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New Leaders Council

How to Apply

To apply, begin the application here.

The application process is described below.

To nominate someone, enter their name, email, and chapter here.

Nominees receive an email from NLC encouraging them to apply.

Profile of an NLC Fellow

  • Fellows are in their 20s, 30s, and sometimes 40s.

  • They are rising stars in their field, on a leadership trajectory but still learning and growing.

  • If their job or life track requires an undergraduate degree, they've completed it. If it does not require an undergraduate degree, then they have the equivalent work and life experience necessary. 

  • They come from diverse backgrounds & have diverse interests. Immigrants and long-time Texans. All races, every ethnicity, any religion. Cis or trans, anywhere on the gender spectrum. East side or Round Rock, SoCo or Hays County. Bankers, carpenters, chemists, brewers, organizers, business owners, volunteers, doctors, musicians, traders, teachers ... the more diverse the class, the more fellows learn from each other.

  • NLC explicitly encourages people who do not see themselves or their community reflected in civic or political leadership to apply and help to change that. 

The Program

  • The NLC-Austin Institute is a 5-month leadership development and political entrepreneurship program.

  • Fellows learn the skills and establish the connections that will make them effective advocates for progressive policies and programs throughout the community:

    • Messaging & framing
    • Fundraising
    • PR & marketing
    • Tech & new media
    • Political management
    • Leadership & progressive values
    • Entrepreneurial approaches to problem-solving

  • Fellows participate in a capstone project, creating a strategic plan encompassing overall long-term personal and professional goals.  

  • Fellows accepted into the institute do not pay tuition. The program is free. Fellows are expected, however, to work together on a project to raise funds to pay for the next class. (Don't worry-you get plenty of help.)

  • A fellowship class is between 16 and 18 people.
    • The class size means that some fantastic applicants are not accepted. We keep the class small as that's how it works best, and we go for a dynamic and diverse mix of backgrounds in the class as a whole.
    • You are strongly encouraged to apply again for the following year, and stay connected by coming to our events and programs.
    • Some of our most outstanding NLC fellows around the country were not accepted the first time they applied. Or even the second. And some applied three or four times. 

Key Facts

  • The Institute meets one weekend per month, January - June. Below are dates for the 2018 Institute.
    • January 6 and 7, 2018: Life Entrepreneurship and Introduction/Orientation
    • February 3 and 4, 2018: Communications and Digital Media
    • March 3 and 4, 2018: Finance, Fundraising, and Economics
    • April 7 and 8, 2018: Political Management and Coalition Building
    • May 5 and 6, 2018: Diversity and Public Policy
    • June 2 and 3, 2018: Capstones and Graduation

  • Fellows must be available for all institute dates to take part in the program. Because the program meets for only 12 days, applicants who know in advance that they cannot make one or more day are asked to consider delaying their application. We do have a policy that covers emergencies and unanticipated events. 

  • Fellows who do not meet attendance policy requirements, which will be outlined when an offer to join is extended, will not graduate. Illness and emergencies are obviously unanticipated and fellows and the institute team can address those situations as they arrive.

  • Fellows lead a fundraising event to raise money for the next year's cohort in May or June, and celebrate with the community at a graduation ceremony in June. Everyone must take part in the planning and execution of the events.

  • Each fellow must complete a capstone project over the course of the Institute. While the project need not have concluded, or even started, before the Institute ends, all fellows are expected to give a brief presentation on the project during that final weekend.

  • Fellows are encouraged to apply to join the board once they have completed the institute to continue their leadership development and help shape and mentor future classes. 

The Application Process

  • Applications are due at 10:59pm CST on October 1, 2017. 

  • Keep in mind:
    • The deadline is firm.
    • No late applications will be considered.
    • You should start early so you don't have to worry about missing the deadline in the last-minute crush.
    • We're really serious about this. The system is automated, and we cannot make exceptions.

  • There is a $30 nonrefundable application fee. We can grant waivers for extenuating circumstances. Please email if you need an application fee waiver.

  • The application process is competitive. Not all who apply will get in.

  • When you start the application, you will receive additional information about NLC's core values and what we look for in an applicant. Please read this information carefully.

  • The application consists of three short essays, references, resume, a skills and aptitude screening, and for some applicants, an interview. Application information remains confidential.

    • The aptitude screening consists of a series of quantitative, problem solving questions, similar to SAT questions. Please do not worry about your score on this section.  The Austin Chapter selections committee has chosen not to use these questions as a factor in determining suitability for the program.

  • Our review team evaluates applications anonymously in the first round, and scores all rounds according to a rubric to ensure a fair process. 

  • The application process considers applicants as individuals, but also factors in how potential fellows will work together. 

  • Because we look at overall class fit, and because more qualified people apply than we can accept, each year, some really phenomenal people are not accepted. We encourage those people to apply again. Many fellows from other NLC chapters were not accepted until their 3rd or 4th time applying. 
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