This post was originally appeared on our former blog. It’s been updated and republished here to reflect the 2015-2016 application deadlines. 

By Tajah Eddy, Former Recruitment Manager and AmeriCorps alumna

My City Year journey began at the end of my senior year of college. As the end of the school year approached more and more people began to ask me, “What are you doing after you graduate?” At the time I responded with, “I’m looking to get into advertising,” because it was my undergraduate focus.

The reality of the situation? I had no idea what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to do something that mattered. That’s when I discovered City Year.

After doing some research I decided to apply.  After six weeks and several interviews, I was offered a position within the organization! Naturally my first reaction was overwhelming joy, but when I started to think about logistics, I started to panic. Here I was, accepted into an amazing program, and I had a month to completely relocate. YIKES!

So, young idealists, let me give you some words of advice. Apply. Do it today, do it tomorrow, but whatever you do, make sure you apply early.  Here are the top five reasons why:

You won’t have to worry about post-graduation plans. 

Don’t be me. It was late April and I had no idea where life was going to take me. If you apply early, you’ll know whether or not you were accepted about 30 days after the application deadline. So when people ask you “What’s your plan after you graduate,” you can proudly say, “I’m serving with City Year!”

You can find affordable housing (and roommates). 

Those who were accepted in November or December were able to visit their service city and look at the neighborhoods and housing options before their big move. Since I applied later,  and because I didn’t have the financial capabilities to travel far, I had to trust online apartment listings and photographs. I ended up moving into a poorly kept, overly priced home with an un-responsive landlord because I didn’t have time to look for better alternatives.

You can start your service year with money in your savings account.  

I was accepted into the City Year about a month before the program began. Since I hadn’t been thinking about “next steps” all senior year, I was financially unprepared to make such a drastic move. I didn’t have enough time to save money for a plane ticket, as well as my first/last/security deposit for rent. Luckily, I had family members who were able to support me with the move. If you apply early you will have plenty of time to save money.

You will have time to say goodbye. 

I am very close to my family and friends. Getting accepted to City Year was amazing, but also incredibly sad because I knew I was about to embark on a journey by myself. The month before my corps year started was a whirlwind. I had to get so many things accomplished (apartment hunting, packing, etc.) that I didn’t feel like I had much time to do that last bit of bonding. Had I applied earlier, I would have had more time to accept, analyze, and adjust the move.

You’ll have time to start making new friends. 

By the time I was accepted I realized that other corps members had already connected, either through open houses or  while apartment/roommate hunting. So I was essentially on my own and didn’t have the time to meet corps members before service started. This is not to say that making friends was hard once I joined the program, it just would have been nice to have a familiar face during my first few weeks.

A year of service with City Year is an amazing experience. But don’t just take my word. Click to learn to how corps members #makebetterhappen in 25 cities nationwide.

The next application deadline is September 20. Are you interested in learning more about City Year? Tweet your questions to #askcy and join us for a Twitter chat on Thursday, September 18 at 8 p.m. EDT.


About the author:
Tajah Eddy is a City Year San José alumna. She also worked as a Recruitment Manager for City Year’s Northeast Region. 

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