Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for more information about teaching with Breakthrough and the application and selection processes.

Teaching at Breakthrough

Do I have to be an education major, have experience teaching or want a career as a teacher?
How do I select sites, and how will I be considered for each?
What differentiates Breakthrough sites from one another?
How much will I be paid?
What are the dates of the Summer 2017 session?
Is there unlimited housing available?

The Application Process

For detailed instructions about the application, please see our application instructions.
Am I eligible to apply to teach with Breakthrough?
I'm not a U.S. citizen. Can I still apply?
I'm studying abroad this spring, and I won't be able to attend an interview. Can I still apply?
What is early action? How do I know if a site is participating in early action?
What are the deadlines for applying to teach at Breakthrough for Summer 2016?
What does “willing to teach anywhere” mean, and how will it affect my application?
Whom should I select to be my recommender?
Is the e-recommendation form more like a letter of recommendation or an evaluation form?
What should I include on my resume?

The Selection Process

How competitive is this opportunity, and which are the most competitive sites?
What is the selection process like?
How quickly will I receive a decision?
I have more questions that are not answered here. Whom should I contact?

Do I have to be an education major, have experience teaching or want a career as a teacher?
No. The Breakthrough teaching residency is intentionally designed to accommodate teaching fellows from all majors and with all professional interests. Interest in pursuing a career in education is not required, nor is any education coursework. You do have to be passionate about working with our students, and excited to work collaboratively with your colleagues, and grow in an intense, fast-paced, supportive environment.
 

How do I select sites, and how will I be considered for each? On the application, you will have the opportunity to rank up to three sites in order of your preference. While all Breakthrough sites share a mission and model, differences in program dates, housing availability, stipend amount, admissions rates, and other areas might influence your decision about which sites to select. Please explore the Site Directory to familiarize yourself with the specifics of each site before you make your selections. Please ensure that the sites you choose have program dates that align with your availability.
 

What differentiates Breakthrough sites from one another? 
At each Breakthrough site you will find similar student and teaching fellow profiles, high expectations, and a commitment to providing the support our students and teaching fellows need to meet those expectations. Some details, such as program dates, stipend amounts, program size, exact grade levels served, and selectivity for teaching fellow applicants, differ between sites. To learn more about what makes each site unique, you can:

  1. Read the Site Directory.

  2. Check out the website for each site you are interested in. You can link to each site’s website through the Site Directory or the Find a Site Page.

  3. Search for a site’s Facebook page. Most sites have them, and it’s a great way to get a feel for the community and culture of our unique sites. You can also check out the national Breakthrough Collaborative Facebook page.

You must select at least one site on your application, and we encourage you to select three in order to maximize your chances of admission. You will be considered by sites in the order that you indicate on the application, and you cannot change your selections after you submit your application, so please choose carefully. Also, note that only one site will offer you a position. If you choose not to accept that offer, you will not be able to teach at any Breakthrough site this summer.
 

How much will I be paid?
Teaching at Breakthrough is an unpaid opportunity. However, a stipend for living expenses will be provided, and some sites are able to offer additional financial aid. The Site Directory includes each site’s living expense stipend range, as well as the potential availability of financial aid.
 

What are the dates of the Summer 2017 session? 
Specific program dates vary by site. Please consult the Site Directory for 2017 deadline information and other updates.
 

Is there unlimited housing available?
Many sites are able to offer housing for a limited number of candidates. Please explore the Site Directory for specific housing information for each site.
 

Am I eligible to apply to teach with Breakthrough?
Breakthrough recruits excellent college and high-school students to teach in our programs. If you are a high-school student, you are eligible to apply to Breakthrough when you turn 15. If you are a college student, you are eligible throughout your entire undergraduate career, even if you are graduating the spring before the summer session for which you are applying to teach. If you are graduating in the winter, you are eligible to apply only if you are enrolled in college at the time of your application. Graduate students are not eligible.
 

I'm not a U.S. Citizen. Can I still apply?
Yes. You will need to have authorization to be an intern in the U.S. (or Hong Kong if you are applying to teach in Hong Kong) by the time the summer program begins. We encourage you to contact the office at your college or university that supports international students. You can also consult the Association for International Practical Training as an online resource. Please alert placement directors about your authorization while you are going through the selection process as they are ultimately responsible and will need to operate within the terms of the law.
 

I'm studying abroad this spring, and I won't be able to attend an interview. Can I still apply?
Yes. It's common for many of our applicants to study abroad during the application process. As long as you have reliable access to internet and/or phone, our directors will be able to conduct your interview over the phone or via video.
 

What is early action? How do I know if a site is participating in early action?
The early action deadline allows for an earlier, faster review of your application by your first-choice site. If you apply early action, your application will be reviewed by your first-choice site two months before regular applications are reviewed. One of two things will happen at that time: 1) the first choice site will offer you a position, 2) the first choice site will pass your application to your second choice site to be reviewed at a later date.

Early action does not guarantee early placement, though many of our teaching placements were filled during early action in 2016. The early action deadline for Summer 2017 is Thursday, January 12, 2017. All sites (with the exception of Hong Kong) will be accepting early action applications for Summer 2017.
 

What are the deadlines for applying to teach at Breakthrough for Summer 2017? 
The deadline to apply early action is Thursday, January 12, 2017, and the deadline to apply regular decision is Thursday, February 23, 2017.
 

