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United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Application

Monday, September 9, 2019

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is a unique and annual educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. This year, the program will be held in Washington, DC, from March 7-14, 2020. Two student leaders from each state will spend a week in Washington experiencing their national government in action. Student delegates will hear major policy addresses by Senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies, as well as participate in a meeting with a Justice of the US Supreme Court. All transportation, hotel and meal expenses will be provided by The Hearst Foundations. 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.

Application Instructions

District of Columbia public, public charter and private high school juniors and seniors who possess a strong interest in government, public service and history are encouraged to apply for the USSYP. Applicants must currently (2019-20) be serving in an elected capacity in any one of the following student government offices:

  • 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

Students must submit: 

  1. A signed Word or PDF version of the application form.
  2. Official student transcript 
  3. A student essay on a significant issue or problem before the United States Congress:
    • The student must:
      1. Identify and describe the issue or problem;
      2. State major points of view on the matter expressed by members of the Congress and others; and
      3. Take a position on the issue or problem. The position should be supported by specific evidence and reasoning.
      • References must be cited. Students applying for a second time may not use an essay submitted previously.
      • NOTE: The essay must not exceed 3 pages, double spaced in Times New Roman 12 font.
      • View examples of essays submitted by all 2019 USSYP participants.
      • Essays from District of Columbia 2019 participants specifically are here:
  4. A student statement of leadership activities on a separate sheet of paper that describe activities and interests which demonstrate the student’s leadership qualities and activities at school and/or in the community.
    • Activities that demonstrate the student’s interest in the political process of governance should be emphasized.
    • Note: The essay must not exceed 1 page, double spaced in Times New Roman 12 font.
  5. Resume (Extra Curricula Activities)
  6. A letter of recommendation from the high school principal and/or counselor.

Application Deadline:

The student application form must be postmarked or hand delivered to OSSE on or before Friday, Nov. 8, 2019

Please mail or hand deliver application packet to:

Janae Eason
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Division of Postsecondary and Career Education
1050 First St., NE Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20002

Special Notes:

  • If any of the above is missing from the final application packet, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.
  • There is not a limit on how many students apply from each DC public, charter and private high school.
  • Applications must have adequate postage.
  • In the event that an applicant becomes a semifinalist, the student must be able to come to an in-person interview at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in late November.

For more information or questions, please email Janae Eason, state selection coordinator, at [email protected].


  • Applications will be received until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. OSSE will confirm receipt of application via email. All applications received are considered final. Please only submit ONE application per student.
  • Finalists will be contacted by Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 to schedule their interview.
  • Interviews will primarily take place on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019; however, there will be a few alternate dates/times offered.
  • OSSE will notify the USSYP Program of the selection of two delegates and two alternates by Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
  • The USSYP Program and the Hearst Foundations will announce the two delegates and two alternates from each state in December. Upon receiving confirmation of the DC selections, OSSE will also notify all applicants of their status via email. Accepted students may also receive a telephone call.
  • The two delegates from the District of Columbia will attend Washington Week from March 7-14, 2020. Please visit the program website for more information about Washington Week, program rules, and scholarship rules.

Additional Resources