For the purpose of this guide we’re going to be walking you through the application process for a degree in Physical Education Teacher Education at Limestone College.
This includes a full list of recommended reading, as well as pulling together information on topics we mentioned in our guide to becoming a PE teacher, such as the PRAXIS test and FITNESSGRAM.
About Limestone College
Established in 1845 and located in Gaffney, South Carolina, Limestone College is a Christian non-denominational college with the largest undergraduate enrolment of any private accredited college in the state (over 3,000 students including day, evening, and distance learning).
Their Physical Education Teacher Education major trains you become a physical educator capable of consistently achieving and exceeding guidelines provided by the National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education (SHAPE America). Graduates of the program are then eligible for licensure by the state of Southern Carolina as a K-12 Physical Education teacher.
If you would like to contact Limestone directly, or start the application process for admission to their PETE program, please use the link below.
Financing the course
We originally mentioned Pell Grants and the Stafford Loan Program in our guide to becoming a teacher of physical education, and Limestone College actually lists these as two of the financial aid programs they participate in. A few others worth mentioning are the Parent Loans and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).
There are numerous other special grants that students of the PETE program are eligible for, and while many of these will be for residents of South Carolina, there are also options for anyone currently residing out of state.
4 Grant and scholarship programs for South Carolina residents:
- 1. South Carolina Tuition Grants – The SC Tuition Grants are specifically designed to assist full-time undergraduate students, studying at in-state colleges, such as Limestone.If you’re wondering how you can apply and whether you’re eligible, this is all done automatically as part of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submission, which we’ll be walking you through later in this guide.
You’ll normally have a 6 month window of opportunity, during which you can submit your FAFSA and still be considered for the tuition grant on the year that you plan to attend.
By completing your FAFSA, you will be providing the Tuition Grants Commission with all the information they need to determine eligibility.
Although there are no fixed guidelines around family income as an influencing factor, you will need to meet at least one of the following academic standards:
- Graduate in the upper 75% of your high school
- Score a minimum of 900 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
- Achieve at least 19 Composite on the American College Test (ACT)
- Graduate from a South Carolina high school with a final high school GPA of 2.0 or higher
Maximum tuition grant: $2,900 (2013-2014)
- 2. Palmetto Fellows – Limestone college is also listed as one of the eligible institutions for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program, which recognizes the most academically talented high school students, with a purpose to encourage enrolment at colleges in-state.Academic requirements:
In a similar way to the tuition grants above, you will need to meet one of the following academic requirements if you are to be considered eligible for the scholarship.
- Score at least 1200 on the SAT (27 on the ACT)
- Earn a minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA on the SC Uniform Grading Policy at the end of your junior year
- Rank in the top six percent of the class at the end of sophomore or junior year
- Score at least 1400 on the SAT (32 on the ACT)
- Earn a minimum 4.00 cumulative GPA on the SC UGP at the end of junior year
An enhancement program was also created in 2007 to attract more students to the mathematics and science majors, but if you’re studying for the PETE program then the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship is for you.
- Freshman year – Up to $6,700
- Sophomore, junior, senior years – $7,500
If you have questions about the Palmetto Fellows and would like more information, South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education (CHE) has a very useful FAQ page that should be able to help.
- 3. LIFE – The Legislative incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship is similar to the Palmetto Fellows scholarship above, in the sense that it’s a merit-based program available to students studying at eligible colleges and universities in South Carolina.Where they differ is that the Palmetto Fellows funding is only towards your first bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution, whereas LIFE Scholarships for a broader range of programs. This includes your first one-year, first associate’s degree, first two-year, first baccalaureate degree, first professional degree.
Because LIFE classifies Limestone College as a Four-Year Independent Senior Institution, if you’re eligible, the following award amounts are available:
- Up to $4,700 towards the cost of attendance
- A $300 book allowance
Although there are a number of general eligibility requirements which also need to be taken into consideration, especially if you are transferring or looking to earn the LIFE Scholarship enhancement, you will also need to meet two of the following criteria:
- Score an 1100 on the SAT (24 on the ACT)
- Earn a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA on the SC Uniform Grading Scale
- Rank in the top 30% of the graduating class
If you are interested in applying for a LIFE Scholarship, it’s worth knowing that there is no actual application process. Eligibility is determined based on the academic requirements above being met, and the college will notify you automatically if this is something you are eligible for.
For more information on eligibility requirements, please visit the Q & A section on the LIFE program’s website.
- 4. HOPE Scholarships – If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for the LIFE of Palmetto Fellows Scholarships above, you could still be entitled to financial aid via the SC HOPE Scholarship Program.However, rather than being applicable for 8 full terms of study like the two scholarships we just mentioned, HOPE can only be awarded during your freshman year of study (two terms or its equivalent).
