Should you apply to TFA during your junior or senior year? Here’s what to consider.
April 7, 2020
Finding and landing a job in a career with meaning before your senior year of college seems nearly impossible. However, at Teach For America, we aim to provide early, impactful job opportunities to college juniors who demonstrate strong leadership skills in their coursework and extracurricular activities in hopes to assist their great work on campus and eventually support them in the education sector as well.
If that sounds like you, we encourage you to apply to TFA. While this opportunity is packed with amazing benefits, it’s important to know that joining the Teach For America corps carries a large amount of responsibility. We’re tasked with making sure our students and you, have everything needed to successfully lead a classroom. Sometimes, that means taking some more time for personal development before jumping in - and that’s okay!
If you’re unsure of whether you should apply during your junior or senior year of college, here are three factors to consider when you’re deciding whether you should apply early or wait until the regular admission season.
While 2.5 is the minimum requirement, early admitted TFA candidates typically hold a 3.5 GPA or higher during their junior year. This is especially true for candidates in science, technology, math, and engineers (STEM) fields, and who have shown GPA improvement each year. If that defines you, now is a great time to apply!
If you’re not quite there, hope is not lost! Using the remainder of your junior and senior year to strengthen your GPA can position you to become a more competitive candidate during our regular application deadlines.
This extra time also gives you a chance to hone in on activities that allow you to assess and refine the way you approach class assignments, homework, study sessions, quizzes, asking for help and your overall class engagement. Once you're able to conquer your own course work, you can teach students how to discipline themselves to do the same.
Whether you’re in 5th grade or a junior in college, you know learning and development aren’t restricted to the classroom. During our early admissions timeframe, we pay keen attention to candidates who are able to transfer their academic and life lessons into productive, impactful activities that expand your leadership skills, enhance your interests, and build others up.
If you currently hold a leadership position in a campus organization, manage others at work, or are involved in a time-intensive activity (like a varsity sport), applying during your junior year would be in your best interest. A high capacity to lead, motivate and manage others while maintaining great academic standing is what we hope to teach and illustrate to our students.
Need a little more time to build up your leadership skills? Now is the time to make it happen!
Take into consideration areas of your life you want to explore, deepen or develop. If you’re working, play a sport, or sit on a committee in a campus organization, identify your strengths that align with the work you want to do after college and plan to take on more of a leadership position in your senior year.
Demonstrating accountability while you guide others in managing their responsibilities efficiently gives us a glimpse of how you would be able to enhance students, teachers, and community members’ lives outside of the classroom.
In Tune & In Touch With Our Mission
Teach For America believes that all students should have access and benefit from an excellent education. However, we know this is not a reality for many students in our country. The lack of educational equity has a domino effect on our nation’s economics, government, law, medicine, business, and technology - just to name a few.
Students who face an overwhelming amount of inequities without the proper support and education as their privileged counterparts tend to fall behind in various aspects of life-negatively impacting all social systems. By being in tune with our students’ and communities’ needs, we’re able to identify opportunity gaps inside and outside the classroom to create a more equitable environment our kids can thrive in.
We want people who not only believe in our mission of educational equity but who understand it from a personal perspective. If you grew up in a low-income neighborhood or volunteered in one, you know first hand the things that make the community great, but you’re also aware of the gapping opportunity gaps that hinder it from being better. Your perspective, experience and continued efforts to bring more hope into these communities are invaluable in working with our kids who need people to empathize rather than sympathize with their reality.
If you feel a bit removed from our mission but wish to lean in more, use the time in college to connect with organizations who are on the ground, doing work in underserved communities. Remember, educational equity is impacted by different social systems that can either enhance or hinder a child’s learning environment. Reach out to your TFA campus recruiter to see how you can help with Teach For America volunteer efforts.
Partner with other student organizations that serve low-income communities. At your on-campus or off-campus job, see if you can start an initiative that helps assist the residents of underserved neighborhoods. If you want to branch out and do something on your own, identify the unique way you’d like to lend your voice and platform to advocate for students. Your efforts don’t have to be grand, but they should be impactful and bring true value to the community.
We hope this helps guide your decision on whether or not you should apply early or wait until the regular deadline. Whichever timeline you choose, make sure it highlights your professional and personal strengths!
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