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U.S. Senate Youth Program

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. Two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity will spend a week in Washington experiencing their national government in action. Student delegates typically hear from Senators, cabinet members, directors of other federal agencies, members of the national media, Supreme Court justices, and other leaders. All transportation, hotel and meal expenses will be provided by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation. In addition, each delegate will also be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies, with encouragement to pursue coursework in history and political science. For additional information, please review the 2025 United States Senate Youth Brochure (PDF).

The 2025 USSYP Washington Week dates are March 1-8, 2025.

Please watch this video recap of the USSYP Washington Week.

All eligible students are encouraged to apply and must attend the program to receive the scholarship. All student delegates will partake in a comprehensive, interactive leadership program in the stated timeframe, and each will receive the $10,000 college scholarship in the name of the United States Senate.

Please review the United States Senate Youth Program website for additional information.

Pictured: (Top) Indiana USSYP Delegate Layla Kelly, Indiana Senator Mike Braun, and Indiana USSYP Delegate Kyle Davis at the 2024 US Senate Youth Program Annual Senate Reception Dinner

(Bottom) Indiana USSYP Delegate Layla Kelly, Indiana Senator Todd Young, and Indiana USSYP Delegate Kyle Davis at the 2024 US Senate Youth Program Annual Senate Reception Dinner (Official U.S. Senate photo by Dan Rios)

U.S. Senate Youth Program Application

All interested students must submit the online application by midnight on September 27, 2024. Applications must be submitted online; no mailed in applications will be accepted. Applicants should plan to submit all materials at one time as the submission site does not allow you to return to a partially completed application. Please direct all questions related to the application process to Foundation Civic Education Specialist Joseph O’Connor.

Application Requirements:

  • Completed online application
    • Indicate year-long elected/appointed position in a student government, civics, or educational organization.
    • Personal Essay
      • Describe each of the following elements as they pertain to you:
        • Current elected student position held and all past involvement in student government /leadership.
        • Activities and achievements that demonstrate leadership in school and community that demonstrate leadership in school and community that specifically support your desire to serve as your USSYP State Delegate.
        • Involvement in community service initiatives or programs outside of school.
        • How your participation in USSYP will enhance our understanding and interest in the political and government process of the United States; Share ways in which you think being chosen for the USSYP will help you explore some of the most important questions you have about the challenges facing the country.
    • Persuasive Essay:
      • Submit a persuasive essay researched and written on a topic of social significance related to a contemporary state, national, or world event. Select a topic important to you, take a stand, relate its important to you, and defend your position. The essay will be judged on organization. ideas and content, evidence of personalization, and writing conventions including citation of sources.
    • Video Essay
      • Public speaking is a core component of the USSYP. Each applicant should prepare a short video presentation, no more than three minutes in length, as part of the 2024 application, to be judged for public speaking skill, vocabulary, originality, organization of presentation, knowledge of any material or content presented, clarity of artwork (charts, graphs, slides if used), and overall presentation.
      • The video can be submitted as a file upload or by providing a link to the video.
  • Principal letter of support
    • In this letter of support, the principal should verify your school activities and leadership positions held and endorse you as a representative of your school and state.
  • Community leader letter of support
    • This letter should be an adult representative of an organization or activity where you have a record of leadership and service to others and/or where you are currently holding a qualifying leadership position for USSYP.
  • The essays should be 300-500 words and should not have any student-identifying marks (name, school, grade, etc).

Senate Youth Program Timeline

(Subject to change)

  • July 1 – Application window opens
  • September 27 – Applications due at midnight
  • October 14 – Applicants advancing to the Top Ten notified
  • October 19 – Top Ten interview day
  • December 1 – Delegates and Alternates announced
  • March 1-8, 2025 – Washington Week

Program Eligibility Criteria

  • Students must have U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence status to apply to the U.S. Senate Youth Program. Due to security clearance requirements, students not in possession of the Green Card at the time of application are ineligible to apply for this program.
  • Must be currently serving in an elected or appointed position representing a constituency during the entire school year
  • Must be a junior or senior attending high school in the U.S. through graduation Spring 2025.
  • Interested in and participating in leadership, public service, and government-related activities
  • Must be able to attend the entire in-person Washington Week March 1-8, 2025
  • High School principal must sign and verify the student’s application submission and nomination to the program through the principal letter of support.
  • Review the 2025 United States Senate Youth Brochure (PDF) for complete rules and details
USSYP 2024 Group Photo

One hundred and four high school student delegates – two from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity – take part in the 62nd annual United States Senate Youth Program held in Washington, DC on March 2-9, 2024. (© Photo by Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin).

  • Over the last year or so, my desire to serve our country and attend the United States Military Academy at West Point has turned into my single greatest goal in life. After participating in the United States Senate Youth Program, I have a newfound appreciation for our democracy, and I am newly invigorated to spend the next decade of my life dedicated to its service.

    Katherine LaReau

    2021 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate

  • The United States Senate Youth program is a steppingstone for dedicated student leaders to become the public servants our country needs most. The program encourages us to deliberate on our past, discuss our present, and envision the future with the wild imagination of the Founders when they dared to press pen to paper. I am humbled by the opportunity the program provided me and have never been more inspired to pursue a lifetime of service.

    Marissa Meador

    2021 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate

  • Many of the awe-inspiring moments of Washington Week came during speakers’ remarks and question and answer sessions. Giving youth a platform to engage so critically and eloquently with the high-profile figures of our nation is something commendable the Hearst Foundations has annually succeeded in doing.

    Ishaan Modi

    2019 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate

  • The United States Senate Youth Program serves as a cross-section of tomorrow’s leaders. I know for a fact that the people I stood in line behind for oatmeal will be elected, appointed, and chosen for public service at the highest levels of government.

    William Schrepferman

    2019 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate

  • The students I met during my short time in Washington were truly the height of intellect, conviction, and moral upstanding.

    Connor Meyer

    2018 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate

  • I came to Washington Week skeptical of the figureheads in our government, yet hearing their remarkable speeches reassured me that the country is in good hands. The week truly humanized the people in our government and revealed their positive intent.

    Jake Ingoglia

    2017 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate

  • Seeing Surgeon General Vivek openly talk about his Indian-American heritage was a source of inspiration for not only the Indian-American delegates but all delegates who understand the integral part cultural diversity plays in American identity.

    Rushi Patel

    2017 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate

  • Although the experiences the United States Senate Youth Program provided have made a huge impact on me, the delegates from around the country have had an even larger influence. Never before have I been surround by such passionate, intelligent, and considerate peers. I am sure the relationships I formed will continue for years to come.

    Brooke Hanes

    2016 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate

  • The experiences that I had during the week in Washington are ones that I will never forget. I was inspired by my fellow delegates to bring my ideas back home and help out my own city.

    Alex Yom

    2016 U.S. Senate Youth Delegate