COLA Application

Central Ohio Leadership Academy Application & Instructions

Applications for the 2023 COLA program will be available in December 2022 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 2024 or 2025 from high schools in Central Ohio) will be accepted into the 2023 COLA class.

Click here to access a COLA Information Handout to share with a parent or high school leader you know!

 To be eligible to apply you must:

  • Attend a Central Ohio High School (public, private, charter, and homeschool high schoolers are all eligible).
  • Be a rising high school junior or senior planning to graduate in 2024 or 2025.
  • Be able to attend every day of the program from Monday, July 24-Saturday, July 29th; 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.
  • Are curious and open-minded.

Completed applications consist of the following four components:

  • 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:
  1. Why do you want to attend the Central Ohio Leadership Academy?
  2. 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.
  3. 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 uploaded into the application, or submitted to Laddan via email (
  • A completed online application.
    • Note: You should complete the final step, the online application, last—after you have written your essay responses and have all other materials ready for upload. You will not be able to save the online application and complete at a later time.

Leadership Columbus is an equal opportunity organization and provides services without regard to race, creed, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender identity or expression, disability status, sexual orientation, veteran status, military obligations, familial status, or socio-economic status. We agree to maintain a commitment to cultural humility and ongoing development of cultural responsiveness capabilities of our staff and those who enroll in our programs. We celebrate all intersections and identities and encourage all qualified people to apply for our positions and programs. If you need to request accommodations related to any of these identities, please let us know.

COLA 2023 Application

e.g. he/him, she/her, they/them, ze/hir, etc.
Primary Mailing Address(Required)

Demographic Information

The following questions are optional. Please answer according to your comfort level.
MM slash DD slash YYYY
Which of the following best describes you?
Do you identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?
Do you identify as having a disability or impairment?
Do you identify as being neurodivergent?
Do you qualify for a free or reduced lunch program?
Which grade are you entering in the fall of 2023?
Where did you hear about COLA?
Are you a legal resident of the State of Ohio?

Other Application Components

Max. file size: 512 MB.
Max. file size: 512 MB.
Max. file size: 512 MB.

Statement of Confirmation

By electronically signing your name below, you confirm that: You are a current High School sophomore or junior who will graduate in 2024 or 2025; if admitted into the Central Ohio Leadership Academy, you will be able to attend the entire six-day program from July 24 to July 29, 2023; you have completed this application to the best of your ability; you are aware that one recommendation letter must be submitted by May 19, 2023 for your application to be considered for COLA; you are willing to participate fully in the COLA Alumni experience.
Type your full, legal name in the box above.