Teach For America is a national, educational non-profit organization that allows university graduates to spend two years in schools in low-income communities to help improve student graduation rates and narrow the achievement gap. It is the brainchild of Wendy Kopp, the current CEO, who proposed the idea for her undergraduate thesis while at Princeton University.

“Teach for America sends enthusiastic, qualified students with a bachelor’s degree to try and help [students in low income areas],” said Joey Brown, Mason coordinator for TFA. Members of TFA receive their teaching license upon completion of their two years.

There are 43 regions in areas, such as New York City and Los Angeles, and applicants accepted into a program are allowed to specify where they would be most interested in teaching.

The program has no major requirements and all majors are accepted. Applicants should bear one thing in mind, however.

“Your major is most likely not whatever you’re going to be teaching,” Brown said, “but because they’re enthusiastic, they know they’re making a difference.”

According to Brown, teachers can have a gigantic impact on students in low-income communities. For example, a fifth grade class in such an area might only be reading at a first-grade level. “Instead of reading things like ‘Harry Potter,’ they’re reading ‘See Spot Run,’” Brown said. “Even though the goal is huge, the goal by sending a member [of Teach For America] is to get them on the level. It’s completely possible.”

Teachers from TFA also have an impact on high school students. Even though a student may graduate from a high school in a low-income area, they may not be reading or doing math at an appropriate level, which may cause issues when it comes time to tackle the college workload. Members of TFA work to make sure that high school graduates are reading and doing math at a level that will make them competitive, viable college students.

Statistically speaking, members of TFA have a noticeable impact on the education system. “More often than not, the success rate is great,” Brown said. “And the retention rate of teachers [who teach past the required two years] is greater than that of someone majoring in education.”

Once someone begins teaching, they are technically employed by a school, and act as if they are a regular, brand new teacher. Their TFA status is not disclosed to other teachers. However the member is allowed to disclose that information should he so choose.

Students can join Teach For America if they have a 2.5 GPA and complete a five-step application process. The next application deadline is Oct. 26. Interested students can contact Teach For America for more information.