Application requirements may vary by program and can change. If you have any questions about this process, reach out to a TeachNC application coach or educator preparation program staff for support. We’re here for you.
To apply to your educator preparation program (EPP), you will need to submit one or more applications. (Surprised? No, we didn’t think so.) Your application includes everything the admissions officers need to review your fit for their program.
Common sections include personal information, academic history, a personal statement and references (letters of recommendation).
Most North Carolina educator preparation programs are housed by universities. Depending on the program and whether you’ll be an undergraduate or postgraduate student, you may have to complete two applications—one for the university and another for its education program.
Undergraduate EPPs have slightly different application requirements than programs leading to a master’s degree or noncredit post-baccalaureate programs (licensure-only). While individual program requirements will vary, the following are typical application requirements based on the type of program.
Many North Carolina educator preparation programs offer step-by-step checklists for their program application processes. You can start checking off steps and sign up for email or text reminders and helpful tips along the way.
Most university and program applications include the following parts:
Your EPP will provide guidance on how you should fill out each section. You might upload documents in an application portal, email them or mail original documents.
We know you’re diligent, responsible and capable. But rockstar qualities aside, double-check which documents your program requires and their method of delivery. Make sure that you are not missing any information. Failing to fill out certain fields could jeopardize your acceptance to the program.
Most EPPs require similar materials for their applications, and all will ask you to enter your background information. This section commonly includes your name, address, email, phone number and social security number.
Even though you will submit copies of your transcripts, you might get general questions about your GPA and academic or professional history in this section too. Gather all of your documents before you begin an application.
For most EPP applications, your transcripts will provide proof of your academic history. When requested, include your transcript as part of your application.
You may be able to upload unofficial transcripts for the initial application, but you will need to formally request your official transcripts before (or shortly after) you are admitted. Contact the Transcript Office (or equivalent) of the schools you attended, and follow their procedures to request your transcripts. Budget at least three to five days for processing. Some schools will send transcripts via mail; others may have electronic copies. You may have to pay a small fee to get copies of your transcripts.
If you are applying to an undergraduate program at the same school you currently attend, you may not need to send physical copies of your transcripts—your school may already have access. When in doubt, check with the program.
All candidates for educator licensure must take a core academic skills test in reading, writing and math. Your SAT or ACT scores may count, or you may need to sign up for the Praxis Core Academic Skills test.
Keep in mind that the university application may have different score requirements for the SAT/ACT than your educator preparation program. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction sets minimum score requirements for teacher candidates. With this in mind, you may need to take the Praxis I Core Academic Skills test, even if you have SAT/ACT scores.
In addition to passing scores on a core academic skills test, some graduate programs that award a master’s degree along with a teaching credential may require additional test scores as part of the application.
You can review step-by-step checklists—including the tests they require—for many North Carolina EPPs on our Programs page.
Keep copies of all of your application materials and have extra score reports on hand, if possible. Now is a great time to flex your organizational muscles. You know you’ll need them as a teacher!
All EPPs require additional application materials, though timing and submission processes vary. The most common supplemental materials for North Carolina EPPs include:
Your essay response—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, make sure you’re clear on why you want to be a professional educator. Here are some ideas jumpstart the brainstorming process:
The goal here is to hone your thoughts and feelings about teaching. Once you’re clear on “why,” writing an essay becomes a straightforward task that you can spend time perfecting (rather than stressing over).
In your essay, you want to:
Some applications break essay responses into individual parts or questions. When this is the case, remember to choose 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 by demonstrating your relevant skills, experience and vision.
Pay close attention to the word count or page limit for your personal response. (It’s never been a better time to make friends with an editor—or to ask colleagues or mentors for their feedback.)
Here’s our recommended outline for your personal essay. Just remember: You’re the expert on you! Take what works; revise what doesn’t.
Pro tip: If you’re applying to more than one program, don’t submit the exact same essay. Tailor your approach, calling out what is unique about each program, whether it’s a specific class, teaching approach or location. You don’t need to rewrite the whole essay—just make changes that show you know their program!
When writing your essay, stay away from these sayings and clichés:
When it’s time to submit references, also know as 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.
Some EPPs have specific guidelines about who you should choose to provide a reference. As always, follow any guidelines your program offers.
Give your recommenders plenty of time to reflect on your accomplishments and to write their letters. 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 you received in their course and a couple of samples of 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. Recommenders have day jobs, and providing a reference is a favor they are doing for you (that’s how great you must be!). Not only is a thank you 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!
If your EPP application requires admissions interviews, it’s a great idea to prepare.
You should follow all the usual advice to dress for success and be sure to smile and make eye contact. (Need an interviewing 101 refresher? Check out these resources from The Muse.) For educator preparation programs, consider a few additional pieces of advice for a great interview:
You will have the opportunity to articulate why you want to be a teacher—and why you’ll make a great one—in your admissions essay. Now is your chance to practice telling the story to your interviewers. Ask a friend or family member to listen to your answer, then aim to tell the story in about two minutes, give or take.
You’ll also want to practice telling what you will bring to the program. What will make you a great colleague to your fellow classmates? What unique perspectives or teamwork skills do you bring?
Your interviewers may want to know more about your academic background or have questions about specific courses, changes in major or grades on your transcripts. Review your transcripts with a critical eye. What questions might your interviewers have? Practice answering them. As with your admissions essay, this is your chance to use potential negatives to your advantage, showing how you have grown from challenges.
Interviewers often want to know how your life experiences demonstrate the qualities they’re looking for. They may want to know how you creatively tackle challenges, collaborate on projects or handle stress. You’ll want to do more than tell them you’re creative and a great collaborator. This is your chance to illustrate your qualities with short anecdotes. Think of examples from your school work, jobs you’ve had or other experiences. Come ready with a few great stories that exhibit how you work.
To set yourself apart, follow your interview by sending short thank you emails or a handwritten card to your interviewers. Let them know you value their time and are excited to get started in the program!