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Bank of America Student Leaders: 6 Reasons to Apply

Summer Leadership programs are a great way to build a wide range of skills that add long-term value to you as an individual.

A popular summer program for high school students is the Student Leaders Program by the Bank of America. Student Leaders work towards building a more inclusive and diverse society.

The Bank of America first launched the program in 2004 and has seen thousands of students work with non-profit organizations and connect with employment, skills development, and service.

The program accepts a diverse cohort of students and includes 8 weeks of work with a locally-based non-profit. The program also provides a stipend and a fully-funded trip to the Leadership Summit as a delegate at the end of the program.

Why do leadership programs in high schools?


For starters, a lot of these programs focus on developing skills that are essential for both academic and professional success, such as communication, problem-solving, collaboration/leadership, and critical thinking. By participating in leadership programs, students can learn how to work effectively with others, lead projects, and develop strategies for success.


But, to be clear, doing a leadership program doesn’t make you a leader. These programs can be great ways to develop skills that apply broadly - but unless they are selective then they may not be particularly valuable for you in the college admission process. It’s better to demonstrate leadership through doing your passion project or club than by doing a program. But, if you can get into a selective program, it can have a lot of value. Let’s dive into what options exist!

We have shortlisted leadership programs in the past and even reviewed popular programs such as Boys Nation, Girls Nation, National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC), and Boston Leadership Institute,


If you are considering leadership programs, then another program that should be on your radar is the Bank of America Student Leaders program. As a student leader, you will be assigned to work with a nonprofit organization (e.g., Boys and Girls Club) for a period of 8 weeks. Additionally, you gain a better understanding of how nonprofits achieve their mission and develop more refined workforce skills.


Career readiness and skill development are the two key highlights of the program, along with mentorship sessions, seminars, and workshops that help you work on your leadership skills.


In this blog, we’ll cover 6 reasons to apply to the program, as well as additional information including

  • Eligibility

  • Application Components

  • Duration

  • Location

  • Cost and Stipend

  • Roles and responsibilities

  • Timeline of admission decisions

Let’s dive right in!


About Bank of America Student Leaders Program


Who is eligible to apply and participate?

You are eligible to apply for the Student Leaders Program if you -

  • Currently are a junior or senior in high school

  • Live in one of the regions that the program runs in. You can find a list of regions here.

  • Can commit to an 8‐week paid internship and work 35 hours a week*

  • Are legally authorized to work in the US without sponsorship through the end of September 2023 (or September 2024 for next year’s cohort)

  • Are to participate in a week‐long, fully-funded Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC (July 17-24, 2023)

  • Have a solid academic record at school


What is the application deadline for the program?

The applications for the Student Leaders Program usually open in October, and the deadline is usually in the second week of January.


What are the program dates for the Student Leaders Program?

The duration is 8 weeks from the end of your school year and including the week of July 17-24 in D.C., where you will participate in the Leadership Summit.


What do I need to apply to the program?

To complete your Student Leaders application, you will need the following materials

  • Basic details

  • Details of your academic progress at school

  • A letter of recommendation

  • A resume that does not exceed more than 1-2 pages (optional)


What is the cost of the program?

There is no cost to participate in the program, with all expenses being covered by the Bank of America, along with a fully-funded trip to the Leadership Summit in D.C., and a stipend.


Where is the program held?

The program is held all across the country, where you will be assigned a nonprofit organization to work with, located in your region/area. The Leadership Summit will be held in Washington D.C.


When do I get notified about my application status as a Bank of America Student Leader?

Decisions for the program usually roll out by the end of April for each cohort.


Does the Bank of America offer any scholarships?

As a student, you can avail of one of the following scholarships offered by the Bank of America



1. Community Engagement and Leadership Opportunities

The Bank of America Student Leaders program strongly emphasizes community engagement. As a Student Leader, you will have the opportunity to work closely with a local nonprofit organization (such as Habitat for Humanity) dedicated to addressing the needs of a community. This hands-on experience allows you to contribute to meaningful projects and work on your outreach skills, communication, and problem-solving skills.


