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Application Tips

Am I Eligible?

If you’re considering applying for Teach For America, but aren’t actually sure if you’re eligible, keep reading! 

By The TFA Editorial Team

August 1, 2018

While a complete list of prerequisites can be found on our website, we thought we’d take some time to clear up some of our most common eligibility questions. The answers might surprise you!

I am not a recent college graduate

Not a recent college graduate? Not a problem! We welcome people of all backgrounds, ages, and experiences to apply to the corps. In 2017, about thirty percent of our corps attended graduate school or worked full time before applying. We find that our professional applicants have valuable real-world skills that translate well into the classroom.

I graduated with a 2.49, but the GPA requirement is a 2.50

Our GPA requirement is mandated by the school districts and credentialing programs with which we work, and we have no way of working around this requirement, so unfortunately this would make you ineligible for the corps. We take this requirement seriously and mandate that all applicants have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.50 when they apply and also when they graduate (no rounding up allowed). Additional undergraduate courses completed after your official graduation date cannot be used or averaged in. If however, you’ve attended graduate school and graduated with a 3.50 or above, you may qualify for our GPA waiver. Learn more on our Eligibility page.

I graduated with a degree in physical therapy, foreign language, art history, etc.

Excellent, we accept applicants from every academic background—really! You name it, one of our corps members probably majored in it. We accept applicants from all academic majors and backgrounds to attract a broader pool of excellent teachers and future leaders into education. We believe that a great teacher can come from any background!

I’m already a certified teacher

Certified teachers can definitely apply to the corps. While we don’t require any previous education coursework or teaching experience, a background in education can serve as an asset in the classroom. You’ll still have to participate in summer training, but if you’re certified in your assigned region, you may not have to take certification exams or complete any additional coursework. If you’re placed in a different region, we’ll work with you on the details of certification reciprocity or additional testing.

I'm not a U.S. Citizen, national, permanent resident, or recipient of deferred action

Unfortunately, district requirements mandate that all of our applicants be U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, or recipients of deferred action. All admitted applicants must present employment authorization documentation that proves this and we are unable to accept visas.

I have a family and won’t be able to relocate

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 where/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 would be available if you are accepted to the corps.

I will be abroad during the interview window

In the past, this would have made you ineligible, but through the wonder of technology, this is no longer the case! 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.

I won’t graduate by June of 2019

Teach For America requires that all applicants possess a bachelor's degree by the start of our 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 though, you will not be eligible for the 2019 corps. If you have a graduation date between July 2019 and June 2020, you may be eligible to apply early for the 2020 corps. This application will be available on our website by January 2019.

I have a summer conflict which interferes with the summer training requirements

Summer training, which generally includes a week-long regional induction, five-week intensive training institute, and a week-long regional orientation, is mandatory, no way around this one. As a general rule of thumb, once corps members begin induction, they 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 every region’s training schedule, then you will not be able to join the 2019 corps.


Still have questions? Check out our FAQs or check out the Help Tool on the Applicant Center.