More "highly qualified" students than usual turned out yesterday for interviews with representatives from the Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), a Peace/VISTA official said yesterday.
The representatives spoke to junior and senior applicants and prospective applicants as part of their nationwide recruiting effort.
Peace Corps volunteers serve tow years assisting residents of Third World countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the South Pacific and the Caribbean, while VISTA volunteers serve one year in rural and urban poverty areas in this country.
Although Harvard has not produced as many applicants in recent years as other schools its size, this year's showing was uncommonly successful, Denise Early, one of the recruiters, said.
"We talked to a lot of qualified people who seemed really excited about the programs," Early said, adding, "Often we get students who just want information, but this year a number of people brought applications with them."
Despite this year's showing, Harvard still falls considerably behind many Eastern schools, including Brown and Dartmouth, George Aelion, another representative, said yesterday.
Aelion said he could not pinpoint the reason for Harvard's sluggishness, but added that many students have "a kind of 'tunnel vision'--college, grad school, job, with no interruptions."
Robert J. Ambrose '81, one of the applicants, said yesterday he decided to apply for the Peace Corps "partly because of a general committment I have to Third World countries and partly to find out some things about myself.
"I believe that people from all over the world have things in common and can communicate with each other--this would be a good chance to test that theory," he added.