Caminos Al Futuro

Hispanic Community March 2021 PREMIUM
Fully-Funded Pre-College Summer Program For Latino Students

Editor’s Note:  Caminos al Futuro is a Latino pre-college experience offered by the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute at the George Washington University in the heart of Washington, DC.

Caminos al Futuro is a fully-funded pre-college summer program for rising seniors offered by the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute at the George Washington University (GW). During the three-week program, participants – known as Caminos Scholars – gain direct exposure to the university experience by living on GW’s campus in Washington, DC and attending university-level classes, all while studying Latinos in the United States and joining a community of Latinx leaders.

Caminos al Futuro brings together academics, personal and professional development, and community engagement to help each Caminos Scholar feel fully prepared to apply and matriculate to top universities. To ensure cost is not a barrier to participation, fully funded means fully funded. Not only does the program include the costs of three college credits, it also includes flights to and from the program, housing, local transportation, and all meals! We also know that students don’t make college decisions alone, so we cover the cost for one family member or mentor to travel to Washington, DC at the end of the program, as well.

Learn more about the different program components and what we look for in a successful candidate below:

Program Components

Academic Lecture Series. Led by sociologist and Cisneros Institute Director, Dr. Elizabeth Vaquera, Caminos Scholars attend an undergraduate-level class that focuses on the political and social transformations affecting Latino communities in the United States. Scholars participate in class discussions, do research, learn how to analyze data about their communities, and hear from experts in a variety of fields. Through this training and with support from the program, each Caminos Scholar creates a Community Action Project on a current issue facing their home community that they present at the end of the program. Scholars who successfully complete all components of the course earn 3 hours of college credits!

Writing & College Workshops. Led by Cisneros Institute Associate Director, Trey Johnston, Caminos Scholars participate in the Changing the Narrative Writing Lab, which is focused on the art of writing to get into college and to succeed once you are there. Workshop topics include how to make your college admissions essay stand out, how to write like a college student, and how to effectively present projects. These writing workshops invite participants to consider how their personal identity, culture, and language shape the ways we write and communicate, and how Scholars have the power to uplift and challenge narratives about Latinos in the US.

GW Admissions Specialists complement the focus on writing with a series of workshops ranging from filling out the FAFSA, searching for scholarships, tips on filling out college applications, and building out a “college timeline.” At the end of the program, Cisneros Institute staff lead a workshop for family members and mentors on how they can best support their young students in college.

Leadership Development. Caminos Scholars also participate in training focused on their development as Latinx leaders. Past training topics have included networking, storytelling, self-care in college, and imposter syndrome. Scholars have the opportunity to further practice their leadership skills through meetings with Hispanic leaders at nonprofit organizations, government, media, the private sector, and many other industries. Members of Congress, CEOs, and nonprofit executive directors have all taken the time to share their stories and tips for success with previous cohorts of Caminos Scholars. The Cisneros Institute founder, former Representative Gil Cisneros, also takes an opportunity each summer to meet each of our Scholars and to share about the importance of giving back to the Latino community.

Community. Perhaps the most special aspect of Caminos al Futuro is the opportunity for students to form friendships and connections with peers. Caminos Scholars live together in a college dorm and experience what it’s like to live independently on a college campus and navigate the city together. Caminos Scholars form fast and deep friendships with one another and many continue after returning back home. Students who successfully complete Caminos al Futuro join a growing alumni network and are always welcome back to the Cisneros Institute while passing through Washington, D.C.

Info & Tips For Applying

When is the program? Due to restrictions related to Covid-19, we will resume Caminos al Futuro in Summer 2022. The program will run from June 27 – July 16, 2022. Participants must be able to attend all three weeks of the program. The application portal will open in November 2021 with applications due by March 1, 2022.

Who is eligible? Students are eligible for Caminos al Futuro the summer before their senior year. Citizenship is not considered, but students must reside within the United States. That means applicants for the Summer 2022 program should attend high school in the United States (including Puerto Rico) and be part of the graduating class of 2023.

Where do program alumni attend college? 100% of Caminos Scholars go on to attend college. Our alumni are currently enrolled at top institutions, such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and GW. Alumni who are admitted to GW also receive priority consideration to become Cisneros Scholars.

How can I make my application stand out? Typical candidates to our program have a record of outstanding academic ability and a demonstrated commitment to service and leadership within the Hispanic/Latino community. Leadership can mean being involved in extracurriculars at school or volunteering at organizations in your community, but it also might mean being a family translator, taking care of younger siblings, or some other way you take charge to make a positive impact.

We receive hundreds of applications each year, so get creative to make sure you stand out. Use your essays as a way to show us who you are in addition to your transcript. The application requires a recommendation, so be proactive in identifying someone who can speak to your strengths. Applicants come from a diverse range of backgrounds, states, and experiences; we encourage you to apply no matter your story.

We hope to see you in Washington, DC soon!

For more information and insights from past participants, visit: or email us at

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