Selection Process : How to Apply
Rising high school juniors and seniors may obtain a USSYP application through their high school principals, guidance counselors and social studies teachers OR they may inquire directly to their state selection contacts using this website (see selection contacts listing on home page). All student delegates to the United States Senate Youth Program are selected by state-level education officials – the United States Senate and The Hearst Foundations do not provide individual states’ applications or choose the delegates and alternates.
USSYP Selection Process – How to Qualify
Qualified high school junior or seniors must show demonstrated leadership by serving in elected or appointed positions in which they are actively representing a constituency in organizations related to student government, education, public affairs and community service. They must be actively serving in qualified leadership positions, enrolled in high school and living in the state (and for these purposes the District of Columbia) that they will represent for the entire academic year.
The DoDEA central administrative office will select the DoDEA delegates and alternates residing overseas. Military dependents who reside and attend schools in the U.S. shall apply for the program under the RESIDENCY ruling shown below.
Alternate delegates will be selected as replacements if a primary delegate is unable to participate in Washington Week. If the primary delegate is unable to attend, The Hearst Foundations must be notified in advance. Attendance during the entire Washington Week program is required to receive the financial scholarship; appropriate disposition of scholarship funds will be determined by the program director in the event a primary delegate is unable to attend the program due to emergency circumstances.
Selection will be based on the student’s outstanding abilities and demonstrated qualities of leadership in an elected or appointed high school student office for the entire school year. The primary purposes of the qualifying leadership position must be representation of a constituency and service to others. A student who graduates high school at the close of the fall semester / quarter is not eligible to apply for the program, and students other than DoDEA delegates must be residing in one state of primary residence in the U.S. during the academic year to participate.
Any high school junior or senior student is eligible for the program provided he or she has not previously been a delegate to Washington Week and has not received a USSYP scholarship.
RESIDENCY – Each student must be a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States at the time of application. Students who are not United States Citizens must be in possession of their I-551 / “green card” at the time of application to be eligible to apply. Students must be enrolled for the entire academic year in a public or independent high school located in the state (and for these purposes the District of Columbia) in which at least one of their parents or guardians currently resides. Home-educated students must be approved by their state department of education to apply.
1. The student must hold a leadership position in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations during the entire academic year:
- Student Body president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
- Class president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
- Student Council representative
- A National Honor Society officer (including discipline-based Honor Societies such as the National English and Social Studies Honor Societies that include service components)
- Student representative elected or appointed (appointed by a panel, commission or board) to a local, district, regional or state-level civic, service and/or educational organization approved by the state selection administrator
2. Participation or holding an officer position in academic clubs and/or educational competition programs/conferences do not qualify a student for USSYP, although many students who qualify participate in these activities. The positions listed below DO NOT qualify the student for the program:
- Attendance or officer position at Boys/Girls Nation or State summer conference
- Member of the National Honor Society (serving as an elected officer for the organization for the entire school year is acceptable)
- Member or leader of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or JROTC
- A founder or chairperson of a self-created group
- A participant, captain or officer in Mock Trial, Debate Team, Model U.N. or other academic club, conference or competition where the primary engagement is for the individual educational enrichment
3. Exceptions to the residency requirement will only be made in the following cases:
- Students from DoDEA overseas will represent the state(s) of which the parents/guardians are U.S. legal voting residents. Students attending DoD schools in the U.S. or students enrolled through U.S. military bases in local schools must be residing in the state in which their school is located for the entire academic year.
- Students may reside in a state other than the state in which they attend school if they are enrolled in the only designated public high school available to them in a school district that crosses contiguous state borders through legal interstate agreement. Students in these schools shall make application to the program through the state where the high school is located and shall represent that state if selected.