Application for Admission

STEP Block Applications are closed for Fall 2021.

Please check back on January 28, 2022 for information on the next block application window. Contact [email protected] for any issues with the Tk20 system.

STEP Block Application Eligibility by Major

The following majors are eligible to complete the Block application in the noted semester. If accepted, the student will start the Blocks the following semester.  Alternative application semester exceptions may be given with permission by program and advisor only; consult your advisor.



Semester Block Application Due

Starting Semester of Blocks 

Art Education Fall or Spring Fall or Spring
Music Education-Instrumental & Vocal Spring Only Fall
Physical Education Fall Only Spring
Public Health-School Fall Only Spring
Teaching Comm Arts & Lit Fall Only Spring
Teaching Earth & Space Sciences Spring Only Fall
Teaching French Spring Only Fall
Teaching German Spring Only Fall
Teaching Life Science Spring Only Fall
Teaching Mathematics Fall Only Spring
Teaching Physical Sciences-Chemistry & Physics Spring Only Fall
Teaching Social Studies Spring Only Fall
Teaching Spanish Spring Only Fall

*Alternative application semester exceptions by program and advisor with permission only; consult your advisor.

Selection of Candidates

Acceptance into the Secondary Teacher Education Program is selective.  Students must meet all the admission requirements to be accepted into the Secondary Teacher Education Program.  The number of students admitted to each cohort is limited in order to maintain a high quality program.  To be considered for admission, prospective candidates must complete the application on time in order for the application to be accepted.  

Required Application Components

  • Declared teacher education major
  • 2.5 Cumulative GPA, including transfer credit
  • 2.5 Major GPA
  • Cover letter 
  • One Letter of Reference
  • Evidence of 30 hours working with youth
  • Reflective Essay
  • Basic Skills Exam Option: Taken the NES Essential Academic Skills, ACT Plus Writing, SAT, MTLE (prior to 6/9/2016) OR Praxis (prior to 9/1/2010)  [Required scores]
  • Complete your application to the program into TK20 by the due date.


Application Components to be uploaded into TK20

Block Application Student Instructions

In order to better prepare for your application completion we strongly recommend that you collect these documents as soon as possible.  All documents must be in electronic format  (.pdf, .doc/.docx, .jpg, .png).  The Multimedia Hub in the library can assist with scanning physical documents into a digital format.   When the application period opens, you will then be able to upload these files into your application.

APAS Report or Post Post Bac Contract

  • APAS Report
  • Instructions on how to download the “printer friendly report version”.pdf.  Instructions also guide you through using Adobe Reader’s highlight tool.  Use the highlight tool to indcate the following requirements on your APAS:
    • Cumulative GPA & Major GPA (must be a minimum 2.5, including transfer credit)
    • Cumulative Credits (completed and in progress):  Must be a minimum of 45 credits to apply to Secondary/K-12 Teacher Education Major; and you must have completed 60 credits before you can begin the block coursework.
    • Lower Division Courses (grades must be C- or better)
      • EDUC 1101 must be completed NOT in progress
    • Upper Division Courses (grades must be C- or better)
  • Post Bac Contract

Tentative Planner

Download the tentative planner and add the terms in which you plan to be in each block and any outstanding coursework remaining during the blocks. Once completed, make sure to save the tentative planner.

Cover Letter

Your cover letter is a formal, professional letter you write that should be no less than one and no more than two pages single-spaced, following academic writing conventions. Please note that letters that contain spelling and punctuation errors and poor grammar will be reviewed negatively, which will affect the evaluation of your application.  The content of your cover letter should include your major and an acknowledgement that you have met all of the other essential qualifications to apply to the STEP program. Learning to teach is intensive. Your letter should explain the reasons why you are a strong prospective student for the STEP program. In your cover letter, highlight particular strengths, qualities, and skills you bring as a prospective student and as a future teacher candidate.  Include in your letter experiences related to these strengths, qualities, and skills. You might, for example, include opportunities you had to engage learners or experiences you had that broadened your own understanding of education or your worldview. Include in your letter your philosophy or beliefs about the purpose of education for the youth you will teach and their families and communities, as well as for society. Extend your explanation of your philosophy or beliefs to the subject(s) you wish to teach and the importance that subject has in the education of youth. Lastly, describe the teacher you hope to become and what that teacher values most about educating youth.

Your cover letter is addressed to:

Dr. Christopher W. Johnson
150 EduE
412 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3029

Letter of Recommendation

Your application to the STEP program must include at least one signed letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to your level of responsibility, ability to complete tasks, and ability to work with youth. The person preferably would be a supervisor who has observed you working with youth. Other letters may come from employers, professors, and other people who know you in another context, but they must be able to address such areas as your character, attitudes, and work ethic. Recommendation letters cannot come from relatives.

Documentation of Experience

In your application to the STEP program, you must verify at least 30 hours of working with pre-college age children or youth (age 18 or younger) in a supervised, educational setting. To document your experience, provide a brief signed letter from a supervisor indicating the number of hours you performed as a volunteer or paid work with pre-college age children or youth (age 18 or younger). It may be the case that the total 30 hours were completed in more than one setting. If so, you will need verification from a supervisor in each setting. You may choose to have one of your supervisors write the required letter of recommendation on your behalf. If this is the case, be sure to have this person indicate in the letter the number of hours that you worked directly with youth. 

Reflective Essay

As part of your application to the STEP program, you are asked to reflect upon who you are in a diverse world. In your 1-2 page, single-spaced essay, describe how you understand yourself or see yourself in contexts of diversity. You might, for instance, describe experiences you have had in cultures other than your own, relationships with people from cultures other than your own, relationships with people who are differently abled, or experiences with social status. Explain how those experiences and relationships influenced who you understand yourself to be. You should also discuss what you may not yet understand about those who do not share your culture, language, world views, abilities, and/or experiences. Lastly, explain why this sort of reflection is important to becoming a teacher.

Test score report

You are required to upload your official score report showing evidence of having taken one of the Basic Skills Exam options.  In the absence of an official score report, you will need to upload evidence of having attempted the test.  If you have taken the ACT PLUS Writing OR SAT but did not meet the minimum score requirements you are required to either retake the ACT PLUS Writing or SAT OR take the NES Essential Academic Skills Exam (Reading, Writing and Math) prior to application to the blocks.

Accessing Your Scores

  • NES Essential academic skills (reading, writing, math) taken 6/9/2016 to the present would have been emailed to you in a .pdf report or is accessible in your online account
  • ACT PLUS Writing: Get ACT Scores
  • SAT:  Get SAT scores
  • MTLE taken before 6/9/2016 would have been emailed to you in a .pdf report or is accessible in your online account at MTLE
  • Praxis I (prior to 9/1/2010):  official score report mailed to student.

Faculty Advisor Review

Prior to submitting your application, you must meet with your faculty advisor to review your application.  During this meeting your advisor will review your application in Tk20 and complete their review form to confirm that you are eligible to apply to the blocks.

Block Admission Notification

Block admission decisions will be sent to students' UMD emails.