Prospective Students

The Presidential Leadership Academy is for those who want to think critically about important issues. Those who want to make the tough decisions. Those who want to make a difference in the world and lead by example. Those like you — Penn Staters who want to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Apply Now FAQs

Why Join PLA?

President Bendapudi speaking with a student

Presidential Seminar

President Bendapudi teaches the PLA second-year class in the fall, focusing on the issues that she encounters as a president.

Two PLA students during class

Dean's Seminar

Dean Mather teaches the PLA second-year class in the fall, examining current events around the world and on campus.

Palm trees and ocean in Puerto Rico

Field Trips

Students go on three field trips during their time in the PLA, all of which are of no expense to students.

PLA sponsored speaker Gai Nyok

Special Speakers

PLA will bring in various kinds of speakers to inform and inspire students. Past speakers have included U.S. ambassadors, authors, motivational speakers, and journalists.

PLA students talking to one another

Mentoring Program

An optional mentoring program is available, where an upperclass PLA student is paired with a new PLA student, allowing both parties to enhance one another's personal and professional experiences.

Group of PLA students posing together

Alumni Network

The PLA has graduated students every year since 2009 and this network offers hosts of opportunities and friendships for students to tap into during their time at Penn State and long after.

Requirements at a Glance

Second Year

  • HONOR 201
  • HONOR 301H
  • Blogging
  • Student Mentoring Program
  • Etiquette Program
  • Field Trips

Third Year

  • Course in Critical Thinking within Major
  • Blogging
  • Mentoring
  • Field Trips

Fourth Year

  • HONOR 401H
  • Blogging
  • Mentoring
  • Field Trips
  • Graduation Ceremony