United States Senate Youth Program

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News & Announcements

Applications for the 2024 United States Senate Youth Program is now open.  The 62nd Annual Washington Week will take place March 2-9, 2024.  For information about the program, please refer to the USSYP website. 

All applications must be submitted and timestamped by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 29, 2023.  All applications will be submitted through the Online Student Application Portal.

Scholarship Program for Juniors and Seniors OverviewUnited States Senate Youth Program: Education, leadership, public service, respect

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will select two student delegates to represent Virginia in the 62nd Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.  Each delegate will receive a $10,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for Washington Week.  Public and private high school Juniors and Seniors may submit an application. 

Each public and private high school may submit applications for up to 3 candidates.  Each application will consist of contact information, two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, an academic essay and administrative verification.  Applications are available through the Online Student Application Portal.  

The top candidates will be invited to interview with a panel of judges appointed by the VDOE and also take the Public Affairs examination.   The exam, prepared by the Hearst Foundation, is designed to test knowledge of the United States government, the United States Constitution, American History, and knowledge of public affairs and current events.  The examination is prepared by the national organization sponsoring the scholarship opportunity.  The VDOE does not provide, disseminate, or recommend any preparation materials for the examination.

Final selection will be based upon the student's application, essay response, the examination results, outstanding academic performance, and demonstrated qualities of leadership and community service.  The selection process for finalist has been streamlined to meet the rigor of the national organization's process providing consistency across the nation. 

Please review the United States Senate Youth Program Brochure or the USSYP overview (video) before beginning the process.

Highlights from the 2023 Washington Week.

USSYP 2023 VA Delegates with Senators


Student Eligibility

Detailed information about the program may be found at USSYP website.  There are very specific qualifications and expectations for candidates selected as delegates.  Please reference the information outlined in the How to Qualify section of the online brochure.   VDOE strictly adheres to the qualifications and expectations outlined by the Hearst Foundation.  

  • Must be a current High School Junior or Senior.  
  • Selected delegates must hold a leadership position in any one of the following student government, civic, or educational organizations during the entire 2023-2024 academic year: 
  • 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 high-level position of representation to a constituency in a year-round capacity providing service to others. 
  • The positions listed below DO NOT qualify the student for the program:
  • Attendance or officer position at Boys/Girls Nation or State summer conference
  • General Member of a National Honor Society (serving as an elected officer is acceptable)
  • Member or leader of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or a sports team
  • A founder or chairperson of a self-created group
  • A participant, captain or officer in Mock Trial, Debate Team, Model UN or other academic club, mock legislature, conference or competition where the primary engagement is for individual educational benefit.  


  • 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 high school in your state in the U.S. through graduation Spring 2024.
  • Interested in and participating in leadership, public service and government related activities.
  • Must be able to attend the entire 2024 Washington Week March 2-9, 2024.
  • High school principal must sign and verify the student’s application submission and nomination to the program.
  • Students must have U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence status to apply to the U.S. Senate Youth Program. Due to security clearance requirements, students not in possession of the Green Card at the time of application are ineligible to apply for this program. Verification will be completed by the School. 

Applications- Procedures & Policies 

All applications must be submitted and timestamped by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 29, 2023 through the application portal.  

Applications for the United States Senate Youth Program will be accessed and submitted online via Online Student Application Portal


Students selected as a finalist should:

  • have access to a computer or laptop, a functioning camera, and a stable internet connection. 
  • read and sign the Code of Conduct and Rules.

Building Administrator (or Designee) will: 

  • select and submit up to three candidates per school by the deadline. 
  • sign and verify students citizenship and/or legal residency.  


  • Applications and essays are due 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 29, 2023 through the application portal. 
  • Students will be notified the last week of October 2023 as to their status.  
  • If selected to move forward, interviews and examinations will be scheduled the week of November 13, 2023.
  • Notification of final selection of the 2024 Delegates will occur by the week of December 4, 2023.


For questions or further information regarding the United States Senate Youth Program, please contact Christonya Brown, Coordinator of History and Social Science, by email at vdoe.hss@doe.virginia.gov.  

Applications for the United States Youth Senate Program may be accessed and submitted online via Online Student Application Portal