What does “willing to teach anywhere” mean, and how will it affect my application?
Selecting this option can mean you are flexible, adventurous, and open-minded about welcoming new experiences. You know that the opportunity gap doesn’t have an address, and you’ll go wherever you’re most needed. Or maybe you know that you want to teach at Breakthrough this summer, and you have slight preferences for a few cities, but you want to maximize your chances of admission.

Willingness to teach anywhere increases your likelihood of being selected to teach at Breakthrough this summer. Every year applicants who aren’t offered positions at their top choice sites still get to teach because they said they were willing to teach anywhere. Applicants who choose this option find themselves at Breakthrough sites in cities they’ve never visited before, where they end up having life-changing experiences with people they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

This is an especially smart option for applicants who plan to select our most competitive sites, where admission is least likely. Selecting this option does not make you less likely to be matched with one of your preferred sites. It affects your application only if all of the sites you selected are unable to place you. At that point, your application would join the waiting list where directors across the country look for stellar applicants to fill their remaining positions.
 

Whom should I select to be my recommender, and what information will he or she need?
Select someone who knows you well and can speak to your academic skills, work experience, or work ethic and offer specific examples. Personal recommenders, such as friends or family members, are not ideal, but can work if they are able to address your academic skills, work experience, or work ethic and offer specific examples.

When approaching a potential recommender, be professional. Set up a time to meet or send a formal request via email. Share the link to our website to let him or her know exactly what you’re applying for. Be sure to update him or her about your accomplishments or skills which are relevant for this position, and share an updated resume if you have one. Once he or she agrees to complete your recommendation, let him or her know when you plan to submit your application and that he or she will have approximately two weeks from that date to complete the online recommendation form. It is a good idea to send an update email to your recommender as soon as you submit your application to ensure that our email got through and that he or she knows the due date. As a matter of professional courtesy, be sure to thank your recommender, ideally in writing. You will be notified when the recommendation is complete via email and on the status checker in the application portal.

We will contact the recommender directly via email, so be sure to ask him or her to add teach@breakthroughcollaborative.org to his or her safe-senders list. We do not ask for a formal letter of reference or any other documents. Recommenders simply complete an online form. We ask recommenders to complete the recommendation form within two calendar weeks and you will receive an email notification when the recommendation is complete.

Please make sure the recommender has agreed before you submit your application, and be sure to confirm the appropriate email address. In extenuating circumstances, we can change your recommender, but it may slow down your review process.
 

Is the e-recommendation form more like a letter of recommendation or an evaluation form?
The online recommendation form asks recommenders to complete a brief evaluation for each applicant on a number of core competencies that we have learned make excellent Breakthrough teaching fellows. Recommenders rank the applicant among his or her peers and give a brief explanation for each ranking.
 

What should I include on the experience section of the application/my resume?
Your resume gives the selection committee an idea of your previous experience, whether it is related to Breakthrough or not. We encourage applicants to be as thorough and concise as possible. Focus on experiences during your time in college (or late high school if you are a college freshman). We look for candidates who are resourceful problem-solvers, leaders, and collaborators in all areas.

As you list experiences on your resume, please be sure to include your role or title (e.g. Sales Associate); the organization, company, or school and its general location (e.g. Old Navy – Bethesda, MD); the duration of your position (e.g. September 2014–May 2015); the hours you worked per week (e.g. 25 hours/week); and a bulleted list of your responsibilities in that position. Include this information for work, volunteer, leadership, and extracurricular experiences.

Your resume should be comprehensive but not overly detailed. A general guideline is one to two pages for college students and young professionals. Most college career centers offer help with resume development.
 

How competitive is the residency, and which are the most competitive sites?
Selection rates vary greatly by site. To maximize your chance of being selected, we encourage you to be thorough and thoughtful in your application. Take time to review and proofread your application before submission. Decisions are made on a rolling basis and while our review criteria is consistent throughout the process, as the cycle progresses, there are fewer teaching fellow positions available each week.
 

What is the selection process like?
The selection process may differ slightly from site to site, so always defer to specific directors’ instructions as you progress through the steps. After submitting the application, applicants may be asked to submit supplemental materials and to participate in interview or selection events. If, at any point, a site chooses not to offer you a position, your application is passed to the next site in your ranking.
 

How quickly will I receive a decision?

Early action applicants:
Your application will be reviewed by one site at a time in the order of preference as indicated on your application. You will be notified of your decision at your first-choice site no later than February 2, 2017 at which time you will be offered a position or passed to your second-choice site. Your second-choice site will make a decision in mid-March. If your second-choice site is unable to offer you a position, you will be passed to your third-choice site. You will receive final notification in late March.

Some applicants who are not offered a position by one of their ranked preferences AND indicated that they were willing to teach anywhere will be placed on the national waitlist. You will be notified if you are placed on the national waitlist. Offers can be extended to national waitlist applicants at any time and final notification will occur in early June.

Regular decision application:
Your application will be reviewed by one site at a time in the order of preference as indicated on your application. You will be notified of your decision by your first-choice site in mid-March at which time you will be offered a position or passed to your second-choice site. Your second-choice site will make a decision in late March. If your second-choice site is unable to offer you a position, you will be passed to your third-choice site. You will receive final notification in early April.

Some applicants who are not offered a position by one of their ranked preferences AND indicated that they were willing to teach anywhere will be placed on the national waitlist. You will be notified if you are placed on the national waitlist. Offers can be extended to national waitlist applicants at any time and final notification will occur in early June.
 

I have more questions that are not answered here. Who should I contact? 
Please email questions to teach@breakthroughcollaborative.org.