Candidate Training Program Application

2016 Instructions

  1. PLEASE NOTE: This is an online application. There is no way to save a partially completed application and return to work on it later.  For this reason, we recommend that you prepare everything you will need to complete the application in advance.
  2. After you have read the instructions, questions, and have prepared everything you will need to complete the application, follow the link at the bottom of this page. That link will take you directly to the online application for the Candidate Training Program Class of January 2016. Again, please remember to prepare everything you will need prior to filling out the online application. There is no way to save your work and return to it later.
  3. The CTP application includes a series of short essay questions in addition to some basic contact and background information, as well as 2016 policies. See below for details.
  4. Please make sure you have noted the dates of the program (January 21 to 24, 2016) and can attend all sessions; attendance at all sessions of the program is required for participation.
  5. Information about financial aid can be found here.
  6. Applicants may also submit up to two letters of recommendation. These are not required; we will not review more than two letters. Letters must be received by Wednesday, November 18, 2015 for consideration and should be addressed to:

The Sorensen Institute
Attn: Lauren Gilbert
P.O. Box 400206
Charlottesville, VA 22904


2016 Essay Questions

The CTP online application includes a number of short-answer essay questions. Each question requires a 250 to 500-word answer. Be aware that the essays are a significant part of the selection process and very important to making admissions decisions. The essay questions on the Candidate Training Program online application are as follows:

  1. Describe your recent leadership activities. What do you consider to be your highest leadership achievement so far?
  2. What academic, community, governmental, political, professional or other activity are you most proud of? What barriers have you encountered while pursuing this activity? 
  3. What political office are you planning to run for? When are you planning to run? 
  4. What does state or local government in Virginia do well? 
  5. What would you like to change about government in Virginia? 
  6. What specific skills, knowledge or resources do you hope to acquire as a result of participating in the Sorensen Institute Political Leaders Program? 


2016 Contact/Background Information

You should also be prepared with the following information to successfully complete the CLP application:

  1. How did you learn about the Sorensen Institute?
  2. Current employment: employer, your title, your supervisor, work address and phone number
  3. Education: high school, college, graduate school, and any relevant non-degree training programs
  4. Past Employment: list any past employers including your title, supervisor, and dates of employment
  5. Activities: list any past organizations and activities that you have been involved in that demonstrate your commitment to public service, community involvement, and/or volunteer work.
  6. Contact information: your current mailing address, home phone, work phone, cell phone, and email address


2016 Policies

Applicants should be prepared to agree to the Statement of Financial Understanding and the Attendance Policy.

Statement of Financial Understanding:
As an applicant for the Sorensen Institute’s 2016 Candidate Training Program I sign my name electronically below to signify that….

  • Responsibility for paying for participation in the program is my own;
  • I can apply for financial aid;
  • To be eligible for financial aid, I must submit my application for financial aid by Monday, November 23rd;
  • My program deposit must be paid by me and is not eligible to be included in financial aid requests;
  • Participants who receive financial aid are not eligible to request private room accommodations during the program;
  • Financial aid applications will be reviewed by the Sorensen Institute’s Statewide Board and decisions will be provided to me if I am selected to attend the program to which I am applying;
  • If I seek financial aid, I may be required to fundraise to help offset my cost of attending the program;
  • If I am accepted, I must comply with the following payment dates:
  • $300 non-refundable deposit due January 8, 2016 (not eligible for financial aid); $250 due on January 15; $250 due on January 21 (Program start date)
  • According to IRS guidance, the Lifetime Learning tax credit applies to students who are enrolled in one or more courses at an eligible educational institution. The course or courses must be either part of a postsecondary degree program or taken by the student to acquire or improve job skills. There are many other details surrounding the Hope and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits. We suggest that you contact your own tax professional to see if you qualify for these credits. Unfortunately, neither the Sorensen Political Institute nor the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service can provide tax advice. You can also contact the IRS' Office of Public Liaison at 202-622-2970 or view Publication 970 on the IRS website for further information.

Attendance Policy:
The overall success of the program depends on the attendance of all students at all sessions. The absence of one person negatively affects the learning experience for everyone else. Therefore we have a strict attendance policy. If you believe you are unable to make this commitment, you should wait and reapply to the Candidate Training Program when your schedule permits full participation.

  • Program registration begins at 9:00am on Thursday, January 21st at Carter Hall and the first session will begin promptly at 10:00am. Please allow sufficient time for travel.
  • From Thursday to Saturday, sessions extend into the evening, concluding around 9:00pm.
  • The program will conclude no later than 1:00pm on Sunday, January 24th.
  • Attendance at all sessions is mandatory.



Please remember, once you start the application there will be no way to save partial work
so make sure you have everything you need to complete the application.

If you have any questions about the CTP application,
contact Lauren Gilbert at or 434-243-2844.



Featured Alumni

  • Doug Smith.jpg

    Doug Smith

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2005

    Doug serves as the Executive Director of the Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier. He is the former Executive Director the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, based in Richmond.