We often get asked about applying to multiple sites. This post looks at the different dimensions of that question.
Can I apply to more than one site?
Yes, you can. On our online application, you’ll be required to identify a primary site and an alternate site (or sites). Through this method all of the sites you select (primary and alternate) will be able to review your application. However, our sites have an agreement to honor the “primary” site’s priority in selection. If the primary site decides to pass on your application, then your alternate site (or sites) will make a decision on your application
Can I apply to a site if I don’t live there?
Yes. However, all site selection is done by the local staff. Sites tend to favor candidates that have an affinity for their city/community –– meaning that they’re from that area, or they’ve been able to articulate what makes their candidacies relevant to that city/community. The reason for this preference is because Public Allies has traditionally supported the notion of “homegrown leadership”, and that sites depend on a vibrant alumni local alumni base. We’ve learned that individuals that have connections to an area are more likely to stay in the community/city. We’ve also learned that we tend to retain more Allies who have familiarity with the city.
Again, it’s not impossible to get into a site where you’re not currently a resident, or do not have affinity. Just keep in mind that we’re expecting six applications for every opening, so the competition will be lively. My best thinking if you’re trying to break into a new city — really understand your talents and career interests, and do your homework on your new city and how your talents and interests intersect with your desired new hometown.
What if I don’t care where I’m placed? Can you send me where I’m most needed?
While it’s admirable that you want to go where you’re most needed, I’d recommend that you do more research on potential cities and see where your talents and career interests align best with your ideal PA site. Again, all selection is local — so if you check all the boxes on submitting your application, then that local staff person is probably going to think that you’re not as serious about their site as another applicant who has just selected that site. If I were to give you advice — applying to 1, 2 or 3 sites. Anything more might raise flags in eyes of local staffers who want to make sure that you’re serious about their site.
For more info, check out this 4 minute youtube video, where I discuss this question in more detail.