Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Applying for a CELTA

Friday 18th October 2019

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Applying for a CELTA

  Starting a new career in English language teaching with the CELTA is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. But it’s also one…

 

Starting a new career in English language teaching with the CELTA is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. But it’s also one of the most nerve-wracking. It’s important you do your due diligence and look at all factors before deciding on a CELTA course. It may seem as easy as applying, and while the application itself is not difficult, there’s more to pursuing a CELTA than just deciding and going. This is especially true if you decide on a CELTA outside of your home country. Here are the most important questions to ask yourself as you decide where and when to take the CELTA.

Do I have time to apply before the course starts?

Many locations are happy to accept applications throughout the week before the course starts. However, it’s important to be logical and pragmatic about applying for a course just days before it starts. The application process itself takes a few days, and you’ll need to have an interview, so if you apply on a Thursday or Friday for a course that starts on Monday, you’re simply not going to be able to get on the course. We advise applying, at the very latest, two weeks before the course starts and earlier if possible.

Besides the process itself, you should think about the logistics of getting to the course on time. If you’re halfway across the world and don’t already have plane tickets, it’s going to be difficult to get to the course by the start. Not only that, but there are visas (more on this below) and accommodation to consider. Ask yourself, logistically, is it possible for you to get to the course before it starts? If not, or it’s questionable, look for a course at a later date.

We always advise that you apply for a course as early as possible. Not only because of the application process and the logistics, but because courses are filled on a first come first served basis.  Courses are closed for applications once they are filled (or sometimes a wait list is opened), so your best chance of nabbing a spot is to apply early.

Do I need a Visa?

This question is really important and it’s something you’ll need to find out for yourself. Because visas vary so much from country to country and individual to individual, it’s not possible for us to advise on visas. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need one.

When looking at potential courses, ask yourself whether or not you’ll need a visa. Check out the immigration website or consult your local embassy. Look into the likelihood that you’ll be able to get a visa if you do need one. If it looks difficult, look for an alternative that might be slightly easier or consider taking the CELTA in your home country if you can.

This also speaks to the first question. If you’ll need a visa, be sure to give yourself extra time to sort it out before your course starts. Take it from this office full of expats, visa applications take time and patience. The last thing you want is the stress of the visa hanging over your head after you’ve paid for a course. Do your research, and again, apply early!

Can I fully commit to the schedule?

Did you know it’s possible to fail the CELTA? Throughout the CELTA, you’re assessed on four main areas: teaching practice, written assignments, participation and attendance. If you don’t meet the criteria, it is possible for you to fail.

It’s the last criteria that’s most important to consider as you’re deciding on a CELTA. If you’re considering a CELTA when you know you’ll have to miss days of class, it’s probably best to look for an alternative. Many locations won’t accept someone knowing they’re going to miss a class or two, so it’s important to seriously look at your calendar and ask yourself if you will be able to attend every class. Not only that, but think about if you have events on the weekend. The full-time course is seriously intense with written assignments and lesson plans to be completed on the weekend. See if you can find a month where you know you’ll be able to focus on the course.

The CELTA is a 120-hour course and it’s essential that you attend all 120 hours. If you can’t commit to the full four weeks, see if there’s a part time or a later course you can commit to fully.

Am I presenting my best self?

While the application form is super simple and can even be filled out on your phone, you’ll do well to remember that you’re applying for a professional course. Though it may feel like a text to a friend, you are pursuing a career and it’s important that you present yourself as a professional.

The “Why do you want to take a CELTA section?” should be filled out with this in mind. Take care with grammar, spelling and punctuation throughout the application, but especially in this section. Your English is being evaluated, after all! Write full sentences, be sure to use proper capitalization and punctuation, and use a spell-checker. This little section can make or break your application.

Show us all that you have to offer your potential students, including your enthusiasm for teaching English. Did you have a life-changing experience teaching English in a foreign country? Tell us about it! Was your own life influenced by a fantastic teacher? We want to hear about this! But please don’t go into personal family drama or your entire life history. Stick to things that you would talk about on a job application. Be sure to read through your application before submitting and ask yourself if you’re presenting your best, most professional self. If not, give some more thought before hitting submit.

Do I meet the entry requirements?

There are three main requirements for CELTA candidates: you must be at least 18 years old, you need to have the minimum requirements to enter higher education (a high school diploma, A Levels or the equivalent in your country)*, and you need to have a native or near-native level of English (a high C1 or an IELTS 7.5). These three criteria will determine your acceptance, so it’s important to seriously consider whether or not you meet these requirements.

Again, the most important criteria to prove is your English proficiency. During the application process, we generally don’t ask for proof of your English qualification. Instead, we evaluate your written statements and pre-interview tasks to determine whether you have a near-native level of English. This is why that “Why do you want to take a CELTA?” section is so important! This is your shot to demonstrate to us that you are proficient in English, so make it count!

If in doubt, take our Eligibility Test.

*There are some exceptions to the education requirement for mature students. If you don’t have this qualification, your work experience can sometimes be considered instead. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please get in touch with any questions.

The CELTA is a big commitment. It’s a lot of time and a lot of money, so it’s important that you take the time to ensure you’re applying for the right course. Visas and timings, logistics and eligibility should all factor in as you decide when and where to take the CELTA. Don’t rush, give yourself the time to make the best decision. When you’ve finally decided on a CELTA course, take the time to make sure your application presents your best professional self and demonstrates your English level to the best of your ability.

