From Application to Acceptance

After learning about TAPIF my junior year of college from my French advisor, I knew that it was something I had to apply for. As someone who has dreamed of going abroad since my freshman year of high school, I knew TAPIF would be an incredible opportunity to improve my French, explore the challenges that French students face (a big thing for me, as I plan to pursue school social work sometime in the future), and of course, gain teaching experience.

For those of you who don’t know, Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) is a program run through the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. In the role of a language assistant, you teach 12 hours a week in up to three schools, starting October 1st until April 30th.  You can learn more about the program and its eligibility requirements here.

When I was researching the program, I found that reading the blogs of former and current assistants were the most helpful and effective ways to learn about the ins and outs of the program, in addition to the difficulties that can be faced working in this position. Some of those blogs can be found here:

If you google “TAPIF blogs”, there are tons of results that come up! If there are other really great blogs out there you would like me to add to this list, please let me know!

As someone who was (and is!) an avid TAPIF blog reader, I found it helpful to read about the application timeline when I was anxiously waiting for my acceptance e-mail. So, here is a rundown of my TAPIF timeline, from application to acceptance!

_____________________________________________

October 2016
I started my application the day it opened in October (what can I say, I was excited!). My first time going through the application, I essentially filled out everything except my region selection, statement of purpose, and supplemental items. I choose my two recommenders—the first being my French advisor, the second being a staff member at my school who I worked very closely within a leadership position I held—and began the process of finalizing my top 3 regions. After a lot of research and a lengthy discussion with my French advisor on the topic, I chose the regions of Dijon, Aix-Marseille, and Caen.

January 2017
I submitted my application on January 13, 2017.

I took a lot of time off from working on my TAPIF application between October and winter break because I was also applying to grad school.

The original deadline for TAPIF was January 15th. However, we were e-mailed on January 15th stating we were given an extension to January 31st to submit our applications. So, if you are scared you started the application process too late or you won’t have time to write the statement of purpose, don’t fret! It appears as though the deadline has been extended in years past as well.

Application-1

 

January-March 2017
The waiting game begins! I continued to read TAPIF blogs during this time to learn more about the program.

I was accepted into grad school in February, which helped to break up the waiting and gave me something else to focus on.

April 2017
Finally, the month of April arrived! I was literally the biggest ball of nervous energy starting March 31st until I got my e-mail.

When I saw on Twitter that Canadian applicants started to receive their e-mails, I made this Reddit thread for 2017 TAPIF Placements. While I definitely made the thread WAY too early, it was an awesome way to connect with other applicants who were just as nervous and excited as I was. If you are looking for more information about TAPIF and the realities that a lot of us were facing during this time frame, it is an awesome thread for you to read! (Also, it’s a great source of comic relief if you are currently waiting to hear back about your placement!)

Application-2E-mails were sent out Friday, April 14th and I found out I was put on the waitlist, which was difficult to handle after 4½ months of anxiously waiting to know what the next year would look like. This put me in a bind because I had been putting off my grad school decision until I got this e-mail. Thankfully, the school gave me a two-week extension to give them my final decision, as I was originally supposed to let them know by April 15th.

Because of the imminence of my decision-making, I reached out to Natalie first by e-mail and then by phone the week after the initial e-mail was sent out to see if she could let me know where I was on the waitlist so I could make an informed decision on deferring vs accepting grad school. I received an e-mail back from her the same day I called.

Application-3

I was ecstatic when I received this e-mail! While it wasn’t my official placement, it gave me peace in mind to know that I would eventually be placed. If you are in a similar predicament—trying to decide between TAPIF and another opportunity with a close deadline—I HIGHLY recommend reaching out to Natalie. If you can afford to wait a week or so after the initial e-mails are sent out, you will likely hear back from her more quickly.

This e-mail gave me the confidence to officially notify grad school what I would defer for a year. While it was not an easy decision, I had to trust and pray that this was the path I was intended for and that I would be placed where and with whom I was meant to be.

May 2017
One thing you will learn rather quickly about this program is to never expect e-mails or other correspondence by a certain date. In the initial waitlist e-mail from Natalie, we were told that we would find out about our place on the waitlist on or before May 10th. While some people did hear back that day, some of us did have to wait another day to find out our placement range. I got my e-mail stating where I was on the waitlist on May 11, 2017.

Application-4

While this was information I vaguely already knew from her previous e-mail to me, it was a relief to receive official confirmation of my placement on the waitlist! The waitlist e-mails were divided into three ranges: 1-100, 100-300, and 300-500. Even though that seems like an excessively large waitlist, the likelihood you will get placed is very high, especially if you are placed anywhere on the 1-300 range.

Application-5

And finally, on May 24, 2017, I received my official acceptance e-mail (!!!) from Natalie, where I was placed with my top choice location and academic level (Dijon, sécondaire). Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I got this e-mail! After months and months of waiting, it was an overwhelming sense of relief to finally know where I will be in September.


So, there you have it: my journey from application to acceptance. I hope any future TAPIFers will find this helpful, especially those who have been placed on the waitlist and aren’t sure if it’s worth it to wait it out. If you have any questions about the process or the program, feel free to leave a comment below—I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Until next time,

Michaela

7 thoughts on “From Application to Acceptance

  1. Rosie says:

    Congratulations! Dijon (and Bourgogne generally) is a beautiful part of France. I have a soft spot for half-timbered buildings which might make me slightly biased, though! I was an ELA (through the British equivalent of TAPIF) two years ago in Alsace and had a great time – whatever happens, the important thing to remember is that your time abroad is what you make of it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mlhillen says:

      Thank you! I am so, so excited to be in Dijon–my French adviser talked it up so much when we were discussing the pros and cons of being in each region that it seemed like the obvious choice for me! I got my official placement earlier this week (which I’ll be posting about soon!) and even though it is a pretty small town, it seems really beautiful and my contact person has been great so far. Thanks for checking out the blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rosie says:

        Sounds like it’s all falling into place for you 🙂 I had a friend who was placed in a town called Autun (Académie de Dijon) and she said she could never understand why people slated being placed in smaller towns, as the experience was just as good. Look forward to reading more about your French adventure!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dana says:

    First, thanks for the shoutout! Secondly congrats on the accept ace and kudos for not giving up! That’s awesome! I look forward to reading more about your journey 🙂

    Like

  3. Dana says:

    I thought I had commented but perhaps not! First of all, congrats on your placement and acceptance! Persistence is key! Even better you are where you want to be! I’ve never been to Dijon; will have to get there! Secondly, thanks so much for the shoutout! I look forward to reading more about your adventures…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michaela says:

      Thank you, Dana! I’m already so pumped to get this school year started. I think my school/town is about an hour and a half outside the city of Dijon, but hopefully I’ll be able to get to Dijon and Auxerre frequently. Thanks, again!

      Liked by 1 person

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