The point of this post is to highlight two options that are out there after being rejected from TFA. If you are single, young, and are about to graduate YOU ARE LUCKY! When I got my rejection letter in May there was little available for a new parent with a spouse also unemployed. There are an almost unlimited number of opportunities available to you that were not available to me as a parent, even though the economy is in a rough spot right now.
City Year provides opportunities to work with children in low income communities nationwide. The benefit of this program is the experience you will gain. In addition you will have housing provided for, a small stipend outside of that, and the opportunity to pay off $5,300 in student loan debt or to contribute to graduate school by the end of the first year. This year-long commitment means that you will be free to re-apply for Teach for America plus City Year will by far challenge you in similar conditions to a future TFA service, thus making you an even more promising re-applicant.
Americorps offers similar benefits as City Year but has more placement regions and more opportunities in various fields. I would strongly suggest The Americorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps which is a team based residential program for women and men 18-24 years old. The program has 5 placement areas from Denver, CO to CA.
The reason why I am highlighting these two programs first is due to the fact they provide unparalleled structure, ease of acceptance, and applicability to future pursuits. City Year and The Americorps NCCC will put you in a better position if you seek to re-apply for TFA, go to grad school, or to enter the professional workforce. Also these programs cover your student loan obligations which many of you will be facing in less than a year. Trying to tough out the job market is risky, and you may end up jobless still in September with overdue student loan payments begging your parents for money.
Re-applying for TFA or trying to apply for grad school after months of being idle is worse than going into such situations with the current experiences that CIty Year and Americorps will provide. Yes the economy and job market is giving you a raw deal right now but your future success will depend on how you deal with such challenges. These two programs provide the ultimate answer in dealing with such a dilemma.
These two programs keep you from getting into more debt while giving you the professional experience to be a better candidate for whatever path you choose within a year. I hope rejected Teach For America applicants who have the ability to take part in these programs strongly consider them. They were not an option for me but they are for so many others who can make a true and lasting impact on our nation.