Teach for America, one of the best-known educational non-profit programs in the U.S., is filled with graduates from top colleges and the Ivy Leagues working in impoverished rural and urban classrooms. These days, however, it’s getting harder to be accepted into Teach for America than it is to gain admission to the elite schools where the program finds many of its teachers.
The New York Times reported Sunday on the phenomenon, telling the stories of Harvard and Yale graduates who were turned down from the program and "settled" for places at the University of Virgina Law School or Fulbright scholarships.
James Goldberg, who just graduated from Duke, told the Times "I’d compare it with being accepted to an Ivy League grad school."
With the job markets in turmoil, and young, ambitious and idealistic graduates looking for an edge on their resumes, the program represents a perfect blend of meaningful work with a decent paycheck and an almost unbeatable cachet. Recruiters in offices from Goldman Sachs to the White House eye the program’s alumni.
That doesn’t mean that if you apply for a TFA position, you’re out of luck. But on the application – and the interview, presentation, written test and group discussion – you’d better bring your A-game.