| The selection process is very competitive. Each year, there
are 500-800 applicants for 11 to 19 fellowships. The application form
is designed to reveal remarkable achievement early in an applicant's career,
demonstrated leadership qualities, a commitment to serve others, and the
skills required for a successful year as a special assistant to a high
level government official.
Candidates are judged on the basis of their professional, academic, athletic, artistic and other accomplishments, and on their demonstrated interest in public service. Since the fellowship program is designed to nurture future leaders, rather than to reward established ones, evidence of growth potential is also a key criterion in the selection process.
Standards for the selection of White House Fellows are set by The President's Commission on White House Fellowships, 30 to 40 outstanding citizens representing a broad range of backgrounds, interests and professions. Members of the Commission are appointed by the President; many have served through several different administrations and several are former Fellows. The Commission upholds the fellowship program's strictly non-partisan tradition.
Completed applications are processed by the staff of the White House Fellows Program and screened by former Fellows from all over the country. Approximately 100 of the most promising applicants are selected for interviews by 10 regional panels. The panels are composed of leading citizens from each region. Based on the results of these interviews, candidates are selected to be national finalists.
All national finalists are required to undergo comprehensive background investigations to insure that they qualify for the security clearance necessary for their fellowship work assignments. National finalists are interviewed over three-and-a-half days at a location near Washington, DC, by members of The President's Commission. The Commission then recommends to the President those individuals it finds most qualified for the Fellowship.