5 Best Leadership Programs for High School Students in 2022 - Knovva
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Leadership skills are an important piece of the college application puzzle. Growing your leadership skills is key as a young adult. While high school classes prepare you for the academic rigor of college, leadership programs for high school students set you up for success outside of the classroom. 

There are a wide variety of leadership programs available for high schoolers. You can take advantage of virtual programs and in-person opportunities. Programs are run around the student schedule, so you can expect offerings in the summer, and during winter and spring breaks. These five high school leadership programs are perfect for any high-achieving students to participate in and add to their college application.

Leadership Programs for High School Students

5 Leadership Programs for High School Students

1. Model G20 Youth Leadership Summit

Model G20 is the world’s premier program for youth committed to global leadership. The summit brings together high school students from around the world. Previous Model G20 summits have seen students from over 40 countries in participation. Students have the opportunity to participate in experiential learning through role-playing as global leaders in a truly interactive experience. The curriculum is designed and led by Harvard-taught educators and leaders in industry.

Work together in a team to tackle a real-world problem facing today’s society. Previous summits have focused on issues like climate change, space exploration, urban planning, global health, and more. Over the course of the program, students will act as delegates for a country, immerse themselves in the issue, research all sides of the problem, and propose a unique solution. While past summits have been in-person, recent summits have been held virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. Summits are held throughout the year, including over winter break and in the summer.

Learn more about Model G20 and check out Knovva Academy’s YouTube channel to hear testimonials from real past participants. 

Program Fee: $399 for virtual summit

Program Dates: Fall, Winter, Summer

Duration: One week

Leadership Programs for High School Students
Photo Credit: Knovva Academy

2. Boston Leadership Institute

For students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the Boston Leadership Institute hosts a variety of research, educational, and leadership programs. Programs are offered for durations of one or three weeks, and allow students the chance to dive deep into a specific subject within STEM. 

The program operates on three campuses in and around Boston. Since Boston is a hub for medicine, engineering, and technology, participants will get hands-on experience in labs and hospitals around the area learning their craft. Some of the programs involve field trips to enhance their learning. High school students will walk away from the program more confident about their desired career path and with better teamwork skills.

Program Fee: $599 (one week) to $2,200 (three weeks)

Program Dates: June to August 2022

Duration: One to three weeks

Leadership Programs for High School Students
Photo Credit: Boston Leadership Institute

3. Global Citizen Year Academy

Thinking about taking a gap year? For seniors in high school (ages 17-21), or students who have recently graduated from high school, Global Citizen Year Academy offers the opportunity to spend a 12-week semester gaining leadership skills, exploring issues on a global scale, and getting to know a cohort of students representing over 80 countries. The program is done virtually, and is designed as a 7-10 hour weekly commitment that you can take on in addition to your full-time studies.

Students in the Academy have the unique opportunities to hear from world-class speakers, like Melinda Gates and Shawn Mendes. An alumni network of over 1,200 people awaits you after completing the program, meaning the connections you can make will last you far beyond the 12 weeks.

Program Fee: $5,000

Program Dates: Fall 2022 semester (exact dates TBD)

Duration: 12 weeks

Leadership Programs for High School Students
Photo Credit: Global Citizen Year Academy

4. National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC)

With five one-week summer program options at either Johns Hopkins University or the University of San Diego, the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) is a program for students in grades 9-12 on Mastering Leadership. It involves a community service project that will qualify students for up to six service hours, interactive leadership workshops, and guest speakers. 

Some of the topics covered at the conference are: vision and goal setting, persuasive communication, negotiation and conflict resolution, team building, group dynamics, and community service. Former speakers have included a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, the Director of PeaceCorps, and more world-renowned leaders. Additionally, students will have the chance to participate in sightseeing tours in either San Diego or Washington, D.C.

Program Fee: $2,695

Program Dates: June and July, 2022

Duration: 6 days

Leadership Programs for High School Students
Photo Credit: National Student Leadership Conference

5. Global Leadership Adventures

Global Leadership Adventures offers both travel programs and virtual programs for students interested in leadership, culture, community service, and adventure. Virtual programs take place in the spring and summer, while travel programs typically operate during the summer. Most of the travel excursions last between 14 and 21 days.

Immersive experiences and cross-cultural learning are hallmarks of the Global Leadership Adventures experience. Community service is a pillar of the programs, too; students will learn what it means to travel responsibility with eco-tourism in mind. Destinations include countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Virtual programs challenge students to think critically about global issues and work together on projects like creating a social media campaign for an NGO. 

Program Fee: $2,000 – $6,000

Program Dates: spring and summer

Duration: varies

Leadership Programs for High School Students
Photo Credit: Global Leadership Adventures

Leadership Programs for High School Students: Are They Worth It?

Leadership skills will serve you well no matter what you decide to do after high school or college. Becoming a better leader means becoming a better listener, critical thinker, and a more responsible citizen. 97% of Model G20 participants say they feel more confident addressing global issues after going through the program. An additional 87% improved their cross-cultural communication skills, a vital asset in today’s increasingly interconnected economy. 

Many students highlight their Model G20 experience on their college resume to highlight their global education and ability to think critically while collaborating on projects. Colleges like to see that students have put in time both inside and outside of the classroom to enhance their understanding of the world and increase their leadership skills, which is why many of our students go on to attend elite institutions such as Harvard, Oxford, Dartmouth, Columbia, and more.

Joining a leadership program is an investment of your time and money, but if you put in your best effort, you’ll walk away as a more informed and productive member of society. Learn more about Model G20 and what past students have said about the program as you consider whether a leadership program is right for you.

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