Entering 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 junior or senior high school students must show demonstrated leadership through public service in elected or appointed positions where they are actively representing a constituency in organizations that relate to government, public affairs, history and / or community service. They must be actively serving in qualified leadership positions, enrolled in high school and living in the state they will represent for the entire 2017 – 2018 academic year.
Two student delegates and a first and second alternate will be selected from each state and the District of Columbia by the chief state school officer. The Hearst Foundations will provide $1,000 to each state-level department of education to assist with the selection expenses for the program, and will provide a rigorous public affairs examination that states may use in the selection process.
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, and represent the state in which they currently reside.
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 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 2017-2018 school year. A student who graduates high school at the close of the fall 2017 semester / quarter is not eligible to apply for the program, and students other than DoDEA delegates must be residing in the U.S. during the 2017- 2018 academic 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.
The student is required to be actively serving in an elected or appointed capacity in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations during the entire 2017-2018 school year:
- Student Body president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
- Class president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
- Student Council representative
- National honor Society officer
- 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.
- Participation or holding an officer position in academic clubs and / or educational competition programs / conferences do not qualify a student for the USSYP, although many students who qualify participate in such.
The positions listed below do NOT qualify the student for the program:
- Attendance or officer position at Boys/Girls Nation/State summer conference
- Member of the National Honor Society (serving as an elected officer for the organization for the entire school year is acceptable)
- 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
- RESIDENCY – Each student must be a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States at the time of application. The student must be enrolled for the entire academic year in a public or independent high school located in the state (including for these purposes the District of Columbia) in which at least one of their parents or guardians currently resides.
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 will represent the state in which their school is located.
- 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 legally 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.