Become an Ambassador
Becoming an Ambassador is a competitive and rigorous process. With 200+ applicants every year, Ambassadors applicants undergo an extensive three-step application process, competing for very few available spots. Each step of the application process will eliminate applicants, until Ambassadors are chosen.
The Ambassadors application window is currently closed. Please check back February 2020 for information about the 2020-2021 application process.
To gain a competitive edge before applying, we recommend doing research on the program. The Ambassadors program is not only highly selective, but also requires a great deal of dedication. Applications are only open to students at the end of their first year at Pali.
To be a competitive applicant, the Ambassadors Cabinet recommends having a GPA of 3.0 or above, and being involved in your community as well as school extracurriculars. Having experiences with community outreach, community service, and public policy are highly sought after traits in prospective Ambassadors.
The Ambassadors Cabinet recommends that you attend local Palisades events, as well as events hosted by the Ambassadors to familiarize yourself with the Pacific Palisades community and the work of the Ambassadors. This will not only allow you to meet current Ambassadors and community members, but will also give you insight into the work that Ambassadors do. This is crucial to help you determine if the work of the Ambassadors is of interest to you. Upcoming events that the Ambassadors are participating in can be found here.
Keep an eye out on Schoology for updates regarding the Ambassadors Informational Meeting! The annual informational meeting usually takes place in late March, and will explain a little bit more about the Ambassadors and the application process.
Application dates, deadlines, and meetings will be updated to this page. Please check this page often to ensure that you do not miss any communications regarding the application process.
Step 1: Interest Form
Earlier in the school year, the Ambassadors release an interest form that will be posted on this page. This interest form will add you to the email list to receive application updates and a link to the written application (step 2). The Ambassadors Cabinet recommends using the email you check most often to ensure you receive all communications in a timely manner.
Step 2: Written Application
The written application is the first round of elimination. Applicants will answer a series of questions, share their current involvement and grade point average, as well as some personal experiences about Pali.
Traditionally, the written application has asked 4-6 short answer questions, as well as a 5-7 question involvement survey. The short answer questions are meant to gauge the applicant's knowledge about Ambassadors, as well as what they hope to achieve as an Ambassador.
Step 3: Video Application
After completing the written application, applicants will submit a short video introducing themselves to the Ambassadors Cabinet. This video is meant for the Ambassadors Cabinet to gain greater insight into the skills and experiences of the applicant. The applicants will introduce themselves and share personal anecdotes about their high school experience.
Traditionally, videos have been a maximum of 90 seconds long. The videos have required applicants to briefly introduce themselves, as well as answer 3-4 short questions about what makes them a strong applicant or their experiences at Pali.
Videos are graded based on a holistic rubric. Based on this rubric, all videos scoring above a certain score (determined after the first round of video reviews) are given an interview. This ensures that we are selecting candidates for quality rather than meeting quotas or disqualifying students based on program capacity.
Step 4: Interview
After the video application, the number of potential applicants will be scaled down greatly. The selected applicants from the video application will move on to an in-person interview. The interview typically lasts 7-10 minutes, and will be conducted by the Ambassadors Cabinet and Dr. Magee. The interviewers will ask questions from a variety of topics, all meant to assess the applicant's readiness to become an Ambassador.
Traditionally, the interviews have taken place the week after AP exams. Applicants have been asked 8-10 questions, all of the following topics:
Ice breakers, personal experiences at Pali, Pali's student body, college and career readiness, frequently asked questions on parent tours, questions regarding the applicant's understanding of what an Ambassador does, and community outreach.
Tips on preparing for your interview:
- Review all relevant documents, materials, and resources on the PCHS website. It is important to know about Pali's mission, what sets it apart from other schools, and basics on school governance and community relations.
- Explore the Palisades Ambassadors website in depth. Understanding who the Ambassadors are, what they do, and ensuring you are ready for the responsibility is key to a good interview.
- Talk to current Ambassadors. Current Ambassadors not only have been through the application process, but have also been trained fully with the Ambassadors Curriculum.
- Learn professional interview procedures. Teachers, parents, and most other adults will be helpful in preparing you for a real-world interview and sharing personal experiences that have helped them stand out and succeed.
The admissions team does not take into consideration the number of spots available in the program when determining interview positions. While we may be looking to ultimately cap the program at a certain number, we do not have a limit for how many students we are interviewing. Instead, we create a certain set of expectations we would like all applicants to meet. These expectations consist of a variety of factors including speaking skills, accuracy of information regarding Pali, knowledge about the program, and any other skills that would make you stand out as a candidate.
The final interview process also utilizes a rubric with certain expectations to demonstrate readiness for the program, however, because at this step program size becomes an issue, we use a rank-choice system rather than a score cutoff. This is how we are able to consider program size in a manner that is fair and equitable, giving all qualified candidates an equal opportunity to display their skills.
Past Years' Acceptance Statistics:
2017-2018: 307 initial applications, 208 video applications given, 63 interviews given, 35 acceptances.
2018-2019: 228 initial applications, 129 video applications given, 65 interviews given, 27 acceptances.
2019-2020: 268 initial applications, 128 video applications given, 77 interviews given, 19 acceptances.
Unfortunately, in the interest of equity, the Ambassadors Cabinet is not able to give personalized feedback. Due to the fact that the Ambassadors Cabinet does not have time to give 200+ students personalized feedback, there is a strict policy prohibiting personalized feedback for any applicants.
Please keep in mind that application procedures and acceptance rates change every year to allow the Ambassadors Cabinet to better select future Ambassadors. This shifts in our application process allows us to remain aligned with our goals for equity, fairness, and inclusivity. The Ambassadors review all candidates holistically.
The application process holds the ultimate goal of selecting the most qualified, capable, and prepared students regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, background, and all other identity factors.