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Frequently Asked Questions about the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows Program

According to the eligibility requirements listed on the website, Leadership Fellows are selected among currently enrolled college sophomores. I am a first year student with enough credits for sophomore status. Am I eligible to apply?

We intentionally created the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program for students at the midway point in their college career. We want to find budding campus leaders who have demonstrated their willingness to get involved, but will still have two years as undergraduates to implement what they learn at Mount Vernon.

We understand “halfway through college” can have slight variations in meaning depending on the student, school, and course credits earned. But if you are just beginning your college career -- or conversely if you will be graduating within the year after completing the fellowship -- you will not fall within the candidate pool we are recruiting.

I have a 3.3 GPA. Last semester I had a medical emergency and my grades do not accurately reflect my academic curiosity. Can I apply?

We have a preferred 3.4 minimum GPA because we select students who are accomplished both in and out of the classroom. That said, if you feel like your grades have suffered a temporary downturn in an otherwise exemplary academic history, you may explain your situation and we will consider your application.

When do my recommendations need to be submitted? How should my recommenders submit their letters?

We ask that your two recommenders submit their letters by the January 31 deadline so that we may review your entire application package in a timely fashion. We suggest you identify and submit your recommenders’ emails as early as possible so they will receive their unique submission link generated by the application database and have enough time to write their letter on your behalf.

When will I hear if I am selected?

We will review all applications submitted by the January 31 deadline. Semi-finalists will be contacted by the first week of February to schedule a remote interview. All finalists will be selected and notified by Washington’s Birthday, February 22, 2020.

Where will we meet, sleep, and eat?

A great deal of time will be spent at the Mount Vernon Estate. The National Library for the Study of George Washington will provide much of the classroom setting, but there will be many times when we take advantage of the Washington, DC area with special tours of American institutions, meetings with national leaders, and special group experiences.

We provide an all-inclusive fellowship. Your travel, food, and lodging will all be covered. There will be some organized group meals and stipends for those meals on your own. Additionally, you will receive a $3000 stipend for participating in the program.

The Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows are afforded an opportunity few people get to experience: during the first week of the program they live on the Estate, mere steps from the Mount Vernon Mansion. For the remainder of the program accommodations are provided at a hotel in charming Old Town, Alexandria near shops, restaurants, and public transportation.

I have another opportunity that will take me out of Washington, DC for a few days during the middle of the program. Is that permitted?

Most weekends are open and students are free to come and go as they please, but during the week Fellows are expected to participate in all scheduled activities. Any exceptions would need to be cleared with Mount Vernon staff, and previously have been limited to a one day absence due to a landmark family occasion.

What will a typical day look like?

There is no typical day with the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program! You will learn a lot about George Washington and study the character traits and experiences that made him successful. You will identify and work on your own strengths and plan how you can best achieve your goals. You will have time to work on your own plan of action in the form of a Capstone project. You will get the chance to meet with national leaders in government, military, industry, thought, and nonprofits, learning from their journeys and counsel. Please visit here for a list of past experiences and speakers.

What is expected from me regarding the Capstone?

George Washington was a man of action, and as a Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow you will be afforded the opportunity to spend time really thinking about an issue you are passionate about at your school or in your community, and design your own campaign. We encourage you to think on the local and campus level where you can bring manageable change as a busy college student and realize achievable victories.

While at Mount Vernon during the six week program, you will develop a battle plan as to how you can create, tackle, or improve upon a Capstone project. Mount Vernon provides you with a mentor in your general area of interest who has the network and professional experience to help provide valuable feedback and guidance. Mount Vernon staff, as well as your fellow cohort members from around the country, will also offer productive input. At the conclusion of the program, you will give a presentation on the strategy you have come up with to demonstrate how you, too, will be a person of action. To view Capstone presentations from past classes please visit our Capstone page.