January 26, 2007

U of C grads rank high with Peace Corps

The U of C ranked second among peer institutions in the Peace Corps’ annual list of top colleges and universities that produced the highest number of alumni volunteers in 2006.

The University of Chicago placed second among institutions with 5,000 or fewer undergraduates with a total of 29 volunteers this past year, just one short of the University of Puget Sound’s total of 30.

Since 2003, the University of Chicago has consistently finished either first or second among similarly sized volunteer-producing schools.

The U of C alumni acceptance rate to the Peace Corps has historically been above the national average. Emily Olsen, a recruiter at the Peace Corps’ Chicago office and a former volunteer in the Dominican Republic, said Chicago applicants make attractive potential Peace Corps volunteers.

“I have found that U of C students are very competitive applicants. Most U of C students have done their research about the Peace Corps and realize all of the benefits they will receive from the experience,” Olsen said.

Max Brooks, assistant director of Employer Relations at Career Advising and Planning Services, echoed Olsen’s sentiments.

The traits acquired both inside and outside the classroom, “along with the widespread desire to work internationally after graduation, make the U of C population a rich one for Peace Corps recruiters,” Brooks said.

Olsen said that past volunteers from the College have chosen to serve in a wide range of the 70 programs around the world. “We do our best to match an applicant to an appropriate program based on their qualifications,” Olsen said.