What is National Youth Leadership Forum? Should You Join?

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Preparing for college can often seem like a daunting task, but there are so many programs that can help you prepare. One of such programs is the National Youth Leadership Forum. This program offers career exploration and leadership opportunities to improve your college readiness. But what is it, and how does it help you? We’ll find out in this article.

What is the National Youth Leadership Forum?What is the National Youth Leadership Forum?

The national youth leadership forum is popularly called the NYLF and is owned by Envision EMI, a for-profit company known for the numerous youth leadership programs they organize. The NYLF comprises a group of summer programs specially designed to introduce select high school students to top-rated careers and help them prepare for the college work that’ll land them such jobs.

The NYLF program, which has run for over 30 years, has helped students discover their passions, explore career opportunities, and make a difference in their societies.

Throughout the program’s duration, students either stay at a Washington hotel or in the dorms of different campuses around the country, depending on the program schedule. The NYLF combines lectures, events, and occasional field trips. Students also listen to guest speakers who are experts in their chosen top fields.

What are the Programs NYLF Offer?

What are the Programs NYLF Offer?

With the NYLF marketing its program as a way to ease students into the basics of their future careers, it’s only essential to know the available programs and what each entails beforehand. The NYLF offers six programs for participants, including health care, medicine, advanced medicine, national security, business innovation, law and CSI, and engineering. Below is a brief review of each and what they entail.

NYLF Advanced Medicine and Healthcare

This program lasts up to 10 days. Like medicine, it includes meetings and lectures from prominent doctors. It also includes experiments with diagnostic tools and other hospital equipment. However, the extra day it takes to cover this program means a more in-depth study of the subject.

Place of offer: John Hopkins University

NYLF Medicine

This program lasts for 9 days and typically includes lectures from renowned medical practitioners and visits to medical school campuses. Students also grasp what it takes to go through medical college from a young age.

Places of offer: UCLA, UC Berkeley, UNC-Chapel Hill, Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, Tufts University, and Rice University.

NYLF National Security

This program lasts six days and is designed to prepare participants for defense, intelligence, and diplomacy careers. Students meet military personnel and federal agents while visiting places like the U.S. Naval academy and the pentagon. The essence of these visits is to learn how crisis decision-making works.

Place of offer: Maryland

NYLF Business Innovation

This program lasts for seven days and is designed to teach students about careers in the business world.

Place of offer: Yale University


This program lasts for six days and involves lectures in law and forensic sciences. Prominent lawyers and members of the FBI deliver lectures and keynotes. Participants also visit laboratories and courthouses where they interact with professionals and learn from live court proceedings.

Place of stay: select Washington DC hotels

NYLF Engineering

Program duration: 8 days

The program focuses on multiple engineering fields, such as web design, robotics, and sustainable design. Students learn how to develop their digital models while being introduced to digital engineering technology.

Place of offer: UC Berkeley and Georgia Tech.

How are Students Chosen to Participate in the NYLF?

How are Students Chosen to Participate in the NYLF?

Participants are typically nominated to attend the national youth leadership conference by teachers and parents. Being nominated means someone considers you a good fit for the program. However, it doesn’t mean any special privilege, and it is not a requirement to attend the program. If no one nominates you, you can still nominate yourself and apply for your chosen program on the NYLF’s website.

The application process is also relatively easy, as it only requires submitting some basic information about yourself and yourself. Entering this information helps reserve a spot for you so that you can go ahead to deposit for the program.

Teachers and parents typically nominate students who:

  • They think they are capable of fulfilling all the challenging course requirements
  • Show leadership and academic potential
  • Can confidently contribute to the program and its activities

7 Benefits of Joining NYLF Programs

7 Benefits of Joining NYLF Programs

As explained above, the NYLF program is sort after for its numerous benefits. Being nominated for the program shows how much faith your teacher/parents have in your educational skills. It shows your growth potential. That said, let’s review some of the benefits of participating in the national youth leadership forum.

Career exploration

One of the most obvious benefits of participating in NYLF programs is the opportunity to explore your dream career. If your dream career aligns with any of NYLF’S six programs, then you can always leverage the program to gain valuable experience that’ll help you in the long run. Besides, it’s also an opportunity to know what the career truly entails and whether you can handle the pressure that comes with it. If you can’t, there’ll be enough time to consider changing careers. You’ll also meet experts in your chosen career. Depending on how friendly you are, you can get to learn from the personal lives of these experts.

College experience

Yes, the program is designed for high school students, but it is held on college campuses. Living and working on college campuses gives you a glimpse of what to expect in the university. You’ll also get the opportunity to explore colleges and experience how campuses, resident halls, dining areas, etc., are designed and how you can make the best out of them. Apart from all the valuable knowledge and experience you’ll gain during the process; you’ll also enjoy the fun that comes with exploring college life even when you’re not yet in college.

College credits

Another obvious benefit of participating in the NYLF program is the opportunity to earn college credits. Although this does not apply to all colleges, you’ll still find colleges that accept NYLF class experience for pass/fail college credits. However, note that this will require payment for college credits in most situations.

