Due to school districts and hiring requirements, Teach For America requires that all applicants maintain an undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 both at the time of application and at graduation. Admitted candidates whose final average falls below 2.50 will forego their positions in Teach For America. Graduate GPAs cannot be used or averaged in with undergraduate GPAs, nor can additional undergraduate courses completed after the date of graduation. If your cumulative undergraduate GPA was below a 2.50 but you have a graduate degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher, learn more about our GPA Prerequisite Waiver.
The 2.50 minimum GPA is mandated by the school districts and credentialing programs with which we work, and we have no way of working around this requirement. If this is prevents for you applying to Teach For America, we encourage you, on your own, to explore individual school districts to determine whether or not your GPA will prevent you from teaching in a school district in which you are interested.
Learn more about our application prerequisites.
In order to be considered for admission to the Teach For America corps, you must satisfy three prerequisites: bachelor’s degree; a minimum cumulative GPA; and citizen, national/legal resident, or DACA status. Read more about each prerequisite.
Teach For America’s research shows that teachers who have helped their students achieve the most dramatic growth often possess certain qualities and characteristics. Find this and more on our eligibility page.
If you suspect your degree-granting institution may not meet certain accreditation requirements, you are encouraged to research the certification requirements for the school district where you are interested in teaching to learn more.
While TFA does not distinguish between accreditation types, it is possible our university and/or certification partners may have more specific requirements.
Teach For America requires that all applicants possess a bachelor's degree by the start of our summer training program (between early and mid-June), which varies depending on your assigned region. Having a bachelor’s degree by the first day of the summer training is a requirement because corps members teach summer school in a public school system during this time. Corps members are also placed in teaching positions in their assigned region throughout the spring and summer.
If you've completed all of your coursework for your undergraduate degree but are still waiting to have your degree conferred, normally we can work with you to get the necessary documentation from your school to verify that you are eligible.
If you still have coursework to complete after June, you should wait until the following application season to apply.
Unfortunately, district requirements mandate that all of our applicants be U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, or DACA recipients.
All admitted applicants must present employment authorization documentation that proves this. We are unable to accept visas.
No matter your citizenship status, you must have at least a 2.50 undergraduate GPA and a bachelor’s degree by June to be a qualified candidate. At the time of your final interview, you must be able to provide proof of employment eligibility.
As a DACA recipient, you must have a social security number and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to meet the hiring requirements of our partner schools.
Learn more about applying to TFA as a DACA recipient.
When thinking about when to apply, you should carefully consider the timeline associated with each deadline. You should ensure you’re available to attend the interviews and able to make the decision to commit to the corps by the confirmation deadline.
We try to distribute regional placements as equally as possible across all our deadlines, so that ideally your opportunities at the first deadline are the same as at the fifth deadline. In practice though, there are external factors that may affect placement opportunities in specific regions.
For the 2019 corps, given testing and hiring timelines, we cannot place any applicants who apply during the March 1 deadline in the following regions: The Bay Area, California Capital Valley, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
There are advantages to applying to the first or second deadline. You'll have more time to take certification exams and complete your pre-work in advance of summer training. This additional time can also be very helpful as you plan for the transition into the corps and a potential move to a new community.
Teach For America does not request official transcripts until and unless an applicant is invited to an interview. At that point, if invited to our interview day, you will receive additional upload instructions and complete the Transcript Wizard which will indicate the documents you are required to upload.
If you are invited to participate in an interview, you need to submit the contact information for two recommenders and one reference on the Recommenders and Reference List. As soon as you submit this contact information your recommenders will be sent a link to complete our Online Recommendation Form.
If admitted to the corps, corps members are expected to submit to any and all background checks required by their school districts, charter schools, other employers, Teach For America, and other relevant agencies.
Read more on our Admissions Policies page.
You will need to write a 300-word response about why you are interested in joining Teach For America in your application. Similar to writing a “cover letter” for a job application, this is an opportunity for you to share why you want to join the corps and why you think you would be a good fit. Your answer to this question helps us learn more about your motivations and interest in joining the corps. If you are invited to the interview, we may ask you to expand on your response to this question.
Our application process is designed to help you prepare for the rigor of our program, and to help us select the most qualified candidates.
We look for a number of specific traits that are common among our most successful corps members. In order to give you the best opportunity to demonstrate these traits, we ask all applicants to provide multiple examples of their skills, experiences, aspirations, and leadership, including transcripts, a written response, and letters of recommendation.
The interview also gives you an opportunity to expand on the examples you provided in your application, and fill in any gaps. Having multiple examples of your leadership experiences, and accomplishments from different sources gives us a holistic picture of who you are, and how your strengths might play out in the classroom.
