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Best practices for university and program applications: transcripts, personal essays, references and more

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If you have any questions about your university and/or program application(s), reach out to a TeachDFW application coach or admissions staff for support. We’re here for you.


To apply to your teacher preparation program, you will need to submit one or more applications. (Surprised? No, we didn’t think so.) Your application is a one-stop-shop for admissions officers to review your fit for their program.

Common sections include personal information (background and academic history), essay responses (personal statement) and references (letters of recommendation).

In Dallas-Ft. Worth, multiple programs use to make the process simpler for applicants. For example, this applies to you if your checklist is for TechTeach2+1, TWU MAT or UNT Dallas.

University vs. Program Application

Some teacher 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 (expand Application Type by Program below to find out).

In some cases, you will need to apply and be accepted to a university before gaining admission to its teacher preparation program.

Application Type by Program

  University Application Program Application
Dallas ISD Alternative Certification (Alternative Certification Teacher Academy)  
Dallas Teacher Residency (Residency Program)  
Relay Graduate School of Education (Residency Placement Program)  
Southern Methodist University (Master’s Degree)  
Southern Methodist University (Certification-Only Program)  
Teach for America (Alternative Certification Program)  
Texas Tech University (TechTeach 2+1)
Texas Woman’s University (Master of Arts in Teaching [MAT] Program)
University of North Texas Dallas (Undergraduate Transfer Program)
University of Texas at Dallas (Certification-Only Program)
Urban Teachers Dallas-Fort Worth (Residency Program)  


ApplyTexas offers a single application for every Texas public university, plus some private and two-year schools.

To get started, head over to the ApplyTexas website and select Create your account now.

Configure Your Application

ApplyTexas is divided into four sections:

  • My Profile
  • My Applications
  • My Essays
  • My Transcripts

You must first complete the My Profile section before adding program applications.

Personal Information

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 as part of your application to a teacher 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:

  • Your name and/or student ID number.
  • How many copies of your transcript you need.
  • Your signature.

Essay Responses

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 teacher 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).


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.

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