By Lori Wince for This Week Community News

The Central Ohio Leadership Academy for high school seniors in the class of 2014 is scheduled June 17-22 at Ohio State University.

The New Albany Community Foundation launched the free program in 2011, and it became so popular last year that only half the students who applied were accepted to the academy.

“Every year it’s grown,” said Jordan Davis, academy director. “This is the third year of the program. Last year we had 70 to 80 apply, so we can only select half of our students that apply.”

Applications will be accepted through March 31 at

The 45 high school students chosen through the application process will attend six days of individualized instruction from professors at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business and community leaders.

Davis said Robert Schottenstein, CEO of M/I Homes, will be the final speaker.

Davis said the program provides a close network of business leaders with whom the academy participants can develop relationships.

“We’re focusing on their next steps, … helping them learn what they need to be doing now to better prepare for college and eventually for their career or whatever their next step is after high school, whether it’s joining the military, attending a technical school or going to work,” she said.

The academy draws students from all over central Ohio.

Davis said last year, half the students were from Columbus schools; the rest were from suburban districts.

The leadership academy also will accept applications from private school students this year.

“We try really hard in the recruitment process and choose no more than two per school,” Davis said.

Davis said the academy stays in touch with graduates, and they said the program increased their leadership skills and their ability to understand and set goals.