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Frequently Asked Questions for the TA Application

General Questions

Q: I was designated as an alternate. When will I hear about whether or not I will receive a position? Where am I in the alternate pool?

A: Alternates may be offered positions at any time before the summer quarter or academic year starts, or even during the quarter. If a TA has to drop out for any reason (emergency, illness, new funding situation), we will offer the position to an alternate. The number of students accepted from the alternate pool varies from year to year. We are unable to tell you how many students are included in this pool and we are unable to give you any indication as to where you are in the alternate pool. You are not required to accept the alternate offer if it is made to you.

Q: I have submitted a TA application for AL&L in the past. Do I have to submit it again?

A: Yes, we require all applicants to submit a new TA application each year.

Q: The person writing my letter of recommendation doesn’t speak or write in English! Can I submit a letter of recommendation in a language other than English? Alternately, can I translate it on their behalf?

A: The letter of recommendation must be written in English or translated to English, and it must come directly from the letter writer. The letter writer may get the letter translated, and then send it to us.

 Q: I am an undergraduate student at UW or a student at a different university. Can I apply for a TA position at AL&L?

A: No. Only graduate students at UW are eligible for TA positions.

Q: I am applying for admission to the AL&L graduate program. Am I required to submit a TA application?

A: No. Submitting a TA application at the time of admission is optional. However, since TA positions are one of the primary methods by which our students are funded, it is highly encouraged.

 Q: When do TA applications open? Can I submit an application even if the deadline has passed?

A: We generally accept TA applications from summer to January for positions in the following summer and the following academic year. For example, positions in summer 2020 and academic year 2020-2021 will be accepted from summer 2019 until January 2020. We generally do not accept late applications, but if you have missed the deadline only by a few weeks, please inquire with the Academic Counselor at

 Q: How will I know whether or not I have received a position? Will you contact me?

A: Yes, we will contact all applicants regardless of the outcome of their applications. There are three options:

  • Your application is accepted and you are given an offer.
  • Your application is denied and you are not given an offer.
  • You are given an alternate offer. In this case, you may be given an offer at a later date, if other students turn down or rescind their offers.

 International Student Questions

 Q: I am a non-native English Speaker and my TOEFL scores have expired or I don’t have a TOEFL speaking score of at least 26. I have a MASTER'S degree from the US. Do I have to take or re-take the TOEFL? 

A: Yes, you will still have to take or retake the TOEFL. We are looking specifically for your SPEAKING score to be a score of 26 or more.

 Q: I am a Non-Native English Speaker and my TOEFL scores have expired or I don’t have a TOEFL speaking score of at least 26. I have a BACHELOR'S degree from the US. Do I have to take or re-take the TOEFL? 

A: No. Because you have completed a Bachelor’s degree in the US you are NOT required to re-take or submit your TOEFL scores.

 Q: I have a score of 23-25 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT or a score of 56-64 on the Versant English Test administered at the University of Washington. Do I need to retake one of those tests?

A: No. If your score falls in the above range, you can request an appeal interview. The Academic Counselor ( must request this interview on your behalf. Please read this detailed FAQ and then contact the Academic Counselor.

 Q: I am an international TA and am not able to prove my spoken English proficiency before TA applications will be reviewed. Can I still apply?

A: You may apply, but your application will be reviewed accordingly, so it may affect your chances of receiving a position.