FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is City Year?
City Year is an education focused, nonprofit organization that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service to keep students in school and on track to graduation. At City Year’s 23 urban locations across the United States and two international affiliates, teams of highly-trained corps members serve full-time in schools as tutors, mentors and role models. By focusing on attendance, behavior and course performance, which identify students who are at risk of dropping out, corps members are uniquely able to help students and schools succeed.
What are the eligibility requirements to serve with City Year?
To participate as a corps member you must:
- Have a high school diploma or GED, have attended some college or have a college degree
- Be able to dedicate 10 months to full-time service
- Be between the ages of 17 and 24
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident alien
- Have served no more than 3 terms in another AmeriCorps, NCCC or VISTA program
- Agree to a background or security check
Previous experiences with service, tutoring, mentoring or leadership help strengthen candidacy.
Where is City Year located?
City Year operates in locations across the United States:
How is City Year related to AmeriCorps?
City Year is a proud member of AmeriCorps and is one of the largest AmeriCorps programs in the country. AmeriCorps is a federally funded network of national service programs that engages Americans in service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment.
Who are City Year's service partners?
City Year partners with a wide variety of organizations, including schools, nonprofits, community-based organizations and other organizations in the service field. For a complete list of service partners at each location, please visit a City Year location's Web page.
What is required to complete the program and receive the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award?
To receive the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, a corps member must complete 1,700 hours of service, all City Year-required competencies and serve through the program's graduation date.
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APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS
When is the application deadline?
Submit your completed application online by one of the deadlines below:
|| Notified after:
| September 30
|| October 21
| November 15
|| December 16
| February 15
|| March 16
| April 30
|| May 30
Any applications received after April 30 will be considered based on limited availability.
When is the best time to apply to City Year?
City Year has a very competetive selection process. The earlier you apply, the greater your chances for acceptance.
What criteria are used in the selection process?
City Year corps members are as diverse a group as the communities they serve. We're looking for individuals who have a desire to give back, work alongside a diverse group of people and are ready to change the world. City Year seeks applicants with the attributes that will lead to a successful service year. For more specific information, please visit Who We Are Looking For.
How long will the selection process take?
The length of the selection process will vary according to the volume of the applications City Year has received at the time of your submission. Based on the submission of a completed application with both references, applicants will receive notification decisions approximately one month after the application deadline. Please see the application deadline table above for notication dates, and allow for additional mail delivery time.
Can I apply to more than one location at a time?
City Year is one national organization with 23 domestic locations. Therefore, we accept only one application per individual per year, regardless of what site you are applying to. If you are willing to serve anywhere, you should apply to "Serve Where Most Needed" and our National Admissions Center will review your application, conduct the initial screening if you are qualified, and place you at a site according to what we believe will be the best fit for your skills and experiences and our sites' needs at the time you submit. If you are deciding between a couple of sites, we encourage you to learn more by reading about our various locations, or contact recruitment staff until you find one site that meets your needs.
What does "Serve Where Most Needed" mean and how is the process different?
The "Serve Where Most Needed" option was created for individuals who have no location preference or feel that they would simply like to serve where applications are most needed.
When selecting the “Serve Where Most Needed” option on your City Year application, your application will be submitted to our National Admissions Center for review. Qualified applicants will be invited for a screening interview, which takes place over the phone. If you are selected to move on, your application is matched with a site that has the most need for applicants that meet their criteria. Applicants who are placed will have their final interview with that site.
Are my chances better is I choose "Serve Where Most Needed" or an individual site?
"Serve Where Most Needed" is for applicants willing to serve in any location. We will look at a variety of our sites to match your application to. However, qualified candidates are only placed at one location, just like applicants who apply directly to a site. We do our best to match applicants at sites where their skill set and background will be most effective.
How do I apply to City Year London or South Africa?
City Year London and South Africa are international affiliates and are not City Year sites- they have their own application processes that do not overlap with the US application process. City Year Johannesburg requires that applicants be citizens of South Africa, just like the US locations. City Year London requires that you have legal right to live and work in the European Union before applying.
I want to send in my resume to supplement my application, where do I send it?
Please send any supplemental materials directly to the site you are applying to via email. For all "Serve Where Most Needed" applicants, send your materials to email@example.com
If I am not offered a corps member position, can I reapply for the next deadline? Can I apply to another City Year location?
Unfortunately, you cannot reapply during the same year, even to another location. You are welcome, however, to reapply the following year.
