2021 COSLI Application Open: October 1, 2020-January 31, 2021 (via online portal below)

Acceptance Decision & Notification: Early March

The COSLI 2020 Summer Program was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two 3-week sessions will be held during the summer of 2021 from June 20-July 10 and July 11-July 31.


Colorado Student Leaders Institute (COSLI) is a state-legislated, summer residential program. For one month each summer, Colorado's best and brightest students, chosen from a competitive pool of applicants, live and study on the campus and earn three hours of college credit. Students choose one of two majors through which to explore an interdisciplinary curriculum: International Social Studies or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math), and explore diverse topics through a lecture series by university professors and 3 hands-on projects--Colorado Social Problem Lab, Short-Term Business Lab, and National History Day. 

COSLI students do not have to be formally designated as gifted and talented students, but they must demonstrate through their application that they meet the academic rigors that the program requires. At least 50% of our students must be eligible for free and reduced lunch and/or be first generation college students.

COSLI prepares students for college by fostering leadership, independence, innovativeness, initiative, critical thinking, and creativity.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Students from Colorado public schools (e.g., local school districts, charter, federal) or non-public schools (e.g. private, parochial, homeschool) may be nominated.
  2. Priority is given to current 9th and 10th graders, but current 11th graders are permitted to apply and will also be considered.
  3. Student must be a resident of Colorado at the time of attendance.
  4. All students must meet the aptitude/achievement and behavior/character criteria as established by the Executive Board. The Executive Board takes the recommendations of the Advisory Board regarding program admittance. The Institute is clear that scores on tests and transcripts are only part of a holistic view of student applicants.

Selection Criteria

Multiple criteria are used in the selection process for all Colorado Student Leaders Institute (COSLI) nominees. It is crucial to understand that COSLI is meant for the student who is an exceptionally curious and excited learner. Very often, these qualities do not translate to test scores or transcripts, and these students may not necessarily be formally designated as gifted and talented. Therefore, we weigh the following REQUIRED application components:

  • Essay Questions
  • Student and Parent Statements
  • 2 Recommendation Forms (at least one must be from a teacher)
  • Community involvement, activities, awards, life activity (work) and honors.
  • Scholastic performance as shown on transcripts or attested by teachers.
  • Test Scores (Aptitude, Achievement, EOCs, Pre-Collegiate, state standardized, or other)
  • High school transcripts


Please read all instructions carefully before beginning the application process. If you have questions, email [email protected]

  • The application must be completed on the online portal. Word or PDF versions of the application are provided for reference, and application should only be submitted via mail or email in the event of technical difficulty or extenuating circumstances.
  • The application is divided into 7 sections on the online portal. Links for each portion of the application, as well as the individual responsible for completing them are provided below. These parts do not need to be submitted in any particular order, but they must all be submitted on or before the deadline for consideration. 
  • Applicants will receive a confirmation email and a link to edit the responses after completion of each section. However, we strongly encourage students to review each section and prepare their answers before entering the online portal to ensure the application is properly completed.
  • In the event that you must mail or email an application, DO NOT fill out by hand. Illegible handwriting may result in the failure of Colorado Student Leaders Institute to contact you regarding your application status or admittance.
  • You will be asked to provide both an email you check regularly, as well as an alternate email you check regularly. We will be sending multiple correspondences regarding your application and admittance status via email, and we expect a timely response. Colorado Student Leaders Institute is not responsible for missed deadlines due to failure to check emails.
  • IF YOU ARE SELECTED, you will be required to sign a study agreement stating that you commit to attending the summer program for its entirety. If you sign this document, and cannot attend for any reason other than extreme circumstances, you will be required to pay Colorado Student Leaders Institute $1,000.00. This is roughly the cost of the three hours of college credit students will earn during the program.
  • We welcome students of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, as well as students whose first language is not English. However, the primary language of instruction at Colorado Student Leaders Institute is English.
  • COST: Colorado Student Leaders Institute is a state-legislated program, and the per student cost of $3,000 is largely funded through a combination of state dollars and private donations. HOWEVER, each student is responsible for obtaining a $400 sponsorship. Your school or parents may be willing to pay this fee, but if not, we encourage you to reach out to local officials, businesses, and other sources to obtain this sponsorship. Colorado Student Leaders Institute has provided resources to assist and guide you in this process. While we strongly suggest that you seek out a sponsorship, we do not want this to be a barrier to attending the program for well-qualified candidates. In extreme circumstances, we will assist you in finding a sponsorship for your spot in the program. Your signature on this application commits you to obtaining this sponsorship if you are selected.

Online Portal

The application packet is broken into 7 different parts to be filled out by different individuals.

Please note that if you do not receive an email receipt of completion for each section, your response did not go through.

Your application is not complete until you receive notification by email.

  • Part 1a: Nomination and Eligibility Form—School and Nominator Form

To be completed by: Nominator/School Personnel

Online Portal: 

The Nominator should be a school official, and can be a teacher, school counselor, principal, etc.

  • Part 1b: Nomination and Eligibility Form—Student Academic Information

To be completed by: Nominator/School Personnel

Online Portal:

This section should be filled out by a school official authorized to provide test scores and transcripts. This information is confidential, and is only viewed by authorized individuals at Colorado Student Leaders Institute.

  • Part 2: Student Information From

To be completed by: Student

Online Portal: 

This section is where students provide contact and basic information for themselves and their parents.

  • Part 3: Activity and Experience Form

To be completed by: Student

Online Portal: 

In this section, students detail their work, academic, activity, and other experience, as well as honors and recognitions. This section requires that students provide their experience, and briefly answer two short answer questions. There are fillable templates below that students may upload into the online portal if they do not have enough available fields.

  • Part 4: Essays

To be completed by: Student

Online Portal: 

This section requires that students write two extended essays.

  • Part 5: Student Identification of Recommenders

To be completed by: Student

Online Portal: 

This section requests that students provide the contact information for their recommenders, so that we may contact them in the event we do not receive their forms.

  • Part 6: Recommendation Forms (2 forms must accompany application)

To be completed by: Recommenders

Online Portal: 

In this section, two recommenders fill out questionnaires about the applicant. The nominator may also serve as a recommender.

  • Part 7: Parent/Guardian Commitment

To be completed by: Parent/Guardian & Student

Online Portal: 

Parents must briefly answer a question about their student’s capabilities, and certify that they understand all instructions and requirements.


Supplemental Application Materials

2020 Application Word Document

2020 Application PDF

Sponsorship Instructions

Sponsorship Template/Guidelines

Sample Recommendation Form

En Español: Part 7-Obligación del Padre/Guardian

Activity and Experience Templates

-School, Work, Community Activities

-Residential/Experiential Activities

-Awards, Recognitions, Honors