The admissions process includes an online application and interview. There are several steps that happen in between the time you submit the online application and the time you may be invited to the interview. The entire process takes about 4-6 weeks, from start to finish.
~1 Hour: Complete Your Online Application
The timing varies for each applicant, but you may be able to complete the application in as little as one hour. After hearing feedback from previous applicants, we’ve significantly shortened the application, cutting down on the number of steps you need to complete up front.
1 Week: TFA Reviews Your Online Application
It takes about a week for us to review all applications after each application deadline. The information you provide in the online application will help us gain a more thorough understanding of who you are, your unique strengths, and motivations for joining the corps. Having this full picture will help us decide if you should move on to the final interview.
2 Weeks: Prepare for Interview & Submit Additional Materials
If you are invited to the interview, you will be notified about one week after the application deadline. You will then have about two weeks to prepare for the interview and submit required materials such as college transcripts and letters of recommendation. These materials provide us with additional examples of your leadership and accomplishments before you head into the interview.
We ask you to reserve a full day for the interview. During the interview day you’ll teach a five-minute lesson, participate in group activities, and meet 1:1 with an interviewer to discuss your accomplishments and interest in joining the corps.
2 Weeks: Submit Your Regional Preferences / Admissions Decision
After your interview, you’ll be asked to rank the regions in which you prefer to teach. During this time you’ll be able to compare our regions and determine the factors that are most important to you. Your location preferences have no impact on your chance of acceptance.
We’ll then evaluate your full application. Our admissions process is holistic, meaning we look at all the information you’ve provided when evaluating your candidacy. We’ll take everything from your initial application, to your sample lesson, and to your 1:1 interview into consideration
10 Days: Accept or Decline Your Offer
At this time, you’ll be notified of your admissions decision and your region and subject placement. If you’ve received an offer to join the corps, you’ll have 10 days to make your decision about accepting your offer to become a corps member.
Summer training typically includes a 6-8 week continuous commitment over the summer, beginning as early as mid-May. Corps members are required to attend the summer training in full. As a general rule of thumb, once you begin your summer training, you can expect to have weekday commitments from that day forward until the beginning of the school year.
Corps members may be granted up to one day of leave from summer training under compelling circumstances, such as your graduation ceremony or a wedding ceremony. It is our policy to grant no more than one instructional day of leave due to the fast-paced summer training schedule. Applying for leave does not guarantee that your request will be granted.
If you have a conflict that is earlier in the summer, you may want to preference regions with later training dates. In the event that you have a multiple day conflict, you will need to resolve that conflict to teach in your assigned region. If you are concerned about this, you should discuss this with your regional contact.
The schedule for summer training will be shared in early spring.
Applicants, have questions or need help? Contact us
Yes! About a third of our interviews are conducted virtually via webcam. In order to participate in a virtual interview, you must have secure internet access and a webcam. You can preference the virtual interview option on the final section of your application.
Yes, you can certainly apply if you have kids and we’ll do our best to make sure you won’t have to relocate. If you’re invited to an interview, you’ll complete the pre-assignment form, where you can indicate any special circumstances that might make it difficult to relocate. Our Assignment Team will do everything in their power to make sure you and your family stay put. Granted, sometimes we’re limited by the needs of your preferred region and what you’re eligible to teach, but we’ll work with you to try and meet you and your family's needs.
Please remember that you will still have to attend our six-week summer training, which may not be in the same location as your regional placement. We can arrange family housing for corps members who choose to bring family to the summer training and can also provide information about childcare services, although Teach For America does not provide childcare. More details about this will be available if you are accepted to the corps.
Teach For America uses the following key factors in determining placement:
- Availability of teaching positions across the nation for the upcoming school year
- Subject and grade-level needs of our school and district partners
- Hiring requirements, including undergraduate coursework credits required for each position and regional certification requirements
- Your preferences for region and teaching subject
Learn more about regional placement.
We know that landing in a region that matches your priorities is incredibly important. Whether you end up moving across the country or teaching in your hometown, we want to give all corps members as much time as possible to prepare for the transition. For this reason, we ask you to indicate your regional preferences before you are admitted to the corps. You’ll be notified of your placement at the same time you find out your admissions decision--so you’ll have this key piece of information before you make your final decision.
We welcome people of all backgrounds, ages, and experiences to apply to the corps. As long as you are a US citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident, recipient of deferred action for childhood arrivals and have a bachelor's degree with at least a 2.50 cumulative undergraduate GPA, you are eligible to apply to Teach For America. In the event that your cumulative undergraduate GPA falls below a 2.50, we do offer a waiver to the minimum undergraduate GPA requirement for those applicants who have a graduate degree with at least a 3.50 GPA. While some of our corps members join immediately after completing their undergraduate degrees, a significant percentage of corps members are not directly out of college and have often completed graduate degrees or had experiences in other careers.