Then, when you’ve done your research and found your course, there’s only one thing left to do: apply!



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Starting a new career in English language teaching with the CELTA is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. But it’s also one of the most nerve-wracking. It’s important you do your due diligence and look at all factors before deciding on a CELTA course. It may seem as easy as applying, and while the application itself is not difficult, there's more to pursuing a CELTA than just deciding and going. This is especially true if you decide on a CELTA outside of your home country. Here are the most important questions to ask yourself as you decide where and when to take the CELTA.

Do I have time to apply before the course starts?

Many locations are happy to accept applications throughout the week before the course starts. However, it’s important to be logical and pragmatic about applying for a course just days before it starts. The application process itself takes a few days, and you’ll need to have an interview, so if you apply on a Thursday or Friday for a course that starts on Monday, you’re simply not going to be able to get on the course. We advise applying, at the very latest, two weeks before the course starts and earlier if possible.

Besides the process itself, you should think about the logistics of getting to the course on time. If you’re halfway across the world and don’t already have plane tickets, it’s going to be difficult to get to the course by the start. Not only that, but there are visas (more on this below) and accommodation to consider. Ask yourself, logistically, is it possible for you to get to the course before it starts? If not, or it’s questionable, look for a course at a later date.

We always advise that you apply for a course as early as possible. Not only because of the application process and the logistics, but because courses are filled on a first come first served basis.  Courses are closed for applications once they are filled (or sometimes a wait list is opened), so your best chance of nabbing a spot is to apply early.

Do I need a Visa?

This question is really important and it’s something you’ll need to find out for yourself. Because visas vary so much from country to country and individual to individual, it’s not possible for us to advise on visas. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need one.

When looking at potential courses, ask yourself whether or not you’ll need a visa. Check out the immigration website or consult your local embassy. Look into the likelihood that you’ll be able to get a visa if you do need one. If it looks difficult, look for an alternative that might be slightly easier or consider taking the CELTA in your home country if you can.

This also speaks to the first question. If you’ll need a visa, be sure to give yourself extra time to sort it out before your course starts. Take it from this office full of expats, visa applications take time and patience. The last thing you want is the stress of the visa hanging over your head after you’ve paid for a course. Do your research, and again, apply early!

Can I fully commit to the schedule?

Did you know it’s possible to fail the CELTA? Throughout the CELTA, you’re assessed on four main areas: teaching practice, written assignments, participation and attendance. If you don’t meet the criteria, it is possible for you to fail.

It’s the last criteria that’s most important to consider as you’re deciding on a CELTA. If you’re considering a CELTA when you know you’ll have to miss days of class, it’s probably best to look for an alternative. Many locations won’t accept someone knowing they’re going to miss a class or two, so it's important to seriously look at your calendar and ask yourself if you will be able to attend every class. Not only that, but think about if you have events on the weekend. The full-time course is seriously intense with written assignments and lesson plans to be completed on the weekend. See if you can find a month where you know you'll be able to focus on the course.

The CELTA is a 120-hour course and it’s essential that you attend all 120 hours. If you can’t commit to the full four weeks, see if there’s a part time or a later course you can commit to fully.

Am I presenting my best self?

While the application form is super simple and can even be filled out on your phone, you’ll do well to remember that you’re applying for a professional course. Though it may feel like a text to a friend, you are pursuing a career and it’s important that you present yourself as a professional.

The “Why do you want to take a CELTA section?” should be filled out with this in mind. Take care with grammar, spelling and punctuation throughout the application, but especially in this section. Your English is being evaluated, after all! Write full sentences, be sure to use proper capitalization and punctuation, and use a spell-checker. This little section can make or break your application.

Show us all that you have to offer your potential students, including your enthusiasm for teaching English. Did you have a life-changing experience teaching English in a foreign country? Tell us about it! Was your own life influenced by a fantastic teacher? We want to hear about this! But please don’t go into personal family drama or your entire life history. Stick to things that you would talk about on a job application. Be sure to read through your application before submitting and ask yourself if you're presenting your best, most professional self. If not, give some more thought before hitting submit.

Do I meet the entry requirements?

There are three main requirements for CELTA candidates: you must be at least 18 years old, you need to have the minimum requirements to enter higher education (a high school diploma, A Levels or the equivalent in your country)*, and you need to have a native or near-native level of English (a high C1 or an IELTS 7.5). These three criteria will determine your acceptance, so it's important to seriously consider whether or not you meet these requirements.

Again, the most important criteria to prove is your English proficiency. During the application process, we generally don’t ask for proof of your English qualification. Instead, we evaluate your written statements and pre-interview tasks to determine whether you have a near-native level of English. This is why that “Why do you want to take a CELTA?” section is so important! This is your shot to demonstrate to us that you are proficient in English, so make it count!

If in doubt, take our Eligibility Test.

*There are some exceptions to the education requirement for mature students. If you don’t have this qualification, your work experience can sometimes be considered instead. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please get in touch with any questions.

The CELTA is a big commitment. It’s a lot of time and a lot of money, so it’s important that you take the time to ensure you’re applying for the right course. Visas and timings, logistics and eligibility should all factor in as you decide when and where to take the CELTA. Don’t rush, give yourself the time to make the best decision. When you’ve finally decided on a CELTA course, take the time to make sure your application presents your best professional self and demonstrates your English level to the best of your ability.

Then, when you’ve done your research and found your course, there’s only one thing left to do: apply!

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