PLP Application Process


We look forward to receiving your application to the Political Leaders Program. Please read through all of the instructions below before you complete the online application. If you have questions about the Political Leaders Program, please contact JaVori Warren:   

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Application Timeline
  • September – mid November: Applications accepted for next year's class
  • November – December: Interviews of applicants, selection of class participants
  • January – February: Acceptance packets distributed, forms and payments due
  • March – December: Class meets one weekend each month except for July
Application Requirements

Applying to the Political Leaders Program involves the following:

  • Completing an online application which includes:
    • short essay questions
    • background/contact information
  • Submitting optional (but strongly encouraged) supplemental information by email (do not mail) to
    • your resume
    • up to two letters of recommendation (no more than 2 will be reviewed) 

Application Deadlines

Applications Open:
Applications Close:
Financial aid completed by:
Supplemental materials submitted electronically by:
Program Applications Open Applications Close Application Process Link to Application
Political Leaders Program Wed, September 13, 2023 Mon, November 13, 2023

Application Components

PLEASE NOTE: This is an online application. We are not able to save partially completed applications. For this reason, we recommend that you prepare everything you will need to complete the application in advance of filling out the online form.

Application Short Essay Questions

The PLP 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 Political Leaders Program online application are as follows:

  1. What role should civil discourse, dialogue, and respect for others unlike oneself have in our polarized politics? Do these notions have value in themselves? Should they play a role in elections? Do they have value in the effort to achieve policy goals? Explain.
  2. Describe a time when you had to work with someone or a group of people who disagreed with you and with whom you had to build consensus or a compromise.  How did you do that?  What was the result of your efforts?  What did you learn from the process?
  3. What achievement, experience or pursuit in your life makes you most proud? What has been your most satisfying leadership achievement so far? What barrier(s), if any, have you encountered in achieving your goals? Explain.
  4. What does state or local government in Virginia do well? What would you like to change about government in Virginia?
  5. Have you ever run for political office?  Is it your goal to become an elected and/or appointed public official? If so, what sort of office would you pursue, and why? If not, what role do you see for yourself in the political and/or civic life of Virginia or your local community?
  6. What specific skills, knowledge or resources do you hope to acquire as a result of participating in the Sorensen Institute Political Leaders Program?
  7. Each class is selected to bring together unique individuals who care about politics and policy in Virginia.  If you were to be selected, what unique attribute, experience, or perspective do you feel you would contribute to the cohort?


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Application Contact and Background Information

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

  • How you learned 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 past employers including your title, supervisor, and dates of employment
  • Activities: list 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 
  • Two references


If you have questions about the Political Leaders Program or the application process, please contact