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Application Tips

How to Choose Your References

Before your interview with Teach For America, read how to successfully complete your Recommenders List.

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By The TFA Editorial Team

February 6, 2017

If you’ve been invited to an interview with Teach For America, you’ll need to complete a Recommenders List. This requires you to submit the contact information for two recommenders.

Your recommenders will receive a unique web link, via email, from TFA’s Admissions team. They will be asked to complete an online recommendation form.

Tips For Selecting Your Recommenders

  • Your two recommenders should be people who can speak to different aspects of what you’ve done or accomplished. 
  • Ideally, each recommender will have supervised your work or have been in a position of authority to guide or evaluate your work within the past 3-5 years.
  • If you’re a student, choose recommenders from different areas of your college experience. 
    • The first recommender could be from an academic setting (professor, thesis advisor, independent research advisor, academic advisor), and the second could be from a job or extracurricular activity (coach, advisor, formal supervisor, head of program, department leader).
  • If you’re a professional, choose your current manager as a first recommender, if possible. That description could also suit a supervisor, internship coordinator, or mentor, depending on your job.
    • If that’s not feasible, then you might want to select a relatively recent manager as a recommender.
    • For your second recommender, you might want to select a previous manager from the same organization or a manager from another organization.
  • If you work in a school, we suggest asking a principal or assistant principal who is familiar with your work to be one of your two recommenders.
  • Recommenders should be comfortable filling out the online recommendation form because we don’t accept traditional letters of recommendation.
  • Friends, family members, family friends, and colleagues/peers are not advised to be listed as recommenders.

Looking for additional tips on your Teach For America application? Visit Application and Interview Tips.