My Peace Corps Application Timeline

My Peace Corps Application Timeline

From what I’ve observed through other bloggers in the Peace Corps and on the Reddit thread page, it seems like Peace Corps application timelines are really popular. Everyone who goes through this long process (sometimes taking up to a year!) is curious about when they’ll hear back, or when they should expect to reach the next stage. I’ve divided mine into a general timeline of main events along with a detailed sub-timeline with my medical and legal clearances, so, here goes! 

General Application Timeline

For those who want the general main sequence of events:

October 9, 2016: Submitted Peace Corps application

October 27, 2016: Under Consideration for Panama leaving July 2017

November 4, 2016: Interview request with placement for Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator position

November 10, 2016: Skype interview with placement officer at 9 AM EST for 1 hour

February 8, 2017: Received official invitation to serve and accepted! 

May 10, 2017: Received medical clearance

May 15, 2017: Received legal clearance

July 10, 2017: Depart for staging in Miami

July 12, 2017: Depart for Peace Corps service in PANAMA!

Detailed Application Timeline

For those that want all the nitty gritty details because you browse the Reddit thread everyday on the hour, hoping you’ll hear back soon:
 
October 9, 2016: Under the new application that takes a fourth of the time to fill out from the previous system, I was able to complete all the supplements that were sent shortly after submitting the main application.
  • Submitted Peace Corps application
  • Received and completed Health History Form
  • Received and completed Peace Corps Service Preferences
  • Received and completed Soft Skills Questionnaire

October 27, 2016: Received Peace Corps Application Update email saying they reviewed my application and placed me Under Consideration for Panama leaving July 2017.

November 4, 2016:

  • Received Peace Corps Interview Request email with placement for the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Extensionist position in Panama leaving July 2017. I compared this with the Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator position and they were the exact same description, except the latter required engineering. I emailed my Placement Officer to ask about the differences and if I could be placed in the Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator position. My Placement Officer emailed back explaining the positions and moved me based on my request.
  • Scheduled Skype interview for November 10, 2016 at 9 AM EST
  • Received Peace Corps Interview Confirmation email with policy attachments and an outline of what will be discussed in the interview

November 10, 2016: Skype interview with Placement Officer at 9 AM EST for 1 hour. Great interview, told me since I was the first round of interviews I wouldn’t hear back until after December. For a detailed account of the questions they asked, check out this Reddit page and there’s also a Wiki Links page with questions. Since they had sent an outline in the email beforehand, I had prepared answers for each question, so make sure you do your homework and it’ll go smoothly! My Placement Officer said she hadn’t received my second reference letter yet and to send it in soon. I followed up with my second reference, my professor from college, and she submitted it that day (talk about a quick reply!)

November 18, 2016: Met with my local recruiter to talk about the Panama WASH (Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene) program, ask questions about Peace Corps, and had her look over my resume to see if there was anything I could do to become a more competitive candidate. 

November 28, 2016: Received legal packet in the mail. Was supposed to receive it within 3 weeks, but there was a problem sending it out. Made an appointment for fingerprinting at the local police station.

December 9, 2016: Followed up with my Placement Officer to let her know I had uploaded an updated version of my resume to account for some volunteer work I did with the Nepalese Humanitarian Help Organisation to provide support for their water resources sector. I also added some advanced Spanish classes I was taking at the local community center and provided the syllabus. 

December 16, 2016: Fingerprinted at the local police station. Was told to keep the documents aside until I receive my invitation to serve.

February 8, 2017:

  • Received and accepted official invitation to serve in Panama July 2017 as an Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator!
  • Medical tasks were populated in the portal and started organizing and making appointments. What helped me was printing out each document and labeling each one with “to-do tasks” (yes, for every single document) to help me stay organized. That helped me to figure out what I already had done in the past and which tasks I needed to complete and appointments to make, and made my medical clearance an incredibly smooth process. Make your appointments ASAP since it can take a few weeks to see your doctors!
  • Learning Spaces tasks were populated in the portal, such as “Orientation to Safety and Security” and “Peace Corps Core Expectations.” I completed these in between waiting periods of medical tasks.
  • New Volunteer Portal tasks were populated in the portal (there are so many portals!), which have to do with press releases, banking information, and other legal/ monetary details
  • Sent in my legal packet

February 14, 2017: Met with the passport acceptance agent at the local library, since you could do walk-up appointments. Once completed, sent in all my passport documents to Sato Travel, the agency that handles all our passport and staging documents via FedEx. Since I knew that I would be traveling before departing for the Peace Corps, I had to jump a few hoops and fill out the DS-11 form so I didn’t have to submit my current passport. I brought in the following documents to the passport acceptance agent:

  • DS-11 form (NOT signed)
  • 2 passport photographs
  • Colored copy bio page of current passport
  • Birth certificate (I didn’t have mine so I had to order one online from VitalChek and rush ship it a few days earlier) + a black & white copy
  • 2 completed copies of the Passport Block Letter

