United States Senate Youth Program
Welcome to Delaware's dedicated webpage for the United States Senate Youth Program!
The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution in 1962 creating the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), a national nonpartisan initiative to provide an annual opportunity for talented high school students with demonstrated leadership abilities to deepen their understanding of America’s political processes and strengthen their resolve to pursue careers in public service.
The USSYP brings the highest-level officials from each branch of government to meet with this outstanding group of young leaders — two high school juniors or seniors from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) — for an intensive week-long education and leadership program to be held in Washington, D.C., March 2 - 9, 2024.The program is merit-based and highly competitive. Each student will also receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to pursue coursework in history and political science. Now in its 62nd year, the program has been fully funded since inception by The Hearst Foundations as an enduring commitment to preparing young people for civic leadership in our participatory democracy.
Numbering more than 6,100, USSYP alumni serve the country in many ways. They have become leaders in government, law, business, education, journalism, the military, medicine, healthcare, higher education and many other fields. Alumni serve as elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, including a current United States senator, a current cabinet secretary, many congressional staff members, a former governor, former senior political advisors to the president of the United States, former ambassadors and former federal judges. The commonality to all of their success is the desire to serve. For more information, visit USSYP Brochure & Press Release.
Selection Process in Delaware
- Students submit their completed application to their high school counselor.
- Each Delaware high school selects one student as their school’s nominee for the USSYP.
- School counselors email their school nominee’s completed application with all required attachments, links, and signatures in one email to Michael Feldman by the application deadline, Friday, October 13, 2023.
- Students selected for the semi-finalist and finalist rounds will be notified by Delaware’s USSYP selection committee, via the email address provided in their application.
- Students selected as Delaware’s USSYP delegates will be notified after December 1, 2023.
How to Qualify
Qualified junior or senior high school students must show demonstrated leadership through public service in elected or appointed positions in organizations that relate to government, public affairs, history, and/or community service. To quality, students must meet the following criteria:
- Must be currently serving in an elected or appointed position representing a constituency during the entire 2023-2024 school year: see USSYP Brochure for qualifying positions,
- Will be attending a Delaware high school and reside with at least one parent/guardian in Delaware for the entire 2023-2024 school year,
- Must be able to attend the entire 2024 in-person Washington Week, March 2-9, 2024
- Must submit a completed application that includes all of the following:
- Signed documentation of serving in an elected or appointed leadership position for the entire 2023-2024 school year
- Two original essays
- One original video presentation
- Signed parent/guardian consent for Washington Week, March 2-9, 2024
- Two signed letters of recommendation. One from their high school principal or teacher and one from an adult representative from the organization where the student has a record of leadership.
- Copy of their school transcript
- Residency: Each student must be a permanent resident of the United States and currently enrolled in a public or private secondary school located in Delaware and reside with at least one of their parents or guardians in Delaware for the entire school year.
- From the USSYP: Exceptions to the residency requirement will only be made in the following cases: Students may reside in a state other than the state in which they attend school if they are enrolled in the only designated public high school available to them in a school district that legally crosses contiguous state borders through legal interstate agreement. Students in these schools shall make application to the program through the state where the high school is located and shall represent that state if selected. *In Delaware, this only applies to the Delmar School District.