Teach for America to open application process for juniors

The University’s largest domestic employer will expand its applicant pool by opening up its hiring process to college juniors.

Teach for America, an AmeriCorps affiliate that places college graduates in disadvantaged schools across the country for two-year teaching stints, hopes to attract more applicants with the new option.

“We created this opportunity for juniors whose personal or school calendars may make it logistically challenging for them to apply during their senior year,” Teach for America Regional Communications Director Kaitlin Gastrock said.

Teach for America accepted 5,200 new corps members last year, which represented only 11 percent of applicants.

Gastrock said junior applicants will apply for slots to enter the program in 2013, which will not affect this year’s seniors who will form the 2012 corps. She declined to say how the change would impact future selectivity of its applicant pool, saying, “we’re planning to look closely at and learn from the results from this year.”

She said “it’s hard to predict” how the volume and composition of 2013 applications will change with the new option.

Dean of Students Peter Konwerski said the early application will allow interested students to pursue relevant classes during their senior year, “particularly those with a service-learning focus or in education or child development, and also to participate in service that will increase their preparation for the classroom.”

The early application deadline for 2013’s cohort is Feb. 27. Juniors will be notified of their application status by the end of April and, if successful, will have until November to commit.

Teach for America competes only with the Peace Corps for post-graduation popularity among GW students. Of 2011’s 186 GW applicants, 28 joined the program. In September, Konwerski set an informal goal of reaching 50 participants this year.

About 8 percent of GW seniors applied for the program this year, on par with past years. A final acceptance tally has not been released.

“I think at GW, we have a student body inspired to serve, with great passion and a track record for making a difference on campus, in the community and of course in the classroom,” Konwerski said. “As a result, this earlier set of deadlines does allow them to get a jump on making that commitment and forming a plan for their post-graduate experiences that involves choosing a public service career.”

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