If I am accepted, how can I find additional information about my location and other incoming corps members?
Before you start your service, you will have access to an online community for incoming corps members. You can search for roommates, learn about affordable housing or simply get to know and connect with other corps members. You will have access to valuable information about City Year, our history and your service. We also encourage you to join your location's Facebook group and connect with fellow corps members through social media.
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What do City Year corps members do?
Please see The Corps Experience.
What are the benefits of serving with City Year?
Please see What You’ll Get.
When do City Year corps members start service?
The term of service for corps members begins in late July or early August of each year. Exact dates vary by location and generally follow the local school year calendar.
Will I receive training prior to service?
Yes. The first month of your service year includes City Year Basic Training Academy, during which corps members receive instruction on specific skills including literacy and math learning and tutoring, working with children, teambuilding and community resource mapping. Corps members also learn about the unique culture of City Year, the various neighborhoods of the community and the types of service you will be performing. There will also be regular trainings throughout the year to enhance your service and improve your leadership skills.
What types of service will I be performing?
The majority of your service responsibilities will involve working with children as a tutor, mentor and role model. For descriptions of specific projects, please see How You’ll Do It.
When will I be placed on a team?
During the first month of the service year, the City Year staff will form teams based on the diverse experiences and skill sets of the corps, ensuring that team members can learn from and help each other. Typically, each team has between 8 and 15 corps members.
What is a typical day for a City Year corps member?
A typical day varies from one corps member to another; however, here is an example of how your time might be invested:
||Join team to greet students for a positive and energetic start to the school day
||Perform student attendance check
||One-on-one math tutoring
||Small group literacy lesson
||Team-building puzzle activities
||Lunch with mentor group
||Reading comprehension and writing review
||Meet with principal to plan playground renovation
||Lead after-school homework help and test prep
||Give parents flyer for upcoming family book fair
||Break for the day
What are the other elements of City Year I will learn about?
City Year was founded on the belief that young people can change the world. You will see this belief and City Year's founding civic values and ideals incorporated into your day-to-day teamwork and schedule:
- The City Year uniform: City Year corps members wear the City Year uniform every day, which provides a diverse group with a unifying and highly recognizable symbol.
- Team debriefs, reflections and discussions: An essential part of City Year is leadership development. Corps and staff members are asked to consider who they want to be, what they need to know and what they can do to affect change. Part of this development is daily or weekly meetings with your team and fellow corps members to reflect and discuss your service.
- Physical Training (PT): City Year teams engage in calisthenics before the school day, as they greet students arriving at school, or before special events. PT is an opportunity to liven up and prepare for the day ahead, and helps to energize and excite students. PT also helps to generate feelings of unity and enthusiasm from corps members and from the audience.
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COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF CURRENT CORPS MEMBERS
What are some of the general challenges during your service year? How do you cope?
At City Year, you typically work anywhere between 10-12 hours each day. Those are long days! Despite all of the awesome service you are doing, naturally those lengthy hours can catch up with you. Some days will be more challenging than others, but in those tough moments you’d find that leaning on your teammates is immensely beneficial and helpful in lifting up your spirits and rejuvenating you to finish the day strong. We are all going through the same experience day in and day out, so there is a level of empathy and understanding amongst us. You and your team make it a point at the end of each day to circle up with each other and share joys from the day. Ending on a positive note is what we prioritize before we leave the school.
At City Year, we are trained to troubleshoot and be solution-oriented. You will receive frequent feedback and resolutions when reaching out to your teammates and staff about challenges you face in your service whether it’s about life-work balance, a tough student, or meeting a deadline. It’s also important to remember to utilize your weekends to relax and reflect. You will do a lot of important and fulfilling work during the week, so finding time on the weekends to rest your body and mind will only get you ready for the next week ahead!
How does a teacher respond to having a corps member in their classroom? What is the working relationship between them?
Teachers are thrilled to have a corps member in their classroom! Oftentimes, teachers have classrooms filled with 20-30 students. Despite how amazing the teacher may be, you can imagine how difficult it is to reach every single student and ensure each one is receiving the help they need in order to excel. City Year corps members and teachers create a list of students (called a Focus List) and identify those students who will need to be tutored either one on one or in a small group setting during their Math and Literacy blocks. Students will receive the attention they need to meet their specific needs in the classroom by the corps member, who will additionally develop a near-peer rapport with the students which is shown to help keep them engaged and motivated to come to school.
