Apply to be a Bonner

The Bonner Leader Program is a unique leadership development program for students with an interest in service and civic engagement. It’s a unique opportunity to impact campus, the local community and the world through leadership and excellence in service. Applicants are chosen based on their demonstrated leadership potential, and all students with an interest in meaningful and significant service are encouraged to apply.

The Application
The application contains eight short essay questions. Most are designed to be answered in 2-3 paragraphs, but please take as much space as you need. We encourage you to write your before starting the application and then paste them into the application once it’s live. The list of essay prompts is listed here.

  • Why are you interested in the Bonner Leader Program and what do you hope to gain from the program?
  • What is one social, political, or economic issue that is important to you and why?
  • Tell us about a time when you failed.
  • What motivates you?
  • Are you diverse?
  • What makes a good leader? Who is the best leader you know or know of?
  • Please select one of the following to answer:
    • What do you like most about yourself?
    • Are you a hammer or nail?
    • What was your favorite childhood book?
  • Is there anything else you would like the selection committee to know about you that you feel is not adequately reflected in your previous answers? Feel free to be creative.

Please submit two references who can speak to your leadership potential and interest in service. They must complete the Bonner Leader Program Reference Form, which includes space to upload a letter of recommendation that details why you would be successful as a Bonner Leader and/or what you would most uniquely bring to the program. We encourage your references to write their letter of recommendation before starting the application and pasting their letter into the reference form.

Incoming freshmen who have been accepted to the College of Charleston are welcome to apply to the Bonner Leader Program. Applications for incoming members of the Class of 2027 will open shortly. Please check back or email us for updates.

The Bonner Leader application process includes an online application, letters of recommendation and an interview with current College of Charleston Bonners via Zoom.

Visit the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation website for more information about the national Bonner Leader network. 


Visit, call or email us today to learn more about the Bonner Leader application process and how the CCE helps students do well by doing good.

Center for Civic Engagement
Lightsey Center
160 Calhoun Street, Suite 203
Charleston, SC   29401


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