African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of over 6,000 leaders who will work together to address Africa’s greatest challenges, achieve extraordinary social impact and accelerate the continent’s growth. ALA identifies young leaders between the ages of 16-19 from across the continent with demonstrated leadership potential, a passion for Africa, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a track record of community service. These young leaders are then brought together for a two-year pre-university program at our world-class boarding institution in Johannesburg, South Africa. ALA continues to cultivate these leaders throughout their lives, in university and beyond, by providing on-going leadership training, supporting their growth through access to internships and careers, and connecting them to high-impact networks of people and capital that will empower them to create transformative change.
The Academy admits between 100 and 125 young leaders across Africa each year for the two-year pre-university program, anchored on Entrepreneurial Leadership, African Studies, and Writing & Rhetoric. Students also take Cambridge A’level subjects as electives, alongside specialized research classes in the Sciences, Humanities and Creative Arts. The Academy is a boarding school; all students are accommodated and catered for at the Academy’s campus in Honeydew, Johannesburg, South Africa for the duration of their studies.
REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION
ALA searches for young leaders across the continent between the ages of 16 and 19. Please note that ALA’s admissions team does not expect an applicant to be extraordinary on all five criteria; we seek students with a variety of interests, strengths, and backgrounds. Our admissions team will review applicants based on the following criteria (not listed in order of importance):
- Leadership Potential
We encourage you to share with us the activities in which you participate and the leadership roles you assume at home, in your school, or in your community, and we hope you will think critically about what “leadership” means to you.
- Entrepreneurial Spirit
Do you often think about how you can improve the world around you? Do you act when you see a need in your community? Do you enjoy thinking about new ideas and creating new products? We encourage you to celebrate your entrepreneurial spirit and share your entrepreneurial ideas with us.
- Commitment to Service
Are you passionate about uplifting your community? Do you dream of a world in which all people are able to realize their dreams? Have you demonstrated this passion at school or in your community? If so, please share with us how you plan to give back to your community and the world
- Passion for Africa
Do you have an African dream? Are you excited by the idea of spending two years in a community of individuals from a wide range of cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds from across the continent? Are you excited about playing a role in making Africa a peaceful and prosperous continent?
- Academic Achievement
The Academic environment at ALA is very rigorous and challenging, therefore our selection committee will closely review scores from national examinations and the marks and comments on each applicant’s school reports to ensure that applicants are fully prepared to maximize the inter-disciplinary nature of the ALA curriculum.
* All applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, therefore applicants are advised to fill in the applications with the most accurate information and providing as much valuable detail as possible.
ALA ADMISSIONS FINANCIAL AND NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
The Academy makes its admissions decisions on merit and on a needs-blind basis (i.e. we admit you before ever looking at your finances). In accordance with South African law and our values, ALA does not discriminate on the basis of gender (identity or expression), race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality or ethnicity (or tribal affiliation).
We admit young leaders to the Academy irrespective of family financial status and all students are eligible to apply for the Academy’s financial assistance package after admission. We highly encourage interested applicants to focus on the application and their reasons for desiring to study to ALA before the finances. Our admissions team works with all admitted students to create fair and personalized tuition fees. We believe that money should not prevent qualified students from attending ALA.
APPLICATION PROCESS AND TIMELINE
Applications to the Academy typically open in August and close in December each year. The admissions process starts with the completion of an application either online or by emailing the completed form to [email protected] along with the submission of school reports. Our admissions team then reviews the applications received and shortlists selected applicants for finalist activities or phone interviews (we are unable to travel to every country). Phone interviews in no way disadvantage an applicant’s chances for entrance into ALA. At the finalist activities, prospective students will participate in group exercises, write an entrance examination, take part in group exercises and submit recommendation letters from their former teachers. After the finalist activities, a final evaluation is done by our admissions team and then a final selection is made.
