TAPIF | Tips on the Application Process

Now that you’ve decided that you want to spend the school year as a language instructor through the Teaching Assistant Program in France, it’s time to submit an application.

Applying for TAPIF is much easier than applying for college, and certainly nothing to stress out about. That being said, it is much easier (and less nerve-wracking) to be prepared…

  • The application is due January 15, 2013. To even see the application, you must create a log-in with a valid email address. You must be between 20 and 30 years of age on October 1, 2013. Dual French-American citizens are not eligible. Naturalized American citizens and permanent U.S. residents, however, are. (I was not born American.)
  • Before beginning your application, make sure to read the (English) instructions completely. After making sure to print them out, I simply followed the instructions meticulously and had very few problems.
  • Be prepared to justify your language level and to obtain a letter of recommendation. This is probably the step that will take you the longest, as it is entirely dependent on others. Concerning proof of your language level, you have two options. You can either provide a letter written by a university-level French professor or a teacher of the Alliance Française OR send in a scanned copy of official standardized French-language test results such as TCF, TEF, DELF or DALF. As far as the letter of recommendation, it must explain your abilities, skills, and language level and can be written by a teacher or supervisor of some kind. Submission is electronic, so having access to email addresses is essential. You must register your recommenders before they can submit anything. (I asked two of my French teachers to so my recommendations, one from undergrad and one from graduate school.)
  • If you do not have an official transcript or passport on hand, make sure to get the ball rolling immediately. (The transcript will be entered electronically and therefore need not be sealed.)

The application is divided into 11 sections:

  1. Instructions – A downloadable PDF.
  2. Main Application Form – In addition to providing basic background information, it is here that you can select your top three choices for educational academies, which are equivalent to school districts, as well as what level you would like to teach. The académies are arranged into three groups (A, B, and C) and you can only pick one académie from each group. At first, I was a bit perplexed as to why the application was created this way, but I think that the logic is twofold. First, the grouping widens the variety of académies that applicants choose from. (I would have never initially picked Nancy-Metz, but ended up doing so after researching all of the Group A options.) Second, the académies are grouped specifically to prevent applicants from choosing the most competitive ones as all three of their options. If you were to pick three of the most popular academies and could not be placed in any of them, you would then have to be assigned arbitrarily. The system is therefore in your best interests and gives you the best odds of being placed into at least one académie of your choosing. From what I have read, Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg are the most popular académies and finding accommodation can be challenging. You can also choose whether you prefer primary or secondary schools. However, if you elect primary, your French should be strong enough to conduct lessons, as the children do not yet have the ability to communicate in English. Moreover, I would not count on being placed in primary, even if your language skills are strong; I have yet to meet a primary assistant this year. It would appear that this is an area that is slowly being eliminated. You must also indicate whether or not you would you be willing to work in a “zone d’éducation prioritaire,” or Priority Education Zone of a disadvantaged area. This, of course, is a very personal choice. Be sure to keep your personal comfort levels in mind.
  3. Statement of Purpose and Experience  – A required essay of about 500 words explaining why you are choosing TAPIF. This serves as both your unique application piece and as a gauge for your level of French. Applicants are asked to write a piece showcasing their personal language skills and are thus requested to
  4. Medical Report – A simple, electronic form. No physician signature necessary.
  5. Dependent Waiver – An electronic statement regarding the financial aspects of the program. Requires electronic signature.
  6. Attestation and Signature – An electronic statement confirming the integrity of the applicant in regards to honestly and work ethic.
  7. Supplemental Items Upload – You need the following: an official university transcript from the most recent university attended, scanned copy of first 2 passport pages (the photo page and the signature page), passport-style photo. Optional documents: permanent resident card (required if you are not a citizen), additional transcripts from other universities, proof of housing in France.
  8. Recommendations / Language Evaluation – See the explanation above. I would recommend registering your recommenders before you do anything else. You cannot submit your application until both recommendations (or one recommendation and one certification upload) are complete.
  9. Payment – The application fee is $40 and can be paid by credit card.
  10. Application Inspector – This simply makes sure that all parts of the application are complete.
  11. Application Submission – Congratulations and bon courage! After submission, your application is complete. Now, you simply wait until April for news of acceptance or denial.

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