Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute?

In 1978, three Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus identified the need for more Latinos in public service. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Inc. was formed as a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization to Develop the Next Generation of Latino Leaders. Today, CHCI is an educational clearinghouse, administering nationally-recognized fellowship and internship opportunities year-round, which expose young Latino leaders to the world of politics and policy in Washington, DC.

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 scholarship, internship, and fellowship opportunities, CHCI is committed to the education and engagement of Latinos, based upon the principles of excellence, leadership, professionalism, and service.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute facilitates programs for students from high school through completion of a PhD. CHCI’s programs include: college access and readiness, scholarship, internship, and fellowship opportunities for young Latino leaders.

CHCI’s mission is to Develop the Next Generation of Latino Leaders.

When are applications due?

2017 Congressional Internship applications are due at 11:59pm EST on the following dates:

  • November 6, 2016 (Spring 2017)
  • January 20, 2017 (Summer 2017)
  • April 21, 2017 (Fall 2017)

Am I eligible?

The CHCI Congressional Internship Program requires that your degree be scheduled for completion after the prospective end of the internship session. Dates of completion for the 2017 internship sessions are listed below:

  • April 30, 2017 (Spring CIP)
  • July 30, 2017 (Summer CIP)
  • November 12, 2017 (Fall CIP)

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 one letter 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 Congressional Internship Program and Public Policy Fellowship Program require one letter of recommendation, while the Graduate Fellowship Program requires two letters. You should identify and ask your recommender 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 one letter of recommendation, you may ask additional providers to forward their letter to Adriana Barajas at after receiving an invitation to interview.

Can I apply to more than one program?

Yes. Applicants to the Congressional Internship Program are encouraged to apply to each session (Spring, Summer, Fall) if they are eligible, as our application pools are very competitive year after year.

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?

Candidates are not interviewed for the Congressional Internship Program.

How is a candidate selected?

A candidate is selected based on their demonstrated leadership experience, commitment to advancing the Latino community, quality of writing, letter 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.

How do I obtain academic credit from my institution to participate?

Each academic identifies CHCI’s programs differently as an out-of-class experience, internship credit, independent study, etc. Check with your counselor or academic advisor with questions on participatory credit.

What is the internship/fellowship experience like?

After a week-long orientation, Congressional Interns are assigned to a Congressional Office where they gain first-hand knowledge of how the U.S. legislative process works. Intern duties may include, but are not limited to, responding to constituent inquiries, drafting correspondence and memos, attending congressional hearings, conducting legislative research, data entry and analysis, supporting departmental meetings and telephone conferences, and assisting with general office operations.

How are placements determined?

Congressional Interns are placed in offices that primarily align with their regional background. The program’s priority is to provide participants the opportunity to explore a new professional space and learn ways in which to approach public policy issues.

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