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The United States Senate Youth Program is an intensive week-long educational experience and scholarship sponsored by the United States Senate for outstanding high school students who are interested in pursuing careers in public service.
Have you ever wanted to see how our government works firsthand? If you are a high school junior or senior already serving as an elected official in your student body or other state or community organization, you may already be qualified to apply.
Two delegates from each state and the District of Columbia are selected to participate in the program. Each delegate chosen receives a $10,000 college scholarship. Selections start at school level, where students are nominated by their principal and teachers. Candidates then compete at a state level to become finalists.
Key Information of U.S. Senate Youth Program
Area of Study
Country of Study
Intended Level of Study
Number of Awards
U.S. Senate Youth Program Timeline
Applications open around August each year, but check your state's site for more accurate dates.
Each state has its own deadline, so check your state's site for accurate dates.
December 1, 2023
State Finalists Chosen
The two finalists, and two alternates, must be finalized by this date.
March 4-11, 2023
The 104 delegates travel to Washington, D.C. for Washington Week.
To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet the following criteria.
- Eligible Grade: High School Junior – High School Senior
- Maximum Age: Any
- Required GPA: Any
- Geographic Eligibility: United States
- Gender: Any
- Race/Ethnicity: Any
Here’s what you need to submits besides your application.
- Recommendation letters
- Grade transcript
How to ace the U.S. Senate Youth Program
Get active in student government
Hopefully, you already hold a student government office. To prepare for the U.S. Senate Youth Program Application, think about what you hope to accomplish while holding this position. What is the best way to display your passion for public service? How can you break that down into smaller, achievable goals?
Pick an engaging essay topic
Your essay centers around a current issue in Congress. Don't be afraid to write about a controversial topic! The goal of the essay is to analyze all points of view, then take a position and defend it with logic and reason. If you do this well, you shouldn't be afraid of offending your reader.
Get to know your principal or counselor
Good news! If you hold a student government position, you should already be well-acquainted with your principal and/or guidance counselor. You need a great letter of recommendation from them, so don't be shy. Talk to them about what you hope to accomplish in student government, and what the U.S. Senate Youth Program means to you.
Showcase your leadership skills
It’s one thing to qualify for the program as someone in a student office position, it’s another thing to actually have leadership skills. Make sure you highlight your skills in your application.
How the U.S. Senate Youth Program is Judged
Candidates are judged on their elected position, interest in history, and public service. They are also evaluated on the essays they submit, specifically the relevancy of the content.
Why We Love the U.S. Senate Youth Program
You can read winning essays
The official U.S. Senate Youth Program website posts all 104 winning student essays on their website! We especially recommend reading the winning essays from your own state.
You get to meet the President
Student delegates will meet with the President, Senate Co-Chairs, other Senate leaders and the Senate parliamentarian and historian; a justice of the Supreme Court, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and other executive agencies, a foreign ambassador to the U.S., and senior members of the media. We dare you to find a better networking opportunity.
You've already been elected
Just to be eligible, all applicants must hold a student government office. That means when you write your statement of leadership activities, you'll have plenty to talk about.
5 Facts About The U.S. Senate
The name means "old man" in Latin
The word “senator” comes from "senex," the Latin word for “old man.”
History of service
The longest-serving Senator was Robert C. Byrd, from West Virginia, who served for 56 years.
President in the Senate
The first former president to be elected Senator was Andrew Johnson.
Senators receive a yearly salary of around $165,000.
Youth in government
The youngest senator to serve was John H. Easton of Tennessee, who was 28.