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How competitive is Teach for America?

cutieness220cutieness220 Posts: 3Registered User New Member
I know the number of applicants is large, but they don't state on their website what they are looking for in specific terms. I was hoping maybe people who have been rejected and accepted could tell me what got them in or why they didn't make the cut. Thanks!

I'm hoping to have a 3.2 with a bachelors degree in history and associates in Spanish. Both done concurrently in 3 years. I'm hoping to teach in San Antonio or the Rio Grande Valley. What do you think my chances are?
Post edited by cutieness220 on

Replies to: How competitive is Teach for America?

  • jonahrubinjonahrubin Posts: 547Registered User Member
    Right now it is really competitive because there's a shortage of prestigious jobs out there. Lots of Ivy League kids that might have otherwise gone to Wall Street are trying to do TFA because it looks good on a resume and might help in certain grad school applications. 3 years from now if the economy is good, there might be a totally different landscape which makes it easier to get in.
  • cdog08cdog08 Posts: 90Registered User Junior Member
    Hi cutieness220. Teach For America is very competitive! The 2010 Corps acceptance rate was 9.7% for more than 46,000 applicants. Also the average gpa was a 3.6. You still have a shot but I would definitley have other plans as well.

    Here is a good article for you to read:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/education/12winerip.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1282928424-7oU6n2mRlBzYc/2SQDuEKw
  • Buba001Buba001 Posts: 25Registered User New Member
    I have slightly under a 3.4 GPA and I got rejected at the first stage.

    I don't think the rejection is due to GPA but more so to the point and purpose of applying to Teach for America in the written essay.

    Of course I went to a Tier 2 ranked school instead of a Tier 1 ranked school so I could have got rejected because or the amount of applicants applying from Tier 1 schools(Which is probably going to happen a lot more in my future).

    I went on study abroad for five months, but I'm not sure this would have any influence on being accepted.
  • ThePhilosopherThePhilosopher Posts: 1,661Registered User Senior Member
    TFA is not the same as graduate school, and I certainly would not compare the two. The program is looking for leaders, in and out of the classroom, who are willing to go beyond the routine to make differences in the education sector.
  • Polo08816Polo08816 Posts: 877Registered User Member
    Of course I went to a Tier 2 ranked school instead of a Tier 1 ranked school so I could have got rejected because or the amount of applicants applying from Tier 1 schools(Which is probably going to happen a lot more in my future).
    Isn't that a shame? Graduates from Tier 1 schools doing Teach For America because of the competitive marketplace - some of whom were misled about their potential income after undergrad. This is not a knock on Teach for America; it's a great program. But certainly not one that provides monetary compensation that many Tier 1 school graduates need in order to pay back their $200,000 debt.
  • Buba001Buba001 Posts: 25Registered User New Member
    I wonder how many of the students from these Universities can relate to children growing up in poverty.

    How many of them grew up in poverty? How many of them payed for their own education or worked during school?

    I would be caught in the same position(I grew up somewhat wealthy and didn't have to).

    If someone who did well in College and worked their way through I think this would make the best candidate.
  • ThePhilosopherThePhilosopher Posts: 1,661Registered User Senior Member
    TFA does not pay individuals to teach. The school district in which the person is teaching does. Participants make a regular starting teacher's salary. In terms of debt, think about people who go to a private school for the purpose of becoming a teacher.
  • RedrosesRedroses Posts: 3,293- Senior Member
    Buba, over half the students at every ivy and their peers receives financial aid, with the average package being close to $40K/ yr-that's a lot of not wealthy kids. Most on aid must do work study.
  • frazzled1frazzled1 Posts: 4,927Registered User Senior Member
    Lots of Ivy League kids that might have otherwise gone to Wall Street are trying to do TFA because it looks good on a resume and might help in certain grad school applications.
    Although the number of applications from all schools is up, TFA has always attracted a large number of Ivy and top-tier grads, even before the current recession.
    "in 2007, the organization received more than 18,000 applications resulting in 2,900 new corps members. These applicants included '11 percent of the senior classes at Amherst and Spelman; 10 percent of those at University of Chicago and Duke; and more than eight percent of the graduating seniors at Notre Dame, Princeton and Wellesley.' " (wikipedia)
    The recession has made the TFA hiring process still more competitive, of course.

