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What we're looking for: Growth-minded individuals with a desire to learn to lead.

Where we're looking: High school leaders and first-year TCU undergraduate students

Why you should look to us: Fully integrated curricular and co-curricular leadership development experience.

If you prefer a collaborative group experience that allows you to grow and develop your leadership and interpersonal skills; if you strive to learn more about yourself and others; if you want to become an influential leader who makes a difference at work and in the world, then Neeley Leaders is for you!

Each year, approximately 30 students are selected as Neeley Leaders to recognize outstanding leadership ability, evidenced by excellent teamwork, negotiation, communication and interpersonal skills.

Criteria to apply to be a BNSF Neeley Leader:

  • TCU GPA of at least a 3.0 at the end of each semester of freshman year
  • Strong leadership and academic record from both high school and college
  • Desire and ability to grow one's leadership skills
  • Ability to work effectively with others
  • Solid written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Commitment to contributing to a positive and enriching cohort experience



Final selections are based on the criteria listed above, academic performance, assessment of fit with the program, letter of recommendation and overall strength of the application. Selected applicants will be notified by mid-June.

Application Process for eligible first-year students

The application process will open on Friday, February 23, 2018.  
Due by 5:00 p.m. on March 23, 2018 [Smith 309]:

  1. Fill out the ONLINE APPLICATION.
  2. Make sure ONE RECOMMENDATION FORM is submitted by someone other than family or current program students.
  4. If selected, INTERVIEW with Neeley Faculty, Staff and Program Alumni

If you have any questions concerning the application process for the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program, please contact the program manager, Susan Sledge at 817-257-5134 or

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Number of Applicants: 60 88 76 83 85 116 73 127 103
Number of Accepted Students: 32 30 32 31 32 32 32 32 33
Number of Students to Graduate from the Program: 32 25 31 30 31 28 31    

Talk to a Current Student

Cruikshank Catie

Catie Cruikshank

Marketing Major


Bien Addie

Addie Bien

Supply and Value Chain Management Major

Alumni Chair

Barron Jose

Jose Barron

Finance Major

Ambassador Chair

Marketing Major

Emma Mikulecky

Marketing Major

Marketing Chair

Murtaugh David

David Murtaugh

Entrepreneurial Management Major

Recruitment Chair

Watanabe Cora

Cora Watanabe

Marketing Major

Social Chair

Still have questions? Contact Lisa O'Brien


Application Requirements

Do I need to have a specific major to be eligible for the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program?
You need to have declared Pre-Business as your major. If you are not pursuing a pre-business major, we encourage you to investigate the Leadership in Psychology Program and the programs in the TCU Leadership Center.

Can I apply if I am a freshman but have sophomore hours?
Yes, you can apply. However, your anticipated graduation date should still be Spring 2020 or Summer 2020 since the program is a three-year commitment.

Do I need to be accepted into the Neeley School of Business before applying?
No, but you must apply and be accepted into the Neeley School at the appropriate time. 

How will the required Leadership Courses count toward my degree requirements?
You are required to take 15 hours of specialized leadership courses within the program. We recommend that you schedule a meeting with your advisor to ensure you can still graduate on time if the Neeley Leadership classes are added to your schedule. 

Are there any prerequisites for the courses?
You must be admitted to the program and take the classes in sequential order.

Does the BNSF NLP place me in an internship?
The Neeley Leadership program does not provide you with an internship. However, the program does provide you with many resources to utilize in your internship search. Additionally, the Alcon Career Center will assist in your search.

Will I be provided with my own leadership coach?
Yes, during the spring of your junior year, you will be matched with your leadership coach. This coach will be a great asset in your leadership development, provide you with insight into their own career and leadership path, give feedback on your leadership development plan and will be able to answer your questions during your internship and full-time job searches.

Do I have to participate in all of the program activities to complete the Program?
Yes, you must participate in all program activities. Please peruse the rest of the website to see examples of programmatic activities.

What do I get when I finish the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program?
You will gain knowledge and skills acquired from the opportunities to practice your leadership in a safe environment before entering the workforce. You will also be highlighted by the Neeley School as top-quality candidates to employers and recruiters visiting TCU through a Leadership Program résumé book.

A special ceremony will commemorate your completion of the program. You will be acknowledged and rewarded with a Leadership Program Certificate. Parents, donors, and administrators will be invited to the event. Participation in the program will appear on your transcript and you will receive a special medallion to use at graduation.

Are there any extra fees associated with being involved in the Leadership Program?
Due to the generous support of TCU and BNSF, the majority of costs are covered for participants at a programmatic level. With that in mind, you must pay tuition and fees for the academic courses within the program and there is a study abroad fee requirement during the summer of your junior year.

Can I be considered for the Program if I have plans to study abroad during the next 2 years?
Because you will move through the leadership courses with your cohort, you must be at TCU during the fall and spring semesters during your three-year commitment to the program. However, we highly encourage you to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad as they will advance your skill sets, provide you with a larger scope of knowledge for business and leadership and allow you to immerse into another culture. As such, if you are accepted into the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program, you would need to choose a study abroad experience that takes place during the summer, winter or Spring Break session. Additionally, the Neeley Leadership students are required to study abroad for approximately 1.5 weeks in London and Scotland as a cohort as part of the required curriculum of the program. This trip is partially subsidized; however, it is an additional expense for students