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Applicant Resources

How to Choose Your References

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

By The TFA Editorial Team

February 6, 2017

conversation between two people

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.