Application for Admission
MED Initial Licensure-Lutheran Education Alliance with Parochial Schools (LEAPs)

We welcome your application for admission to the Graduate School of Valparaiso University. The mission of the Graduate School is to serve the advanced learning, professional development, and personal enrichment needs of individuals regionally and nationally. The Graduate School admits students that demonstrate the ability and motivation to succeed in an academically challenging environment.

This form is meant to be completed ONLINE ONLY. If you would like a hard copy, please choose the Requesting Information link and one will be sent to you.

You may mail any required materials to:
Office of the Graduate School
Kretzmann Hall 116
1700 Chapel Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493 USA

You may contact us via:
Telephone: (219) 464-5313
Toll Free: (800) 821-7685
Fax: (219) 464-5381

Application Procedure
Please us the Tab key to move through the application to enter data

In order for your application to be considered for admission, all required information must be received by the Graduate Office including:

  • Certified transcripts of a bachelor's degree
  • A grade point average of 3.0
  • Passing scores on the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) Praxis I in basic reading, writing, and mathematics
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty or advisers
  • One letter of recommendation from a spiritual or community adviser
  • A personal essay indicating their reasons for wanting to enter the program, including how their goals are consistent with those of community living and spiritual development
  • Application Fee: $30 for US Citizens
I. Program of Concentration
Please indicate area of concentration:

II. Personal Information
Last Name
First Name
Middle Name
Former Name
Date of Birth
Social Security Number

(For U.S. citizens and permanent residents who plan to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), we strongly recommend that you provide your Social Security Number.)
Home Address
Postal Code
Contact Information
Home Phone
Cell Phone
If you do not have an email address, please type "None".
Optional Information
Are you Hispanic or Latino?  
Are you from one or more of the following (please check all that apply):
American Indian or Alaskan Native          Asian         Black or African American
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Island       White

III. Educational Background
NOTE: Certified transcripts of all college work must be submitted before you will be allowed to register for any graduate class at Valparaiso University.
A. College/University
  Dates of Attendance
  Degrees/Credits Earned
  Approximate GPA
B. College/University
  Dates of Attendance
  Degrees/Credits Earned
  Approximate GPA
C. College/University
  Dates of Attendance
  Degrees/Credits Earned
  Approximate GPA
D. College/University
  Dates of Attendance
  Degrees/Credits Earned
  Approximate GPA
Please list any recognition, awards, or scholarships that you have received, or co-curricular or community/civic activities in which you have been involved.
Have you ever been dismissed or placed on academic probation?
If yes, please explain fully:

IV. Enrollment
A. Anticipated year/term to begin:
B. Full or part-time plans:
C. Expected course schedule:
D. In how many years do you plan to complete the degree or certificate program?
Most programs require completion within 5 years of admission.

V. Employment & Professional Background
Job Title:
Work Phone #:
Will you receive employer assistance?
May we contact you at work?
Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
If yes, please explain fully. NOTE: Some states have restrictions on licensing or professionally credentialing an individual with a criminal record.

VI. Selection of Valparaiso University
A. How did you learn about Valparaiso University?
If "Other", please specify:
B. Please list other graduate schools your are considering or to which you are applying:
C. Rank the factors (1=most important) that affected your choice of graduate school (rank all that apply).
Financial Programs Accreditation Reputation
Location Other Specify

Name: Date
A. Do you have a current teaching license?
  If yes, which state?
B. Did you ever have a teaching license?
  If yes, which state?
C. Were you ever eligible to apply for a teaching license, for example at the time of completion of your bachelor's
  If yes, which state?

In order to qualify for the LEAPs program, you must be willing to:

  • Accept modest accommodation while living in a community that values spiritual development from a Christian perspective
  • Commit to the full 2-year program of study, community living, and exploration of spiritual growth.

Please note that in addition to the requirements for the Master of Education, the LEAPs program requires:

  • A third letter of reference from a spiritual adviser, pastor, residence hall director, or supervisor who has worked closely with you and can speak about your spiritual development and/or your ability to live a simple lifestyle in community with other LEAPs participants.
  • Evidence of passing scores on all 3 parts of the PPST, submitted to the Graduate Office by no later than February 15. Contact Sylvan Learning Centers for more information at 1-800-EDUCATE.
  • An essay based on the questions included in this supplemental application.
  • A signed copy of the enclosed waiver and release form.
A. Academic Background: List your undergraduate majors and minors:
B. Check the areas you are interested in teaching and/or feel qualified to teach:
  Social Studies
  Foreign Language
  Physical Education
B1. If your major or minors are not related to the areas checked above, please describe your background in these areas in this text box below, being as specific as possible.
B2. If there is no position available in your desired areas, would you be willing to teach at another grade level and/or in another subject area? Explain your answer.