Corps members are not teaching aids or assistant teachers. Corps members are supplement in-classroom near-peer resources who work in tandem with teachers to ensure every child in the classroom is receiving the academic and personal investment they require in order to develop. Corps members and teachers will regularly meet on a weekly - if not daily - basis to go over the lessons of the week and overview students’ progress throughout the year. Corps members are always updated on upcoming projects and homework assignments so that when they see their students during the afterschool program, they will be able to best assist them during their extended learning time.
Teachers appreciate the continuity of the service corps members provide to their students.
How do you know you've made a difference in the life of a student?
City Year does a great job collecting quantitative and qualitative data that reflects the effectiveness of the service corps members are doing on a day-to-day basis. We track students’ grades, test scores, and attendance as well as surveying students on their attitudes towards school, their peers, and City Year corps members.
On a personal level, corps members are constantly building trust and healthy relationships with the students they are serving. Relationships that are fostered over the year are most likely continued even when the corps member finishes his/her service at that school.
How do families feel about corps members?
Families of the students we serve are just as involved in our service as the teachers are. We communicate with parents regularly to make sure students are attending school, and also update them on their child’s academic and behavioral progress. We also make a strong effort to engage parents and family members to attend City Year events at school and within the communities. We have found that the more invested parents are in their child’s school experience, the more enthusiastic and excited students want to attend school and excel in the classroom.
Will I be able to share what I am passionate about with my students?
Absolutely! Corps members are always encouraged to share themselves with our students, particularly in the afterschool space. Corps members write lesson plans for the afterschool program, and also create clubs in something that they are familiar with. Students’ love of learning will strengthen when you teach them something you genuinely love, especially if it is something they’ve yet to be exposed to. Corps members get really creative – Chess Clubs, Acting Clubs, Step Clubs, World Cup Soccer Clubs, Origami Clubs, French Cuisine Clubs – the sky’s the limit! Bring your passion to your service.
During small group or one-on-one tutoring, if you have creative ideas to teach a lesson to a student that involves role playing, drawing pictures, or even singing, then by all means go for it! There will be a point in time during your service that you will know your students so well that you’ll know exactly how to teach them in a way that will help them learn best.
How do you budget living costs on a stipend?
It is not unusual for corps members to save money before they begin their service. Putting away some extra cash to help pay for bills over the year not only teaches you how to budget and manage your money in a responsible way, but it also grants you financial flexibility when you earn your bi-weekly stipend checks. By working at City Year, you are automatically eligible for food stamps, which is about $200 a month for groceries. At most sites, you will also receive free public transportation passes, which can save you between $50-$100 a month!
When you search for an apartment, it would be best if you roomed with 1-3 other roommates to lessen the cost of rent. Splitting rent 3 ways is significantly cheaper than paying it all yourself! This also goes for bills. Aside from that, you will be required to wear your City Year uniform every day, so you will not need to worry about purchasing office attire during your service year!
How challenging is it to find housing?
City Year staff members are very quick to assist when it comes to aiding corps members find safe and affordable housing in the city. When you are invited to City Year, one of the first things you will do is join your site’s Facebook page. Here you will have the opportunity to connect with your fellow incoming corps members and start a dialogue to find housing together.
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Does City Year provide housing?
No. City Year does not provide housing for its corps members. We do, however, provide assistance to corps members searching for housing, such as contact information for quality rental agencies, recommendations of neighborhoods in which to live and access to an online community where you can contact other incoming corps members also in need of housing. Please visit Finding Housing for more information.
Will I get paid?
Yes, as a corps member you receive a bi-weekly living stipend. To help you learn to manage with limited income, we provide training on personal finances. You can contact your prospective location for more information.
How can I best prepare for my year with City Year?
In the months prior to the start of service, we recommend you finalize all living arrangements – visit the City Year online housing community and secure your housing, set up all utilities and confirm any moving or travel needs. Begin to budget your expenses to ensure you are ready to make wise spending decisions while living on a stipend. If you would like, you can also start exploring the city you will be calling home for a year, either in person or online!
Can I work or take classes while serving with City Year?
Yes, as long as it does not interfere with your service commitment. Some corps members work or take classes during evenings and weekends, but it is wise to wait and sign up for classes or jobs until after you start your service year. This will allow you to get a better idea of how much time you can allot to outside work or studies.
Why do City Year corps members wear uniforms? How often will I wear the uniform?
City Year corps members wear a uniform every day as a symbol of unity and of the service we provide to the community. Even though corps members might only be in the classroom for one year, the uniform provides continuity to the school and students over many years.
