TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Share Your Experiences, Read About Other Experiences. Please keep posts organized by school and expected year of graduation.
gunner3
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:58 pm

TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby gunner3 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:42 pm

I have been accepted to do TFA and am still deciding if I would like to postpone going to law school for 2 years. I understand that WE is considered a "soft factor" when applying to law schools and I obviously know that the LSAT and GPA are more important. However, I have heard that TFA is one of the best "softs" you can have. How advantageous would it be to do TFA? Would it help me get into higher schools? (I have numbers for T-14, and borderline T-6) Any advice is welcome, but if anyone has applied with TFA on their resume, that would be awesome to hear from you. Thanks a lot.

User avatar
Stonewall
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:19 am

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby Stonewall » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:43 pm

only do it if you are into WINNING THE FUTURE

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby aliarrow » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:46 pm

--LinkRemoved--

WhirledWorld
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:04 am

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby WhirledWorld » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:47 pm

.
Last edited by WhirledWorld on Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gunner3
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:58 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby gunner3 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:40 pm

WhirledWorld- Thanks

I couldn't open the link that aliarrow gave me.

User avatar
cucullu
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:03 am

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby cucullu » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:57 pm

[Side note: You might want to relocate this thread to a more appropriate forum ("Choosing a Law School" or the general Admissions one) before someone else does it for you.]

Side note aside, I think it's really tough to say how much TFA helps you. I'm a TFA alum, and I also taught after my time in the corps. In the end, I chose not to feature the experience prominently in my personal statement because I didn't feel like it defined me and also because frankly I don't think it's that unique. Several thousand people join the corps each year; most of them are insane over-achievers; many of them will apply to law school. You do the math.

I do think everyone should work before they go to law school. I can't imagine having gone straight in from undergrad, and I'm indescribably grateful for all of my post-college work and life experiences. If you share my values in this regard, then the question becomes not TFA or law school, but TFA or what else?

I think a very strong case can be made for What Else if you don't actually see yourself in the classroom. To be honest, teaching is probably the single hardest job on the planet. Don't do it because it will help you get into law school (frankly, studying for an extra two months for the LSAT will give you a bigger boost, and at significantly less cost to yourself); do it because you actually want to teach kids for the next two years, and you are willing to sacrifice a lot to be the very best you can possibly be at it and to succeed. For THEIR sake.

Good luck to you. Feel free to PM if you'd like to discuss more.

mg792
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:49 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby mg792 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:01 pm

cucullu wrote:[Side note: You might want to relocate this thread to a more appropriate forum ("Choosing a Law School" or the general Admissions one) before someone else does it for you.]

Side note aside, I think it's really tough to say how much TFA helps you. I'm a TFA alum, and I also taught after my time in the corps. In the end, I chose not to feature the experience prominently in my personal statement because I didn't feel like it defined me and also because frankly I don't think it's that unique. Several thousand people join the corps each year; most of them are insane over-achievers; many of them will apply to law school. You do the math.

I do think everyone should work before they go to law school. I can't imagine having gone straight in from undergrad, and I'm indescribably grateful for all of my post-college work and life experiences. If you share my values in this regard, then the question becomes not TFA or law school, but TFA or what else?

I think a very strong case can be made for What Else if you don't actually see yourself in the classroom. To be honest, teaching is probably the single hardest job on the planet. Don't do it because it will help you get into law school (frankly, studying for an extra two months for the LSAT will give you a bigger boost, and at significantly less cost to yourself); do it because you actually want to teach kids for the next two years, and you are willing to sacrifice a lot to be the very best you can possibly be at it and to succeed. For THEIR sake.

Good luck to you. Feel free to PM if you'd like to discuss more.


As another TFA alum, I agree entirely with this sentiment.

WhirledWorld
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:04 am

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby WhirledWorld » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:05 pm

.
Last edited by WhirledWorld on Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gunner3
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:58 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby gunner3 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:26 pm

Thank you so much for your replies. As a side note, I am brand new to TLS and I don't know how to move this thread to the appropriate category. (Embarrassing I know)

I would like to apologize for sounding selfish in my original post. I think I made it sound like I would just do TFA if it benefited me. That is not the case. I was just curious because during my recruitment (and I'm sure yours as well), they have really emphasized how much this will help me with law school. I was just curious to see which parts of law school would be benefited most by my experience with TFA. I was just curious to see if it would help in admissions. Thank you for all of your help.

WhirledWorld
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:04 am

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby WhirledWorld » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:36 pm

.
Last edited by WhirledWorld on Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:40 pm

TFA is a huge factor in law school admissions. This cycle Northwestern admitted a TFA graduate with an LSAT score of 153 & waived her application fee of $100.

User avatar
NikaneOkie
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:39 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby NikaneOkie » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:40 pm

TFA can help a lot if you have an otherwise really generic Personal Statement/Resume/life experiences...
BUT more importantly, you will not survive the two years if you're not really committed to TFAs mission, to teaching and having teaching own your life for at least the first year, and committed to doing TWO years, not one.
If you're not obsessed with teaching and TFA, I wouldn't do it.

neonx
Posts: 1025
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby neonx » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:43 pm

I quit Teach for America during orientation and felt as if my cycle would've been the same had I stuck it out for two years.

It doesn't matter either way if you feel as if your softs are already strong. If you need a little extra something for the resume, go for it.

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby aliarrow » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:43 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:TFA is a huge factor in law school admissions. This cycle Northwestern admitted a TFA graduate with an LSAT score of 153 & waived her application fee of $100.


