Frequently Asked Questions (regarding staff applications)
1. Will Culver hire staff members who did not attend Culver Summer Schools & Camps?
Yes, absolutely! Culver is certainly a unique summer experience unlike any other in the United States, so there is no doubt that we need a fair number of Culver-experienced staff who arrive with a full understanding of our schedule and military structure. At the same time, we always attempt to assemble a diverse staff that bring both a fresh perspective and new ideas.
2. Does Culver hire international (non-US Citizen) staff members?
Culver has a large population of international campers and students which is why we truly value our international staff who bring with them language skills and cultural knowledge that significantly help to ensure our international campers and students are comfortable in their new environment. On the average, Culver hires approximately 50 international staff each summer. Non-US citizens require a J1 work visa to legally work in the US, and Culver helps our international staff with their visa application through a company called International Exchange of North American (formerly 3 Adventures).
Culver is one of the few camps that picks up the $400 visa processing fee for our international staff, and may be the only camp in the U.S. that pays our international staff the same wage as their domestic counterparts. For this reason, and unlike the answer to question 1 above, Culver does tend to lean heavily toward hiring international staff who do have some Culver background. In addition, all staff members who work under a J1 visa must be 18 years old.
3. What if I am an international student going to school in the United States?
It is important that you let us know about this situation during the interview stage. Unless you also happen to be a dual US Citizen, being a student in a US college/university means that you are in the United States on an F1 student visa. You cannot work in the US while on an F1 visa, and you absolutely do NOT want to forfeit your student visa for a work visa. Instead, you can apply for a CPT (Curriculum Practical Training) document with the US State Department via your school’s International Office.
This process is time-consuming, and it may be difficult to convince both your school and the US State Department that teaching rocketry has some usefulness in obtaining your degree in Accounting. We will support your effort to apply for a CPT, but you must keep us informed of your progress throughout the process.
4. What is the timing of Culver’s hiring process?
You should receive a confirmation email as soon as you successfully submit your online staff application. Most returning staff will not need an interview unless we are considering a different job for 2018. New staff who are under consideration will be asked to schedule a Skype or FaceTime interview, probably starting in January 2018. Job offers to returning staff will likely start going out in February, and new hires will start getting job offers in March. We would like to finish hiring in April – but that never happens for one reason or another. We often end up sending some offer letters in late May and early June.
5. Can you tell me more about how Culver does the hiring?
Sure – here are some things you might like to know:
- Culver hires approximately 440 staff each summer; of that number, Upper School hires a few more than Woodcraft Camp.
- We have averaged nearly 1,000 new and returning staff applications over the past several summers.
- Culver enjoys a 60% staff retention rate from year to year, so that means approximately 175 new staff are picked from a pool of 735 new applications.
- The hiring team is comprised of just two people, the Upper School Director and the Woodcraft Director. You can imagine they are pretty busy sorting through applications, conducting interviews and sending offer letters from January to May.
6. Will all new applicants get an interview? How can I improve my chances of getting hired?
- Applying in no way guarantees an interview, but you can significantly improve your chances by ensuring that your application is complete, interesting and informative. Based on the statistics mentioned in FAQ #5, only 1 in 4 new applicants gets hired.
- The application asks if you have a preference between working at Woodcraft Camp or Upper School. Selecting one of these two camp choices will push your application directly into that Camp Director’s pool of applications. There is a third choice, “Undecided.” If you are equally happy working with 7-14 year olds as you would be with 14-18 year olds, then by all means choose Undecided under Camp Preference. If the rest of your application is complete and informative, the Camp Directors will have a discussion to determine the best fit – both in terms of your skills as well as their needs.
- There are very few “mandatory” questions – but just because a question isn’t mandatory doesn’t mean you shouldn’t answer it. For example, there is a question that asks, “What can you contribute to Culver?” You’d be surprised how many applicants skip questions that are designed to help you stand out from the pack.
- New to the application this year is a document upload feature. The application states, “we encourage you to upload your photo and cover letter/résumé’.” If you truly want to be hired, why would you disregard something the application encourages you to do?
7. Anything else I should know about filling out my application?
Yes – in addition to providing a complete application, you should also strive to paint a picture of what you would like to do for six weeks. The “skills” part of the application gives you an opportunity to tell us where you might best fit as an instructor. We recommend that you be judicious with how many skills you mark, as we tend to be suspicious of someone who is an expert in 45 different things. Likewise, it’s frustrating to hire someone to teach a specific class only to find out the individual – while marking themselves as an expert – does not want to teach that particular subject.