If you have any questions about your university and/or program application(s), reach out to a TEACH for Houston coach or admissions staff for support. We’re here for you.
To apply to an educator preparation program, you will need to submit one or more applications. (Surprised? No, we didn’t think so.) Your application is how admissions officers review your fit for their program.
Many applications include personal information (background and academic history), a resume, essay responses (personal statement) and references (letters of recommendation).
Before starting your application, make sure you understand the program’s mission and purpose. This will help you determine if they are the right program for you, and vice versa.
You will be best prepared to start your application if you know the following:
In your application, you will be required to enter background information. This section commonly includes fields for your name, address, email, phone number, social security number, academic history (GPA, degrees and certain test scores), pre-teaching experience and more.
We know you’re diligent, responsible and capable. ? But rockstar qualities aside, double-check your application form to make sure that there is no missing information. Failing to fill out certain fields could jeopardize the timing or possibility of your acceptance.
When requested, provide your academic transcript(s) as part of your application to an educator preparation program.
You will need to formally request your official transcripts. Contact the Transcript Office (or equivalent) of the school that has access to the academic record you need to share. Budget at least three to five days for processing. Some schools will send transcripts via mail; others have electronic copies.
In your request, be sure to specify:
Submitting unofficial transcripts or hard-to-read scanned transcripts can send the wrong message to the admissions team about your personal organization and timeliness. Make sure to budget at least three to five business days for processing, and even longer if your alma mater will send the transcript via mail.
Some programs require a resume that includes a brief overview of your education, leadership, and professional experiences.
If you are a high school student, college student or recent college graduate, spend a few minutes listing out all of the work, leadership and extracurricular experiences you’ve had. Then think about which experiences are going to be most relevant to showcasing your achievements and general leadership.
Below are some tips and tricks to help your resume stand out.
Your essay response—aka personal essay, statement of purpose, statement of intent, or some combination thereof—is your unique opportunity to tell admissions staff exactly why you are the perfect fit for their educator preparation program.
Before writing your essay, take a breath. Get up, grab your phone, and call a friend or family member. Explain to them why you’re applying to a teacher preparation program.
Better at brainstorming alone? Make a bulleted list of all the reasons you want to be a professional educator. More of an artist? Draw your feelings around the subject. No joke.
The goal here is to hone your thoughts and feelings around teaching. Once you’re clear on “why,” writing an essay becomes a straightforward task that you can spend time perfecting (rather than stressing over).
Some questions to think about as you’re brainstorming:
In your essay, you want to:
Some applications break essay responses out into individual parts or questions. When this is the case, remember to choose rationale and specific examples that directly relate to the topic at hand.
Visit your educator preparation program’s website and social media profiles. You can get a good sense for what the program values (and what you might speak to in your essay) by doing a little recon.
Your personal essay is an opportunity to be creative—to a point. It’s vital to make an impression through a demonstration of your relevant skills, experience and vision.
Pay close attention to the word count, grammar and spelling in your personal response. (It’s never been a better time to make friends with an editor.) Your brilliance and organization needs to come out in all aspects of your application—especially here!
Here’s our recommended outline for your personal essay. Just remember: You’re the expert on you! Take what works; revise what doesn’t.
When writing your essay, stay away from these sayings and clichés:
When it’s time to submit references, aka letters of recommendation, choose your recommenders wisely. Your references have the power to give your application a major boost. (You know how the best compliment is the one you overhear? This is like that, but staged, eloquent, and directly tied to your academic and professional ambitions.)
You will typically need two to three references from people can who can attest to your skill sets, strengths and fit for a career in education. Common types of recommenders include employers, supervisors, teachers and professors.
Give your recommenders plenty of time to reflect on your accomplishments and to write the letter. Some programs recommend asking at least 30 days in advance.
Don’t assume that someone will have the time or be willing to recommend you for an educator preparation program. Make your request far enough in advance to allow for any necessary course-corrections.
To make it easy on your recommender, provide them with as much of the following as you can:
If your recommender is a past instructor, include the grade(s) you received in their course(s) and any sample work you completed for them. This will remind them of your performance and fit.
Make sure to get confirmation from your recommender once your letter is submitted.
Once you’ve received confirmation of submission, give your recommender a big thank you in the form of an email, phone call or card. Just like you, recommenders have a day job, and providing a reference is a favor to you (that’s how great you must be!). Not only is this polite, but it will encourage your recommender to support you in the future.
If you are accepted to your educator preparation program, let your recommender know! It takes a village.
In Houston, multiple programs use ApplyTexas.org to make the process simpler for applicants. For example, this applies to you if your checklist is for Sam Houston State University, University of Houston or Texas Southern University.
Some educator preparation programs are housed by universities, others have university partners, and some stand alone as independent schools or programs. What does this have to do with your application? You may have to complete two applications (for the university and its program) or just one (directly to the program).
In some cases, you will need to apply and be accepted to a university before gaining admission to its educator preparation program. This is often true for undergraduate programs, where you often apply to the university first, and then to the program later in your sophomore or junior year. For graduate programs, you often apply directly for a program via the university application.
The following table indicates which programs require a university application in addition to, or as part of, their program application:
|Educator Preparation Program||University Application||Program Application|
|INSPIRE Texas (Alternative Certification Program)||✅|
|Relay Graduate School of Education (GSE) - Houston (Residency Program)||✅|
|Sam Houston State University (Bachelor's Degree)||✅||✅|
|Sam Houston State University (Master's Degree)||✅|
|Teaching Excellence(Alternative Certification Program)||✅|
|Teach For America Houston (Alternative Certification Program)||✅|
|Texas Southern University (Bachelor's Degree)||✅||✅|
|University of Houston – Central (Bachelor's Degree)||✅||✅|
|University of Houston – Central (Master's Degree)||✅|
|University of Houston – Clear Lake (Bachelor's Degree)||✅||✅|
|University of Houston – Clear Lake (Master's Degree)||✅|
|University of Houston – Downtown (Bachelor’s Degree)||✅||✅|
|University of Houston – Downtown (Master's Degree)||✅|
In Houston, multiple programs use ApplyTexas.org to make the process simpler for applicants. This applies to you if your checklist is for Sam Houston State University, University of Houston Clear Lake, University of Houston Central or Texas Southern University.
ApplyTexas is divided into four sections:
You must first complete the My Profile section before adding program applications.