At first I thought not srs
Then I thought srs
Then I realized its a ninja URM, and now I know - not srs.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:48 pm

What ??? This is serious.

mrwarre85
Posts: 685
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:40 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby mrwarre85 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:32 pm

Do not do TFA if you are not committed to TFA. Teaching 2nd graders in the ghetto is incredibly hard if you want to do a good job. Think like, impossibly hard. You will kill yourself if you have the wrong motive for doing TFA. like hanging yourself, for example.

Lagunitan
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:12 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby Lagunitan » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:42 pm

I'm finishing up my first year of TFA now and planning on applying to law school in the fall. I can't speak to the admissions boost it may provide, though I've heard similar things to what others have said above (JR at Harvard really likes it, it's very good as far as WE experience goes, but ultimately it's a soft that won't get you in anywhere at which your numbers aren't competitive).

Most importantly, it bears repeating that teaching in the kinds of schools TFA places you in is extremely difficult and emotionally trying (trust me, it's much harder and more depressing than you think it will be). I've been miserable for much of this year. You work longer than you could imagine (I'm up before 6 am every day, come home around 6 pm, and work for most of the night), and performing for an audience for 6-7 hours a day is incredibly tiring. That said, if you really care about what you're doing, it can be incredibly rewarding, and if you throw yourself into it, you almost certainly will see big results. But seriously - don't do this unless you really, really want to help teach poor kids for two years and are willing to put up with being tired, frustrated, and depressed for months at a time.

I'm happy to answer any questions via PM. It's important to really know what you're getting into before you do this.

User avatar
cucullu
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:03 am

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby cucullu » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:53 pm

mrwarre85 wrote:Do not do TFA if you are not committed to TFA. Teaching 2nd graders in the ghetto is incredibly hard if you want to do a good job. Think like, impossibly hard. You will kill yourself if you have the wrong motive for doing TFA. like hanging yourself, for example.


K. Let's keep it respectful and keep words like ghetto out of our discussions of the communities where we live and/or work. Moving on.

OP, no worries, you don't sound selfish. You maybe sound a little unsure, but I think unsure is a perfectly reasonable place to be in your shoes. Everyone should start off a bit unsure when considering the plunge into anything as epic as teaching in a high needs school or enrolling in a challenging and expensive graduate program (your two current options, as you've pitched it). I mean, those are huge things to embark upon!

I think it's a bit regrettable just how good TFA's recruitment efforts have become in recent years. They do such an excellent job of selling all the benefits of being a corps member and alum, and do such a glossy job with their marketing. The problem I have with the slick marketing is that there's not a whole lot glossy about teaching. In fact, if I had to pick a word to describe my teaching years, it would be gritty. Literally. You don't get enough sleep, the floor of your car is lined with discarded diet soda bottles and crumpled class handouts, you get home late every day and covered with dry erase marker, chalk, and sweat. I mean, it's kind of gross. But that's just it: it's not about you. You look like crap and haven't eaten half the time because you live your life for classrooms of little people who need you and not really for yourself.

That said, if your core motivation during your time as a teacher is to see your kids succeed, and you're willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen, then all of that can feel worth it. But I'd say do a big gut check before you take the plunge. You'll be pretty miserable if you aren't "all in" from the start.

Also, you aren't a bad or selfish person if you decide teaching isn't for you. There are a bunch of other cool things you could do to improve people's lives and advance social justice that just aren't teaching. Just for starters, I'd look into Americorps VISTA and also different public interest and pro bono legal projects and centers. There are lots of ways to move somewhere new and do something that pays you something really pathetic to work your butt off for the good of others! Pick a path that appeals to you. If it's teaching, awesome. If not, that's cool too.

bartleby
Posts: 1315
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 3:23 am

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby bartleby » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:02 pm

Don't do TFA to increase your chances at law school. My friend did TFA for 2 years, did well, established a scholarship, got rejected where he should've gotten rejected and got in where he should've gotten in based on his numbers. Not even increases in merit aid. PM me for his LSN.

gunner3
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:58 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby gunner3 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:07 pm

Thanks for all of the help

User avatar
Stringer Bell
Posts: 1907
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:43 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby Stringer Bell » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:13 pm

cucullu wrote:To be honest, teaching is probably the single hardest job on the planet.


I have some friends that are/were teachers and based on my conversations with them this statement is pretty inaccurate.

Lagunitan
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:12 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby Lagunitan » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:16 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:
cucullu wrote:To be honest, teaching is probably the single hardest job on the planet.


I have some friends that are/were teachers and based on my conversations with them this statement is pretty inaccurate.


It's pretty easy to be a mediocre teacher. Becoming a very good teacher is hard work. TFA tends to select for people who aren't content to be mediocre teachers.

RTFM
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:45 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby RTFM » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:21 pm

Lagunitan wrote:
Stringer Bell wrote:
cucullu wrote:To be honest, teaching is probably the single hardest job on the planet.


I have some friends that are/were teachers and based on my conversations with them this statement is pretty inaccurate.


It's pretty easy to be a mediocre teacher. Becoming a very good teacher is hard work. TFA tends to select for people who aren't content to be mediocre teachers.


This.

User avatar
Eugenie Danglars
Posts: 2353
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:04 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby Eugenie Danglars » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:30 pm

I'm in Peace Corps, not TFA, but I do education, so it's similar. There are a few people in my group who joined to "travel" or to "take time off before grad school." They hate it, and their schools are really dissatisfied. They don't understand why the rest of us are always busy doing enrichment activities, grading, planning, or hanging out with students. They play video games all the time and just show movies in class and generally complain about how dull life is.

Only do something public service oriented if you're in it for the service- otherwise, it's a waste of everyone's time.

gunner3
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:58 pm

Re: TEACH FOR AMERICA???

Postby gunner3 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:15 pm

bump




Return to “Law School Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists”