USC LeaderShape

The Institute

La Costa Omni Resort and Spa, May 13-18, 2019 APPLY

The Institute is a six-day, all student expenses covered program, provided by LeaderShape in collaboration with the University of Southern California’s Division of Student Affairs. Since its inception in 1986, the Institute has developed an international reputation as one of the premier leadership development programs for young adults. More than 60,000 young people from colleges, universities, corporations, and organizations across the United States and around the world have graduated from the program. This year, the Institute will take place at the beautiful La Costa Omni Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA.



Transformative Student Experience

Since 2000, USC and LeaderShape have hosted the Institute. The LeaderShape program continues to provide a “transformative student experience” with the support of USC Vice President of Student Affairs and LeaderShape Board of Trustees Chairperson Dr. Ainsley Carry. The Institute challenges participants to lead with integrity while working towards a vision grounded in their deepest values.

Student Benefits:

  • All trip expenses covered
  • Promote leadership experience on resume
  • Opportunity to hear from special leaders and network
  • Transformational leadership development experience

The Program

The program content of the Institute reflects key leadership issues of vision, partnerships, integrity, and results. In addition, all participants leave the Institute with a “Breakthrough Blueprint.” The Breakthrough Blueprint is a well-conceived vision and plan of action for the participants to implement in their organization, community, or workplace.

Participants praise the Institute as a time of great introspection in addition to being an opportunity to develop skills to improve their organizations. The week is structured so that participants first gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their own strengths and weaknesses, ultimately enabling them to be more effective leaders in their organizations. One of our recent participants summarized the experience the following way:

“Leadershape Institute is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that allows you to discover your core values and leadership capabilities at your own pace. With the support of the Leadershape community, you will be placed in a comfortable environment with various tools to excel as you grow along with your colleagues.”

– Subeom Bae, USC B.S. Accounting, LeaderShape Institute participant 2017


“The LeaderShape Institute allowed me to recognize my core values and understand that the foundation of leadership are those personal values and integrity. Through conversation with a diverse group of students we learned that respect and vulnerability leads to an inclusive environment. And once the week of activities and fun ended, I had truly internalized the mantra of having a healthy disregard for the impossible.” 
– Shelby Barnes, USC B.S. Environmental Science and Health Minor in Marine Biology, Institute participant 2018

Specifics of the program include: a Team Challenge Course (a half-day outdoor team-building experience); an evening Guest Leader Forum, in which participants are exposed to “real world” role models in business, industry, and the professions; quality facilitators from a variety of backgrounds; and learning and sharing in small groups called “Family Clusters.”

Guest Leader Forum


Students must be available to fully participate for the entirety of the Institute from May 13- 18, 2019.


Application Deadline: March 15, 2019

We encourage students to apply online as early as possible to secure their enrollment in the program. Applications will be reviewed and selected on a rolling-admissions basis. USC LeaderShape Institute participants will be invited to a student orientation and welcome reception prior to the May 13-18, 2019 Institute program.

Application Questions (limit responses to 100 words):

  1. What motivated you to apply to the Institute, a program provided in partnership with LeaderShape and USC Division of Student Affairs?
  2. How would your participation in the Institute contribute to your personal and professional goals?
  3. Please share your accomplishments or significant contributions to any organization you have been a part of.
  4. If you had the ability to revolutionize anything in the world without possibility of failure, what would you revolutionize?

Upcoming Information Sessions:

Upcoming Webinar:

Sign up to receive more information about the Institute.


Janine Braun
Senior Administrator of Strategic Planning and Analysis
Office of the Vice President
USC Division of Student Affairs
(213) 821-9539

Learn more about LeaderShape.