What is LAS?

LAS stands for Leader Advancement Scholarship. This scholarship is available at Central Michigan University to high school seniors highly involved in their school’s clubs, sports, or community. Of the thousands of applicants across the nation each year, approximately fifty students are lucky enough to receive it. Being one of those fifty of the LAS 2016 cohort, let me tell you a bit about the LAS program.

LAS is a four year program that includes an automatic minor in leadership, in addition to various conferences and experiences along the way. Each grade level of the program has different requirements of leadership courses taken with their cohort, volunteer hours, and much more.

Freshmen year

Barnes Hall is home to LAS freshmen each year. Living with one another allows the cohort to interact with each other in ways most college students do not get the opportunity to. It is common for students to really connect with one another by being neighbors or roommates throughout their first year on campus.

As a freshmen on LAS, students are required to take specific courses in both the fall and spring semesters. In the Fall, freshmen must take an introduction to psychology course, and introduction to debate to course, as well as an introduction to leadership education and development course. Come Spring semester, students are required to take a leadership colloquium course, in addition to a writing intensive on The American Experience. With students in the cohort as their peers, “LASers” navigate their way through their first year of academics as a whole.

In addition to living and taking classes together, LAS freshmen are required many experiences throughout the year as well. First year students are to…

  • Become active in a LEAD Team, which are essentially committees for different events on campus throughout the year
  • Involve themselves in at least one student organization on campus
  • Attend at least 3 leadership related lectures each semester
  • Participate in a seminar or workshop pertaining to leadership
  • Involve themselves in 30 hours or more of community service or volunteer acitivities
  • Document their leadership experiences through an online portfolio

Sophomore year

As time passes, members of LAS grow more and more independent in their studies, as well as experiences they involve themselves in. For the sophomore LAS protocol, students must take a few more classes together as a cohort. In the Fall semester, sophomores are required to take courses pertaining to roots of oppression, and moral problems. Spring semester requires students to take classes such as social problems, introduction to American Government, and participate in a seminar leadership and communication. In addition to these courses, LAS sophomores must…

  • Involve themselves in two student organizations
  • Continued involvement in at least 30 hours of a community service project or activity
  • Attend designated leadership activities
  • Mentor a freshmen member of the LAS program
  • Actively participate in a Leadership Institute LEAD Team
  • Reside in one of Central Michigan University’s residence halls
  • Document their leadership experience through an online portfolio

Junior Year

Come junior year, LAS students become more involved with their major and their program to graduation, meaning they are no longer required to take classes as a cohort. By the time junior year comes around, the official leadership minor is typically completed by this point in time anyways. However, junior members of LAS must experience many things throughout the year such as…

  • Involve themselves in two or more student organizations
  • Hold a leadership role in an organization (RSO executive board or equivalent)
  • Service on a University or community committee (one year required, Junior OR Senior Year)
  • Involve themselves in at least 30 hours of a community service project
  • Attend designated leadership activities
  • Be an active member of a LEAD Team in the Leadership Institute
  • Document their leadership experiences through an online portfolio

Senior year

Similarly to junior year, seniors are more so focused on their graduation status than anything else. However LAS requires them to simply involve themselves in a few things like…

  • Participate in at least 30 hours of an on-going community service project
  • Involve themselves in two or more student organizations with a leadership position in at least one
  • Service on a University or community committee (one year required, Junior OR Senior Year)
  • Attend designated leadership activities
  • Document their leadership experiences through an online portfolio

Overall, being a member the Leader Advancement Scholarship has, so far been such a positive aspect of my life. Constantly being surrounded by some of the most influential and mentally stimulated leaders in the country has been highly beneficial and has truly motivated me in my college experience. Looking forward to years and experiences to come, LAS is a blessing that I count twice each day.


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