview request said nothing about my references being contacted. I told them when I applied, so they were expecting to be contacted eventually, but I only knew they were contacted because one of them emailed me to tell me they submitted the form. Mine were apparently contacted the day after I responded to schedule my interview.

It is my understanding that the majority of communications are standard for all applicants when it comes to specific messages. You may have looked over the detail as stated in the interview confirmation e-mail:

In preparation for your interview, please review the attached Peace Corps Drug & Alcohol Policies and Peace Corps Legal Questions. In addition, please inform your reference providers at this time that an email request for their recommendations has been sent. We look forward to hearing from your reference providers and to speaking with you soon. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Not that it matters, but I think it is important to know that is when you should inform your references for future applicants scheduling their interviews.

Offline Jeff

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    • Doing it Twice
  • PC Status: RPCV
Just to throw my two cents in here (which basically mimics what's already been said!):

As you might have read before in many answers to questions regarding PC - it depends.  This pretty much applies to everyone of your questions!!

In terms of when you might hear if you have passed the initial screening, some lucky applicants (I was not one of these!) get their Under Consideration email almost immediately, within a day or two.  Others have reported getting their Under Consideration email right at the know-by deadline.  I wouldn't take not receiving this as a sign either way until after the know-by date or until you receive an email stating that you are not moving forward (which hopefully won't happen!).  As was stated in another response, not all applicants get an UC email, not all who are put UC get interviewed, and not all who interview get invited.

For the references - under previous iterations of the process (including as recently as a year ago), they contacted references prior to interview, and would not schedule an interview until all references were accounted for (not necessarily received).  Under the newest iteration (unless they changed it again), references are not contacted until the interview is scheduled, sometimes after.  So, short version - your references probably will not know until after you do if you passed the initial screening.

Degrees; the requirements for each program/slot are actually set by the requesting country, and the great majority of them do require bachelor's degrees.  As someone said, it's in the 90%s.  That being said, there are specialty positions that do NOT require degrees, and it may just be the luck of the draw - if you apply at a time when they have some of those open.  The first time I did PC, we did have a volunteer with us who had only a high school diploma, but he had significant experience in construction, and was assigned to a specific site that requested that.

I wouldn't count yourself out, and do think you are a viable candidate, but just be aware that the opportunities may be less.  Also, as was mentioned, how competitive you are may simply depend, again, on luck of the draw - as in who applied and is under consideration for the same position as you are and what their backgrounds are.  During any single 'open season' the applicant pool will look very different.

That being said, I would highly encourage you to reapply if worse comes to worst and you don't get selected now (which, again, hopefully won't happen!).  You should be able to resubmit immediately, and I think that is actually becoming somewhat of the norm for people to have to apply more than once.  I'd also encourage you to talk to a recruiter about your situation specifically, as they can often provide good insight on how to tailor your resume for open positions.

As for the medical, PC can be very annoying when it comes to medical histories.  Expect to have to fill out some extra paperwork and have your therapist do the same if you receive an invite!  Other than that, PC, despite saying they have 'standards', seems to be a very case-by-case type organization when it comes to medical needs.  I would definitely stress the fact that you don't need to be medicated, and if you make it to medical clearance, have your therapist stress the same!

Jeff.
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline amanda_pearl

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  • Cambodia CHE 2016-2018
  • PC Status: Applicant
Quote
It is my understanding that the majority of communications are standard for all applicants when it comes to specific messages. You may have looked over the detail as stated in the interview confirmation e-mail

I actually looked back at my confirmation email when you said yours mentioned it, and mine does not have that language. My interview request also did not specify what sector I was being considered for (only the country), and I only knew because I said I'd only be interested in health positions. My PO rescheduled the interview, too. Another of the "standard" emails came, and this one didn't have the Skype link.

The emails are supposed to be standard, but apparently sometimes things get messed up.

Offline Djs6990

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Thanks everyone for the responses. They were very helpful and reassuring.

I just want to give people an update. Last night I got my under consideration email! It was a huge relief. I guess now it is just a waiting game for when they want to schedule an interview. I am really happy I got the interview because even though I don't have a bachelor's degree I think I have quite a bit of useful experience. It can be hard to "tell your story" in a resume or a 500 word motivation statement, so I am glad I will have the opportunity to actually explain everything I have done and what I can do.

 

Offline PCVolunteer

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Keep in mind that the majority of applicants are placed under consideration and it is a standard step in the process. This is an exciting time as it allows the applicant to begin researching the country. The next step would be an interview request. You are not guaranteed to receive an interview and not everyone that is interviewed will be invited.

Patience is important throughout the application process.

Offline Jeff

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  • PC Status: RPCV
Another piece of advice - if you gain some more experience, be it volunteer or paid, or have other things to add, definitely update your resume and send a quick email the placement officer.

I did this and I truly believed it helped!
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17