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Tips For Writing About Your Greatest Accomplishments

Helpful suggestions for writing about meaningful change, accomplishments, and results on your Teach For America application.

By The TFA Editorial Team

September 7, 2020

When you apply to Teach For America, you’re asked to write two short responses. First, you are asked to answer the question, “Why do you seek to join Teach For America?” Next, you are asked to describe one of your greatest accomplishments in the last three years. For tips about the first short-response questions, please visit Tips for Writing Your Why TFA Statement.

The second application question creates an opportunity for you to reflect on a time when you have helped to accomplish a meaningful achievement. To help you in your response, please see some additional tips below! 

1. GET SPECIFIC

Provide specific examples of contributions that led to your greatest accomplishment in the last three years. Think about what you did from beginning to end -- it helps to clearly outline the desired change you were aiming for, the strategy you took to get there, and why it was important to you. 

2. SPOTLIGHT YOUR DISTINCT SKILLS

While we understand that meaningful change happens when a broad and diverse coalition of people work together toward a common goal, this is an opportunity to reflect on how your personal participation directly influenced your group’s accomplishments.

What distinct skills did you bring to the work being done? How did you personally drive thinking, actions, or conversations that led to meaningful change?  Dig deep and describe what made you shine as a team player. 

3. USE OUR GUIDING QUESTIONS

This application question is accompanied by three guiding questions. Utilize these questions as a framework for your response and ensure that you respond to each of them. Doing so will help your response to be well-rounded and targeted. The questions are as follows:

  • What was the outcome you were working towards?
  • Why was this outcome important to you, others, and/or the organization you were a part of?
  • What were the steps you took to accomplish this and what was the outcome?

4. REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED

Ambitious results are important to move the needle for students, families, and communities. However, don’t forget to focus on why you embarked on this goal in the first place. 

Spend time in your response reflecting on why you set out to achieve this goal, create this change, or pursue this accomplishment. What need were you trying to solve? What change did you want to see? Why did you take it upon yourself to get involved? What kept you motivated to finish strong?

Alongside these questions, consider how this accomplishment relates to your future goals. 

5. HAVE A PEER REVIEW YOUR WORK BEFORE SUBMITTING

As with any written response, it’s best to have a peer read your response to check for clarity.* If that’s not possible, try using editing tools like Grammarly, ProWriterAid, and the Hemingway app can help you double-check your grammar and fix any typos. Reading your responses aloud a few times also helps you catch grammar errors, improve the clarity and flow in your answers, and ensures your reply aligns with the question being asked. 

Have questions? Explore our Frequently Asked Questions section.

*As a reminder, all aspects of your application must be your own individual work. Any response that is not completely your own work will automatically call your application into question per our falsification or misrepresentation policy and may result in immediate dismissal from the application process or corps.

Need guidance on the "Why to Join" short answer prompt?

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