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City Year application tips

Submitting an application of any kind can be a stressful process. Here at City Year, we want to make our application process as smooth as possible. Here’s a checklist of application tips to use as a guide for bringing your best self through.

Consider serving where you are most needed

Trying to decide where to apply? Learn more about our locations across the U.S. where we have an extraordinary need for young people to serve and mentor students.

Don’t hesitate to contact us

Use your recruiter as a resource and contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. We’re here for you!


This cannot be stressed enough. Proofread, proofread, and then proofread some more! Review each section of your application multiple times for spelling, word choice, grammar and content. When you’re done, have a trusted friend or family member read through your application again with a fresh set of eyes. Remember, the application does not spell check your answers for you.

Utilize your short answers

Your short answers paint a more in-depth and personal picture of who you are. The content will tell the admissions team if you are a good fit for our corps, so make sure to write not only about what you’ve accomplished, but also what you’ve learned along the way. When answering these questions, take it as opportunity to show us your strong writing skills and your ability to help students reach their full potential.
Remember to choose quality over quantity as each answer must be under 300 words. Plus, you will have a chance to further elaborate during your interview. Last but not least, honesty is of the utmost importance! If you plagiarize in any way, you will automatically be rejected.

List all work and volunteer experiences

In the “Work and Volunteer Experience” section, make sure to list all volunteer and work experiences. These experiences illustrate your commitment over time. Make sure to include any leadership or tutoring positions you’ve held as well. Lastly, make sure to include any and all AmeriCorps services in which you’ve participated. Mark yes, even if you have only served one term or a part-time term.

Must have a professional reference

Although we’re sure your friends and family are amazing and that they love you, they unfortunately cannot serve as your reference. A possible reference can be, but is not limited to, a current or previous employer, volunteer supervisor, teacher, professor, coach, counselor or advisor. The reference section asks you to provide contact information for one reference. Once you add and save a reference’s contact information to your application, your reference will automatically receive an email containing a link to the reference form. Be sure to give your reference a heads up before saving information to your application so your reference is aware of the reference request and can look out for the email.

Does your reference need some time? Hit submit with or without it

We will begin processing your application once you complete it and hit submit. So, if you have completed the rest of your application, but your reference has not submitted the reference form, don’t be afraid to hit submit and get the ball rolling! However, an official decision on your admittance cannot be made until we have received your reference form. By logging into your application portal, you can view your reference form submission status to see if your reference form has been completed or not. If your reference form is missing, you have the ability to send your reference a friendly reminder email directly through the application portal.

Check your email often

We will send you application updates and announcements via email throughout the application process. It is critical that you have a working email address and that you check it frequently.


While submitting your resume is not required, it is strongly encouraged. Resumes can be uploaded directly to your application.

Ready? Learn more about the application here.

Note: This post was updated on September 12, 2018 to reflect the current application process.

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