Become a Certified Student Leader

certified student leader

The Certified Student Leader® (CSL) Program has been an optional part of the National Conference on Student Leadership conference since 1994. Over 5,000 student leaders have become Certified Student Leaders and many are now established leaders in their professional lives. You could be next!


How do the experiences and events you face in your life shape your identity?

What influence do these life circumstances have over the kind of leader you become?

How can you use these experiences to form a foundation from which you can start driving real social change in your campus and community?

Find out by joining the Certified Student Leader (CSL) Program.

We’ve developed the CSL program as an optional extension of the National Conference on Student Leadership. It’s a chance to dive even deeper into conversations, ideas, and perspectives that can change the world.

Our highly trained facilitators will work with students to strengthen your leadership foundation by developing your skills in three core areas: self, group, and campus leadership.

You’ll take away resources, plans, concepts and strategies that you can immediately put into practice to move your campus and community forward.

“NCSL has been the bomb. The reason you want to be here is because you get certified to be a leader. They appreciate you for the effort and the work you do, and then they add to it.” – CSL graduate, NCSL Fall 2015

What are you waiting for? Save your spot today.

The Experience

It’s not easy stepping outside of your comfort zone; but it’s necessary to our personal growth and development as leaders.

The difference is, when you step outside of your comfort zone with the CSL, you are walking alongside other like-minded student leaders who share your passion and drive for change.

Together, you’ll share ideas in an environment that is safe and accepting.

You’ll be inspired by the experiences and ideas of others. You’ll find yourself thinking differently about the world around you.

But the best part?

You’ll form bonds that extend well beyond the NCSL – perhaps even some friendships you’ll treasure for a lifetime to come.

Certified Student Leader


The Process

Here’s your chance to learn what the Social Change Model really means, and how it can be applied in self-development, campus leadership, and group leadership.

Through different hands-on exercises and activities, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Self-reflect on what events and experiences have helped to shape who you are and what you’re passionate about.
  • Identify areas within yourself, your campus, and your community that you’d like to change or improve upon.
  • Brainstorm challenges affecting your campus or community, and start thinking about these issues from a different perspective.
  • Discuss diversity and inclusion, and what we can do to join in the center, rather than stand on separate sides.
  • Explore your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your campus and/or organization.
  • Prepare for the inevitable barriers and challenges you and your group will face in efforts to drive transformational change in the “real world.”
  • Put a plan in place with practical, actionable steps you can start implementing as soon as you return to campus.
  • Network and collaborate with students from other schools on a deeper level than ever before, forging powerful cross-campus partnerships.

“When we come back to our campus we’re able to share what we’ve learned and hopefully encourage more student leaders in our campus for future generations, and inspire more change.” – CSL graduate, NCSL Fall 2015

The People

Who should register?

We’re looking for students who have a passion and desire for change, and want to develop a plan of action they can take back to their campuses and communities. This is a foundational program, perfect for student government leaders and international students who are exploring the Social Change Model for the first time. If you have not yet had the chance to pursue a leadership program or course on campus, the CSL Program will provide the training and support you need.

Who is facilitating?

The Program is facilitated by Mary Shivley, Director of Advancement Communications at Emporia State University, together with Taylor Kriley, Director of Campus Engagement & New Student Programs at Emporia State University.

The facilitators will lead you through networking activities designed to encourage quick connections with participants from other schools. Together with a small group, you will complete activities and share in collaborative leadership.

The Change

Have an idea for a project or event that you want to launch on campus? Working towards leading a particular initiative? This is your chance.

After successfully completing the program, you’ll walk away with a detailed workbook outlining a strategic plan for your project, event or idea. You’ll develop new skills you can apply right away when you return to campus. And to top it all off, you’ll earn the CSL designation and be honored at the awards ceremony as a certified leader.

Register today!