Your unique background makes TFA distinct and gives you an unparalleled opportunity to grow as a leader. Learn about our eligibility requirements and the characteristics that will help you be successful in the classroom.
Prerequisites for Applying
Corps members come from hundreds of universities, represent dozens of college majors, and have countless experiences that contribute to success in the classroom.
In order to be considered for admission to the TFA corps, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50 and U.S. citizenship, national/legal resident status, or be a DACA recipient.
You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university by the first day of your summer training. The start date for summer training varies by region, but is typically in June.
Some regions specify an earlier date by which you need to have your degree. There are some exceptions to this policy if you have documents proving you have fulfilled your graduation requirements but don’t yet have your degree.
We welcome people of all ages and experiences to apply, so whether you’ll earn your degree this year or if you received it a few decades ago, you’re eligible.
Your cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) must be at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale, as measured by the institution awarding your degree.
This requirement is mandated by the districts and states we partner with. If you are admitted to TFA before graduation and your final GPA is below 2.50, you will lose your position. You must also pass any courses in progress on your transcript at the time of your interview.
Additional undergraduate courses completed after your official graduation date cannot be averaged in. However, if you attended graduate school and graduated with a 3.50 or above, you may qualify for our GPA waiver. Read more about the waiver in our Eligibility FAQs at the bottom of this page.
Due to the hiring restrictions of many of our partner schools, TFA can only admit candidates who are:
- U.S. citizens
- National or legal permanent residents
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients
You are not eligible to apply if you are in the United States with a student visa, work visa, tourist visa, or refugee status with nothing indicating permanent resident status.
If you’re invited to join the corps, you’ll need to provide legal documentation that verifies your identity and citizenship status. If you don’t meet this requirement, you may be eligible to join one of our partner programs through Teach For All.
“While we value corps members having experiences in the communities that they’re serving, we also understand that we come from different backgrounds.”
Characteristics of Teachers Who Expand Opportunity
TFA teachers come from all backgrounds—what connects them are common mindsets, skills, and a belief that all students deserve the opportunities that a strong and equitable education affords. Our research shows that corps members who significantly expand opportunity for students often possess the following characteristics.
5 Leading TFA Characteristics
1. A deep belief in the potential of all kids
You are committed to doing whatever it takes to expand opportunities for students, often with a perspective informed by meaningful experiences in low-income communities and an understanding of the systemic challenges of poverty and racism.
2. Demonstrated ability to create meaningful change
You are able to initiate, lead, and achieve purpose-driven results in a variety of settings, including guiding others, academic success, professional accolades, extracurricular impact, etc.
3. A strong commitment to learning
You have a strong desire to improve and develop—both personally and professionally.
4. Excellent interpersonal skills
You have a proven ability to motivate others while navigating in a variety of settings, including those that are less familiar to you.
5. Respect for individuals’ diverse experiences
You have the ability to work effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds.
For some applicants with an undergraduate GPA less than 2.50, a GPA prerequisite waiver is an option.
If you struggled in undergrad, you may be eligible for a waiver if you earned a graduate degree with a GPA of 3.50 or higher on a 4.00 scale.
You do not need to apply for the waiver. As you fill out the application with an undergraduate GPA lower than 2.50, you will see a warning message that you are not eligible to apply.
Simply continue the application if your graduate school transcripts show a final cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher. You’ll receive the same level of review by the selection committee as other candidates. If you are invited to an interview, you’ll be required to submit an official transcript from every undergraduate and graduate university you have attended.
Please note that receiving this waiver will limit your potential placement regions. You must be willing to relocate to one of these areas if admitted to the corps.
You will only be eligible to teach in the following regions:
- D.C. Region
- Greater Delta: Mississippi & Arkansas
- Greater New Orleans
- Greater Tulsa
- Las Vegas
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Oklahoma City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- St. Louis
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’s possible our university and/or certification partners may have more specific requirements.
Yes! College juniors can apply early. As an early admissions applicant, you’ll be evaluated on the same criteria as any other applicant. We encourage you to apply when you believe your application will be the strongest, whether that is as a junior or as a senior.
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 2021 corps will not be eligible to reapply at a later deadline during the 2020-21 school year. However, you may reapply for the 2022 corps, beginning in August 2021.
Teach For America reserves the right to use any and all information submitted in previous applications when making admissions decisions.
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.
Summer training, which generally includes a week-long regional induction, five-week intensive training institute, and a week-long regional orientation, is mandatory. As a general rule of thumb, once you begin induction, you can expect to have weekday commitments from that day forward until the beginning of the school year. If you have a conflict that is earlier in the summer, you may want to preference regions with later training dates.
If you know now that your conflict would require you to miss more than one day of each region’s training schedule, then you will not be able to join the corps. Please consider applying for a future corps instead.
If admitted to the corps, you are expected to submit to any and all background checks required by school districts, charter schools, other employers, Teach For America, and other relevant agencies. Read more on Admissions Policies.