FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q.) What are the start and end dates of the program?
June 12, 2021 – August 6, 2021. The program includes a weekend orientation on June 12-13 and an eight-week Congressional or federal government office internship from June 14 to August 6.
Q.) How much is the compensation?
A stipend of $2,000 is provided upon completing the internship. Additional resources are available if funding is an obstacle to participation.
Q.) Who is eligible to apply?
To be eligible for WLP, the applicant must be an undergraduate student and have completed at least their first year of college by the start of the internship. Undergraduate students who will graduate in Winter 2020 or Spring 2021 are eligible to apply. We do not accept high school or graduate students.
Q.) Can a foreign student with an (F-1) visa apply?
No, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply.
Q.) Do I have to be a political science/social science major?
The internship is not limited to students pursuing majors in social sciences; in fact, we welcome students in all fields to apply. The backgrounds of past participants have ranged from healthcare and business to art and social work.
Q.) Do you provide housing or help finding housing?
We do not provide housing, but we do provide information and guidance about housing in DC to scholars.
Q.) What are the hours required?
The hours for each internship placement vary by office but typically begin around 8:30-9:00AM and end around 5:00-6:00PM each weekday. Additionally, scholars attend mandatory weekday evening programs two to four times a week over the course of the internship. Some events may occur on the weekend. There are also formal and informal social events throughout the summer.
Participation in WLP is incredibly time-intensive, and we expect WLP to be your priority during your eight weeks in the program. To ensure that scholars gain the most out of the experience, we advise scholars not to pursue other summer activities that require a heavy time commitment, such as research projects or LSAT/MCAT/GMAT/GRE/etc. preparation.
Q.) Can I receive academic credit for my internship?
We will do our best to work with your university to ensure you may receive academic credit for the internship as long as their requirements do not interfere with our program requirements.
Q.) When is the deadline to apply?
Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 11:59PM PST.
Q.) Will there be an interview?
The top candidates from the application pool will be interviewed by alumni of the program. Interview requests will be sent out in late January or early February 2021.
Q.) When will the acceptances be notified?
Late February 2021.
Q.) Where do interns get placed?
Interns are placed in Congressional offices or federal government agencies. Past interns have worked in House and Senate member offices and federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, USAID, Department of Labor, and Department of Commerce. We do not place interns at the Departments of Defense of State because of the lengthy security clearance processes. We will work with you to place you in an internship that aligns with your expressed interests and prior experience, but we cannot guarantee placement in a specific office .
Please note graduating seniors are only placed in Congressional offices due to federal agencies requiring proof of school enrollment for their interns.
Q.) Do I have to find a Congressional or government office to be placed with?
No, we place interns with Congressional offices and government agencies. Once a potential placement has been identified, scholars typically undergo a second interview with the office's hiring manager. WLP assists scholars to prepare for this interview.
Q.) Why am I required to submit a transcript?
You are required to provide an unofficial transcript to provide additional context to your academic experiences and performance (e.g., course rigor, subject interests). Unofficial transcripts are also regularly required for the government hiring processes relevant to WLP internship placements.
Q.) Is there a GPA requirement?
No. While academic excellence is sought in program applicants, we look for well-rounded students who demonstrate ambition, academic ability, leadership ability, maturity, and involvement in campus and community activities. Weakness in GPA can often be compensated for with a strong resume, a good recommendation, and a well-written essay.
Q.) What kind of resume should I submit?
Applicants should submit a one-page typed resume that is clean, accurate, and well-organized. Resumes should summarize academic experience; leadership experience; work experience; and honors, awards, and activities. Keep in mind that this resume is used to help secure you an internship, so we may send it to potential host internship offices. Please make sure that your resume includes your contact and school information.
Q.) Who should my letter of recommendation come from?
You should select an individual who is able to explain why you would be a good addition to the Washington Leadership Program. Anyone who could comment on your work or academic performance, leadership potential, and interest in public service would be a good choice. The best recommendations come from people who know you well and can describe your skills, accomplishments, and personality. These letters typically come from a previous employer, professor, colleague, mentor, or teacher.
Q.) What will I do as a WLP scholar?
The internship includes a weekend orientation on June 12-13, an eight-week Congressional or federal government office internship, and a leadership curriculum. The orientation serves as an introduction to Capitol Hill, the Administration, and Washington, D.C. Throughout the summer, interns meet with prominent South Asian American public service leaders and policy decision makers as well as participate in group discussions, team building activities, and professional development.
Intern responsibilities in the office vary according to the office in which you are placed. Interns should keep in mind that their work will not always entail “headline” activities. The aim of this program is first-hand, on-site observation of the day-to-day workings of Capitol Hill and the Administration. Interns will come away with genuine insight into the processes that shape national policy. Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:
Legislative correspondence (answering constituent mail, data entry, stuffing envelopes, etc.);
Legislative and issue research projects as determined by intern coordinator;
General office support (answering phones, photocopying, data entry, etc.);
Attending Congressional hearings, or House or Senate floor debate, for research; and
Q.) Where can I learn more about what the WLP experience is like?
You can read personal accounts from the previous scholars themselves about their summer experience on the blog. You can also reach out to us if you have questions or to be connected to an alumnus of the program to ask questions and learn more about the program.
Q.) What mentorship does WLP provide?
WLP scholars are assigned mentors based on mutual interests, passions, and career aspirations. These mentors are usually WLP alumni or South Asian public service professionals. In addition to assigned mentors, you are encouraged to reach out to the alumni, panelists, and co-workers you will meet during your time in the program to develop mentorship relationships. Upon completion of the program, scholars are inducted into the WLP alumni community, a professional network to support alumni in their career journey.
Q.) Where do I go if I have more questions about my application?
We will be offering two "office hour" Zoom sessions in December and January during the application period where WLP alumni and board members will be available to answer questions about the application, interview process, and program. Registration for the office hours will be advertised widely on our social media. If you cannot attend these sessions or would like more information, please reach out to us.
Q.) What if the pandemic is not over by summer 2021?
WLP is prepared for the possibility of a virtual program in 2021. Though WLP is typically an in-person experience in DC, we successfully transitioned to a completely virtual program for our 2020 class within a few weeks of national lockdown announcements. The health and safety of our scholars is our priority, and the primary determinant of an in-person or virtual program will be the operating status of the offices where our scholars are placed. The stipend amount will not change, regardless of whether the program is in person or virtual.