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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 2023-24 program will take place from:

 March 2-9, 2024.


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 2023-2024 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. 

 Application Submission Requirements: 

  • A completed application form signed by the building principal
  • Student transcript (Official academic transcript with non-weighted GPA)
  • WRITTEN APPLICATION ESSAY:  Please submit a word document attachment with the answer to one of the following questions with a word limit of 500 words or less per response (or no more than 3 pages) double spacing, Times New Roman, and 12 font:

    1.  Submit a reflective essay highlighting how your leadership experience embodies the New York State Board of Regents and State Education Department’s key priorities. The key priorities are:

                         a.  diversity, equity, and inclusion
                         b.  a service-oriented approach to supporting community
                         c.  a commitment to lifelong learning

    2.  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 import 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.

  • A student statement of leadership activities, on a separate sheet of paper, describe the following: 

    1. Note information outlining your past and current involvement in student government or leadership in other organizations during high school. 
    2.  Describe your involvement in community service initiatives or programs outside of school. 
    3.  Describe your leadership experience that supports your desire to serve as your USSYP State delegate. 
    4.  Describe ways in which your participation in USSYP will enhance your understanding and interest in the political and governmental process of the United States. 
                                   The essay must be double spaced in Arial 12 font; it may not exceed 500 words.

  • Resume (Extra Curricular Activities)

  • LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: Each student must submit two letters of support and recommendation: one from either the high school principal or a teacher, and one from another adult representative of an organization or activity where the student has a record of leadership and service to others and/or where the student is currently holding a qualifying leadership position for USSYP.

The student application materials must be received via

 on or before: 
Friday, October 20, 2023 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 

State Selection Administrator, NYS US Senate Youth Program