New Relationship

Enrolling in NYLF programs opens you up to countless opportunities. One of such opportunities is the potential to meet and connect with several other participants. Just like you, hundreds of other students will participate in NYLF programs. So, don’t be surprised if you meet several students with similar interests and aspirations.

Consider it an opportunity to socialize with such students and form new friendships. Oftentimes, friendships formed during the national youth leadership conference last long because of the shared interests and aspirations. Students also get the chance to connect with leaders, experts, and educators in their chosen careers.

Increase Your Motivation

There’s a big difference between learning about a career in school and having real-life experience. Knowing that you’re contributing to the program’s success and that people believe in your abilities can be the added push you need to succeed.

Additionally, it’ll help you strive towards doing better academically since the whole essence of the program is to reinforce why you’re working towards a qualification. Thus, you’d get the extra push to study harder.

Improve your College Admission Chances

This is a long-run benefit, but it’s also worth discussing. Enrolling in the NYLF program shows your willingness to take responsibility, learn, and work hard towards a group goal. These are qualities every college admission officer wants to see in candidates.

No matter how successful you were in the program, you can hold your head high and explain what you learned throughout.

A confidence booster

Beyond helping you learn about work environments, NYLF programs are also designed to help you discover yourself. It gives you a clearer idea of your likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. Most importantly, acquiring hands-on experience gives you the confidence to pursue college admissions.

3 Disadvantages of NYLF Programs

3 Disadvantages of NYLF Programs

While there are many benefits to participating in the NYLF program, there are still some drawbacks. It’s crucial that you know these drawbacks before enrolling in the program. However, we must clarify that many people ignore the disadvantages since the advantages outweigh them. That said, here are some of the drawbacks.


Despite its short duration, the NYLF still costs so much to participate in. The costs include required program fees and an NYLF program fee that typically ranges between $2,790 to $4,140, depending on the program.

The program fee covers housing costs, two meals per day, transportation, and study materials. However, note that the fees do not cover launch, movement to and from program sites, and college credit fees. So, you must reserve money for these expenditures even after paying such hefty fees.

Short duration of the program

While NYLF programs are often quite expensive, the program duration is short. The program typically lasts between 6 to 10 days, which is often considered a short time to teach any program in detail. Add that to the number of practicals, field trips, and seminars that’ll be included in the package, and you can see how short it is. Even so, it’s enough time to introduce the programs.

Students looking to gain detailed knowledge of a particular subject or job requirements may not enjoy the duration of the program. The short program length can also be detrimental to the number of solid relationships participants would want to build during the program.

Not as exclusive as marketed

Another important point to note before participating in the NYLF program is whether it’s as exclusive as often advertised. Yes, the program is marketed as a competitive program that only invites top-grade students to participate. However, knowing that the company in charge of the NYLF program is a for-profit company, you can tell that it’ll go all out to maximize profit.

This shows in the number of students that participate in the program annually. These days, students even apply for the program without receiving an invitation. In fact, there’s now hardly any GPA, academic, and leadership achievement required to attend. Any current high school student can attend the program as long as they can afford it. Thus it’s no longer as competitive and prestigious as it used to be.

How Much Does it Cost to Join NYLF?

How Much Does it Cost to Join NYLF?

Like most other programs, the NYLF requires payment from all participants. The cost of participating in the NYLF depends on the program you’re choosing, the program’s timeframe, and its location. Tuition typically ranges from $3,450 to $3,595. These figures include accommodations, transportation, site visits, lectures, and course material.

Note that the company in charge of the program (Envision) offers a limited number of scholarships, as well as fundraising options and payment plans to help students pay the fees.

Is Joining NYLF Worth It?

Is Joining NYLF Worth It?

The direct straightforward answer to the above question is “it depends.” Whether or not the NYLF is worth it depends on your reasons and motivation for attending. This is why some people may find NYLF programs fun and useful, while others still consider them expensive resume-padding programs.

Whatever the case, you should review the reasons for participating in the program to decide how important it is. There are strong reasons and not-so-strong reasons to participate. Some of the strong reasons include the following:

  • The desire to learn more about a specific career
  • The need to meet students with similar interests
  • For better college preparation.

Irrespective of your reason for attending the NYLF, you can tell that the program will benefit you in the short and long run.

Wrapping Things Up: What is National Youth Leadership Forum? Should You Join?

The bottom line is the NYLF is a beneficial program. Whether you’re participating to learn new things, grow, or connect with professionals, there’s something to gain from the experience. Fortunately, you already know what the program entails and what it doesn’t. So, the available information can serve as a guide for you to navigate the process. Since it can boost your college acceptance chances, we recommend total concentration and active participation in all available activities throughout the program’s duration.

Colleges and universities will recognize the efforts made and the experience gained. The NYLF may not be a prerequisite to attending the college of your choice, but it gives you an advantage in your pursuit.

Check out our other guides on different clubs in high school:

> What is Beta Club in High School?

> What is Interact Club in High School and What Can It Do for You?

> What is Key Club and Why Should You Join?

> What is the Junior State of America (JSA) Club?

> What is Forensics in High School?

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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