Monday, July 26, 2010

Some Statistical Analysis

Yesterday I pored over no fewer the 46 blogs of Peace Corps volunteers, gathering tidbits to flesh out the The Peace Corps Wiki's collection of Application Timelines. My purpose? To grow the bank of dates collected on this page so I can have a larger sample to analyze; I'm curious how the amount of time I have compares to the past experiences of applicants.

The resulting sample of 107 records (my newly contributed ones, plus the ones that were already present) yielded the following average numbers of days between being medically cleared and receiving an invitation to serve:

mean 105
median 90
mode 42

It should be noted that some numbers have skewed the results by representing times when programs were closed before staging and new invitations were sent or timelines of spouses were combined making both individual timelines indistinguishable.

I noted that about one-third of the results were comparable to the shortest period I can reasonably expect to wait between invitation and staging and half were equal to or less than the longest possible period between these two prospective dates.

Alarmingly, if I ultimately wait 88 days (mid-July to mid-October) for the time to pass between medical clearance and staging I will wait as long as or longer than only 17 of the 96 samples for which this data is available. If, in consideration of the skewing mentioned above, I generously remove everything above the 3rd quartile (235+ days between medical clearance and staging) I still have to fall within the shortest 24% of lengths for this period.

Here's hoping!

PS: An interesting summary of similar data can be found on page 6 of this official Peace Corps document.

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