February 15, 2017: A few days earlier I had called my pediatrician to request my vaccination records so they faxed me the results. From what I received, the following medical tasks were submitted:

  • Vaccination records: I sent everything that my pediatrician had faxed me under this file
  • Varicella: Since I had both strains done under my pediatrician vaccination records, I basically made a copy of what I sent for the vaccination records, highlighted the varicella boxes, and sent in the file
  • MMR: I did the same thing as I did for varicella since it was already done in my pediatrician vaccination records except highlighted the MMR boxes
  • Polio: Again, same thing as the previous two except highlighted the polio boxes
  • Medical Care Compliance form

February 16, 2017: Received email that my legal packet was received and my background investigation had begun

February 27, 2017: Met with my primary care doctor for my physical exam. I filled out and completed (some of) the following tasks:

  • Medical Examination Form: My doctor filled out most of this form, but could not sign it off until I completed the attached blood tests so he could analyze the results
  • Reported Medication Verification Form: Since I was not taking any medication, I just had him write “Not Applicable” and sign & date the form.
  • HHF (Health History Form) Positive Response Form: My doctor just looked through this since we had filled this out when we submitted the application and then signed it off to verify all responses were true
  • Physical Examination Lab Work Form: My doctor gave me a form to take to a lab next door (which I did right after the physical) for all the blood tests. He couldn’t sign it off until we got the results back
  • G6PD Lab Form: The doctor also included this blood test in the form to take to the lab.
  • Yellow Fever: The doctor wrote me a referral to get this shot
  • TD Immunization: The doctor wrote me a referral to get this shot
  • Polio Booster: The doctor wrote me a referral to get this shot

March 3, 2017: Met with my optometrist for my eye exam and submitted the Prescription Eyeglasses Form

March 6, 2017: Met with my OBGYN doctor and my dentist the same day to submit the following tasks:

  • Pap Screening Form: Called a couple days after the exam to have them fax me the results
  • Dental Exam Form: I go to the dentist every 6 months so this was a pretty routine check-up for me
  • Dental X-Ray Form: I had the bitewing x-rays done during this appointment but I also needed to include a Panorex. Fortunately when I had my wisdom teeth removed they took a Panorex, and since it was less than 2 years old I could use that. I called my oral surgeon and they emailed me a copy and I submitted it with the bitewing x-rays.

March 8, 2017: Went to Safeway to get my shots. Even though I had a referral from my primary care doctor, they said I needed to go through their doctor for the referral, so it cost extra. Luckily my insurance covered the cost of all the shots. 

  • Polio Booster: Even though I had all my polio shots done when I was a kid, they require 1 booster shot over 18. When submitting this task I just uploaded a copy of my receipt that said I got the shot
  • TD: I had all my TD shots done when I was a kid, but they require 1 booster within the past 5 years. When submitting this task I just uploaded a copy of my receipt that said I got the shot
  • Yellow Fever: Make sure you submit this task with the bright yellow World Health Organization card

March 13, 2017: Follow up appointment with my primary care doctor to discuss lab work results and sign off the rest of my documents. Submitted the last of the following medical tasks:

  • Medical Examination Form: Everything else was filled out from the previous appointment so the doctor just had to fill out the blood test section
  • Physical Examination Lab Work Form: I attached the lab results and had the doctor sign each page
  • G6PD Lab Form: Since this test was done in accordance with the other lab work, I made a copy and highlighted the G6PD section and uploaded it.

April 3, 2017: Received an email the previous week from our Country Desk Officer for a conference call on the Peace Corps Panama program and to welcome our cohort! It was a general informational meeting about what service is like in Panama.

April 26, 2017: Received an email about my medical clearance tasks. My assigned nurse said that clearances were backed up and they were currently working on those with staging dates in early June and would get to mine soon.

May 1, 2017: Received another email from our Country Desk Officer to join the Peace Corps Panama Duolingo Classroom so they can keep track of our Spanish progress and get an idea of where we stand when we have our upcoming Spanish interview for placement when we arrive in Panama.

May 10, 2017: Received an email from my Peace Corps nurse asking if I could verify the date of the 3 shots I got and to confirm I’m not taking any medication. I replied as soon as I got the email, and then within minutes I received my Medical Clearance! She said my organization was “stellar” and made the process really easy 🙂 I’ve heard so many horror stories about medical clearances and how tough it is, but mine was a really smooth process.

May 15, 2017: Received my official email for Legal Clearance!

May 25, 2017:

  • Had another conference call with the Country Desk Officer specifically about the Panama WASH program and what we should expect our training to be like.
  • Received an email to schedule our Spanish interview.
  • Also attended the Peace Corps Send-Off Party in Sacramento! It was great networking with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and getting great tips for service, and meeting a few other soon-to-be volunteers.

June 12, 2017: Spanish interview

July 10, 2017: Depart for staging in Miami

July 12, 2017: Depart for Pre-Service Training in PANAMA!

 
 

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