How to Apply

Teaching ESL Certificate Program with Ecuador Immersion

Applicants: Click here for the online application.
Recommendation Form: Submit using this form.

(Recommenders from outside of the Penn State University system will need to register by creating a Friends of Penn State account.  Click on the link, complete the brief form and you will receive an ID that will allow you to access the site.)


To apply: Submit the online application form, your personal statements, transcripts (unofficial), and ask two references to submit the online recommendation form.  The recommendations should come from a faculty member, work supervisor, or colleague.  The transcripts should be unofficial and please email them to the contact at the bottom of the page.  Pennsylvania-certified teachers should also send a photocopy of their Pennsylvania Instructional Certificate. Please note that teaching certification is NOT required for application to this program. The program is open to any individual interested in learning to teach English language learners.

Student in fieldApplications are accepted on a rolling basis, beginning in late September. In order to access the application, you will need a Penn State Web Access account. If you do not have an account, you may create a Friends of Penn State Account. Please do not send your ID or account password to the TESL office.

After submitting an application, an applicant will typically have a phone or in-person interview with a program faculty member. You will be notified of acceptance in late December. At this time, participants will receive additional information about courses in the spring semester and travel to Ecuador in the summer. In some cases, applicants may be offered a place on a wait list.

Once a student has been notified of acceptance, a $1,000 nonrefundable deposit must be submitted in order to reserve a place in the program. This deposit is credited to the study abroad program fee. Space in the program cannot be guaranteed until the deposit has been submitted.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Smolcic. If you have any technical problems or questions about the application, please fill out a Helpdesk Ticket at

Key Dates:

Application deadline: December 6, 2016
Acceptance notification: no later than December 16, 2016
Final deadline for deposit: December 22, 2016

For public school teachers: If you are a Pennsylvania-certified teacher, upon successful completion of the program courses, you will request that Penn State complete a letter of verification so that you can apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the ESL Program Specialist endorsement. The Pennsylvania Department of Education asks that certified teachers show a valid Instructional I or II teaching certificate from Pennsylvania in order to add the ESL Program Specialist to their teaching credentials.

For questions about the application process, please contact:
Michelle Robison
Conferences & Institutes
225 Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel
University Park PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-5128