Applying to the Peace Corps is a big commitment — one that, until recently, came with a lot of uncertainty.

The two-year program has, since 1961, assigned its corps members to the countries where they will spend the next two years through a lottery system. Changes to the application process this year will now allow applicants to have a choice in their country selection.

This reform came along with sweeping changes to the general application process, including a significantly shorter application form. Collectively, these modifications bring the opportunity to commit two years to altruism and diplomacy to many who might not have considered applying to a program over whose specifics they had limited control.

The ability to apply to a specific country ensures that successful applicants will be passionate about the region in which they will work and will be able to tailor their two years of service to future regional or developmental career interests. Especially among Georgetown students, whose many passions include foreign service, area studies and community service, these changes will hopefully make the program more suitable for students of today — when even Peace Corps applicants are likely thinking about career moves.

Applicants can still choose to be randomly assigned to a country, in which case they will be sent to the areas where they are most needed. These distinctions will likely make the application process for certain countries more competitive and will hopefully ensure that the Peace Corps remains a popular and important destination for recent graduates seeking to serve nations in need.

The Peace Corps is one of our country’s flagship volunteer programs for young people, and these changes ensure that its participants will be able to take full advantage of the time they are committing to serving others.

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