When Richard Murphy signed up for the Peace Corps last November, it was the start of a lengthy application process.
The now-21-year-old Severna Park resident took about two weeks filling out personal information, writing essays and explaining why he wanted to volunteer in a distant country.
Months later, after an interview and additional paperwork, he learned he was accepted.
“It wasn’t hard,” said Murphy, who is graduating from American University in December and leaving for Indonesia in March. “It just took a while.”
In July, the Peace Corps made sweeping changes, streamlining and personalizing the application process for prospective volunteers. The lengthy process undertaken by Murphy and thousands before him is a thing of the past.
Those changes have led to a surge in applications.
In July, when the changes were launched, the agency saw an increase in applications of more than 400 percent over July 2013 and the highest total number of applications received in …