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10 Reasons Why You Should Be an AmeriCorps VISTA

By Katie Muller, Diversity Research Specialist at Dunwoody College of Technology

Being an AmeriCorps VISTA can be a wonderful, life-changing opportunity. Yet many people have never heard of it. Here are 10 reasons why you should be an AmeriCorps VISTA.

  1. A stipend! It’s not much, but it’s better than an unpaid internship, right?
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  2. An excellent resume booster. Self-explanatory. People love it when you have a year of volunteer service.
  3. End of the Year Service Award. You have 2 options:
    1. Education award: $5,775 to go towards your education
    2. Cash stipend: $1,500
  4. The feeling that you’re actually making a difference. The whole goal of VISTA is to end poverty. Everyone can play a part in that. You can too!
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  5. Health Coverage. Again, you have two options.
    1. If you don’t have health insurance, you can obtain it through VISTA
    2. If you already have health insurance, you can get a “healthcare allowance” which covers deductibles, co-pays, stuff like that. They will reimburse you up to $6,600! Teeth/Smile
  6. Vacation. As a VISTA, you get 10 days of paid vacation and 10 paid sick days. This is a great deal compared to what entry level workers get.
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  7. Networking. They say the best way to get a job is through networking. During your year of service there are TONS of easy ways to network and get your name out there.
  8. Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) Status. Once you complete your year of service, you will receive one year of non-competitive eligibility for employment in the federal government. This special hiring status enables you to apply for federal jobs with the advantage of not having to go through the standard public competitive selection process. That means that you can be appointed to federal positions that may or may not be available to the general public. In addition, your application could be processed faster than others. [iframe src=”″ width=”350″ height=”145″ frameBorder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen][/iframe]
  9. Friends. You might make them. Some VISTAs are in cohorts, but even if you aren’t, you have PSO (pre-service orientation) with some pretty great people. The chances of you making new friends are still pretty high.
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  10. Professional Development. Your VISTA year can help you get on track for almost anything you want to do in the future. Want to go into finances? There’s a position for that! Want to start a non-profit? You can learn how to do that by connecting with professionals in the field. Want to go into marketing? There’s a position for that too! VISTA can help you translate your college learning into real professional experience and set the foundation for a career in the social impact sector!

Bonus:  Is there anything better to do right after college? The answer is no. So if you’re wondering what to do right after college, consider AmeriCorps VISTA. If you’re ready to learn more click here.

Phillips Family Foundation

Author Phillips Family Foundation

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