Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute? For the last 40 years, CHCI has forged a critical pathway to Educate, Empower, and Connect our nation’s future Latino leaders, creating a transformative and lasting Impact on Latino youth and our nation. Learn more about CHCI's history.
CHCI hosts a platform of leadership development programs, which equip young Latino leaders with the tools they need to be successful in the public and private sectors. Through our educational and leadership development programs, CHCI is committed to our mission of Developing the Next Generation of Latino Leaders®.
When are applications due? The 2017-2018 Graduate Fellowship Program application is due at 11:59pm EST Friday, February 3, 2017.
Am I eligible? The CHCI Graduate Fellowship Program requires that your graduate degree be conferred within three years of the prospective start of the program. For the 2017-2018 application cycle, you should have completed your graduate degree between May 2014 and August 2017. You are also only eligible if you do not plan to enroll in an academic program at the same time of the fellowship, Fall 2016 for this cycle.
What are the essay word limits? Please keep your responses to a maximum of 600 words each.
Applicants currently in a Ph.D. program must have completed their Ph.D. coursework or conferred their master’s degree by this same time. Further, they must provide support to participate in the program from their academic advisor or dissertation committee chair upon admission to the fellowship.
What do I need to complete my application? A complete application consists of a one-page PDF version of your resume or your curriculum vitae, your most recent unofficial transcript, and two letters of recommendation. In addition, we will require your essay responses as indicated in the application.
How many letters of recommendation do I need? When and from whom should I make the request? CHCI’s Graduate Fellowship Program requires two letters of recommendation.You should identify and ask your recommenders for a letter as early as possible in the application process. Be mindful of who you identify as a potential provider - we look at each letter to be sure the provider indicates having a positive working relationship with you and speaks well to your interests in public policy.
Given the level of competitiveness displayed by applicants, any information you provide intended to supplement your application is not guaranteed consideration for review. If you are interested in providing more than two letters of recommendation, you may ask additional providers to forward their letter to email@example.com after receiving an invitation to interview.
My recommendation provider cannot see my application online after receiving their link via email. Please return to your application page and press the “Save for Later” button. This will allow our application system to consider your application active in order for your recommender to provide their letter on your behalf. You may need to populate required fields before saving if you have not already done so. “N/A” is acceptable in our system until you go to submit your application.
Can I apply to more than one program? Yes. Applicants to the Graduate Fellowship Program are welcomed to apply to more than one discipline of that program: higher education, secondary education, STEM, energy, health, law, and housing. In any case, applying to more than one program will not necessarily improve your chances of being interviewed or admitted.
When should I apply? We encourage all applicants to apply as early as possible to allow for us to facilitate the review process more easily.
Is there an interview involved? Top applicants will be invited to interview within each discipline category. If you apply to more than one discipline, expect to share your interest in those other disciplines, but that your interview may be intended for one over another. Interview questions ask about a candidate’s leadership experience, specific interests in public policy, and prospects for the Latino community.
How is a candidate selected? A candidate is selected based on their demonstrated leadership experience, commitment to advancing the Latino community, quality of writing, letters of recommendation, and resume. Candidates are reviewed after the closing of each respective application by program alumni, CHCI programs staff and, in some cases, sponsoring partners. While we strive to provide a timely decision to all candidates within about six weeks of the application deadlines, this time period can vary between applications.
How do I stand out as a competitive applicant? Your essays are the best opportunity to tell us about you and we understand that each applicant’s story is unique. Take advantage of this space to indicate how you have exercised leadership in your family or community and how that has contributed to your interests in public policy. Please also ask a friend, professor, or mentor to review your essays in advance or to help you brainstorm what to talk about.
Are DACA applicants eligible to apply? Yes. Applicants are not required to disclose their citizenship status during the application process. Once admitted, CHCI would ask for that disclosure for onboarding purposes. Any DACA applicant accepted must have their permit at the start of the program.
Are there summer opportunities available for graduate students through CHCI? No. CHCI does not host summer opportunities at the graduate level; however, we encourage you to visit www.chcinextopp.net to see if you find an opportunity that fits your need..
What is the fellowship experience like? Graduate Fellowship experiences vary from placement to placement. All fellows will be expected to provide the same level work as an intern would, particularly in a congressional placement. However, fellowship placements are intended to align more closely with the fellow’s background and interests in public policy. Fellows are expected to put forth their best efforts in any placement and proactively search for opportunities to demonstrate their work capabilities, in addition to learning from the legislative staff in the office.
How are placements determined? Graduate Fellows are placed based on their professional and academic backgrounds, along with their interests in public policy, with at least one half of the full term being on Capitol Hill. Admitted fellows enter the placement process soon after accepting their fellowship offer and work closely with CHCI staff to determine a placement option. Fellows also have the option to pursue a placement off Capitol Hill during the program, which - in odd-numbered years - would occur during the second half of the program, due to the political election cycle.
Is housing provided? No. CHCI does not arrange free housing for participants of the Graduate Fellowship Program. Short-term housing can be arranged if needed, and would be deducted from compensation payments made to the fellow for the 10-12 week duration of the arrangement. CHCI has a wide network of allies in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area who will typically provide postings for CHCI Fellows to rent their living space.
My school does not appear on the application. How should I proceed? This happens time to time, particularly with schools out-of-country. Please send the following information on your school to our programs team:
- School Name
- City, State, Country
All other inquiries may be directed to our CHCI Programs Staff.
Thanks for your interest in CHCI’s Graduate Fellowship!