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How to Apply to the United States Senate Youth Program
By the time you’re in your junior and senior year of high school, you probably feel like you’ve heard of every program and scholarship out there. So you may feel a little inclined to just start lumping them all together. However, the United States Youth Senate Program is not just another program. Rather, it’s an experience that could have lasting impacts for the rest of your life! We promise you don’t want to miss this one, so keep reading to learn all about the United States Senate Youth Program!
What is the United States Senate Youth Program?
The United States Youth Senate Program is a program that brings selected high school students to Washington D.C. for one week to experience the U.S. Senate and explore what a future career in public service might be like. During this week, you will get to interact with actual senators and other high up elected officials.
Only two students are selected from each state each year. We highly encourage you to check out the video on the Youth Senate homepage from last year’s students to get a better picture of what this program really looks like! You can also check out each year’s yearbook!
What you receive
In addition to going to Washington D.C. for a week, students also receive:
- A $10,000 scholarship towards their future college education
- Priceless connections and networking opportunities
- Once in a lifetime experiences
- A great addition to college applications and academic resumes
Determine your eligibility
Of course, when it comes to such a prestigious program, there are going to be some requirements in order to apply. Let’s take a look at their eligibility rules below!
Hold an elected position
The most important factor to your eligibility is that you hold a leadership position. Below are the various positions that both do and do not count. It’s important to note that exceptions may be made to the lists below based on each state. Ultimately, it is up to your state selection contact to decide if your position is acceptable.
|Acceptable Positions||Unacceptable Positions|
|– Student body president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
– Class president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
– Student Council representative
– National Honor Society officer, including discipline based honor societies
– Student representative elected or appointed to a local, district, regional or state-level civic, service and/or educational organization approved by the state selection administrator
|– Attendance or officer position at Boys/Girls Nation or State summer conference
– Member of National Honor Society, unless you’re serving as an elected officer
Boy/Girl Scout leader or sports team
– Founder or Chairperson of self-created group
– Participant, captain or officer in Mock Trial, – Debate Team, Model U.N. or other academic club, mock legislature, conference or competition
The important thing is that you hold the elected position for the entire academic year in which you are applying. You cannot use a previous position from a past year to apply if you no longer hold it.
Also, note that some JROTC positions will be counted as acceptable if you hold a leadership position within that program. This will vary by state, so be sure to inquire.
The next important factor is that you are in the proper academic year. In order to qualify for the United States Youth Senate Program you need to be a junior or senior in high school.
Students need to remain in the state they plan to represent for the entire academic year. There are a few very specific exceptions to this rule, however. Let’s take a look!
Military Families – For students whose parents are in the military, there are a few exceptions where students are not required to reside in their state in order to represent it.
Nearest school district is in another state – For some students, the nearest school district may actually be across a state line. For students who maintain this specific arrangement, there may be exceptions made for them to represent their state in the USSYP.
Complete the application
Once you know you are eligible to apply to the USSYP, you should fill out the application! An application can be obtained from your principal, school counselor, social studies teacher, or your state selection contact. Keep in mind that the application due date may be different for every state. Therefore, be sure to double check that you have the right date and don’t miss out!
Also keep in mind that each state may have slightly different application requirements. Here are some of the things you may be asked to submit:
- Signature from a school official (your principal, guidance counselor, teacher, etc)
- A letter of recommendation
- Video presentation
- Academic or professional resume
You should also note that each state may have a different initial application. Some may simply have something that looks like a survey that you’ll fill out with basic information online, while others may be more in depth and several pages long. The point is that you should make sure you understand clearly what is expected of you on your application before submitting.
When to apply / Program dates
Application due date – Varies by each state. Check here to see what your state’s deadline is
Program dates – March 2 – March 9, 2024
Each state will submit their final choice of students in early December. The selection will include two candidates and two alternates should either of the first candidates be unable to attend.
Post program essay
After students complete their week in Washington D.C., they will be required to submit an essay reflecting on their time in the program. Some of these essays will be selected and featured in the yearbook and then dispersed to various senators. Keep your essay in mind as you go about your week in Washington D.C., making note of any important moments, conversations, and interactions you may have had.
Frequently asked questions about the United States Youth Senate Program
Are you allowed to attend the United States Senate Youth Program twice?