C. Please assess your knowledge of languages other than English as weak, good, or excellent.
  Language Reading
  Writing Speaking
  Language Reading
  Writing Speaking
  Language Reading
  Writing Speaking
  Language Reading
  Writing Speaking

Please answer the following questions. You may press "Enter" for additional lines of writing.
D. Please list the grade levels you are interested in teaching and indicate your preference.
E. Have you applied to other graduate schools or programs for the next year? If so, list them.
F. VU-LEAPs teachers serve a variety of under-resourced parochial schools in Northwest Indiana and Chicago. Although teachers do not choose their placement site, they may indicate a preference for specific schools or locations in which they feel their talents and experience might be utilized best. Please feel free to comment.

Directions: Please respond to the following questions in approximately three-four typewritten pages. You may press "Enter" for additional lines of writing. You may also print this supplementary application form and send your personal essays (typewritten/double-spaced) under separate cover to the: Office of the Graduate School, Kretzmann Hall 116, 1700 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 46383.
A. What personal goals and interests have led you to apply to the VU-LEAPs program, and how are these consistent with the goals of the program? (about 1 page)
B. What experiences, background, and attitudes have prepared you for the challenges involved in elementary or secondary school teaching? (about 1/2 page)
C. What experiences, background, and attitudes have prepared you to work with students of diverse economic, cultural and minority backgrounds? (about 1/2 page)
D. Provide evidence that even during times of acute stress, you are able to put your own concerns aside in order to recognize and serve the needs of others. (about 1/2 page)
E. Discuss your willingness to live in simple, unadorned community housing with others. How do you see community living as contributing to your professional and personal growth? (about 1/2 page)
F. Provide evidence that you are spiritually open and mature and at the same time committed to Christian values. Include how you expect the LEAPs program to affect the development of your faith. (about 1/2 page)

For Applicants to the Valparaiso University LEAPs Program
By entering in your name into the text boxes below and pressing submit you are signing this waiver.

WHEREAS, I , have requested acceptance to the LEAPs Program.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of my acceptance into the teaching program, I , hereby agree as follows:

1. I hereby release and forever discharge Valparaiso University, its trustees, agents, including VU/LEAPs officers and employees, from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions and causes of action, which I have or may have of whatever kind or nature, either in law or equity arising from or by reason of, or in any way related to any loss, damage or injury, including death, which loss, damage, injury or death is caused by, arises out of, or is in any way related to my participation in the LEAPS Program, including without limitation, travel to and from the teaching assignment except when the University or LEAPs is negligent.

2. I agree that this waiver and release is intended to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by the laws of the State of Indiana, and if any portion thereof is held invalid, it is agreed that the balance shall, notwithstanding, continue in full legal force and effect.

3. In signing this waiver and release, I hereby acknowledge and represent that I have read the foregoing waiver and release, understand its content and terms, understand that such terms are contractual, and sign it voluntarily.

Master of Education in Initial Licensure
VU-LEAPs (Lutheran Educational Alliance with Parochial Schools)

VU-LEAP is a special master's degree program that enables students with baccalaureate degrees in any academic field to explore a vocation in teaching. The program has three components: teacher preparation through graduate level coursework; community living near the teaching placement site; and spiritual development. Each component is described in greater detail below. Applicants must be willing to commit to the full two-year program of academic preparation, community living, and spiritual growth.

Teacher Preparation and Internship in a Parochial (Lutheran or Catholic) School.
LEAPs teacher interns begin the teacher preparation program with five weeks of intensive study during their first summer. This includes a teaching practicum in the morning and course work in the afternoon and evening.

During the nine-month school year, teacher interns assume full-time teaching positions at an under-resourced parochial school, receive 3 credits of internship each semester for teaching, and take one online course via the Internet. Placements are at elementary, middle and high school levels in either Lutheran or Catholic schools in Northern Indiana or Northern Illinois. Although most placements will be in content areas having severe shortages of fully qualified teachers, such as math and science, applicants expressing teaching interests in other middle and high school subjects are encouraged to apply as well. LEAPs teacher interns take an on-line course each fall and spring semester and receive 3 credits of internship credits.

LEAPs teacher interns return to Valparaiso University the second summer for intensive course work. Then, during the school year, they return to the same parochial school to teach, earn additional internship credits, and take online course work. Upon completion of this second year, teachers return to VU to be awarded the M.Ed. degree. At this time they can also apply for their Indiana teaching license in their area(s) of specialization.

