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There are several ways in which students are selected to participate in the NSLC. Teachers, counselors, and NSLC alumni nominate outstanding high school students from across the United States and around the world. Candidates may also be selected from one of several national talent identification surveys, including the College Board Student Search Service and the ACT EOS.

Interested students who possess a strong academic record and have demonstrated leadership potential may also apply for admission to the NSLC on a merit basis.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. As programs fill quickly each year, students are encouraged to apply for admission at online here to speed the application process and help ensure first choice of session.