Feb 11, 2011

Area Colleges and Universities Rock the Peace Corps

George Washington University and the University of Mary Washington headed up lists of top volunteer producing colleges and universities in two of three major undergraduate categories announced by the Peace Corps in its 2011 Annual College Rankings.

With 32 undergraduate alumni currently serving around the world, UMW came in first among "small" schools, retaining a place among top volunteer producers for the eighth consecutive year. A total of 215 Mary Washington alumni have served the 27-month Peace Corps commitment since the program’s inception in 1961.

Joining the list of high achieving small schools, Johns Hopkins University came in 6th place with 22 volunteers and St. Mary’s College of Maryland came in 13th with 18 former students serving around the world.

For the third year in a row, GW ranked number one in the medium college and university category with 72 undergraduate alums currently serving in the Corps, closely followed by UVa with 71 volunteers. American University (55), the College of William & Mary (41), and Georgetown (37) also earned spots among the top ten medium sized colleges, ranking 4th, 8th, and 10th respectively.

And with over 1000 volunteers serving since President Kennedy created the Peace Corps, the University of Maryland was among the leading volunteer producing large institutions with 50 alums currently posted abroad.

Celebrating nearly 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps in 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 77 countries, representing a 13 percent increase over 2009.

Although a college degree is not mandatory for service, relevant experience in areas such as education, health, business, environment or agriculture is required. In 2010, the agency received nearly 13,500 applications for volunteer positions with only one in three applicants chosen to serve with a Peace Corps program overseas.

The Peace Corps’ nine regional offices located across the US recruit and provide information and guidance to prospective volunteers including current undergrads. Potential applicants can connect with local recruiters by visiting the Peace Corps website.

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