Please keep in mind that there are additional qualities we are looking for in our applicants beyond these three base requirements. We seek goal-oriented individuals with the leadership skills necessary to excel as teachers during their two-year commitments and to influence long-term change beyond the two years. Ideal candidates also possess strong critical thinking and organizational skills and a commitment to improving under- served communities.
Learn about the qualities we look for in our applicants.
Though rare, deferrals are typically granted for admitted applicants who have serious emergencies or who have a unique opportunity that will significantly add to their value in the classroom or to ending educational inequity.
Admitted applicants may submit a request for a one-year deferral. We are unable to offer multiple-year deferrals, except in the event of serious family or medical emergencies. Each deferral request will be reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Admissions team and the staff members of the applicant’s assigned region. Candidates granted deferrals will have a place in the corps in their assigned region the following year.
Candidates may only apply to Teach For America once during an admissions year but are welcome to reapply during subsequent admissions years. For example, candidates who apply for the 2019 corps will not be eligible to reapply at a later deadline during the 2018-19 school year. However, they may reapply during the 2020 admissions season, beginning August 2019.
Teach For America reserves the right to use any and all information submitted in previous applications when making admissions decisions.
Historically our admittance rate has varied anywhere from 11%-20%.
Yes! Teach For America offers paid internships and roles to undergraduates from all college majors and in all parts of the country. Several of our partners also have opportunities for you to get involved. Find out more on Internships and Experiences.
You can apply for early admissions to the 2021 corps if you meet the following criteria:
Undergraduate graduation date between 07/01/2020 and 06/30/2021
Undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher
U.S. Citizen, National/Permanent Resident, or recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Learn more about early admission.
If you are not yet eligible to apply to Teach For America, you can learn more about internships and opportunities to get involved with our mission now.
If you are invited to a interview and cannot attend for any reason, you can reapply through our next application season. Should you choose to reapply, you would need to complete a new online application as well as any additional required activities and interviews to which you are invited.
Please keep in mind that applicants who choose to reapply are not guaranteed to be invited to any specific portion of the process.
Applying early for the corps is almost exactly the same as our regular admissions process, the application and notification timing is just different.
Read more about application steps and requirements for early admission.
If you do not see your question answered here, you can reach us through the Contact Us tool or the Help tool on the Applicant Center once you start an application. Due to our high inbox volume, we typically do not respond to questions that are answered in our FAQ, so please check here thoroughly before reaching out.
You should apply when you think your application will be the strongest. As one of our selection criteria is strong achievement in academic, professional, extracurricular, and/or volunteer settings, if you're not able to speak to the impact you have had yet, it may be best to wait until fall 2019 and apply through the standard admissions process.
Yes. If you are not admitted, you are eligible to apply to the corps the following season.
The 2020 regular application deadlines will be announced in August 2019.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you are not eligible through early admissions process. The early admissions process is specifically for college juniors.
The only exception is for applicants in a dual-degree program who will receive both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the same time (often known as co-terming).
If you are not eligible to apply early to the corps, we encourage you to apply through the standard process.
You will receive your regional assignment, but not your grade-level or subject assignment after learning of your acceptance into TFA. Our regions work with school districts to determine the grade level and subject assignment of our corps members, and do not typically have projections on their school districts’ needs for future school years. However, we will be able to give you your regional assignment so that you know where you will be placed. Take a look at the communities where we work.
No. In order to preserve the fairness of our assignment process for all applicants, applicants are no more or less likely to get one of their highly preferred regions than applicants at any other deadline.
No. We evaluate candidates based on competitiveness, not the timing of their application. Those who apply early to the corps will be evaluated on the same criteria as any other applicant. Corps members are selected based on leadership potential and other criteria.
We encourage you to apply when you believe your application will be the strongest.
For applicants who applied early to the 2020 corps: You will need to accept your offer in the fall of 2019.
Many campuses have policies which dictate when students can formally accept job offers, so we have all admitted early applicants confirm their offers with the first round of applicants in the 2019 season, which is typically in November.
If you are admitted, you will be notified of your admissions decision according to your application deadline and will then be able to accept our offer in the fall of 2019—likely in November 2019. During the summer, we will reach out to you with additional information about our program, your region, and what you can be doing to prepare for the corps.
If you are not admitted, you are eligible to re-apply to the corps through our standard application process. Should you choose to reapply, you would need to complete a new online application as well as any additional required activities and interviews to which you are invited.
Please keep in mind that applicants who choose to reapply are not guaranteed to be invited to any specific portion of the process.