AmeriCorps*VISTA

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amichig
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AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby amichig » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:17 pm

Anyone out there have any idea of how much of an influence having served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA may influence your application? Also, what about serving as an AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader?

Obviously, I have my opinions, just looking to hear what others might have to say.

amichig
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Re: AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby amichig » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:21 pm

Any opinions out there?

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rockchalk86
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Re: AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby rockchalk86 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:24 pm

I'm a Vista and I think it definitely helps. It won't get your foot in the door (Only LSAT/GPA/URM can do that) but it will look great to some adcomms. Dean Z (Michigan) noted my service on my acceptance letter and I got a nice 45k scholarship from them. A lot of other people with higher numbers than me have been rejected so I do believe it helps. How much is hard to say. A lot of people on this board don't think it is that special but they aren't in Americorps. I have been able to compare my cycle thus far to people who are not in Americorps and plenty of people with similar numbers got WL/rejected from the places I have gotten in to.

Basically, it can't supplement a good GPA/LSAT... but it is a very strong soft IMO

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UF Gators
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Re: AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby UF Gators » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:30 pm

I was also a VISTA. I feel it's a good soft but not a great soft. I haven't been accepted anywhere yet so I can't tell you if it had any influence on my application.

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:51 pm

Side note -- how was VISTA? I have a friend who is considering it. How workable is the "living stipend"?

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UF Gators
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Re: AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby UF Gators » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:41 am

Tangerine Gleam wrote:Side note -- how was VISTA? I have a friend who is considering it. How workable is the "living stipend"?

I was able to live off my stipend just fine. I also didn't not have a car payment or insurance payment or credit card bills at the time. I lived with roommates to cut down the cost of rent and my food stamp allowance was about $100 a month. I definitely didn't have much money left over for entertainment on the weekends but I was able to live fairly comfortably on the stipend I was given.

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buddyblack
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Re: AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby buddyblack » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:49 am

ksgator wrote:
Tangerine Gleam wrote:Side note -- how was VISTA? I have a friend who is considering it. How workable is the "living stipend"?

I was able to live off my stipend just fine. I also didn't not have a car payment or insurance payment or credit card bills at the time. I lived with roommates to cut down the cost of rent and my food stamp allowance was about $100 a month. I definitely didn't have much money left over for entertainment on the weekends but I was able to live fairly comfortably on the stipend I was given.


Agreed. Food stamps went a long way, so does saving on gas and qualifying for affordable housing. But if you do VISTA, be sure to apply for food stamps BEFORE going to orientation. Otherwise you will be getting substantially less.

As far as the program itself, I had friends who got hired on afterwards (even in a tough economy) and others who didn't even make it two months. It all depends on your site placement.

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mpasi
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Re: AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby mpasi » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:01 pm

Tangerine Gleam wrote:Side note -- how was VISTA? I have a friend who is considering it. How workable is the "living stipend"?




I only did it for a summer, but I loved it. As far as money goes, I was making nearly $1,000 a month, and living at home. I didn't have a car to pay for, just household expenses and the usual bills, so I can't speak for how to manage it while living on your own. As far as the work goes, it wasn't too bad, but there was a lot of bureaucratic bullshit going on at the state office, and I think that's pretty much how it works at every state office. I was supposed to do a full year at my university beginning this past September, but the state office in Oklahoma was full of asshats and it just fell through. I did my summer service in my home state, and the liaison in Austin was a genuine bitch. I had loads and loads of difficulty getting my end of service stipend for school. Other than that, the work was fun. I got experience directly related to my field, and met some pretty cool people along the way.

I did my service in 2008, and completely lucked out by getting hired the day I interviewed. Because of the current economy/job shortage/Obama's encouragement, AmeriCorps is hella hard to get into right now. They like to rehire people who have served, and even I can't an interview, let alone a position. Ditto for the Peace Corps, AC's international cousin. Your friend should think about doing some part-time volunteer work, get some amazing refs, and contact organizations that are looking for VISTAS and ask them what they're specifically looking for. Chances are they'll ask him/her to apply if the conversation goes well.

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mpasi
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Re: AmeriCorps*VISTA

Postby mpasi » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:05 pm

buddyblack wrote:
ksgator wrote:
Tangerine Gleam wrote:Side note -- how was VISTA? I have a friend who is considering it. How workable is the "living stipend"?

I was able to live off my stipend just fine. I also didn't not have a car payment or insurance payment or credit card bills at the time. I lived with roommates to cut down the cost of rent and my food stamp allowance was about $100 a month. I definitely didn't have much money left over for entertainment on the weekends but I was able to live fairly comfortably on the stipend I was given.


Agreed. Food stamps went a long way, so does saving on gas and qualifying for affordable housing. But if you do VISTA, be sure to apply for food stamps BEFORE going to orientation. Otherwise you will be getting substantially less.



This. VISTAS automatically qualify for food stamps (and there is no shame in getting them). I really think it can be managed if you just budget wisely.




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