EPIK Help Part 1: How to Fill Out the Epik Application
The snow is melting, yellow dust has begun to float in from China, students are shedding their winter padding coats, and you know what that means...EPIK application time! Or, you know, spring. Whatever you're into, really. Dumb jokes aside, I've been meaning to do a series of posts with advice for aspiring EPIKers for a while, and like they say, there's no time like the present.
Honestly, you probably don't need any help with the application itself. It's pretty straightforward, if horrifyingly long and annoying to fill out. They've changed the format a bit since I applied, but the basics are the same, so I'll go through the whole thing and point out whatever seems important or confusing.
Hopefully you know how to spell your name. If that's an issue for you, then you need more help than I can give you. The main important thing on this page is, in my opinion, the photo. It's unfortunate but true that a lot of the selection process is going to be based on appearance. I'm not saying you need to be hot to get a teaching job in Korea, but a nice professional photo will do wonders. Don't just copy and paste your latest selca, no matter HOW good your eyebrows looked that day.
Pretty basic, though I really don't understand why they need to know the name of every school you even attended all the way back to elementary school. I feel like I'm trying to join the secret service.
A note on letters of recommendation: make sure it's someone who has worked with or taught you recently. I tried to use a teacher from my senior year of high school and it was rejected for being too old, even though she'd known me for almost my whole life. If you're not sure if someone will be suitable, just email the EPIK people.
Ah, the medical self-assessment. Don't stress over this one, but also be honest about anything that's going to show up in your medical exam. I've heard horror stories of people who got all the way to Korea, had something serious show up in their medical exams (HIV/AIDS, etc) that they hadn't put on their application, and had to get right back on a plane (at their own expense) to go home. So yeah. If it's something that will show up in a basic health exam, write it down.
Also, when it comes to tattoos and piercings, I wouldn't stress too much. I know they're asking for photos of tattoos now, but from my own experience, unless your tattoo is huge and in a very visible place, it probably won't be a problem. I've met plenty of teachers with all kind of tattoos, and I have a total of 8 piercings in my ears at this point, and my students and coworkers love them. I've even seen students with tragus, conch, and helix piercings. Don't stress about it, but again, don't lie about it.
Sign that contract, yo.
So, they totally changed the personal essay format since I applied, but it's still covering the same basic concepts. Why do you want to teach in Korea, what is your teaching philosophy, and how do you feel about encountering cultural differences. I see these prompts as a sort of practice or warm-up for the interview, since these are the exact questions they're going to ask you. I'll talk more about the interview later, but as far as I can remember, these three questions were the bulk of what they want to learn from you.
The dreaded lesson plan. If there's interesting, I'd be willing to post a sample lesson plan, but since everyone applying to EPIK now either majored in Education or took at TEFL course, this shouldn't be too much of a trial. My one tip is that if you plan to use any kind of visual aids in your lesson (pictures, PPT, prezi) make sure said visual aid is part of your lesson plan in the application. They apparently need evidence that you are capable of making a powerpoint presentation, so if you add it in first thing, it's one less reason to delay your application.
My only other big piece of advice for this is that, as you are working on the application, check back on the EPIK website from time to time to be sure they haven't updated or changed the application in any way. I know at least two people, myself being one of them, who had to deal with that issue. They seem to change the application all the time, and they will NOT accept the old version, even if the change is tiny.
Hopefully this was helpful! I know it's not the most interesting topic, but I know how stressful the whole thing is. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them!