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Where Will You Teach? Debunking 5 Myths About Regional Placement

A guide for navigating the most common misconceptions about where you will teach as a Teach For America corps member

Regional Map

September 6, 2023

We have been placing corps members to teach in our regions for 30+ years. Things have evolved over these decades, sometimes faster than public perception can keep up—which leads to unintended misconceptions, false ideas, and outdated information about the application and regional placement process continuing to circulate in our network. We remain as committed as ever to expanding opportunity for all students, and we know it’s essential that the teachers we bring into classrooms are excited, committed, and feel connected to the communities in which they teach. Teach For America therefore places great emphasis on helping applicants understand our regional options and placement process—and gives you, the applicant, agency in the decision-making process.

Myth 1:  Teach For America decides where I will teach.

Fact:  You decide where you will teach and have the greatest impact.

It’s a priority to us that you, the applicant, have agency and involvement in the major decisions that will affect your life. You will select one region as your preferred choice. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to select one or two alternate regions. We believe you are best positioned to decide what community is the right fit for you, and you will not be placed anywhere you haven’t selected. Joining this community of changemakers is a decision that impacts not just you, but your family, friends, the students you will teach, and the community you will be joining. We want you to be excited about where you will teach because we know that is essential in helping you feel comfortable and energized throughout your Teach For America corps experience.

Myth 2:  I have to choose three regions when I submit an application with Teach For America.

Fact:  You only need to select one region—no need for back-ups or buffers.

This region is your preferred choice. This is the one that you have your heart set on and feels like an ideal fit. In all likelihood, you will receive an offer to that region if you are accepted to the corps. However, if admission to your preferred region is not possible due to space or eligibility, this is where your alternates come into play. During the application process, in addition to choosing your one preferred region, you also have the option to choose one or two additional alternates, places where you’d be excited and energized to teach. In the instance that your preferred choice wasn’t available, Teach For America would place you in one of your alternates, and if you didn’t select any alternates, admissions would reach out to you with solutions.

Maybe you're still unsure about where you want to teach, and that’s okay, too. You can select, “I don’t know yet” on the application. In that case, later on in the process, you can select and finalize your region(s). In the meantime, Teach For America offers a tool to help you explore our regions, learn more about living and teaching in these communities, and aid your decision-making. 

And for the adventurous applicant who is open to teaching anywhere, you can select that you are flexible when finalizing your regional selection(s) after your interview. Teach For America will place you in a region where you are needed most.

Have you thought about where you’d like to teach?

Start by prioritizing what is important to you, including cost of living, transportation, family, and more. Use the Explore Your Region Tool to see your options.

Myth 3:  When submitting my application, the more regions I select, the more likely I am to get admitted to the Teach For America corps.

Fact:  The number of regions you select has no bearing on your admissions decision.

Whether you are flexible in location or select only one region or include alternates, whether you focus on big cities or rural areas, your regional selection(s) are independent of your admission to the corps.

Myth 4:  When submitting my application, if I only select one region, I risk not being admitted to the Teach For America corps.

Fact:  The number of regions selected has no bearing on your admissions decision.

If you choose one region with no alternates and also meet the qualifications of that region, Teach For America will prioritize placing you in your preferred region. If you don’t meet the qualifications or if there is no longer space available in that region, Teach For America will reach out to ask you for an alternate region where you’d be excited to teach. You will not be denied admission to the corps solely because a region is no longer accepting applicants or because of a qualification issue in that state. 

Myth 5:  Once I submit my application, I cannot change my mind about the region(s) I selected. 

Fact:  After interview week concludes, applicants are invited to finalize their regional selection(s).

At this time, an applicant may change their previous selection(s), if they desire. If you initially said “I don’t know yet,” you will be asked to finalize your regional selection(s) or indicate that you are open to being placed in any of the regions you qualify to teach. Applicants will receive an email communication from our admissions team inviting them to complete the next required steps after interview week concludes including guidance on finalizing their regional selection(s).

Still have questions about the corps placement process?

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