Application Process

Online Application (for current HCPS students)

Application PDF download (for resident but non-HCPS students)

Applications for current 8th graders are available.  Students currently enrolled in an HCPS school will complete their application online.  8th grade students who currently live in Henrico County but do not attend an HCPS school can also apply.  To do so, please download a hard copy of the application and return it directly to the Specialty Center(s) to which you are applying.

The admissions process to Specialty Centers in Henrico County Public Schools begins in October of a student’s 8th grade year.  Center Directors hold a series of zone meeting information sessions where families can gather general information about each program.  Each Center then holds an open house.  For dates, go to our Prospective Students page.

At the Center for Leadership, Government and Global Economics, the admissions process is designed to identify students with an interest in political and social sciences.  The application committee seeks to include a diverse entering class with students from across the school division, while insuring that students who enter the program have a strong potential to succeed.

Students must be Henrico County residents in order to apply.  We do not accept applications after the class is selected for the 9th grade year.

The selection process is highly competitive, with more than 400 applications for the 50 available positions in each entering class.  Successful applicants have excellent grades, produce thoughtful and articulate written work, score highly on the NWEA test, and have been active in their school and/or community.

If offered during the middle school years, it is highly recommended that entering 9th graders have completed a high school credit course in World History I.  Generally our successful applicants have also completed Earth Science, Algebra I (or higher), one year of a world language, and were enrolled in Honors level English.

Application Elements


Middle Schools will provide a transcript of coursework and grades earned throughout middle school.  Evaluation of the transcript will include the year-end grade for 7th grade and the first semester grade for 8th grade in the core classes.

Writing Sample

Applicants will submit a writing sample as a part of their application. Writing samples are adjudicated on a four-part rubric that considers content, organization, writing conventions, and style.

Standardized Testing

All applicants will take the NWEA MAPs test.  For current HCPS students, the test is administered at the middle school.  For county residents that are not current HCPS students, the test will be administered in January.  Check here for schedules and registration information.


Students will have an opportunity to highlight their activities and interests in and outside of the school.  The committee puts particular emphasis on longevity, commitment, and leadership roles.  Examples might include sports, clubs, scouting, community service, music, dance, theater, etc.


Students should secure the recommendation of two teachers who can assess their classroom performance.  Students may also submit outside references (not a family member) to help the committee get a fuller picture of the student, however these references will not be used in the initial calculation of a student’s application.



All applications are rated based on the above criteria.  Each applicant receives points based on the following scale:

  • Transcript – 40
  • Standardized Test – 20
  • Writing Samples – 20
  • References — 10
  • Activities – 10
  • TOTAL — 100


Notification letters will be mailed in early March.  Students will have two weeks to inform the Center of their intent.


Students who have been placed on the waiting list will have the opportunity to interview in order to add information to their application.  Students’ order on the waiting list will be determined by the interview, which will take place at the local middle schools.  Further information will be included in the notification letter in March.


Students who wish to appeal their admission status should contact Mr. Andrew Mey the principal of Douglas Freeman HS.  He will review the file and the committee’s adjudication of it.  The next level of review is at the county level, and parents/students should contact Dr. Thomas Ferrell, Director of High School Education.