How to Apply

The application for the 2019 COLA program is open and can be completed online (preferred) or submitted via U.S. Mail.

Through a competitive application process, no more than 50 rising high school juniors and seniors who will graduate in 2020 or 2021 from high schools in Central Ohio will be accepted into the 2019 COLA class.

To be eligible to apply you must:

  • Attend a Central Ohio High School (public, private, and charter high schools are all eligible)
  • Be a rising high school upperclassman planning to graduate in 2020 or 2021
  • Be able to attend every day of the program from July 22-27th, 8am-4pm
  • Be willing to participate fully in the COLA Alumni experience

Ideal student applicants:

  • Demonstrate notable leadership ability among peers
  • Pursue interests outside of the classroom
  • Are eager to learn and self-improve
  • Have an interest in becoming a more effective leader

Completed applications consist of the following four components:

  • A completed information cover sheet (if sending via mail) with the information requested at the bottom of this page.
  • A resume or complete listing of current and past community and/or school involvements. Dates of involvement as well as roles/responsibilities should be indicated.
  • Responses to the following three questions with no more than 300 words each:
    • Why do you need to attend the Central Ohio Leadership Academy?
    • Choose one person who you look up to as a leader. Describe who they are, and explain what leadership behaviors they enact that you find inspirational.
    • What do you want to accomplish by the end of your senior year of high school, and what do you hope to do post-graduation?
  • One recommendation letter from an adult or educator (no family relation) that can speak to the applicant’s leadership abilities. Recommendation letters can be submitted online. Please see Recommendation Page for further instructions. Additional recommendation letters may be submitted from COLA alumni to further support ones candidacy.

Apply Online

Submit via US Mail

Recommendation letters and completed applications should be mailed to the attention of Andrea Summers, COLA Program Administrator, 2080 Citygate Dr. Columbus, OH 43219. Hard copy applications must be typed and include the four components listed above. Cover sheet instructions are below.

Information Cover Sheet

If you are submitting your application via U.S. mail, please include a cover sheet that includes the following information.

  • Personal Information:
    • Your full name.
    • Current High School name and your GPA.
    • Primary and secondary email address
    • Primary and secondary phone number.
    • Names of your Legal Guardian(s) and their relationship to you.
    • Parent’s email address
    • Your home mailing address
  • Answers to the following Questions:
    • What is your gender?
    • Do you qualify for free or reduced Lunch?
    • Are you a legal resident of the state of Ohio?
    • What is your race or ethnicity?
  • A Confirmation statement with your signature that confirms the following:
    • You are a current High School sophomore or junior who will graduate in 2020 or 2021
    • If admitted into the Central Ohio Leadership Academy, you will be able to attend the entire six-day program from July 22 to July 27, 2019.
    • You have completed this application to the best of your ability.
    • You are aware that one recommendation letter must be submitted by March 31, 2019 for your application to be considered for COLA.


Below is a timeline that students can expect for the COLA 2019 Experience:

  • November 2019: COLA releases the 2019 application and announces dates of the Experience.
  • April 2019: Final deadline. All applications will be reviewed and evaluated.
  • May 2019: All applicants will be notified of the status of their application.
  • July 2019: Registered accepted students will meet to develop themselves as change-makers.
  • August – July 2020: 2019 COLA participants will have the opportunity to attend alumni engagement opportunities.