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High School Leaders Program Application deadline

May 17, 2021 @ 11:30 pm

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia is seeking applicants for the 2021 High School Leaders Program.


The Sorensen Institute’s High School Leaders Program (HSLP) offers a concentrated study in Virginia politics and government for high school students from across the state. The HSLP is based on a firm belief that young people not only can make a positive difference in their communities but should also be strongly encouraged to do so.


The 2021 High School Leaders Program will take place virtually, via Zoom, over the course of three weeks in July. The class will meet Monday-Friday July 12-29 between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Program days will feature lectures, presentations, discussions, and workshops.


Students must be at least 16 years old by the start of the HSLP and at least a rising junior. The class is also open to graduating seniors. Successful completion of the High School Leaders Program earns each student three graded college credits from the University of Virginia. Tuition for the 2021 HSLP is $1,600, which includes the cost of the three college credits.


Applications will be accepted until midnight on Monday, May 17th. Application instructions for the HSLP can be found on our application page.



The HSLP curriculum is divided into three primary learning modules:

The Informed Citizen: Virginia Government and Politicsfocuses on the basics of Virginia state and local government; who the players are, how government functions, and what the primary issues facing Virginia are.

The Thoughtful Citizen: Virginia Public Policyexplores how public policy is formed and debated in the Commonwealth. Students learn how to engage positively and effectively in policy debates and learn how they can influence public policy.

The Active Citizen: The Tools of Modern Advocacy—gives students the hands-on training and real-world skills that they will need to make their ideas a reality. They will learn how to write a professional resume, to pitch stories to the media and hold press conferences, to effectively address crowds large and small, to collaborate with others who possess different personality types and conflicting opinions, and to personally lobby legislators.



To be eligible for the High School Leaders Program, applicants must be:

  • a student attending a public or private high school in Virginia or a Virginia resident attending high school in another state.
  • in good academic standing at an accredited institution.
  • at least 16 years old by the start of the program and a rising junior.
  • graduating seniors are eligible to participate as well.

In accordance with a policy of equal opportunity recruitment, the Sorensen Institute strongly encourages women and minority students to apply. The application includes the following components:

  • the online application, which includes two short-answer questions and one 300-word maximum essay.
  • the applicant’s current high school transcript.
  • a resume or activity list (this piece will be reviewed for content, not for formatting)
  • one letter of recommendation (no more than two letters of recommendation will be considered.)



May 17, 2021
11:30 pm
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Virtual, VA