Emerging Leaders Program Application

We are not currently accepting applications for the 2020 Emerging Leaders Program. We will be accepting applications for the 2020 ELP from July 17 to August 18, 2020.

2019 Emerging Leaders Program Application 

  1. PLEASE NOTE: This is an online application. There is no way to save a partially completed application and return to work on it later.  For this reason, we recommend that you prepare everything you will need to complete the application in advance.
  2. After you have read the instructions, questions, and have prepared everything you will need to complete the application, follow the link at the bottom of this page. That link will take you directly to the online application for the Emerging Leaders Program. Again, please remember to prepare everything you will need prior to filling out the online application. There is no way to save your work and return to it later.
  3. The ELP application includes a series of short essay questions in addition to some basic contact and background information. See below for details.
  4. Applicants may also submit up to two letters of recommendation. These are not required, and we will not review more than two. To be considered, letters can be either emailed to Sarah.Campbell@virginia.edu by 11:59pm  on Friday, May 24th, or postmarked by May 24, 2019, addressed to:

    Sarah Campbell
    Sorensen Institute
    P.O. Box 400206
    Charlottesville, VA 22904

Essay Questions

The ELP online application includes a number of short-answer essay questions. Each question requires a 250 to 500-word answer. Be aware that the essays are a significant part of the selection process and very important to making admissions decisions. The essay questions on the Emerging Leaders Program online application are as follows:

  1. Describe your recent leadership activities. What do you consider to be your highest leadership achievement so far?
  2. What academic, community, governmental, political, professional or other activity are you most proud of? What barriers have you encountered while pursuing this activity?
  3. What are your long-range political goals?
  4. What does state or local government in Virginia do well?
  5. What would you like to change about government in Virginia?
  6. What specific skills, knowledge or resources do you hope to acquire as a result of participating in the Sorensen Institute Emerging Leaders Program?

Contact/Background Information

You should also be prepared with the following information to successfully complete the ELP application:

  • How did you learn about the Sorensen Institute?
  • Current employment: employer, your title, your supervisor, work address and phone number
  • Education: high school, college, graduate school, and any relevant non-degree training programs
  • Past Employment: list any past employers including your title, supervisor, and dates of employment
  • Activities: list any past organizations and activities that you have been involved in that demonstrate your commitment to public service, community involvement, and/or volunteer work.
  • Contact information: your current mailing address, home phone, work phone, cell phone, and email address 

Program Schedule

The Emerging Leaders Program meets three times in August and September.  Classes meet the opening and closing weekends at Carter Hall in Millwood, Virginia and for one two-day session in Richmond.  Sessions generally run from 9:00 am on the starting day of the session to 5:00 pm on the closing day of the session. 

The overall success of the program depends on the attendance of all students at all sessions. The absence of one person negatively affects the learning experience for everyone else. Therefore we have a strict attendance policy.  Attendance during the entirety of the first and last sessions is mandatory.  During the second session, one half-day absence may be requested.  The staff reserves the right to deny any absence requests to protect the integrity of the program.  Absences require prior approval from staff.

Dates for the Emerging Leaders Program Class of 2019 are as follows:

August 2-3: First Session (Carter Hall)
August 23-24: Second Session (Richmond)
September 5, 6, 7: Third Session (Carter Hall)


Tuition for the 2019 ELP is $1,250.  Participants can apply for financial aid.  Requests for financial aid will be reviewed by members on the Sorensen Statewide Advisory Board after applicants have been accepted to the program.  In 2018, we met 100% of demonstrated financial need through a combination of grants, scholarships, and financial aid.  More information about how to apply for financial aid is available on our Financial Aid page.  Financial aid applications must be submitted by Friday, May 24th to be considered.

No individual is ever denied participation in a Sorensen program because of inability to pay the tuition cost. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses, but food and lodging costs are covered by the tuition.


Please remember, once you start the application there will be no way to save partial work, so make sure you have everything you need to complete the application. If you have any questions about the ELP or your application, contact Sarah Campbell at 434-243-2470 or sarah.campbell@virginia.edu.

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