College Leaders Career Conference

The Sorensen Institute’s College Leaders Career Conference will help politically engaged college students in Virginia build relationships with each other and among the people who will play key roles in Virginia public life. They will explore the politics of the Commonwealth, tackle the fundamentals of ethical political leadership, learn how to lead across-the-aisle collaboration, and finish with some solid training to help land an internship or job in politics or government.  

Being involved in politics in college can be fun and rewarding, but how do you turn your passion into a career? What steps should you be taking now to set yourself up for a great job during or after college? What do you need to know about Virginia's political and policy landscape to put you a cut above the rest? What other political leaders do you need to know in the rest of the Commonwealth? Sorensen’s College Leaders Career Conference will help you answer those questions!

Students from all over Virginia will spend a weekend at UVA in Charlottesville. Participating students will get an inside view on ethical engagement in politics, what it takes to work in politics and policy, get coaching on critical skills they need to land a job, hear from speakers who are leaders in their fields, and network and build connections with each other. 

The College Leaders Career Conference is sponsored by Matthew Calkins, graduate of Sorensen's Political Leaders Program Class of 2011.

Program Dates and Schedule

The program will meet from Wednesday, June 12th through Friday, June 14th.

The program will begin on Wednesday evening with an optional meet-and-greet reception in Charlottesville.  This will also be an opportunity for students to check in to their housing at UVA, if they are staying on Grounds.

Thursday will be a full day of workshops, speakers, and discussions- beginning at 8:30 and a break around 4pm.  The conference will continue with dinner and a speaker in the evening.

On Friday, the conference will resume with breakfast at 8:30am, and continue with workshops, panels, and speakers with a planned dismissal around 12:30pm.

Meals included will be Thursday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Friday breakfast.

In addition to the conference, students will have an opportunity to take a professional headshot, which will be sent to them after the program.

Full attendance on Thursday and Friday is expected.  If you cannot commit to full participation on Thursday and Friday, you should wait and apply in a future year.


Students may register for housing directly with Conference Services at the University of Virginia or they may arrange their own lodging in Charlottesville if they so desire.  More information about lodging registration will be provided closer to the conference.


Qualifications of students interested in attending the College Leaders Career Conference:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 24 years old
  • Enrolled and in good standing attending college in Virginia
    • or Virginia residents attending college elsewhere 
  • Completed at least their freshman year of an undergraduate degree
    • or comparable courses toward an associate degree at a community college  

Students who have graduated in December 2018 or May 2019 may apply to the CLCC

Selection Process

The College Leaders Career Conference applicant pool is evaluated to create a highly qualified and diverse class.  Participants will be chosen from throughout Virginia, representing various hometowns and universities. 

Students for the program are chosen through a careful selection process that includes the following considerations:

  • Complete application and essays
  • Letter(s) of recommendation- optional
  • Resume or activity sheet- resumes and activity sheets will be reviewed for content, not formatting or design.
  • Academic standing or record at an accredited institution.

Program Fees

The cost to attend the 2019 College Leaders Career Conference is $300, which covers instructional materials, events, and meals.  

How to Apply

Students who wish to apply should be aware of the following deadlines:

Students who wish to have priority evaluation and notification can apply by the Early Bird deadline, midnight on Monday, April 15, 2019.  Supplementary materials must be received by the Sorensen Institute by midnight on Monday, April 15, 2019 to qualify for Early Bird application.

The final deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 15th, 2019.  Students applying by the final deadline must have all supplementary materials submitted to Sorensen by midnight on Friday, May 17th, 2019.

There are a limited number of spaces available in the CLCC, and spaces will be allocated according to the selection process outlined above.

Applications are available online on our application page.  The application includes some biographical information, a few short answer and essay questions, and a few questions that will assist with conference planning.

In addition to completing the application, students should submit the following supplementary materials:

  • Resume or activity sheet- resumes and activity sheets will be reviewed for content, not formatting or design. This should outline the student’s extracurricular activities, job experience, educational experience, awards or commendations, and special skills and competencies.
  • An official or unofficial transcript from the university which they are attending
  • Up to two optional letters of recommendation.

Supplementary materials may be submitted electronically via email to Sarah Campbell at  

Alternately, they may be mailed to:
The Sorensen Institute
Attn: Sarah Campbell
PO Box 400206
Charlottesville, VA 22904

If you have any questions about the College Leaders Career Conference, contact Sarah Campbell  

If you would like to refer someone to our program, please visit our referrals page.