The admission cycle for the Class of 2016 will be as follows:
|September 4, 2015
|Applications open (online application will open shortly afterwards)
|October 31, 2015
|Early decision applications close
|Early decision finalist activities
|December 15, 2015
|Regular decision applications close
|January 8, 2016
|Notification of final early decision selections
|December 2015 – February 2016
|First round review of regular decision applications
|January 2016 – February 2016
|Finalists selected and invited for finalist activities
|January 2016 – March 2016
|Finalist activities (interviews, group activities and entrance examination) or phone interview
|April 15th, 2016
|Notification of final regular decision selections
ONLINE APPLICATION PROCESS
African Leadership Academy uses an internet-based application system. We prefer internet-based applications but applications can also be submitted by post or email, and all submitted applications are considered equally regardless of the mode of submission. Applications can be completed online at https://app.hobsons.co.uk/?id=ala. Paper applications can also be downloaded from our website and submitted either by email to [email protected] or by post (regular post should be a last resort).
The following instructions apply for the online application:
- All applicants will need access to a computer and the internet to complete the application online. We realize that not everyone owns a computer, therefore we suggest that you write the essay questions listed below at home and type them up when you have internet access. This will allow you to think through the questions and minimalize your internet/computer rental costs.
- The application can be completed in English, French, Portuguese, and Arabic.
- Applicants do not need to complete the application in one sitting. Once registered on the system, applicants can save their progress on the portal and return to complete the application at their convenience. There is no limit to the number of times you can access the system
- All sections marked with a red asterisk (*) must be answered
- Applicants can review their information for accuracy before final submission
Before you Start
You will be required to provide electronic copies of your school reports for the last two years and national examination results as you complete this application. They can be uploaded in the following formats: doc; .pdf; .txt; .xls; .jpeg.
- Personal Information
This section aims to capture personal biodata from each applicant. Each applicant should include accurate data as it appears in their international passport or other official documents.
- Family Information
The family information captured in this section does not influence admissions decisions in any way; some of the data requested is relevant for visa evaluation processes, while some other data are collected as part of ALA’s participation in a long-term study evaluating the impact of family background in students’ educational choices. Applicants who do not feel comfortable answering those questions can ignore them.
- Academic Information
In this section, the questions asked relate to a student’s current or previous educational experience, particularly the school where the student currently studies or previously studied, and contact information for the school’s principal. Applicants can provide as much details as they have.
- School Reports
In this section, applicants will be required to attach copies of all school reports from the past two years of schooling and national examination results. The reports can be submitted in PDF, Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel formats.
- Short Answer Questions
In this section, applicants will be required to answer these essay questions
- What excites you most about African Leadership Academy? (Maximum 150 words)
- Please describe the activity in which you participate that is most meaningful or important to you (100-300 words)
- Why is it the most important or meaningful to you?
- What have you learned about yourself by participating in this activity?
- Essay Questions
In this section we would like you to describe a time when you identified a need in your community (this can be your family, school, village, town, civil society organization, workplace or religious community, etc.) and took action:
- What need did you identify? (20-100 words)
- How did you address this need? (60-250 words)
- What difficulties did you encounter? (30-150 words)
- What was the outcome? (40-200 words)
In this section, applicants will be asked to provide information about various leadership and extra-curricular activities in which they have participated. Some applicants might provide details about their involvement in community service, school leadership, entrepreneurial activities, sports, athletics, music and the arts, conferences, competitions or other special programs. Applicants should only include information that is accurate, and focus on providing detail about each activity, rather than listing multiple activities.
- Awards, Certificates, Recognitions
Here, applicants have the opportunity to list up to 5 awards, certificates, or recognitions that they have received. Examples: top math student in class, Yale Young Global Scholars attendee, etc. Do not send us copies of any awards, certificates, or recognitions unless specifically asked by us.
Once the application has been completed online, applicants can review the information provided before submitting. The data will only be available to the ALA admissions department after the application has been submitted.
Should you have any questions, please contact the ALA admissions department using the details below:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +27 11 699 3000
African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to enroll the most outstanding young leaders from across Africa and around the world – ALA is not only looking for young people who are smart and and excel in the academic environment, we are looking for young people with the potential to lead and impact the world around them through their courage, initiative and innovation.
Our application window is officially open! You may download and print the applications, please click on the links below.
Download application form in English here: English_African Leadership Academy Application_2016-2017
Download the application guide in English here: English_ALA Application Guide 2016-2017
Download application form in Portuguese here: Portuguese_African Leadership Application_2016-2017
Contact ALA Admissions
Email: [email protected]/Tel: +27 11 699 3000
The French and Arabic applications and guides will be available for download soon. Online applications will be available towards the end of September.