FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

BEING A BETA

Who is this BETA experience designed for?

We are looking to connect the future leaders of the social-profit world with a new kind of opportunity. If you are contemplating a career in education, public policy, or the nonprofit sector and seek a professional bridge that combines direct service with young people and leadership development, Blue Engine could be the place for you.

What is the time commitment?

Blue Engine is an eleven-month, full time service commitment. Training begins in early August and service continues until July. Blue Engine Teaching Assistants (BETAs) work in school-based teams from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Occasional weekend and service day commitments are required and will be publicized well in advance.

Do BETAs receive training?

The Blue Engine Fellowship begins in August each year with an intensive, four-week training institute in New York City.  As a BETA, you will be provided with opportunities to observe and participate in effective small group instruction and will learn concrete skills necessary to become effective teaching assistants in urban public high school settings.

Where will I live?

BETAs are responsible for securing housing in New York City by mid-summer of 2014.  To make the fellowship year affordable, you will have the chance to connect with other BETAs and pursue housing options in groups. BETAs will be notified of school placements prior to start of service to allow enough time for informed housing decisions.

How will I be compensated?

Throughout the eleven month program, BETAs receive an AmeriCorps living stipend of $14,400 ($654.50 payable on a semi-monthly schedule less applicable taxes) and unlimited NYC public transportation ($112 savings per month). Additionally, BETAs are eligible to enroll in an AmeriCorps health insurance plan, good for one calendar year. Many BETAs also successfully apply for SNAP benefits (up to $200 each month). Learn more about living on a budget in New York.

Which subjects will I be teaching?

As a BETA, you will serve as a teaching assistant in an Integrated Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2 / Trigonometry, or English Language Arts classroom.  In future years, the grades and number of courses we support will expand.  Please note that Blue Engine is actively recruiting students from all academic backgrounds to apply, not just those with advanced Math or English skills.

I’ve heard people talk about the possibility of serving a second year with Blue Engine. Is this possible?

Yes.  A limited number of BETAs will have the opportunity to serve a second year. Re-applications are due in February of your service year.

May I enroll in grad school as a BETA?

Blue Engine is a full-time commitment. BETAs will not have time to devote to additional coursework while still maintaining a high standard of excellence during their fellowship year.

APPLYING & INTERVIEWING

How does the application process work?

Our initial online application asks for basic information like your name, contact information, undergrad university and GPA.  After screening all applications we receive, we will invite successful first-round applicants to attend a half-day group interview here in New York. These half-day sessions will include a practice tutoring session, group discussions, a chance to meet current BETAs and an in-person interview with a Blue Engine staff member or alum.  Please see the Process page for more details.

Do I have an admissions advantage applying to the first deadline?

Yes.  Our admissions criteria are the same for both deadlines, but we do not cap the number of offers we make per deadline. This means your overall chances of admission are likely going to be slightly greater if you apply early.

If I’m accepted as a Blue Engine Fellow, can I get an extension on my decision to join?

Because of the short turn-around time between your offer and the beginning of training in August, prospective BETAs must inform Blue Engine of their decision to accept or decline the offer within 10 days of receiving it.  Extensions will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

If I’m not admitted during the first round, can I apply again?

You may not apply to Blue Engine twice in the same fellowship year.  Applicants are encouraged, however, to apply in future years. In addition, we encourage applicants to use that extra year to strengthen their resume in the areas of education, volunteerism, and youth development.

Can I defer my offer of admission?

Blue Engine does not grant deferments at this time, but we may consider doing so in the near future.

I’m currently an undergraduate student interested in applying to Blue Engine in future years.  What can I do now to gain the kinds of experiences that will prepare me for a successful candidacy?

We’re glad you’re thinking ahead!  As a first step, review the qualities we’re looking for.  Think also about pursuing leadership opportunities such as heading up a campus club, getting involved in volunteer service, or starting up a new initiative.  Also, let us know if you’re interested in raising awareness on your campus by emailing admissions@blueengine.org.

I live far away from New York City.  Will Blue Engine help cover the cost of my transportation?

All applicants must attend the in-person interview regardless of where they live. Blue Engine does not cover the cost of transportation to interviews for all applicants. However, if you are selected for an in-person interview and you’re worried that costs will prohibit you from attending, please send an email to admissions@blueengine.org.