By Cicely Black, Regional Admissions Specialist

So, you’ve decided it’s time for you to continue the mission by applying for one of our programs like Mass Deployment, Women Veterans Leadership Summit, or the Service Leadership Corps…..nice! We like you already. Now your mission is to make sure we know that continuing the mission without you would be mission impossible (see what I did there) by making it through our admissions process.

So, here are some tips for taking your application from excellent to elite!

Behind the velvet rope

The Admissions process is our way of assessing who would make the most positive impact on our programs, other participants, community partners, and the communities we serve.

You will begin the admissions process by completing an application, and if selected to move forward, conduct a phone or video interview. It is during these two phases of the admissions process that we are trying to determine if you have a “growth” mindset and if you are a hard working servant leader motivated by being part of a collective movement desiring to impact under-resourced communities.

Factors we consider regarding your basic eligibility are your discharge status, reason for separation, criminal history, and whether you reside in one of our operational cities.

Our programs are only eligible to those who reside in one of our operational cities because we want to make sure that we can continue to support your growth and development as a servant leader beyond your application submission.

The more YOU know

Many of us have likely heard the saying (or some version of saying) “reading is fundamental,” and, no lie, it is.

Not reading all of the information provided to you throughout the admissions process, from application launch announcements, program updates, program eligibility requirements, application instructions, program/event details, selection announcements, and essentially any email from someone on the Regional Admissions team could cause you to miss out on vital information that is not only informative but also helpful to you throughout the admissions process.

The more WE know

The application and/or interview questions are carefully created to assess whether or not an applicant would be a good fit for the program. Making sure to answer every question thoughtfully and accurately are vital components to you successfully moving through the admissions process.

Skipping questions, being vague, or being dishonest is representative of character traits such as laziness, callousness, lack of integrity, and an inability to follow instructions. We are sure that these are not the impressions you are looking to make when you fill out your application.

Make sure that from your responses we are able to assess your excellence and how it would elevate our programs, other participants, and the communities we are impacting.

Sooooo…..tell me about yourself

The essay and interview questions matter because we are very interested in knowing who you are, what you represent, and whether you will benefit from (and contribute to) a sense of connectedness with other veterans and your community, personal growth through teamwork, and put community impact at the forefront.  

During the admissions process we are focused on finding out about you, so don’t be shy. Be thoughtful. Be detailed. Be specific. Be genuine, but most importantly, be yourself.

Also, word counts….count. The application will let you know how short (or long) your responses need to be, and yes less is more occasionally, but majority of the time more is more (like with ice cream, or lotto jackpots) so don’t be stingy with bragging about how amazing you are.  

Dot your I’s and cross your T’s

Technology was created to help remove human error, but who invented technology? You guessed it: humans. Therefore, spell check/autocorrect (though a savior to us all) is not always your best films…..I mean friend… darn autocorrect (see what happened there?).

It is still highly advised that you take the time to read and re-read, and, if possible, find a second set of detail-oriented eyes to look over your responses prior to submitting your application.

Your ultimate goal is to present your best self, submitting a response with typos, grammar, and punctuation errors is like showing up to an interview with a stain on your shirt….don’t be that person.

Life Pro Tip: Typing up your essay responses in another program or application such as Microsoft Word would give you the opportunity to work on your essay responses over a period and give you time to revisit your answers prior to submission.

Approximately 25% of the world’s population own a cat  

Also, about 25% of our applicants are requested (if required) to complete an interview for final selection. Congratulations! You schedule your date and your time and then….something happens…. and you miss it. No big deal right? It may be a bigger deal than you think. Again, making sure to show up for your appointments and meeting deadlines is a reflection of your work ethic and your character.

The goal is to make the best impression possible. Submitting your application and being available for your interview on time, along with responding to requests from the admissions staff in a timely manner help us to determine how serious your level of commitment is.

Sometimes life happens and you can’t make it, we get it. But do your best to communicate with us as soon as possible to reschedule your interview appointment. This shows you have respect for the program, our time, and can work well with others.

In closing, to quote Robert Service, “Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer; There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here. Carry on! Carry on!”

Where to find us: For any questions or concerns you may have on how you can continue the mission by applying for our Service Leadership Corp, Women Veterans Leadership Summit, or Mass Deployment, please email