What does “Coro” stand for?

“Coro” (not C.O.R.O.) is a word chosen by the organization’s founders in 1942 to describe the unique mission and methods used by Coro locations. Their vision for a program of educational discovery to prepare citizen leaders was a totally new concept. Thus Coro – a new word and one without association – was invented to represent both discovery and exploration. It is not an acronym.

Why the Coro Fellowship?

*Connect the dots for a big impact. Through a rotation of placements, Fellows work with multiple sectors, from governments to nonprofits to businesses. This cross-sector exposure fosters your ability to think holistically and build connections among and across different communities.

*Become your best self. The Coro Fellows program combines professional development with personal development in a rigorous and challenging environment. The experience is uniquely curated for your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, in order to develop your best self.

*Learn from in-field experts. Fellows learn directly from in-field experts. You build knowledge and skills in a real-world environment with guidance from experienced alumni and partners committed to accelerating your growth.

*Join a prestigious network. Founded nearly 75 years ago, the Coro Fellows program has a rich history. Our methodology has been honed over time and proven through a long line of over 10,000 prestigious alumni. You benefit from the learning of those who came before you and access to the powerful network built over decades.

What’s different about the Coro Fellowship?

There are many post-college opportunities for people who want to serve society beyond themselves. Coro is unique. Coro Fellows experience personal and professional growth through Coro’s “city as classroom” experiential learning program. They learn with and from a tight-knit cohort of 12 highly motivated learners, many of whom become part of a lifelong professional and personal relationship. They explore ideas in a non-partisan setting with people of different life experiences. Fellows interview leaders they would not otherwise meet and have access to organizations because of Coro’s relationships. Fellows gain access to Coro’s incredible, well-respected community of alumni and supporters. In short, Coro Fellows develop lifelong skills, knowledge and networks that propel them to be and do their best. Coro is a short-term investment in yourself for a long-term gain

The insight and experience of the Coro Fellows Program is not taught in schools, in other fellowships, or on the job. “The Coro Fellows Program is like five years of job experience in nine months,” says Coro alum Robert Lapsley, President of The California Business Roundtable. And, Coro’s network in public and civic affairs is unmatched.

What does Coro look for in candidates?

Coro seeks high potential candidates with substance, character, and commitment. Coro Fellows have varying backgrounds, beliefs, and goals, but they are driven by a common desire to take action and expedite their impact in the world. They value lifelong learning and seek experiences that provide an opportunity to reflect and grow. Fellows are eager to see where their passion can take them as they explore connections between sectors and apply their learnings in creative ways. Ideal candidates are curious and ambitious – open to being challenged and excited to collaborate with others across differences. They are self-defined leaders in their communities, committed to taking on big issues and willing to adapt in order to make a difference.

We want people who can be “all in” and thrive in a rigorous, fast-paced, time-consuming experience. We want committed people willing to set aside another role for nine months in favor of being in full-learner mode. We want people who will take the next step to becoming ethical and effective leaders.

Many enter Coro with work experience, and often have other certifications, military service, or some graduate work. Others join directly from college. An applicant must have an undergraduate degree by the start date of the Coro program.

Diversity is highly valued at Coro and central to the work we do. Our intention is to assemble cohorts that adequately represent the complex world we live in, knowing that a variety of perspectives enriches the experience of everyone involved. To that aim, we factor a spectrum of diversity measures (e.g. academic background, field of employment, political ideology, race/ethnic identification, age, life experiences, etc.) into our recruitment and selection processes.

Do I need to have a degree?

You must have a bachelor’s degree or higher by the start of the program.

Can I apply if I’m not a US citizen?

Applications are welcomed from all individuals applying to the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, regardless of immigration status. Please note, Coro does not sponsor visas of any kind.

Does English need to be my first language to be a Coro Fellow?

English does not need to be your first language as a Coro Fellow. However, Coro trainings are conducted in English, and professional English ability is generally expected at placements. Knowledge of languages other than English, including ASL and programming language skills, can be beneficial but not necessary.

Is the Coro Fellowship only for early career professionals?

Diversity is highly valued at Coro and central to the work we do. Our intention is to assemble cohorts that adequately represent the complex world we live in, knowing that a variety of perspectives enriches the experience of everyone involved. To that aim, we factor a spectrum of diversity measures (e.g. academic background, field of employment, political ideology, race/ethnic identification, age, life experiences, etc.) into our recruitment and selection processes.

Can I be a Coro Fellow if I have a criminal record?

Successful Fellows come from a wide array of backgrounds and experiences. Coro believes there are many paths to successful, ethical leadership. There are no individual life experiences that are “disqualifiers” to becoming a Coro Fellow.

Will an applicant be penalized for having applied in the past?

Absolutely not! We highly encourage candidates to apply again. Good Fellows show dedication and perseverance, so applying a second, third, or tenth time shows those key qualities. Tremendous growth as a leader can be acquired in a short amount of time, so make sure to tell us how the time since your last application has impacted your experiences and skills. If you have participated in Selection Day and later declined an invitation, please reach out to the center you plan to indicate as your first choice to discuss further.

Where are Coro Centers located?

The Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs operates in five cities and each is a full-time, nine-month program. Each Coro center is independent and works in coordination with the other centers. Each Fellows Program in Public Affairs follows a central curriculum of personal and professional development. Each center offers unique experiences as well. A graduate of any center emerges with similar preparation for civic leadership.