Being a merit-based program, there are still a number of academic requirements to meet, which are as follows:
- Earn a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point ratio (GPR) based on the Uniform Grading Policy
Being on the list of approved educational institutions, eligible students attending Limestone College on the four-year PE Teacher Education program could be entitled to the following financial aid on the HOPE Scholarship:
- Up to $2,800 towards the cost of attendance (first year only)
- This includes the $300 book allowance
How do I apply?
In much the same way as the previous 3 scholarships and programs we’ve listed here, there is no direct application process. The college will determine eligibility based on the final official high school transcript. You will then be notified shortly after.
Limestone College is currently one of public and independent institutions that are eligible to participate in the SC HOPE Program.
If you would like to find out more about the HOPE Scholarship, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education have a very useful FAQ document, which you can find here.
Limestone College Financial Aid Packages
So you know that you want to enrol on the Physical Education Teacher Education program, but you’re not sure how you can afford to pay for the tuition.
Fortunately Limestone College has a number of steps in place to help make the whole process as quick and easy to understand as possible.
Financial aid packages are customized to your specific needs once you’ve been accepted, and will become available four weeks after completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
So you know the systems are in place to support you, but how do you find out just how much financial aid you’re eligible for?
You can calculate the total cost of your course using Limestone’s Net Price Calculator
Limestone College have developed a net price calculator, which calculates your eligibility for a number of grants, scholarships, and loans.
Although this requires you to have various items of paperwork to hand, such as tax returns and earnings statements, the entire process is designed to take just 10 minutes to complete. Actual time taken will vary slightly based on whether you are a dependent or independent student.
The calculator requires you to complete just three steps:
- 1. Establish your dependency status – A series of questions requiring a simple Yes/No response
- 2. Recent academic performance – Requires information on your high school, planned enrolment date, etc.
- 3. Financial Information – Questions based around your parents and your own financial position, including income, tax, and the net worth of any investments.
In effect, the second stage is really only required if you’re interested in merit awards and scholarships, and doesn’t affect your cost of attendance or financial aid entitlement.
If you’re a ‘Dependent Student’ and aren’t interested in the awards or scholarships, you can actually skip through to the final step, where the paperwork we mentioned earlier will come in useful.
This is step where the information you enter has an effect on the level of financial aid you’re eligible for, as well as the level of expected family contribution (EFC).
After accurate completion of the fields on this form and clicking the button to get your results, you’ll be shown an incredibly useful screen detailing just how much it will cost to attend Limestone College, as well as eligibility for the various scholarships and grants.
The Net Price Calculator helps you determine the direct and indirect cost of admission
This really concludes the first stage of your application to the PETE program at Limestone, and probably didn’t take much more than 10 minutes.
It’s worth printing this page or taking advantage of the handy email option, and making a note of your Net Price Calculator ID. This is in case you need to talk to anyone in the Admissions department further down the application process.
So what’s next?
Now that you know the cost of the course and how much student aid you’re entitled to, there’s a link at the end of your results that will take you through to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website, so that you can make an application for the aid you’re eligible for.
Useful financial documents:
Quick guide to completing the FAFSA
If you’re eligible for federal student financial aid, you’ll need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each year of study.
The first time you register you’ll also need to apply for a 4-digit Federal Student Aid PIN, which can be done on the second step of the application process.
After selecting when you plan on attending Limestone College and creating a password for quicker access to your FAFSA next time, you will then be required to enter the information which will lead to your application being submitted.
The FAFSA application also automatically calculates eligibility for the South Carolina Tuition Grants
Documents and information needed to complete the FAFSA
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Your most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
- A Federal Student Aid PIN to sign electronically
Once you’ve created your PIN and password, you’ll then progress through to the main 6-step process.
Many of the questions are similar to those you answered when completing the steps for the Net Price Calculator on the Limestone website, and includes your dependency status, parent demographics, and financial information.
This is why it can be a good idea to complete these two steps in sequence, so that you still have the same tax and income paperwork to hand.
Most of the form fields at each step require an input, meaning you can’t skip ahead and complete entire sections out of order. You can however save your progress at any point and come back later to complete the application.
There’s a few more forms to fill out here than the calculator we mentioned earlier, so it’s worth setting aside 30 to 45 minutes if you want to complete the process all at once.
Tip: When moving between the various steps, try to avoid using the back and forward buttons in your browser, as these can take you to an expired page and may require you to re-enter the information if you didn’t save.
Applying for admission to Limestone College
As with any higher education program, the PETE major requires you to meet a list of guidelines, which concludes with approval from the Teacher Education Committee.
For Limestone College, these guidelines are:
- Submit passing scores on the Praxis I Series as required by the State of South Carolina. Appropriate ACT/SAT scores may exempt a student from this requirement
- Successfully complete ED 200
- Complete 45 semester hours of college credit with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
- Submit with the application three letters of recommendation or reference forms, one each from a professor of general education, a professor in education and a public school professional
- Gain approval by the faculty of the academic division of Limestone College in which the degree program is administered
- Gain approval by the Teacher Education Committee
Applying for most degree programs can now be done online, and Limestone College is no exception. You can actually choose from two different application paths, depending on whether you want to take classes during the day (Day Student Application) or in the evening (Extended Campus Application).
