Class of 2021 Application

Since the challenges associated with the spread of COVID-19 have become more and more pronounced, the 2020 Presidential Leadership Scholars program has been postponed for the current class until the spring of 2021.  With this decision, the program will also not be opening an application again until the summer of 2021. 

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.
  • Meaningful Professional Experience: Having a breadth and depth of professional experience (though “quality” is not easily measured in time, accepted applicants generally 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: Wanting to build on an established record of meaningful leadership (PLS is not an introductory course in leadership.)
  • In Positions of Influence: Having an opportunity and ability 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 1) a U.S. citizen or 2)and legal resident living and working in the United States or are able to get to the United States at their own expense for each module.

Application & Selection Process

Candidates are assessed using their application submissions, project proposals, recommendations, and essays. Select candidates will be invited to participate in final interviews. Finalists are invited to participate in the interview process, conducted via video-conference.

2021 Program Schedule

Schedule to be announced.

More questions? View Application FAQs.

Leaders are not born, they are made.

Watch our scholars journey.

Class of 2022 Applications Update

Applications for the Class of 2022 will open summer 2021. Please contact us at with any questions.