Selection Process & Calendar

Selection Process

Selection as a White House Fellow is based on a combination of the following criteria:

  • A record of remarkable professional achievement early in one's career.
  • Evidence of leadership skills and the potential for further growth.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public service.
  • The skills to succeed at the highest levels of the Federal government, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.

All these qualities combined with the strength of one's character, a positive attitude, and the ability to work well with others are taken into consideration when selecting a class of White House Fellows.

The selection process is very competitive. There can be as many as 1,000 applicants for the eleven to nineteen fellowships. The White House Fellows Program office processes the applications and former Fellows screen the applications to identify the most promising candidates. Approximately 100 of the most qualified applicants are selected to be interviewed by eight to ten regional panels, which are composed of prominent local citizens. Based on the results of their interviews, the regional panels select approximately thirty candidates to proceed as national finalists.

All national finalists are required to undergo comprehensive background investigations to ensure that they qualify for the security clearance necessary for their fellowship work assignments. Every year, the President's Commission on White House Fellowships, which is composed of approximately thirty outstanding citizens who represent a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and professions, selects a class of White House Fellows. Members of the Commission are appointed by the President; some have served through several administrations and some are former Fellows. During selection weekend, the President's Commission on White House Fellowships interviews finalists at a location near Washington, D.C. After spending selection weekend interviewing, interacting with, and observing the national finalists, the Commission recommends those individuals it finds most qualified for the fellowship to the President for appointment as White House Fellows.


  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
  • Employees of the Federal government are not eligible unless they are career military personnel.
  • Applicants must have completed their undergraduate education and be working in their chosen professions.
  • There are no formal age restrictions. However, the Fellowship program was created to give selected Americans the experience of government service early in their careers.

The Commission awards Fellowships on a strict non-partisan basis, and encourages balance and diversity in all aspects of the program.

The online application will be available on November 1, 2013 and must be submitted with supporting documents by January 15, 2014 at 5:59 PM (EST).

Calendar and Procedures

January 15, 2014 at 5:59 p.m. EST
Application Deadline
Applications must be submitted online on or before this date. Instructions are provided under "Apply Online".

Regional Finalist Selection
Applicants are notified in March if they have been selected as regional finalists. If selected they will be notified of the time and location for regional interviews. The regional finalist list is posted on the website and is announced by the White House Press Office. Panel interviews are conducted during March and April. Regional finalists must keep a flexible schedule until panel assignments are announced. It is not likely that the assignment can be changed. Regional finalists must submit extensive security background investigation forms upon notification of their selection.

National Finalists Notification
National finalists selected from the regional interviews are notified at the beginning of May. The national finalist list is posted on the website and announced by the White House Press Office. All national finalists undergo background investigations before proceeding with the selection process.

Selection Weekend
National finalists are interviewed over a 2 1/2 day period by the members of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships. Lodging and airfare in the United States are paid by the Commission.

Presidential Selection
The White House Press Office announces the President's official selection of the incoming class of White House Fellows.

Placement Week
Fellows interview with principals in government agencies during Placement Week which generally occurs in the middle of July. The Director determines the placement of each Fellow in a work assignment. Lodging and airfare in the United States are paid by the Commission.

August 26 to August 26
Inclusive dates of the Fellowship year.

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