These preparation tips are intended to help you put your best foot forward during Teach For America’s application and admissions process.
Application, Resume, and Letter of Intent
This is your first opportunity to tell us about your accomplishments, experiences, and interests, and to tell us more about your interest in Teach For America.
Before applying, we encourage you to learn about who we are and what we do. Our website, particularly the Our Mission section, is a great resource for learning more about Teach For America. Stories from corps members and alumni located throughout the site can also help build your understanding of the corps experience.
- Have your transcript(s) on hand to enter your cumulative and yearly GPAs from your undergraduate work. The application contains a GPA calculator you can use to determine your yearly GPAs.
- On your resume, you should highlight your academic and professional achievements and leadership experience. Academic achievement includes your cumulative GPA, participation in honors programs, inclusion in dean’s lists, or other notable awards. Leadership can be displayed through a variety of experiences including extracurricular activities, work experience, managing teams, and more.
- See an example of an effective resume for college seniors.
- See an example of an effective resume for grad students and working professionals.
On the letter of intent, make sure you answer the questions thoroughly. It’s a good idea to begin with an outline to make sure you fully answer the questions in a meaningful way. Here are the questions asked for the letter of intent:
- Why do you seek to join Teach For America?
- What would you hope to accomplish as a corps member?
- How would you determine your success as a corps member?
- Write your letter of intent ahead of time and save your document as a .rtf or .txt file. This way, when you're ready to complete your application, you'll be able to simply cut and paste your letter of intent into the text editor program.
- Check out ETS Proofwriter or similar programs to receive instant feedback on certain aspects of your writing, including grammar, mechanics, style, and word usage.
- Revisit our writing proficiency standards and proofread accordingly. We will purposefully evaluate your writing ability because many corps members teach students to write and are required to pass district certification exams in reading and writing skills.
Letters of intent characterized by any of the following:
Letters of intent characterized by all of the following:
The Phone Interview and Online Activity
You may be asked to participate in a phone interview and all candidates must complete the online activity. The phone interview is an opportunity for you to speak with someone from Teach For America about your experiences and about our mission.
- It’s common to be nervous before an interview, but reducing distractions can make you feel more comfortable and confident. Find a quiet space to conduct the interview and make sure you use a landline rather than a cell phone in order to avoid signal issues.
- Print your resume and letter of intent and keep them in front of you during the phone interview, so you can refer to them if needed. Review the experiences you highlighted on your resume so that you can talk about them comfortably when asked.
- The two-part Online Activity consists of both general questions and specific questions about a five-minute video clip you‘ll watch during the activity. Make sure that you mark the deadline to complete this required activity, and allot at least two hours to take it in one sitting.
- You should review the required pre-reading before you start the activity. Find a private space without any interruptions or distractions to ensure confidentiality while you complete the activity, and check that you have Internet access and audio capability before you start.
The Full-day Interview
The final interview is a distinctive part of the Teach For America application process. Our interviews are only held on weekdays and you should block an entire day (9-5) for the interview. Again, it’s common to be nervous before an interview, but many applicants come away from the interview day having had a great experience.
The first half of the day will be spent with Teach For America interviewers and other candidates as a group. Each candidate will teach a sample lesson while the rest of the group participates as “students.” Next, the entire group will work together on a problem solving activity. After a short break, the interviewers will give a short presentation about Teach For America.
The second half of the day will include a one-on-one interview with a Teach For America interviewer.
- Make sure you are well-rested and eat a good breakfast, so you can be at your best throughout the day.
- Dress professionally.
- Make arrangements to arrive at your interview site on time.
- Be yourself! When you’re relaxed and prepared, you’re most likely to put your best foot forward.
Occasionally, a Teach For America staff member may contact you for a short follow-up phone interview. Being asked to complete a follow-up interview is not an indication of your admissions status. We do this as part of ongoing training for our own staff interviewers and to gather additional information if necessary.
Check out our online learning module for detailed tips for researching organizations, preparing resumes, and excelling in interviews.
Hear from our Admissions team on what makes for a successful application to Teach For America.
Check out our online learning module for an overview of our admissions process.