Recently I applied to the CELTA program at Akcent IH Prague in the Czech Republic and during the application and interview process I had several questions. A quick Google search revealed some of the answers I was looking for, but there were some questions that remained unanswered until after the interview and application was over. So I came up with a list of my own questions and answers. If you’re looking for answers about applying to a CELTA program overseas, then look no further than these ten bits of advice.
- How to start answering the application?
The best way to start answering the application is by going to the CELTA website, finding the program you want to apply for, going to the application, and then PRINTING IT OFF. You should print the application off because the boxes on the actual application are very small; it’s difficult to go back and edit your responses after filling them out on the online application. Therefore, you should print the application off and answer the questions either on the printed version or in a word document. If you choose to answer the questions in a word document, then you can just copy and paste your answers into the online application when you’re ready.
- Where can I find help while answering the application?
What I would suggest is trying to answer the questions on your own first. The application is in place to weed out participants who are unlikely to pass the course, so if it seems overly difficult for you, then I’d suggest maybe studying some English grammar before applying to the CELTA. You don’t want to pay over a thousand dollars to take a course you might not pass.
That being said, Google, grammar books and grammar websites are all fair game. What I did was I tried my best to answer the questions on my own, but then I looked up explanations on the internet and in grammar books just to be sure I was answering things correctly. Don’t feel guilty if you have to look up a few answers. After all, most people taking the CELTA have never taught English before, so it’s understandable if you don’t know everything.
Here are some decent websites you could try if you are looking for help.
- How soon will a CELTA representative respond about my application?
They should get back within a day or two of submitting your application. IF YOU ARE APPLYING OVERSEAS AND THEY HAVE NOT RESPONDED WITHIN TWO DAYS, then you should…
a.) Check your spam folders. My first email from IH Akcent Prague got lost in my spam, and I did not notice it for several days.
b.) If you can’t find an email in your spam, then contact someone at the program you are applying for. After I found my first email from the CELTA school in my spam folder, I responded with a date and time for my interview, but nobody answered me for several days. I sent another email as a response to the first, but still heard nothing back. I finally sent another email over a week later, inquiring whether they had received my first two and got a response back immediately that said they never received my previous emails. From there we set up a date and time for the interview and everything was fine. But don’t be afraid to badger the CELTA school slightly to make sure that they are receiving your emails, especially if you are applying for a program overseas where email providers might be marking your messages as spam.
- What are some things to keep in mind when setting up an interview time for an overseas CELTA interview?
When you are picking a time for the interview, keep in mind that an overseas school will not be in the same time zone as you, so pick a time that works for both of your schedules. You don’t want to wind up having an interview at two in the morning your time!
Keep in mind that Skype is the most common and cost effective way to set up an interview. However, in my experience Skype NEVER works when I need it to. So you should be certain to make a test call on your computer before setting up the interview, just to make sure everything is working correctly. I also recommend having a contingency plan. I downloaded the Skype app onto my cell phone just in case my laptop failed me, which it almost did. My internet was being very sluggish the morning of my interview, and it was reassuring to know that I could try making a phone call using the 4G on my phone if my Wifi went out entirely.
Just read this story if you want to see how badly a Skype interview can go.
- Will the CELTA representative contact me or should I contact them?
You have to contact them. Don’t wait for the interviewer to contact you because they won’t. That’s your job.
- What materials will I need for the interview?
You will need a printed off copy of your application because the interviewer will expect you to refer to it. YOU WILL HAVE TO PRINT OFF YOUR APPLICATION BEFORE YOU ORIGINALLY SUBMIT IT. DON’T FORGET THIS. I also recommend having a pen or pencil to take notes.
- What was the interview like?
My interview was fairly straightforward. I had read somewhere that some CELTA applicants have to complete a written assignment during their interview; I did not have to do this. For my interview, the interviewer spoke for the first twenty minutes about the program. It was mostly information that I already knew from the website, but it was still nice to have everything confirmed. She also spent a few minutes during this portion of the interview, giving examples of different people who don’t do well in the course, such as people who are overly nervous during lessons or people who are not willing to take constructive criticism. I think she was just trying to forewarn me that not everyone passes and to ensure that I was not the type who’d be likely to fail. Then for the next half hour the interviewer asked me grammar questions about my application. I had only answered one question incorrectly on the application, but she asked me to clarify my other answers. Then for the last ten minutes I asked her my own questions about the program. She was very kindly and overall it was a pleasant experience.
- What are some tips for doing well during the interview?
The biggest tip I can give is to stay calm and try your best, but don’t worry too much about answering incorrectly. During my interview, I was asked a lot of questions about verb forms, such as what type of verbs were being used. I didn’t know the answers to most of these questions, but I remained calm, tried my best and at the end of the interview, when I expressed concern over not being able to answer those questions she told me not to worry. She’d basically been assessing how well I worked under pressure and whether I’d be able to come up with suitable answers during a classroom setting. She told me I should probably study up on different verb forms before the actual course, but she thought my examples were good and I sounded fairly confident. So don’t worry about getting everything perfectly correct. Just try your best and don’t have a nervous breakdown during the interview.
- How soon will the CELTA representative get back to me about the results of my interview?
My interviewer told me during the Skype interview that I had a spot in the CELTA course if I wanted it.
10. How do I accept my spot in the CELTA program?
For the CELTA course in Prague, I had to go online and pay them within ten business days of the interview to be accepted into the course. This is nice because it gives you a few days to consider whether you are truly prepared to take the course before accepting. I suggest taking a few days to think over the interview before paying for the course.
I hope these ten questions and answers were helpful to you as you are applying and interviewing for your overseas CELTA course.
If you have any other questions you’d like answered, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Here are some useful links to other CELTA application and interview tips, questions, answers, and advice.