As a Student Leader with a nonprofit, you will gain valuable insights into the challenges faced by the community and develop a deeper understanding of social issues that a particular community or group faces. Citing this experience in your college admissions essay, interview, or other aspects of your application adds a boost to your profile - colleges are looking for empathetic students that are driven enough to make a difference.


2. Great Networking Opportunities

Bank of America selects about 300 driven high school students from over 100 diverse communities. Interacting and learning from your fellow Student Leaders is a highly beneficial and enriching opportunity. You can use the duration of the program to learn, develop your skills, understand community-specific problems and views, and make connections for a lifetime. Additionally, you will attend networking events, seminars, and workshops where you have the chance to meet Bank of America employees, as well as nonprofit leaders.


The Student Leaders Program has a strong reputation within the corporate sector, and being selected as a participant can help you access and apply for internships, job opportunities, and scholarships Student Leaders have gone on to work on issues such as human trafficking, reducing gun violence, and utilizing data analysis for better academic performances for children.


You can read about the work past Student Leaders have done here.


3. Professional and Personal Growth

The Student Leaders Program spans a total of 8 weeks, and is a comprehensive program including skill-building sessions, career exploration, project work, and community service.


If you’re looking for a program that fosters both professional and personal growth, a project and leadership-based program may be a good fit for you.


Additionally, working with locally-based non-profits such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Habitat for Humanity, you also have access to a lot more context and resources, owing to your familiarity with your region.


Apart from the resources provided by the Program itself, it is a good idea to interact with your network and project(s) as closely as possible.


College admissions officers are not just looking for the prestige of the program you participated in, but also what you gained out of the entire experience. You can choose to continue your work with the non-profit organization that you are assigned/tasked to work with or work on a similar issue.


As for personal growth, stepping out of your comfort zone and working on real-world challenges fosters your teamwork skills, resourcefulness, and time management, as well as empathy and sensitivity towards different communities.


4. Build College and Career Readiness

Preparing for college and a career in public policy, law, or community-centric roles can be overwhelming, but the Bank of America Student Leaders program offers guidance and tools to help you navigate the application process for your dream schools, work on a strong resume, and excel in interviews.


Throughout the program, you will receive assistance with college applications, essay writing, and financial aid. You will also be able to reach out to mentors and program staff for advice regarding college admissions and building a strong profile, as well as any other program-related queries you may have.


As a Bank of America Student Leader, you are expected to attend workshops and seminars focused on building essential career skills.


5. Competitive Stipend and Other Incentives

Another reason why you may want to consider applying for the Bank of America Student Leaders Program is the stipend and incentives it provides to all its participants.


Each student leader is provided with a stipend of $11/hour, for a total duration of 8 weeks. Additionally, you are not required to relocate/travel beyond your district or area, as students are paired with non-profit organizations that are based locally.


Additionally, each student leader will be invited to attend the Student Leader Summit that is held in Washington D.C. each year, with all costs covered by the Bank of America.


The program and the Summit are both highly prestigious opportunities, and you can use your stipend to save up for college, save up towards furthering your work with nonprofits, etc.


6. Prestige

Student Leaders are selected after a rigorous application process involving thousands of applications from across the country. The acceptance rate for the Bank of America Student Leaders Program is between 5 and 8%.


The program is fully-funded, offers a stipend, and provides its participants with enriching opportunities, making it one of the most prestigious internships for a high school student in the summer.


You can mention your work experience with your assigned organization in your resume, as well as recommendations gained from your mentors or coworkers for your college application.


Participating in national programs such as this reflects greatly on your leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills, as well as your motivation to make a difference in real-world situations.


Pairing such prestigious opportunities with independent research in a field of your choice is what helps set your application apart from other applicants, especially while applying to competitive schools and undergraduate programs.


If you are interested in doing university-level research while still in high school, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image source: Bank of America Student Leaders Program logo

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