How to Apply

Applying for Young Adult Programs

Our members come from diverse backgrounds, and bring a wide range of skills and experiences to their positions. Some positions require candidates to have completed coursework in the sciences, while others place emphasis on skills such as public speaking and communications. Some positions involve administrative work, while others take place entirely in the field. There is no single set of qualifications that provides the best “fit” for SCA. Whether you excel in collecting field data or designing museum exhibits, leading large tour groups or working with students one-on-one, you can put your talents to work for the planet.

Every year we end up with more applicants than positions. We make our selections based on outstanding applications that tell us who you are and why you are excited to serve with SCA. Our application is designed to give you the opportunity to highlight all of your skills and experience – whether you gained those skills through college classes, volunteer service, or family camping trips. Taking the time to fill out your application carefully gives you the best chance of landing a position that is a perfect fit for you.

Who Is Eligible

To apply to SCA’s Young Adult programs, you must be 18 or older and have a high school diploma or GED. You can apply if you are a recent high school graduate, a college student, a graduate student, or a college graduate. You do not need to be currently in college or affiliated with a school in any way.

All skill sets and backgrounds are welcome! We have seen Art History, International Relations, Business, Math, Marketing, History, and English majors along with Natural Resources, Recreation, and Environmental majors in our programs. Qualifications vary by position, but most SCA positions do not require a specific major or degree.

Not a US citizen? You can still apply! Visit our International Applicants page to learn more.

New Candidates

1.     Sign up to join a program by completing a New Registration.

2.     Sign into the email that you listed on the new registration page to get the password for your MySCA account.

3.     Go to the MySCA Login page to sign in with your email address and your password. You will be asked to create a new password. Write down your username (your email address) and password so that you remember it for future use.

4.     Submit each section of the basic member profile and the application.

There is a one-time application fee of $25 dollars for US citizens ($40 for non-US citizens).

Returning Candidates

Login to your application. On the first page, click “Update” next to your application. Review all of the information to ensure that it is correct. Pay special attention to the following sections:

  • Update your Availability Dates at the top of the first page.
  • Fill out the Alumni Questions at the bottom of the first page.

Application Status

After you submit (new candidates) or save (returning candidates) your application, return to the Home tab of your MySCA portal and verify that your Application Status is listed as “Complete.” If not, click the “Update” link next to the application and review the process to see what information is missing.

Placement occurs year-round, so there is no single deadline. Each deadline is relative to the date each position begins. 

Finding Internships

What positions can I apply for?

  • Read carefully and select positions that match your dates of availability.
  • Look for alignment with skills, education, experience, and any required certifications.
  • Check if the position requires a car or a valid driver’s license.
  • Consider the living situation, daily routine, and location.

How many positions should I apply for?

  • Apply to 8-12 positions that match your dates of availability and other stated requirements.
  • You’ll be more competitive if you choose several geographic areas and more than one type of position.
  • Increase your chances of selection by applying to positions on our “Hot Internships” page, which need to be filled ASAP.

How does the placement process work?

  • You submit your complete application to SCA.
  • Application review begins approximately 3 months prior to position start dates.
  • SCA reviews applications for a specific position and determines the most qualified candidates from that applicant pool. We then send these top applications to sites for consideration.
  • Once the application is sent, you receive contact information for the site to request an interview.
  • A hiring official from the site interviews top candidates and makes final selections.

You should be excited about the positions you are applying for and not choose any that you aren’t prepared to accept. Enthusiasm is often a deciding factor for a site when making a selection.

Tips for Submitting a Successful Application

Make sure your application is complete. Check the status of your application to ensure that all the steps have been completed.

  • Draft – This means you have not yet submitted your application.
  • In Progress – This means that you have submitted your application, but no reference forms have been returned.
  • Complete – This means that your application is ready to be reviewed; you have paid the fee and have at least one reference.
  • Inactive – This means that the dates of availability listed on your application have passed. Please update them if you are available in the future.

Help us get to know you through your essay answers. Do not underestimate the importance of this section. By reading your answers and references (and we read every single one) we are able to learn if you are likely to be comfortable working in the field or if you seem like someone who can handle a more challenging work project. We only place people on crews we feel will suit them – because that’s how we make happy crews. So make sure you paint a clear picture of yourself.

Be flexible. Although Alaska and Hawaii may sound like spectacular places to complete an internship, there is something special to be found in every part of the country. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy working along the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee, or running environmental education programs in an inner-city neighborhood.  You can dramatically increase your chances of selection if you are willing to try new things and visit new places.

Pick a good reference. The best references are those who have seen you work in groups outside of school. It’s never bad to have a teacher or staff person give you a reference, but SCA really isn’t an academic program. A more valuable perspective comes from someone who can comment on your performance in a program that shares something in common with SCA. Examples of great references are coaches, supervisors, youth mentors, or ministers. At least one reference is required to complete your application, so make sure you allow extra time for your references to submit their recommendations.

Keep us in the loop. If any of your information changes after you submit your application, be sure to let us know. Here are common updates that we would love to hear about:

  • Your availability dates have changed
  • You earned the rank of Eagle Scout
  • You completed a first aid course
  • You hiked 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail
  • You volunteered over Spring Break

You can always log back into your application and update any section. The changes you make take effect immediately.