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White House Fellows

White House Fellows visit Senator McCain on the Hill.

White House Fellows visit Senator McCain on the Hill.

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 knowledge and skills necessary to contribute successfully at the highest levels of the federal government.

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.

All applications must be submitted on line by February 1, 2009. Letters of recommendation should be mailed and using an express mail service is strongly recommended. Letters of recommendation should be mailed to:

The President’s Commission on White House Fellows
c/o O.P.M. - Sheila Coates
1900 E Street, NW, Room B431
Washington, D.C. 20415
Phone: 202-606-1818

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