Application Process

Online Application (available 10/2/23 for current HCPS students) 

Specialty Center App 2023-2024 download (for resident but non-HCPS students available 10/2/23)

Applications for current 8th graders will be available at the beginning of October.  Students currently enrolled in an HCPS school will complete their application online.  8th grade students who currently live in Henrico County but do not attend an HCPS school can also apply.  To do so, please download a hard copy of the application and return it directly to the Specialty Center(s) to which you are applying.

The admissions process to Specialty Centers in Henrico County Public Schools begins in late September of a student’s 8th grade year.  There will be 2 evening meetings where all specialty centers will be available to answer questions.  In addition, each specialty center will host an  Open House; ours will be on Thursday, October 12, 2023 at 7:00pm..  For more information and a timeline,  please go to our Prospective Students page.

At the Center for Leadership, Government and Global Economics, the admissions process is designed to identify students with an interest in political and social sciences.  The application committee seeks to include a diverse entering class with students from across the school division, while insuring that students who enter the program have a strong potential to succeed.

Students must be Henrico County residents in order to apply.  We do not accept applications after the class is selected for the 9th grade year.

The selection process is competitive, with roughly 350 applications for the 75 available positions in each entering class.  Successful applicants have excellent grades, produce thoughtful and articulate written work, provide an engaging video introduction, score well on standardized testing, and have been active in their school and/or community.

If offered during the middle school years, it is recommended (but not required) that entering 9th graders have completed a high school credit course in World History I.  Generally our successful applicants have also completed Earth Science, Algebra I (or higher), one year of a world language, and were enrolled in honors level English.

Application Elements


Middle Schools will provide a transcript of coursework and grades earned throughout middle school.  Evaluation of the transcript will include the year-end grade for 7th grade and the first quarter grade for 8th grade in the core classes.

Video Introduction

Applicants will create a 2-3 minute video that introduces themselves, explains their interest in the Center curriculum, and highlights the student’s interest in a current issue or event.

Writing Sample

Applicants will submit a writing sample as a part of their application. Writing samples are adjudicated on a four-part rubric that considers content, organization, writing conventions, and style.

Standardized Testing

All applicants will take a county-created test.  HCPS students will take the test during school hours; your counselor will arrange the test. Henrico resident applicants who do not currently attend HCPS schools will need to register to take the test; refer to page 3 of the application download for details.


Students will have an opportunity to highlight their activities and interests in and outside of the school.  The committee puts particular emphasis on longevity, commitment, and leadership roles.  Examples might include sports, clubs, scouting, community service, music, dance, theater, etc.  In addition to the list provided on the application form, students are asked to submit a 100-word writing sample that expands on one of the activities.


Students should secure the recommendation of two teachers who can assess their classroom performance.  Students may also submit outside references (not a family member) to help the committee get a fuller picture of the student, however these references will not be used in the initial calculation of a student’s application.


All applications are rated based on the above criteria.  Each applicant receives points based on the following scale:


Notification letters will be e-mailed on February 2, 2024.  HCPS students will also have access to online notification of status at that time.  Students will have two weeks to inform the Center of their intent.


Students who wish to appeal their admission status should contact Mr. John Marshall, the principal of Douglas Freeman HS.  He will review the file and the committee’s adjudication of it.  The next level of review is at the county level, and parents/students should contact Dr. Thomas Ferrell, Director of High School Education.