About the Program

Leadership Advantage is an intensive multiple-day seminar for incoming university students. It focuses on developing personal leadership skills, teaching awareness of campus leadership opportunities, and introducing the university and students' specific fields. The program is offered exclusively to students in engineering, architecture, and the technical sciences with a high school record of leadership and academic excellence. These are very difficult, time-consuming fields. Because of their intensity, their price of success can sometimes be expressed in terms of missed opportunities for traditional leadership and social development. Leadership Advantage allows students to develop their leadership skills and knowledge about opportunities at college before they are fully engaged in the rigors of college life. Leadership abilities are enhanced through hands-on exercises and projects. The participants in the program learn about opportunities to get involved at the university as a freshman.

The institute introduces students to what life at the university will be like. They have opportunities to explore the campus, spend time with older students and professors in their fields, visit classrooms, even learn valuable tips about campus resources, hang outs, and more. All of this information, plus the experience of staying at the university for several days, greatly helps them prepare for the adjustment they will make as they continue their education.

Leadership Advantage sessions are currently being held at the University of Cincinnati, Colorado State University, the University of Louisville, and Iowa State University. Each of these schools host one or two sessions of the program during their summer break before the start of their fall semester or fall quarter. Leadership Advantage is an independent student organization on each of these campuses, and the program is organized and run entirely by students.

Incoming students are selected to participate in Leadership Advantage through an application process. Information is sent out to all incoming students in the applicable majors. To be considered for the program, they must return a completed application with an essay response. There is also a small fee, which varies from school to school, to cover some of the basic costs of session.

During the course of the program, activities usually run from 8 in the morning to 11 p.m. or midnight. The activities vary greatly, from on campus visits with professors and administrators, to interactive leadership challenges, to presentations by student groups, to a team-based design project. The participants are also grouped into small teams of 5 or 6 for the program, and each team is lead by two older student facilitators who help run the activities and who also serve as valuable information resources and friends for the new students.