    My d has just started her second year as a corps member in the Metro DC area. It's true that many applicants are high-performing grads of highly-ranked schools. However, I do think that an applicant with a GPA in the OP's range would be considered if he or she can show a proven track record as a problem solver - this was one of the essay topics my d had to write on in her application. If you have life experience that indicates you are a creative thinker with an original approach to solving difficult problems, you're the type of applicant TFA wants to consider.

    cutieness, you don't mention what year you're in currently. Many schools have TFA recruiting organizations on campus that need undergrads as volunteers. It won't necessarily improve your chances, but it will give you an understanding of the application process. Is there time to increase your GPA somewhat? That will increase your opportunities everywhere.
  • cutieness220cutieness220 Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    Well I'm thinking of staying in school a little bit longer, the whole four years, so I can get certified to teach high school social studies. I'm thinking maybe this will help my prospects?
  • BookAddictBookAddict Posts: 669Registered User Member
    FWIW, I'm a 2010 CM in Tulsa. Moving along...

    Having a background in education won't help your prospects, but it won't hurt, either. If nothing else, if you get rejected, there's nothing preventing you from teaching in a low income school anyway if that's something you're passionate about.

    The website may not state what they're looking for in specific terms, but what it does state is pretty accurate:

    From http://www.teachforamerica.org/admissions/who-were-looking-for/:
    We look for evidence of:
    -Demonstrated past leadership and achievement: achieving ambitious, measurable results in academic, professional, extracurricular, or volunteer settings
    -Perseverance and sustained focus in the face of challenges
    -Strong critical thinking skills: making accurate linkages between cause and effect and generating relevant solutions to problems
    -Superior organizational ability: planning well, meeting deadlines, and working efficiently
    -Respect for individuals’ diverse experiences and effectively working with people from a variety of backgrounds
    -Superior interpersonal skills to motivate and lead others
    -Thorough understanding of and desire to work relentlessly in pursuit of our vision

    Successful teachers are also accomplished leaders. Applicants have historically demonstrated leadership within a broad range of experiences, such as:
    -Holding leadership roles on campus and delivering significant results for organizations and research projects
    -Excelling as team managers at work, coaches of athletic teams, or directors of community organizations
    -Demonstrating success in a variety of career fields, such as business, law, medicine, and education
    -Achieving measurable results in professional jobs, military experience, or graduate school

    Most of the questions they ask you in the application/interview process are directly related to these things. There really are no surprises in that regard.

    ETA: Study abroad in and of itself has no bearing on your acceptance, I think. Now, you can definitely talk about your experiences abroad in a way that might help or hinder your chances of acceptance. (I studied abroad twice -- though once was after my acceptance to TFA -- and mentioned this a couple of times during my interview in response to questions posed to me.)
  • MamaharperMamaharper Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    Well I am just starting as a corp member and I am older I got a 3.0 from Loyola Marymount University. I am from poverty born into welfare and homelessness I never thought I would even be considered for such a prestigious program. I think it's more of the attitude you bring and your reasons for joining the mission. If you are doing it simply as a blog entry on your resume you need not apply. They are looking for someone who has leadership ability and has shown perserverence through challenges and that you overcame them. This was a common thread in all those who are members so really reflect on these aspects, study the causes of the achievement gap and the potential solutions to this societal inequity. I would try to become involved in some organization that works within at risk low income populations, helps if it is in education (like tutoring at schools or programs like city year)
    Well if you get in look me up I am a 2012-2014 corp member in San Antonio.
  • IzanagiIzanagi Posts: 35Registered User Junior Member
    Admit rate for 2010-2011 was 14% I think.
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