How to Apply

Applications for the 2018 class of Presidential Leadership Scholars are due by 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time on Thursday, August 31, 2017.


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The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is for individuals who have the skills, values, and motivation to become a special kind of leader. We are looking for people who have the desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher level in order to help their communities, professions, organizations, and, thus, our country. While the program is designed to assemble a unique and diverse cohort of high-potential leaders, Scholars most successful in the program share certain personal characteristics:

  • Civically Minded: Willing and eager to take actions to improve society.
  • Eager to Receive Feedback: Willing to seek, humbly accept, and actively respond to feedback.
  • Accepting of Diverse Points of View: Welcoming opportunities to interact with and learn from others with different backgrounds or perspectives.
  • Experienced Professionals: Having a breadth and depth of professional experience (though “quality” is not easily measured in time, the majority of accepted applicants have 10+ years of professional experience and are at a point in their careers where their participation in PLS will be felt for many years to come).
  • Demonstrated Leadership: Using PLS to build on an established record of meaningful leadership (PLS is not an introductory course in leadership.)
  • In Positions of Influence: Having an opportunity to take action and promote change in their communities or organizations.
  • Committed to the Program: Willing to fully participate in a rigorous and intense six-month program by being on site at modules in five different locations for approximately 20 days and spending 50+ hours on pre- and post-module assignments.

The program seeks participants from a wide range of fields, including business, military, nonprofit, and government.

To qualify for consideration, applicants must be U.S. citizens and legal residents living and working in the United States or are able to get to the United States at their own expense for each module.


All application materials for the 2018 class, including recommendations, are due by 11:59 P.M. (Pacific Time) on Thursday, August 31, 2017.


Candidates will be assessed by their application submission, recommendations, and essays. Select candidates will be invited to participate in final interviews.Finalists will be notified by early November if they have been invited to participate in the interview process.Interviews will be conducted via videoconference through late November and final acceptance decisions will be made before the end of December 2017.


  • Session 1: Opening Week: Tuesday, February 6th - Saturday, February 10th Washington, D.C.
  • Session 2: Thursday, March 8th - Saturday, March 10th George H.W. Bush Presidential Center, College Station, TX
  • Session 3: Thursday, April 12th - Saturday, April 14th William J. Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock, AR
  • Session 4: Thursday, May 10th - Saturday, May 12th George W. Bush Presidential Center, Dallas, TX
  • Session 5: Thursday, June 14th - Saturday, June 16th Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Center, Austin, TX
  • Session 6: Closing and Graduation: Tuesday, July 10th - Friday, July 13th William J. Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock, AR

More questions? View Application FAQs.