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.

The Coro Difference

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.

Candidate Characteristics

Coro seeks high potential candidates with substance, character, and commitment. We desire individuals who are passionate about being change-makers — in a variety of roles and organizations. We look for people committed to looking inside themselves, sharing themselves, challenging themselves and their assumptions, listening to other voices, nurturing relationships, developing skills, and becoming become better critical thinkers and communicators. We want people who think it would be cool to dig into a city budget, go onsite with labor union rep, develop an inventory of “affordable housing,” plan a community event for an underserved community, or spend hours on weekends walking precincts during an election. 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 an advocacy role for nine months in favor of being in full-learner mode. We want people who will then take their more fully developed selves and forge the next step to becoming ethical and effective leaders. Some enter Coro with work experience and/or a graduate degree. Others directly from college. An applicant must have an undergraduate degree by enrollment.


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.

International Applicants

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.

Coro Centers

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.

Learning and Experiential Education

Coro provides a unique learning community based on:

  • Experiential education in a learn-by-doing setting
  • Cohort learning in groups of 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.


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 three essays, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and college transcripts (unofficial or official). The application deadline is January 6, 2021, 11:59 PM PST.

Selection Process

The application review team at each center selects 36 candidates to advance to its next step — the center’s Selection Day. Each center’s one-day event is held on a Saturday in mid-March (check with each center to find out their Selection Day date). If you are invited to a Selection Day, you must be present in person. There are no exceptions. Centers may be able to help with overnight housing for those not within reasonable driving distance for a one-day trip. Note for 2021-22 application cycle: Selection Day will be held virtually this year due to COVID-19.

Center Preference

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 do 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. Coro New York specifically recruits for applicants who indicate they want to work in New York City post-fellowship. 


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.


Coro provides a stipend to help defray, but not cover, a fellows’ living expenses. 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. Fellows should consult a tax adviser or the IRS on this matter.


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.


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. Coro does not reimburse for relocation expenses.

Graduate School Partnerships

Upon completion of the program, Coro Fellows are afforded unique benefits from certain graduate schools. View our graduate school partnerships.

After Coro

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.” 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