Each spring, 30 rising second-year students are selected for membership in the Presidential Leadership Academy (PLA). Students admitted into the Academy come from all walks of life and all areas of the University.

Selection is based on a student's academic achievements, leadership potential and commitment to critical thinking exhibited during the applicant's first year at Penn State. A select group of applicants will be contacted for personal interviews with the Academy Selection Committee.

Applications are due on Sunday, March 10 at 5:00 PM.

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In order to apply to the Presidential Leadership Academy, students must:

  • Be a first-year student at Penn State
  • Have a GPA of 3.2 or higher at the time of application
  • Plan to be enrolled at University Park for the second, third and fourth years

Application Materials

In order to apply to the Academy, students will need to submit:

  • Current Resume

    An up to date resume that includes campus or other leadership activities.

  • Two Letters of Recommendation

    An academic reference from a faculty or staff member who knows you from your time at Penn State and a reference from someone who can speak to your performance outside the classroom (mentor/coach/supervisor). References are entered as part of the application and will be e-mailed to complete their recommendation electronically.

  • Two Essays

    A response to two essay questions provided by the Academy Selection Committee. All essay responses should follow a 300 word limit.