The Big Five
There are five organizations that attract the large majority of Grinnell students who choose to engage in a period of service after graduation. While there are never any guarantees that these will be a good fit for a specific student, these are, overall, organizations that fit well with Grinnell's ethic of public service, are well-organized, and tend to offer outstanding opportunities.
Peace Corps: Peace Corps volunteers serve for two years (plus three months of training) in over 70 countries worldwide. There are a large diversity of jobs available. Admission has become increasingly selective, but Grinnell has an excellent track record of placing volunteers in Peace Corps, and we are typically listed among the highest-producing schools for Peace Corps volunteers. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; Peace Corps recruiters usually visit campus about once per semester.
Teach For America: Teach For America corpsmembers are hired as regular, full-time, first-year teachers in under-resourced schools throughout the country (usually in very urban or rural locations). Over the last five Teach For America has accepted about 35% of Grinnell's applicants. There are usually four deadlines for application throughout the year.
Grinnell Corps: Grinnell's private, one-year service corps, with both domestic programs (New Orleans, Grinnell), and international offerings (China, Lesotho, Namibia, and Thailand). The competitiveness depends on the program and the year; we send one fellow to each of the domestic programs, and two to each of the international programs. Applications are due on Monday, February 6, 2012.
Americorps: Americorps offers hundreds of one-year service opportunities across the country. Grinnell students have had particular success in the VISTA program. Applicants should be particularly aware of the stipend level, and be sure that they know what their lifestyle on the stipend will be like. Competitiveness and application cycles vary by position.
Lutheran Volunteer Corps: LVC volunteers serve in one of a dozen cities in the US, and live in intentional community with other LVCers while working a full-time job in a service agency. LVC's core ideals are community, sustainability, and service, so it is not surprising that Grinnell is usually one of the top producers of volunteers. LVC welcomes applications from people with a diverse and broad range of faith traditions and backgrounds.