SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE PROGRAM: Ideal Candidate Criteria and Application Requirements

Before filling out the application, we suggest that you look at your situation in relation to the following ideal qualifications. Those who combine most of these will be given priority for admission. If you have any hesitation about applying after reading these, please email the registrar for clarification.


Ideal candidates are individuals who

  • Feel called to spiritual companionship for others. This involves specifically focusing on prayer/meditation experience and discernment of and response to God’s activity in a person’s life.
  • Have experienced a validation of this call by the fact that others have come to them to attend God in their lives.
  • Have had experience with a spiritual director or companion for themselves.
  • Have life experience and history which reflect an ongoing caring for God.
  • Desire a serious experiential program with an ecumenical mix of peers in a Christian context, open to other faith traditions.
  • Actively express commitment to and seeking of the Truth of God through a religious tradition and open to learning from other traditions.
  • Have evidence of their faith community’s support for their ministry of spiritual direction.


Before filling out the application form, please read through the whole application form to familiarize yourself with the information that we require. In addition to general and background information, we will ask you to

  • Upload your plans for program requirements
  • Upload a short essay
  • List two or three people who will write a letter of recommendation for you
  • Answer tuition assistance questions, if you will be applying for a scholarship.

Plans for Program Requirements

You will be asked to respond to the following in an uploaded doc or pdf:

  • Plans for receiving spiritual direction for yourself, and the length of time you have been in direction.
  • Plans for offering direction to at least two individuals who have agreed, prior to your submitting application, to be in direction with you, and the length of time you have been directing.
  • (Please note that while we expect you to be directing two individuals throughout the Program, they need not be the same two people for the duration of the Program. Ideally they are people you have been seeing or would be directing whether or not you are in the Program.)
  • In one paragraph, describe what actually happened in a recent, typical time in which you were a spiritual director, guide or companion for someone.
  • Plans for access to a theological library with resources on spirituality and spiritual direction.

Short Essay

You will be asked to provide a short essay in doc or pdf (no more than two single-spaced or three double-spaced pages) that includes answers to the following questions:

  • What attracts you to this program?
  • What important life experiences lie behind this attraction? Include the nature and extent of your giving and receiving spiritual direction/guidance, including current specific experience both as a guide and as a directee (this information is essential), and any psychological counseling received and/or given that has contributed to your insight into human nature.
  • What specifically do you need from such a program?
  • With whom and where do you expect to use your learnings?
  • What is your understanding of the intent of spiritual direction/guidance?
  • What do you feel are the most important qualifications of a spiritual director/guide?
  • How would you honestly assess your assets and deficits relevant to spiritual direction/guidance?
  • What readings and personal experience have influenced your understanding of spiritual guidance?
  • What is your sense of acceptance and support from those with whom you live and pray (family, religious community, church, etc.) for your participation in the program?
  • Are there personal constraints (such as an anticipated move, new job responsibilities, etc.) involving spiritual direction, etc. which dictate submitting your application at this particular time only?


Our mission is to nurture contemplative living and leadership.


In 2025, Shalem will be a dynamic and inclusive community, empowered by the Spirit, where seekers engage in transformation of themselves, their communities, and the world through spiritual growth, deep connection, and courageous action.