By: Hilary Ippolito, Regional Recruitment Manager, Northeast Region

Show Us What You’re Made Of! 

As a Regional Recruitment Manager, I advise young people like yourself on ways to standout on the City Year application. I always start off by telling people that we’re concerned with who you are as a whole person, not just what you’ve done. Who you are tells us a lot about what you’ll bring to the students looking up to you, and to a City Year team. But how can you convey the depth and uniqueness of your whole self in one online application? I’ve got a few tips for you below, and the first is the most important!

Don’t let your application stand alone

You shouldn’t feel like you have to convey who you are in one application. If you’re an engaged applicant, we can tell that you’ll be an engaged corps member. Hitting “submit” should not be your only interaction with City Year. Whether you’re looking to discuss everyday realities of the corps experience, logistical details and next steps, budgeting on the AmeriCorps stipend or where in the U.S. to serve, we’d love to see you engage with us. Talk with your local recruiter, ask questions and attend events.

Know what you’re signing up for

City Year is a unique program and there are many elements that set us apart from other national service opportunities, so get educated! Do your basic research on our website to learn about how we work in schools to help students stay on track to graduate. Ask your recruiter clarifying questions. This kind of proactive information seeking will ensure that your decision to apply to City Year is well-informed, plus it shows us that you’re passionate about serving with City Year. Passion is a necessity, so show it by being prepared!

Be authentic

We’re not looking for “the right answer.” We are, however, looking for insight into how you’ve become the person you are today. Answer the short answers honestly and from the heart. Trust me, we know the difference! If a program or activity has deeply affected you, or City Year’s culture or values truly resonates with you, it will shine through when you write about it. The most impressive essays allow us to get an honest depiction of how you’ve grown and changed through your experience.

Tell a story

Storytelling is an incredibly effective tool for communication – use it! While your experience working with youth through your school’s mentoring program helped you grow as a leader, there are likely dozens of other applicants who have a similar answer. Instead, tell us the story of your growth. We want to know: What did you experience mentally and emotionally throughout that process? Was there a particular young person that challenged you? How has that influenced your decisions moving forward? And don’t forget to bring it all full circle; tell us why that makes you a good fit for City Year.

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