Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

2023 Application

The 2023 NELP Application is available by clicking the button above!

We've started receiving applications, but prospective students are still welcome to apply!

A complete application consists of the following three elements:

  • a filled-out and submitted application, accessed above
  • a $35 application fee, payable through this link
  • a scheduled interview.

Questions about the application? Feel free to reach out to


*          *          *


To save you from having to click through the application form, the questions for the personal statement are listed below. Your responses to these quesitons will probably take up the bulk of the time in filling out your application. You'll submit your personal statement as part of the application.

In a separate document, please respond to items A through E below, labeling each part of your Statement of Purpose A-E to correspond with these questions. Your answers all together should probably yield a total of between three and five double-spaced pages of writing.

What are we looking for in your responses? Mostly we’re trying to get a detailed, specific picture of what makes you interesting, complex, and distinctive. We are particularly interested in what excites you intellectually and creatively. We want to know how you relate to the world around you and the people and things in it. We hope to see the unique ways you express yourself when given the opportunity to do so. Above all, we want to see you—as a complicated and singular person—begin to appear on the page. The most illuminating responses to these questions are usually candid, inquisitive, and direct—and they move well beyond the predictable responses that some people might give to these questions.

A. What’s something that you’ve been curious about recently and decided to learn more about? How did that curiosity arise and how did you (start to) satisfy that curiosity? What might this example show about how your brain engages with ideas? In other words, what does it look like when you get interested in something? You could write about anything—your new knitting hobby, a house of worship you recently walked into, 19th century French poetry, a mysterious stranger, a YouTube channel, sports betting, whatever!

B. For most students, the NELP experience, while rewarding and fun, includes adversity of various kinds—exposure to cold and wet weather; the hard, physical work of maintaining camp; strenuous backpacking; occasional interpersonal conflicts; being away from friends and family and separated from technologies like cell phones and email; the academic rigor of a program that packs nine credits of upper-level work into 45 days. How does challenge, pressure, and even discomfort play out in your life? How has it been a part of the way you learn? Please be honest and detailed about this, and give us an example.

C. Tell us about something you’ve read recently that has been meaningful to you—a work of fiction, an article, an essay, a tweet, a psalm, a book of poems…. Why was it important to you?

D. What’s the strangest thing—maybe one of the strangest things—you believe? Why do you believe it?

E. Tell us something else about yourself, something you haven’t yet touched on, that helps define or describe you and helps bring into focus what you would bring as a member of the NELP community.