So you think you might want to be a VISTA?

Someone suggested that you might be interested in joining AmeriCorps VISTA because of the great opportunities for service and professional development, plus benefits like a living allowance, help with education expenses, child care, and more.

We’re here to help

You thought that you'd cruise over, click a few buttons, and find a position, but the process is a lot more complicated than signing up for a free email account.

We’re here to help you understand the process, and to provide help along the way if you need it.

This brief tutorial will:

  • Guide you through the steps to apply
  • Identify the information you’ll need to submit, and
  • Show you how to find and apply for specific positions.

Once you’ve begun your application, you can contact the National Service Hotline at 800-942-2677 if you need additional help.

Steps to apply

You’ll go through five steps on your way toward joining AmeriCorps VISTA:

  • Research. Visit and to learn about the VISTA program.
  • Create a Profile. This is where you will enter basic information about yourself and create a profile on
  • Complete an Application. The application asks for detailed information about your education, work and volunteer history, references, etc.
  • Find positions and submit your application. Search for positions in various service areas and states.
  • Track your application status

Step 1. Research

Visit the search page on to search for VISTA positions. You can filter positions by program type, state, and a number of other criteria.

Positions change and are added every day, so be sure to check regularly until you find the right fit. Once you find a position that you’re interested in, it’s time to create your profile and apply.

Step 2: Create your profile on

Before you click over to the profile page, be sure you know the following information:

  • Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Your address, including the Zip+4. Visit to get yours.
  • Contact information, including a phone number and valid email address.
  • Your education level, military status, language skills, and interest & skill areas.

You can also write a short description (up to 200 characters) of your interests and skills.

Once you have completed the profile, you will receive an email from AmeriCorps. Follow the instructions in the message to validate your profile and you’re on your way!

Get started by creating a profile here.

Step 3: Complete your application

To create an application, login to your My AmeriCorps profile and click Applications on the left-hand side. You’ll need the following to complete this step:

  • A motivational statement (up to 3000 characters). The motivational statement presents your reasons for applying to an AmeriCorps position.
    • You may want to write your motivational statement in a word processing document first, and then paste it in the application.
  • Details of your skills & experience, community service (organization, city, state, phone, dates of involvement, and a description of your involvement), education, and employment history for the past 10 years (or last four positions you've held), including phone and email contact information for previous supervisors.
  • Criminal history statement (complete history). A list of every conviction you have ever received is required. It is to your advantage to be completely honest. Don’t feel that this will automatically disqualify you.
  • Demographic information.
  • At least two references, including email addresses and physical address with Zip+4. Note: anyone you list as a reference will receive a reference request email from AmeriCorps.

We suggest gathering this information before you start the application.

Step 4: Apply for a VISTA Position

Now that your application is complete, you can apply for a position by clicking Search Listings. Here, you can focus in on just the right position by filtering program type, state, and program name. You can also filter by education level, metropolitan area, service area, language and skills.

Some helpful tips:

Don’t see the Apply Now link in the listing? Verify that you are logged-in to your My AmeriCorps profile. If you are not logged-in you will not see the apply button in the open listings. If you are still unable to see the Apply Now link, check and see if the program is currently accepting applications.

Found a position that interests you, but not quite ready to apply? Select the add to favorites link on the listing to save the listing to your favorites tab for quick reference.

Step 5: Tracking your application’s status

Once you’ve submitted your application to one or more positions, you’ll want to know where you stand. To view the status of your applications, log-in to your My AmeriCorps profile. On your Home Page you will see the status of all submissions.

Here’s a key to understanding what each status means:

  1. Submitted – You have completed the application and clicked Apply Now on the listing.
  2. Under Review – Your application is being reviewed by the project. When in this status, the project may contact you and request additional information or request an interview with you.
  3. Selected – The project is offering you the position. If you want to accept the offer, log-in to your My AmeriCorps profile and accept the position.
  4. Pending State Office Approval – You have accepted the position and a VISTA Program Officer is making a final review.
  5. Approved – The final review has been completed and you have been approved for service. Congratulations!
  6. Assigned –You’re on your way to starting service. The next step is attending Pre-Service Orientation.

Getting help

Now that you’ve seen how the application process works you should be able to complete it, find the right position, apply, and track your status. If you have questions that arise during the process, we're here to help you find the answer. You can call the National Service Hotline at 800-942-2677 for technical assistance with your application M-Th from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern time, or visit and submit a question for a response within two business days. You can also contact the project directly with any questions related to the specifics of the position.

Print a checklist

This one-page checklist covers all of the items and information you will need to complete your application. Print it out, collect the information you need, and you’ll be ready to complete your application in no time! Print out the checklist.

  • Welcome
  • Here To Help
  • Steps To Apply
  • Research
  • Create Profile
  • Complete Application
  • Submit Application
  • Tracking
  • Additional Info

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