Will I receive vacation, holidays, and sick days?
Yes, you can request up to 10 personal days to use as needed. You will also receive time off for most national holidays.
Does City Year provide transportation?
Many of our locations have established partnerships with local public transportation authorities, which allow corps members to receive free or discounted transportation passes throughout their year of service. Please contact your prospective location for details.
Will travel expenses be provided for my relocation?
Travel expenses will not be covered for your relocation to your City Year site. We encourage you to save money prior to your City Year so that you can budget for your move. Also, keep in mind that you will start to receive your living stipend once you start service!
What type of health insurance will I have?
All corps members receive basic healthcare coverage during their active service. There is no charge for the coverage.
Can my student loans be deferred while I am serving with City Year?
Yes, in most cases. For specific information, please see the Benefits page.
Can my parents or friends visit me in service?
Yes. City Year always welcomes visitors. In addition to specific events and programs geared towards family and friends (Opening Day; Parents, Friends, and Family Night; and Graduation), you may invite guests to visit or even join you in service!
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CORPS MEMBER DEVELOPMENT
What skills will I develop while in City Year?
As a City Year corps member, you will be provided with the skills and experiences you need to change the world. City Year offers leadership development training throughout the year. Please see Leadership Development for examples of specific skills.
Will service with City Year improve my chance of acceptance to college?
There is no guarantee, of course, but national service provides valuable experience that can help set you apart as an applicant. Many colleges, including Ivy League schools, are on record as supporting a gap year before or during college.
What colleges and universities augment or match the AmeriCorps Education Award?
For a list of colleges and universities that augment or match the educational award, visit the AmeriCorps website. Please also see our What You'll Get page for a list of all our Education benefits, including our give a year Partnerships: colleges and universities that provide at least 25% scholarships to City Year corps, alumni and staff.
How will City Year prepare me for a future career?
In addition to skills in resume writing, interviewing, project management and public speaking, City Year provides its corps members with experience in teamwork, working with a diverse group of people, and leadership which are applicable and beneficial in almost any career. Please visit our What You'll Get page for a list of all our Career benefits, including our partnership with the Peace Corps and City Year-related positions, such as staff or senior corps positions. Also, check out our Alumni website to see the many opportunities open to City Year alumni.
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SECURITY / LEGAL INFORMATION
We acknowledge that a lot of information is asked of you in completing the online application. The City Year Gateway and Online Application are secure environments. We ensure that any information you submit to us is safe from unauthorized access by encryption, which scrambles all data sent from and to your browser through Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. This prevents anyone from impersonating you or City Year’s server, and prohibits unauthorized individuals from reading your personal information. City Year does not sell or provide any information we collect to anyone.
- Online Application
City Year staff will not be able to view any of the information you enter as you are completing the online application; it will only become available to us upon submission of the application. In addition, your password will be encrypted — you, and only you, will know what it is throughout the entire application process.
Falsification / Misrepresentation
Applicants are expected to provide honest and truthful information on the application and any supporting documentation, including recommendations and proof of citizenship. Falsification or misrepresentation of data will result in immediate disqualification from the admissions process.
City Year is available to all, without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, creed, marital status, veteran status, or religion.
Privacy Act Notice
The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C.§552a) requires that the following notice be provided to you: The authority for collecting information from you in this application is contained in 42 U.S.C. 4953 of Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 as amended. You are advised that submission of the information is entirely voluntary, but requested information is required in order for you to participate in AmeriCorps programs.
Legal Information / Criminal Records
City Year asks all applicants to disclose any previous criminal records and / or proceedings. Existence of criminal convictions / adjudication may or may not, depending upon the circumstances, disqualify you from considerations. However, any intentional misrepresentation or omission will disqualify you.
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Who can I use for my recommendations?
We ask that you provide us with two professional recommendations, which can be anyone that has supervised you in a professional setting (i.e. manager, professor, supervisor, etc.). Please refrain from using family members or friends as your recommenders.
How do I become a recommender for a City Year applicant?
A City Year applicant will ask you if you will recommend them. The applicant will then input your contact information, including your email address, into their application. Once they complete and submit the section, an email will be generated from City Year to you. The email will include a unique link that will take you to the recommendation form.
I received an email about recommending a City Year applicant but have lost or deleted the email. How can I get another email with a unique link to get to the recommendation page?
If you have lost or deleted the email containing the unique link to the City Year recommendation page, please contact our Recruitment Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions regarding the applicant recommendation process, please contact email@example.com.
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