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For high school juniors: Apply to Economics For Leaders

The blog post below was written before the 2009 application deadline. My story, opinion, and advice are still the same.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Applications for summer 2010 are due by Monday, March 1. But even if you're reading this only a day or two before the deadline, you can easily get your application in. It's on the web. The only thing that takes real thought or time is one very short essay response. You can do that in an hour or two, take a break, have someone read it, make some edits, and submit it...in less than a day if you hustle.

"Economics for Leaders" [http://www.fte.org/students/efl/] is a one-week summer enrichment program for high school juniors held on 11 different dates and college campuses across the country.

I attended Economics for Leaders back in 1999 (and to get there, I flew for the very first time - Southwest Airlines). Since then, I've helped my two younger brothers and ten other students from my little high school in Smallville, Kansas, attend Economics for Leaders programs at colleges all over the country. It is THE BEST summer program I know of for high school kids in terms of what they'll take from it, how little it costs, and its accessibility to everyone.

In the mornings, students participate in fun, interactive games and lessons to illustrate basic economic concepts. The afternoons are devoted to outdoor, group activities designed to teach teamwork and leadership. Evenings are focused on personal development. Students are guided through self-discovery exercises and get advice from guest speakers on topics like college prep, career development, and beginning personal finance.

I tell students there are 5 big reasons to attend Economics for Leaders (EFL).

1) Going to EFL will help you choose a college. - Visiting a new campus and experiencing the residence halls, cafeterias, athletic facilities, and surrounding city helps students know what they like and what they don't before having to selecting the school that's best for them.

2) Going to EFL will help you get into college (and win scholarships). - The most important thing for an admission committee is to see that a student has challenged herself and is prepared to succeed at their college. Going to programs like Economics for Leaders, which means giving up a week of summer vacation facebook-ing to learn something alongside talented, motivated students from across the country and not getting homesick in the process, is a great way to show that.

3) Going to EFL will help you get to go to college (especially if you want to go far away from home).
-- If you wake up one morning in November of your senior year and ask your parents if you can go away to college in Hawaii for the next four years, the answer will probably be No! But if you start by taking your parents through the baby step of letting you go to Economics for Leaders for one week this summer, there's a much better chance of them supporting your decision to attend college in Florida next year.

4) The application is easy and good practice for next year's college applications. -- The only part of the application that takes a little brain power is an essay response -- limited to 500 words or less -- about a leadership experience you've had and the lessons you learned that you can apply in the future.

5) It's CHEAP! - Economics for Leaders is heavily subsidized by generous contributions to the Foundation for Teaching Economics. It costs nothing to apply. Once you're accepted, it costs only $125-to-$200 (depending on program location) for the entire week. That's a steal compared to most summer programs - academic or athletic - that cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars more. (Transportation to and from the program is the participant's responsibility, but I've advised students on ways to defer those costs, too.)

For more information about Economics for Leaders, including...
- Program description
- Sample weeklong schedule
- Dates and locations
- Online application
...go to http://www.fte.org/students/efl/

Act fast! Application deadline for summer 2009 is this Friday, March 6. for summer 2010 is Monday, March 1.

And of course, anyone you know is welcome to contact me for help.

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 2 March 2009