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William Randolph Hearst Foundation United States Senate Youth Program

Each year, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, in cooperation with the United States Senate and the education departments of all the states, sponsors the United States Senate Youth Program. Two student leaders from each state and the District of Columbia are selected to participate in a week-long government leadership program in Washington, DC (all expenses paid). The students engage in a series of seminars and briefings with Senators and members of the House of Representatives, and meet with officials of the executive and judicial branches of government. Each student delegate will also receive a one-time $10,000 college scholarship, provided that two full courses in United States, government, history, and/or political science are taken by the student at an accredited institution during the student’s future college or university career.

The Washington, DC segment of the 2021-22 program will take place from:

 March 5-12, 2022.

(A decision on whether to hold the program in-person or online will be determined at a later date.)

The principal of a New York State high school may select one or more candidates for this statewide competition. Any high school junior or senior is eligible. The student must hold a high-level leadership position in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations during the entire 2021-2022 academic year academic year under rule 1 (a-e) of the USSYP brochure, subject to verification and the judgement of the state selection administrator:

  • 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, where the student holds a position of representation to a constituency providing service to others.
  • (see USSYP brochure for further qualification details.)

A student who is a representative to a district, regional or state-level civic or education organization may also be nominated. Please see the national program brochure for more details:

 Application Submission Requirements: 

  • A completed application form signed by the building principal click for the Fillable PDF Application Form
  • Student transcript or standardized test data
  • A student essay on the topic below:
    • A significant currently debated issue or problem before the United States Congress.

The student must:

  1. identify and describe the controversy surrounding the issue or problem,
  2. state major points of view on the matter expressed by members of Congress and others, and
  3. take a position on the issue or problem.  The position should be supported by specific evidence and reasoning.

Essay Requirements:

  • References must be cited.
  • Students applying for a second time may not use a previously submitted essay. 
  • Must not exceed 4 pages, double spaced in Arial 11 font, between 1000 and 1200 words;
  • The word count must appear at the bottom of the page.
  • Essay Topic, Student Name and page number must appear on each page.
  • A student statement of leadership activities, on a separate sheet of paper, that describe activities and interests that 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 Arial 12 font; it may not exceed 300 words.
  • Resume (Extra Curricular Activities)
  • A letter of recommendation from the high school principal. The recommendation letter may also be from a teacher or guidance counselor familiar with the student but MUST BE SIGNED BY THE PRINCIPAL as well.

The student application materials must be received via

 on or before: 
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 11:59pm

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.
  • Applications must be sent electronically.

For additional questions please contact:

Lisa Pingelski or Gwyn Marschman

State Selection Administrators, NYS US Senate Youth Program