You can now apply to City Year on the Common App
For the very first time, Common App is introducing a service organization to its application. We are proud to announce our partnership with City Year, a national service program with a unique mission – to bring together young adults from diverse backgrounds for a transformative year of full-time community service.
City Year's vision equips students with essential skills that will not only serve them during their year of service but also shape them into future leaders within their communities and careers. And when the time comes to consider postsecondary options, City Year ensures you're well-prepared.
This partnership offers an excellent opportunity for high school students and recent graduates (or young people with a GED credential) who are uncertain about their path beyond high school. Sign up with Common App and easily apply to City Year. Embark on a year of service, enhance your skills, and earn valuable resources for your college journey. When you return to Common App, your account will be right where you left it, ready to help you apply to your dream colleges.
We reached out to Beth Bryant, City Year’s senior vice president of AmeriCorps talent acquisition, to learn more about City Year and the benefits of considering a year of service before starting your college journey.
Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind City Year and its history?
City Year started as a small community service organization grounded in a belief in the power of young people to make positive change—and that steadfast belief has guided our evolution and growth over 35 years.
City Year provides young adults from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to work together in teams while they develop key leadership and interpersonal skills that help them achieve their educational, civic, and professional goals.
We’re proud that City Year served as the inspiration of the national AmeriCorps service program that was created 30 years ago.
Today, City Year AmeriCorps members serve in hundreds of schools across 29 U.S. cities as student success coaches—near-peer tutors, mentors and role models who partner with classroom teachers to provide students with academic, social and emotional support when they need it the most.
We have 40,000 alumni across the country who continue to lead and serve.
This is the first time Common App has had a service organization on its application. Can you tell us why it’s so important to consider a year of service before going to college?
City Year is excited to be the first service organization included on the Common App.
The big reason we recommend young people consider a year of service before going to college is that it gives you the chance to earn money, grants, and hands-on experience while you figure out what you really want to do.
Not everyone has a clear idea of what they’d like to study or what career they want to enter immediately after high school. It’s important that young people have access to high-quality service opportunities, internships, and gap years to explore different environments, develop valuable skills, and spend time learning and reflecting on their goals and aspirations while they give back to their community.
A year of service also offers young people benefits, money, and resources that can help them afford their next step. City Year AmeriCorps members earn a bimonthly stipend worth at least $20,000 a year (pre-tax) while they serve; have access to exclusive partnerships, grants, and scholarships; and are eligible for a $6,895 Segal Education Award they can apply to future studies, educational travel, and student loan debt.
In other words, a year of service not only gives you time and space to figure out your next step—it provides money and resources that help you afford college.
What can a high school graduate expect during their year with City Year?
A year of service with City Year is about helping others while you are furthering your own learning and growth. The two things go hand-in-hand.
We know three skills really help our student success coaches succeed: the ability to build positive relationships, being empathetic and having a growth mindset—a belief that mistakes are part of learning and that skills can be acquired over time.
You’ll work on a team of other AmeriCorps members and City Year staff in schools and be partnered with a classroom teacher, and you’ll support, tutor, and get to know your students.
Learn more about what to expect as a City Year AmeriCorps member.
No two days are the same.
You may greet students when they arrive at school, setting a fun and welcoming tone for the day. You’ll interact with students in the classroom, the hallway, and the schoolyard, getting to know their interests and strengths. You may run an afterschool program, tutor students one-on-one or in small groups, or start a lunch club to help students build confidence and social skills.
An impact manager will help you organize your time, sort through challenges, and navigate your experience working in a school setting.
One day a week, you’ll join your team and others from your City Year site for reflection, training and development, and community. Your skills will continue to grow—not only mastering successful math instruction techniques or helping students boost their self-confidence but also problem-solving and managing projects.
What kind of skills will high school graduates gain through a year of service with City Year that can help them later in their careers?
Our alumni, like Chen Zhang, City Year Providence ’11, ‘12, have told us that serving with City Year has been one of the most important and impactful things they’ve done—teaching them more about the world, themselves, and how they want to show up in their careers, neighborhoods and relationships.
Some of the skills they mention the most are the same skills employers are asking for now and in the future: communication, creative problem solving, self-awareness, teamwork, ability to work with diverse colleagues, self-efficacy, and leadership.
How can students find City Year on the Common App?
Once you’ve created a Common App account, simply search for “City Year” in the College Search tab of your account. “City Year AmeriCorps Member – Year of Service” will appear, click Add to add City Year to your colleges list.
What does the application process for City Year entail?
When you apply, you can choose one of our 29 U.S. cities or select “serve where most needed,” which means you’re willing to be placed in any location. We offer relocation expenses for moves and many other benefits, including exclusive scholarships, a biweekly stipend, and a Segal Education Award you can use toward student loans, future study, or educational travel.
When applying to City Year via the Common App, the personal essay, course grades, and test scores are not required to apply. You will be prompted to complete four short-answer questions when applying to City Year specifically.
After applying, candidates complete a phone interview with a City Year staff member.
Now that City Year is also included on the Common App, we hope many more high school seniors or recent graduates will check us out and consider serving with us!
Beth Bryant is the SVP of Corps Talent Acquisition at City Year. She began her career serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member in Boston in 2004. In Beth's 17 years at City Years, she has worked in program, development, strategy, and recruitment. Beth received her MBA from Brandeis University in 2010, earning one of many scholarships exclusively available to City Year alumni through City Year's University Partnerships.
Genesis Tollan (she/her) is a Communications Associate at Common App. With a degree in Strategic Communications and a minor in Business Management from the University of Houston, she brings 9 years of experience into her role. Genesis is dedicated to keeping the public informed about Common App’s endeavors in making higher education accessible for all and ensuring the dream of higher education becomes a reality for everyone.