Although the majority of the application process can be completed online, certain documents will also need to be provided to be considered for acceptance. Which documents are required will be outlined upon completing either of the online applications mentioned above.
How to get approved for student teaching
Before you even start the PE Teacher Education course, it’s a good idea to think ahead to the student teaching stage. Not only will this make it easier to find a placement when the time comes, but it will also ensure your application files are completed on time.
Although this may differ between states, the South Carolina State Department of Education has a requirement that all application files are completed six months before you start teaching at your placement.
This involves a processing fee and completion of several licensure forms, but does mean that you won’t need to complete the application again once your student teaching is complete and you’re looking to get certified.
- Completed the Application for Student Teaching Approval and Initial Licensure (online).
- Completed the electronic fingerprint process* (See Licensure Forms).
- Submitted the non-refundable $105 processing fee (online or check/money order).
- Submitted a copy of your Social Security Card (US).
- Fall semester student teachers: February 15
- Spring semester student teachers: June 15
If these dates or file requirements change in the future, or if you have a question about educator licensure, it can be useful to visit the South Carolina Department of Education website.
Visiting teacher conventions
One of Limestone’s recommended tips for Pete Major Seniors is to visit a teaching convention. This can be an excellent way of gaining exposure to exciting new technology and discovering more information on the current best practices.
SHAPE America National Convention and Expo
Founded in 1885 and now with more than 4,000 members, SHAPE America is the largest organization of physical health educators and school-based health professionals in the world.
In recent years, SHAPE have organized a convention dedicated to exploring the latest innovative ideas and teaching practices available to teachers of physical education.
Started in 2013, this 4-day event gives you the chance to attend social events, idea exchange sessions, and ticketed events. You can also listen to a wide range of presentations on topics ranging from solutions for bullying in physical education, through to developing a successful PETE program report.
Speakers are from universities around the world, with the full program and speaker schedule announced in advance of the event, allowing you to plan the sessions you would like to attend.
If you don’t get a chance to visit the SHAPE America convention in person, you can find handouts provided by the speakers on the event website soon after it concludes.
South Carolina Teacher Expo
Run by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA), this is an expo that’s a little different to the conventions we mentioned above, and is designed as a one-day job fair which helps match teacher candidates to current vacancies for a variety of grade levels and subject areas.
As well as being a great opportunity to network with other teachers in the district you would like to teach in, you also get the chance to take part in pre-scheduled interviews and discuss the various options available to you as a teacher of physical education.
We would certainly recommend the SC Teacher Expo as the next step after gaining your certification, although if you’re interested in becoming a teacher at a school in South Carolina, you will need to complete the South Carolina Educator Employment Application before attending.
Passing Praxis II and PLT
Once you’ve completed your student teaching, and the PETE degree itself, you’ll need to give some consideration to the PRAXIS II and Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exams.
- Praxis Core
The ‘Core Academic Skills for Educators‘ Praxis tests are required for any area of teaching, and are used to help build a foundation, on top of which you’ll also take tests specific to being a teacher of Physical Education.A study guide and a combination of free and priced test preparation options are also available via the Praxis Series website. These are to give you an idea of what to expect and to help you achieve a higher test score.
The Principles of Learning and Teaching exam is required for initial licensure. There are various PLT courses available, and which one you need to pass depends entirely on which grade range you want to teach.After passing the PLT, the final requirement to becoming a fully certified teacher of PE is passing a Praxis II exam.
Praxis II – Specific Licensure Test
South Carolina is one of the many states to have adopted the Praxis Series of tests, as part of the certification process for becoming a teacher of Physical Education.
The computer-based exam is created by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and currently named ‘Physical Education: Content and Design’. You can pass this exam with a score of 169 or higher.
Once you get to this stage in your licensure application process, the Praxis Series website actually has an incredibly useful web page that provides you with a study guide to this exam, as well as some test preparation options.
The study guide for ‘Physical Education: Content and Design’ is fairly comprehensive in its content, and lets you know the weightings for each of the test’s five content categories.
It’s also packed with useful information about how best to prepare for the exam, topics covered, and how to get started with some practice questions.
You can find full details of South Carolina’s test requirements here.
In summary, these are the 5 Praxis tests you’ll need to take to complete your PE Teacher licensure:
- 1. Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading
- 2. Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing
- 3. Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics
- 4. PLT(Early Childhood to Grades 7-12, based on the age of students you’ll be teaching)
- 5. Physical Education: Content and Design
With your student teaching and PETE degree complete, and the PRAXIS II and PLT exams passed, a licensure analyst reviews your application to become a teacher of Physical Education.
The Department of Education will then send you your initial educator license by mail, and you’re ready to start your new career!