What is the Fellows Program like?

Coro provides a unique learning community based on:

  • Experiential education in a learn-by-doing setting
  • Cohort learning in groups of 8-12
  • Direct access to institutions, communities, and leaders

The Coro experience is not an academic public policy program. It does provide unique access to and insight on the issues and the dynamics of those who are addressing major urban challenges. It provides a strong grounding in critical thinking, group dynamics, and getting things done. It’s individual components include:

Seminars — Weekly seminars develop individual skills, knowledge, and networks with an opportunity to work closely within the cohort and to interview community leaders.

Field Placements — Rotations of short-term, consulting-type projects in various sectors — government, labor, business, non-profit organizations, political campaigns, and others. The number, duration, and type of placements vary across centers.

Focus Weeks — Weeklong investigations of a topic, industry or sector. Fellows Focus Weeks are periods of time dedicated to the deep investigation of a topic, industry, or sector. Fellows engage in interviews, site visits, and various experiences to understand issues from a systems perspective.

Projects — Fellows complete group and individual projects related to public affairs 

Skill Development

To help its participants succeed, Coro works closely with Fellows to: 

  1. Develop and enhance competencies in public speaking, organizational skills, negotiation/mediation, meeting facilitation, and critical thinking.
  2. Develop group-working skills in a uniquely diverse environment. Together Fellows learn how to solve common problems, take responsibility for each other’s learning, and provide each other with continuous feedback, evaluation, and encouragement.
  3. Understand how the different sectors of society work and interact with each other. This is accomplished by placing Fellows in agencies such as government, business, media, non-profit, labor unions, and political campaigns.

Where and how do I apply?

There is a single application and it is only available online here. The process and timeline are the same for all centers. The application requires 2 essays, a 60-second video submission, two reference forms, a resume, and college transcripts (unofficial or official).  

How does the selection process work?

The application review team at each center invites 36 candidates from the hundreds of talented applicants to advance to the next step — Selection Day held in March. Top candidates will receive an offer to participate in a cohort at one of our centers.

Do I choose which Coro Center I apply to?

Applicants indicate their preferences for the center(s) at which they would like to participate should they be selected for a 12-person cohort. They may also indicate “no center preference” on the interest form. Depending on the local and national candidate pool, a candidate’s center preference may impact their invitation to Selection Day and/or an invitation to join a Center’s upcoming class. Applicants have three opportunities to express where they prefer to complete the Coro Fellowship. Both the Online Interest Form and the Application have sections where candidates are asked to state their center preference. Center preference can be changed at any point up to the end of Selection Day. After Selection Day, if a candidate is not offered an invitation to join the class at their first-choice center, and has indicated interest in other centers, they may be offered an invitation to join another center’s upcoming class. 

Will I be able to choose my placements?

For the most part… no. Field placements are determined by the Trainers based on a wide variety of factors. Some placements are already arranged before the start of the program. You may be able to solicit your own group and individual projects later in the year, which gives you a chance to possibly work for an organization/cause of interest to you. You may make suggestions to staff for prospective placements; however, placement assignments are ultimately decided by the Trainers.

Is there a stipend?

Coro provides qualifying Fellows who request financial support with a monthly stipend to defray living expenses during their nine months in the program. Financial aid forms are submitted in advance of Selection Day and are reviewed after a candidate has been selected for the program. Coro Fellows who receive a stipend may be legally required to pay taxes. The program is 100% tuition free.

Can I work another job at the same time?

Due to the rigor of the program, you cannot work a full-time job. The ability to work a part-time job varies by center. Please reach out to your city’s Coro Center to ask for more information about this. Remember, in any case you must reserve 40-42 hours/week for Coro Fellows service and training.

Is housing included?

Coro does not provide housing. We try to provide the fellows with leads on housing but we cannot guarantee a match. Some fellows choose to find housing together, and this is based on the interest and initiative of individual fellows.

Do Fellows receive benefits?

Some Coro centers also provide additional benefits such as health insurance premium reimbursements while Fellows are in the program and certain travel expenses directly related to program activities. Ask the center you are interested in for more information. Coro does not reimburse for relocation expenses.

Are there education-related benefits?

Upon completion of the program, Coro Fellows are afforded unique benefits from certain graduate schools. View our graduate school partnerships here. In addition, if you plan to go to graduate school after the Fellows Program, there are several colleges and universities that are willing to negotiate credit toward a master’s degree for completion of the Fellows Program. Other schools have individually negotiated credit with Fellows alums. See our University Partnerships.

Does Coro help Fellows get jobs after they graduate?

Coro does not have a formal job placement service. After completing the program, Coro graduates head in a number of different directions. There is no one path. However, once you graduate, a rich networking resource of alumni, Board members, and others affiliated with Coro is available to you. People and organizations who know Coro Fellows and alumni believe the Coro experience “pre-qualifies” candidates for rigorous and high-quality work. Coro has extremely high hire rates straight out of the program through our networks — with jobs that Fellows want to do! A newly hired 2017 graduate said, “The interview for my first job was through my Coro placement. When the hiring manager asked about my experience with skills and situations, I was able to give very specific examples of what I had done for different placement projects. I wouldn’t have been able to do that coming out of school or with even one or two jobs.”