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Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I have to be religious to participate?

No, the program welcomes high school students from all faith traditions and includes those who may identify as agnostic or atheist.

Who can enroll? 

The program is intended to work with sophomores, juniors, and seniors as they prepare for college life and beyond. However, interested freshman may register as well.

I have a physical disability. Am I able to apply? 

Yes, all necessary accommodations will be made to ensure full participation.

I have food allergies. Can the venues accommodate my needs? 

Yes, both venues have experience with serving alternate food choices.


Must I file an online application?

You may apply for admission online at the Institute’s webpage: www.caldwell.edu/SLI. However, if you prefer to submit a paper application, please download the pdf form from the SLI webpage and mail the application to the SLI office at Caldwell University, 120 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell NJ 07006.

Do I have to visit campus to be admitted? Is an interview required? 

No. All that is required is a SLI application and a personal recommendation by a non-related adult. However, campus tours and/or introduction meetings can be arranged upon request to the SLI Director at 973-618-3483 or by email at SLI@caldwell/edu.

Who is the best person to write my recommendation?

An adult who knows you and can speak to your abilities, work ethic and personal qualities, and your commitment to social justice and the common good.

What is the final due date to apply?

June 1, 2019 for application and adult recommendation. We recommend submission right away as admission will be on a rolling basis.

How many students will be admitted?

Up to 50 participants

When will I receive my acceptance letter?

The Director will mail/email notifications no later than June 7, 2019.

When must I enroll?

Accepted students must enroll no later than June 24, 2019 to allow sufficient time for staff to process parent/guardian authorizations and enrollment paperwork.


When will the Institute sessions begin and end?

The July week on the Caldwell University (CU) campus will begin on Sunday evening, July 14, and end on Friday afternoon, July 19, 2019.

How do I find out more about Caldwell University (CU)?

Founded in 1939 by the Sisters of Saint Dominic, CU is a vibrant independent, 4-year, coeducational institution of higher learning that promotes the intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic growth of underrepresented and diverse student populations, welcoming all cultures and faith traditions. Through liberal arts and professional studies, students learn to think critically, pursue truth, and contribute to a just society. For more details, please see: www.caldwell.edu.

What is the campus like? 

Located in the picturesque town of Caldwell, recently voted the 3rd best place in all of NJ by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, the campus offers a stunning setting on top of a hill with lots of open spaces to walk around campus. The university is only a short walk from shops, coffee bars, restaurants, movies and entertainment. See the 360° video: https://www.caldwell.edu/about/video-tour-of-caldwell-college.

Will Caldwell University students be involved in the Institute?

Yes, selected CU students will serve as Institute mentors and program facilitators as they participate jointly in discussion and activities at the two events.

What is a leadership digital badge?

Upon completion of an action plan and service requirements, e.g., a certain number of volunteer hours, the Institute and the Lilly Endowment, Inc. will award a digital badge for students that can be displayed in college applications, resumes or on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram accounts.


What is the cost to attend the Institute?

$99. Scholarship available (early-action and need-based). Cost covers room and board, books, supplies, daily trip fees, and transportation.

Voluntary donations are also welcomed; they may be sent to the Institute to help to maintain programming in future years.


Are the venues in Essex County, accessible to public transportation? 

Yes . . .
By bus to the Center: NJ Transit Hackensack Bus #76 from Newark Penn Station stops at Quincy Avenue and Belgrove Drive, directly across from the Center.
By bus to Caldwell University: NJ Transit Bus #29 and DeCamp Bus #33 both serve Bloomfield Avenue.
By plane: Newark Liberty International Airport is a 10-20 minute taxi drive.


Has Caldwell University sponsored similar programming for high school students?

Yes, for example, CU offered Summer College at Caldwell (SCAC), through a competitive Aim High Academy grant from the US Department of Education and New Jersey’s Office of Higher Education for five years (2011-2015). It was a highly-acclaimed, 3-week residential college experience for high achieving, 1st-generation, high school seniors interested in sciences.

Will there be adult supervision 24/7 at all venues?

Yes, we will maintain a 10-to-1 student-to-adult ratio during the 6 months. The Institute director and staff will be on-site overnight at the Center. On-campus, highly-trained CU resident assistants will be living side-by-side with participants in the residence hall.

Who can parents/guardians call in case of emergency?

Parents/guardians will be supplied with the name, phone number and email of the assigned Institute adult for 24/7 access, upon receipt of all signed authorization and permission forms.

Directions and map to Caldwell University:
See the webpage: https://www.caldwell.edu/about/directions/campus-map.


Dr. Kyle David Bennett – Institute Director, 120 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006
Facebook: www.facebook.com/spiritualityleadershipinstitute
Webpage: Caldwell.edu/SLI
Email: SLI@caldwell.edu
Twitter: @SpiritualityLI
Phone: 973-618-3483