4 Leadership Conferences Hosted by Colleges

Gain new leaderships skills and impress colleges by participating in a leadership conference.

By Ashley Henshaw | November 26, 2013

Some high school students seldom give a second glance to the many leadership conference brochures they receive in the mail or see at school. However, leadership camps can actually be a great way to help you prepare for college and learn some valuable skills. Plus, attendance at one of these conferences is also a great way to impress college admissions officers.

Many students also find that going away and staying at a college campus for a conference is a great way to get a preview of what college will be like since you often stay in the dorms, eat in the dining hall, socialize with other students and take classes on campus during the leadership conference. Plus, depending on the location of the conference, you may get to experience a college on your wish list firsthand.

Go to the conference prepared and ready to network – many students become fast friends when attending these leadership conferences and end up staying in touch for years afterward.

Check out these great leadership conferences for high school students that are hosted by colleges in the U.S. Each one offers excellent instruction and receives glowing reviews from students year after year.

1. National Student Leadership Conference

The National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) is one of the most prestigious and well-known summer programs for high school students. All students who complete a NSLC program receive a Certificate of Achievement, a college recommendation letter and an official program transcript detailing their work. NSLC offers leadership programs in a variety of concentration areas, like Medicine and Health Care; Political Action and Public Policy; Engineering; Sports and Entertainment Management; and Theater.

Location: Conferences are held at some of the top universities in the country, like Northwestern University and Fordham University. Duration: 6-10 days, depending on the program Price: $1,995-$2,995, depending on the program Getting in: Students must be nominated by a school counselor, NSLC alumni, talent identification programs or merit applications.

"The NSLC was so inspiring and has encouraged me so much. As well as building my confidence and independence, it solidified my dreams and fostered friendships. " — Carleigh S.

2. Georgetown Leadership Institute

Georgetown University holds a Leadership Institute for high school students each summer. This program is designed to encourage future leaders through a series of courses and hands-on experiences. Students spend time exploring ethics and decision-making skills. They also participate in a ropes course, visit nearby government agencies and the Capitol Hill offices and tour area museums.

Location: Georgetown University in Washington, DC Duration: 8 days Price: $2,395 Getting in: Any student may submit an application.

"The week at Georgetown gave me a full experience. I made friends from around the world, listened to enticing lectures, went of enriching field trips, and had an unforgettable time on campus in the heart of Washington, DC." — Samantha

3. George Mason University Youth Leadership Conference

The Youth Leadership Conference at George Mason University offers high school students the unique opportunity of earning college credit. Students can earn one or two credits while completing their program course which focuses on special topics in leadership. The course, which includes discussions, demonstrations and simulations, is a pass/fail class. Unlike some other youth leadership conferences, this one does not include accommodations at the university.

Location: George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia Duration: 4-8 days (for one credit) or 9 days or longer (for two credits) Price: $100 (one credit) or $200 (two credits) Getting in: Students must be nominated by a teacher or identified by George Mason University as a potential student.

4. LeadAmerica High School Student Conferences

Much like NSLC, LeadAmerica organizes a variety of summer leadership conferences at colleges across the country. While there is a Leadership, Ethics and College Success conference offered, most programs focus on a particular career path, such as Law and Trial; Business Innovation; or Digital Media, Broadcast and Journalism. Guest speakers, workshops and field excursions are some of the program components found at each conference.

Location: Conferences are held at universities across the country, including Columbia University and Stanford University. Duration: 5-10 days, depending on the program Price: $995-$3,195, depending on the program Getting in: Any student may submit an application.

"I had the best time of my life at the Leadership Summit at Stanford! I made so many amazing friends who are just as motivated as I am, which is something I have not experienced before. My college essay will probably be about my experience, so thank you so much!" — Danielle G.

Quick Tips

  • Be sure to find out the full cost to attend a conference. Meals and transportation to and from the conference are not always included.
  • Ask about scholarships programs if you require need-based financial assistance in order to attend.
  • Go to the conference prepared and ready to network – many students become fast friends when attending these leadership conferences and end up staying in touch for years afterward.

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