The VU-LEAPs M.Ed. program is different from other teacher preparation programs in several ways. First, LEAPs teacher interns maintain close contact with Valparaiso University Department of Education faculty throughout the entire two-year internship period. Faculty visit teachers once each semester and maintain email contact with them on an ongoing basis. Interns also submit videotapes and written reflections on their teaching for review and feedback from VU faculty throughout the two-year program.

At each parochial school site, the principal mentors the LEAPs teacher interns and supports them through consultation and assistance. Each intern is also assigned a mentor teacher-another teacher in the same parochial school-who becomes a coach and supporter of the LEAPs intern. The mentor helps the LEAPs teacher refine and further develop teaching competence through observations and discussions of teaching performance.

Finally, LEAPs teacher interns also receive peer support through community living with other teachers in the program. Thus they support each other through shared reflections on the daily rewards and challenges involved in becoming teachers.

Community Life
A primary goal of the LEAPs program is to provide qualified schoolteachers for under-resourced parochial schools in urban and rural areas of Northern Indiana and Illinois. A second and equally important goal is to encourage teachers to become participants in the community life of schools and parishes.

LEAPs teacher interns live under one roof while completing the program to offer mutual support as they begin their teaching ministry. During the summers, LEAPs teacher interns live in a residence facility at Valparaiso University, share meals, and share other common times to discuss their practicum work and course work. Separate sleeping and private facilities are provided for men and women.

During the two internship years, teachers live in community in safe, affordable housing designed to meet basic needs and arranged by the Lutheran district and/or Catholic diocese in which they teach. Teachers receive a monthly stipend from their employing school sufficient to cover living expenses. As is the case with summer living arrangements, meals and other common social times are shared by all who live in the community. Separate sleeping and private facilities are also provided for male and female teachers in these settings. Resource personnel from each denomination are available to the community residents to offer support and assist with any challenges that may arise. Throughout these two years, communities are also supported by various faculty from Valparaiso University, who may assist in the development of cohesive communities.

To prepare LEAPs teacher interns for community living, they take an integrative course during their first summer aimed at providing strategies on how to live in and benefit from community life and developing both respect and a supportive attitude toward other members of the group. As part of this experience, candidates should come to understand the value of embracing modest and simple living accommodations as a way of expressing their sensitivity and commitment to the underserved populations within their school district and the region in general.

Spiritual Dimension
The third dimension of the LEAPs program is spiritual development. The LEAPs program strives to provide teachers with the climate necessary for developing and enriching their spiritual lives through various group- and individual- oriented activities.

During summers and regular school years, teachers participate in community prayer on a daily and/or weekly basis as determined by the members of each community. Each person is encouraged to lead these prayer sessions. Community prayer emphasizes that all members strive to follow the model of Christ the Teacher rather than focusing on any one Christian denominational form of prayer.

LEAPs teacher interns are encouraged to grow and develop within their own religious traditions as well. Spiritual leaders of each denomination represented in each community of teachers are available to assist with spiritual growth and development. LEAPs teacher interns are strongly encouraged to participate in church services offered at their own churches. Thus, LEAPs teacher interns live in ecumenical communities with the understanding that each teacher's religious affiliation will be respected by all members of the community.

All teachers in the LEAPs program also participate in several Christian, and otherwise nondenominational, retreats during the two-year program. Through retreats and development of their own personal and community prayer lives, LEAPs teacher interns are continually called to reflect upon and deepen their commitment to the ongoing development of their spiritual lives

Please select method of payment and the amount for your application fee. If you have selected CASH, CHECK, or MONEY ORDER, please mail your payment to: The Office of the Graduate School, Kretzmann Hall 116, 1700 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 46383.  If you have selected CREDIT CARD, you can submit your credit card information through this SECURE form.
Method of Payment
Name on Credit Card
Credit Card Number
Credit Card Expiration (MM/YY)
Billing Address
Billing Zip Code
The decision for admission to the Graduate School is not final until all required application materials have been received. Applicants granted conditional permission to register for classes due to delayed receipt of transcripts may not be allowed to continue their coursework if they do not satisfy the admission requirements.
Valparaiso University admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation or (as qualified herein) religion, to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities, generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation or (as qualified herein) religion in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, career services and placement, and athletic and other school-administered programs. Valparaiso University is an institution committed to its Lutheran traditions. The University reserves the right to promote the teachings of the church and to exercise preferences in admissions in favor of Lutherans.
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