Application Tips

In order to apply to attend the CGI U meeting, each student must develop and submit a Commitment to Action. There are three criteria for Commitments to Action:

New: Each commitment must be a new initiative, or an expansion of an existing effort that focuses on a different geographic area, works with new partners, or shifts in focus or scope.

Specific: Each commitment must address a specific challenge with a defined course of action, a defined beneficiary group, and detailed objectives.

Measurable: Each commitment should achieve measurable results that can be reported back to CGI U.


Preparing your Commitment to Action

Brainstorm different ideas for action: Some of the most effective and sustainable commitments start small. What are you passionate about? Would your commitment be an individual or group effort? How could your university get involved? Review our commitments map if you need help getting started.

Ask "why": Understand the root cause of the problem or challenge you are hoping to address. Ask yourself why something is the way that it is. Each time you come up with an answer, break it down further and ask yourself why the new answer exists.

Evaluate your toolbox: Consider developing an innovative approach to a challenge you are already working to address, or using the skills, knowledge, and networks you already possess to alleviate a problem or issue in your community.

Consider measurement: How will you gauge the success of your commitment? Flesh out the metrics you will use to measure your impact and devise a method for measuring your progress. Make sure your evaluation plan is detailed and realistic. Review the monitoring and evaluation guide for more information.

Get feedback: Once you've come up with an informal plan of action, start soliciting feedback from classmates, professors, and your target beneficiaries. Do they think your timeframe and action plan are realistic? Would they be willing to join or support you? How could your plan be improved? Attaining honest and meaningful feedback from the start is crucial to long-term success, and it is a great way to find allies early in the process.


Applying Online

Once you've developed your Commitment to Action, formally submit your application. We strongly encourage you to draft your commitment offline before you apply, and keep a record of it in case you experience any technical difficulties when applying online. Preview the application (check back for application preview link coming soon) questions to help you prepare.

If you are applying as a group, you must appoint one member of your group to apply first, submitting the group's Commitment to Action. Other members of the group will receive emails to complete their portions of the application once the group leader's application is complete. 

Here are some hints for completing your application:

  • In your brief autobiography, include any relevant campus or leadership activities and organizational affiliations. Make sure you include any compelling information about your personal story, and note any experience you have that directly relates to your commitment.

  • When selecting your focus area, consider the problem or issue your commitment seeks to address. Many commitments fit into several of CGI U's five focus areas (Education, Environment & Climate Change, Peace & Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health), and many applicants have a background or interest in a focus area different from that of their commitments. While you may be studying education, or there may be an educational component to your commitment, the core aim may be to address a challenge in a different focus area.

  • Think carefully about your primary and secondary keywords. CGI U will use these keywords to help you network with students working in similar areas, and to assign you a mentor to guide you as you implement your commitment. Learn more about CGI U's commitment keywords before you apply.

  • Be specific about the geographic region where your commitment will take place. When implementing a new project or initiative, students are often most successful when they work in a community or region where they have a pre-existing relationship or partner.



Below is a timeline that students can expect for CGI U 2018:

  • February: CGI U launches the 2018 application and announces the dates and location of the CGI U meeting.

  • March: Early Decision deadline. All students applying for travel assistance must apply Early Decision. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application, as well as those who applied for travel assistance. If students are not admitted during Early Decision, their application will be re-reviewed during the Final Decision round.

  • April: Final Decision deadline. All applications will be reviewed and evaluated.

  • May: All applicants will be notified of the status of their application.

  • June: Deadline for admitted students to register for the CGI U 2018 meeting.

  • July: Admitted students will be assigned to their commitment keyword group and matched with their Commitment Mentor.

  • July - October: Admitted students will receive frequent email updates regarding the CGI U 2018 meeting program, including applications for the Commitments Challenge and CGI U Exchange.

  • October: Registered commitment-makers convene at CGI U 2018 meeting to further develop their Commitments to Action while learning from President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, industry experts, and thought leaders from around the world.


  • November - April 2019: 2018 commitment-makers will have the opportunity to plug into alumni engagement opportunities, as well as apply for Campus Representative, Commitment Mentor, and Alumni Ambassador leadership positions. 2018 commitment-makers will be required to send progress reports for Commitments to Action to the CGI U team. Students who have made significant progress may have the chance to be featured at CGI U 2019.