Application Pro Tip: Showcasing your Commitment to Public Service

Nov 16 2021
By SPIA Graduate Admissions Office

At the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, we are committed to public service. It is the ethos by which we define ourselves and the light that guides our path. Through our academic training in public and international affairs, our domestic and international service opportunities, and even our generous funding, we are dedicated to serving the world. As such, we seek students who share in this ethos. In thinking of this, students will often ask: How can I showcase my commitment to public service? There are many ways to do this, actually.

Showcasing Public Service through Work Experience

Some students have worked within organizations that are inherently public-serving. On a domestic and international scale, students have worked within governmental sectors, NGOs and NGOs (non-profit organizations), on political campaigns, within education and social service organizations, through organizations like Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, TFA and Fulbright, military and law enforcement, and through a litany of other public sector capacities. Some have also worked within the private sector, but who’s responsibilities and impact have public sector learnings. These positions have helped improve access to healthcare, provide education to the disenfranchised, offer mentorship and guidance, amplify constituent voices and concerns, and collectively help improve countless lives. This is the essence of public service: doing your part to help improve the lives of those around you. Are you doing this through your professional work experience? Tell us how.

Showcasing Public service through Volunteerism

Many applicants will showcase their commitment to public service through volunteerism throughout their communities. This can take many forms, and usually does every year. We have had applicants arrange COVID-19 information workshops, offer translation services, provide assistance during tax season, host community clean-ups and voter registration drives, serve as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, volunteer as EMTs and firefighters, teach classes on coding, launch waste and recycling initiatives, offer tutoring support, and spearhead or participate in other initiatives to help improve their communities. Sustained engagement within social and civic organizations can also identify your service. There really isn’t one preferred medium of volunteerism over another; we just want to see how you have invested your time towards making your community a better place.

Some students will showcase their service only in their resume/CV, while others will weave service through their statement of purpose, supplemental essay, and resume/CV. As an applicant, there is no one specific way to show evidence of this. But this ethos should shine forth through your application.   

These examples are a sampling of ways students have showcased their commitment to public service through their work experience and volunteerism on their application. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to serve your community. Just remember that at SPIA, we are an institution committed towards serving the public good and seek students who are investing in the development of their communities. Are you committed to public service? Join us!