Applying to Summer Reads

Great News! We are now accepting applications for the 2017 Summer Reads VISTA position!

Here are some instructions and tips to ensure that your AmeriCorps application is completed correctly and competitively.

First, create a profile on MyAmeriCorps. 

Then, apply to the specific position or positions in which you are interested. Be sure to periodically save your information as you fill out your application; you will lose any unsaved information each time you leave a page. Applications reviewed on a rolling basis with a final deadline of April 28, 2017.

Basic Information Section:

  1. Name should match the name on your driver’s license.
  2. Summer Reads does not offer housing or relocation assistance to VISTA members.  Please keep this in mind if you intend to relocate for the position.
  3. Applicants must be available full-time for the full term of service (no absences for personal or vacation time, and no other jobs during the term of service):
  • Most Minnesota placements: 6/12 - 8/12/2017
  • Ely, Kerkhoven and Morris site placements: 6/5 - 8/12/2017
  • Outreach Specialists (St Paul): 6/1 - 8/9/2017

Motivational Statement Section: (250-500 words)

  1. Explain why you are applying for AmeriCorps service and how this relates to your personal and professional goals.
  2. Explain why you are interested in working with children and literacy.
  3. Describe the experiences in your life that influenced your decision to join AmeriCorps.
  4. Share the impact community service has had on you or the community.
  5. Remember, this is your opportunity to "sell" yourself - why should we offer you an interview?

Skills and Experience Section: (200 characters per section)

  1. Describe in detail how you have acquired and applied each skill. 
  2. Do not simply list work or volunteer experiences.
  3. Please list any relevant training, certification or language proficiencies.

Education Section:

  1. Select the highest level of education you will have achieved by the time you start service (Example: Select “college graduate” if you are currently in school and will have completed your degree by June 2016). If you have started any postsecondary education, select "Some College" or an otherwise appropriate level of education and list all education institutions you have attended with details. 

Community Service Section: (150-250 words)

  1. Don’t check the “I do not have any volunteer experience” box unless you truly don’t have ANY experience.
  2. List your most recent volunteer experiences and explain your responsibilities in detail.
  3. List hours per month for each volunteer position.
  4. Don’t just list your volunteer experiences in your written statement.
  • Explain why you volunteer or want to begin volunteering.
  • Describe what service means to you and what you hope to achieve through a summer of service.
  • If you don't have any or much volunteer experience, explain why you would like to volunteer and what service means to you. 

Employment Section:

  1. Explain your reasons for leaving each work position.
  2. Include all employment, even if it is not directly relevant to the Summer Reads VISTA position.
  3. List number of hours per week for each work position.
  4. Explain any employment gaps of six months or longer. If you have never been employed, explain this in the comments section.

Criminal History Questionnaire Section:

  1. Don’t include minor traffic violations (Example: speeding ticket).
  2. Do include anything that would show up on a state or federal background check (Example: petty misdemeanors including those that were expunged). Additional information may be requested.
  3. Minnesota Literacy Council will complete thorough state and federal background checks on all selected candidates.
  4. Admission of minor crimes does not automatically disqualify you for service but omissions will disqualify you.

References Section:

  1. Your references must be complete before submitting your application.  Your application will not be reviewed until both references are complete.
  2. Alert your references that they will receive an email from AmeriCorps and send an email reminder to complete the reference questionnaire if necessary.
  3. Appropriate References: Work or volunteer supervisors, teachers, counselors, coaches, clergy. Must be a supervisory-type relationship in a work, education or volunteer setting.
  4. Inappropriate References: Family members, friends, coworkers, classmates, peers, informal relationships.
  5. References should include at least one work or volunteer supervisor (using two teachers is not encouraged).
  6. Consider using two references that can speak to different strengths or skill sets.

You can download more detailed instructions, with images/screenshots, on completing your MyAmeriCorps application here

Having trouble with your application? Contact the National Service Hotline, 1-800-942-2677.