NOTICE for 2024 USSY Program
The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Washington Week will be held March 2-9, 2024. Two students from each state will be selected to attend the online program and each student will receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship. All student leadership qualifying positions are subject to the judgement of the state selection administrator and will be verified and confirmed.
NOTE - the Hearst Foundation, who funds the USSYP, is requiring some new information be added to the application. Please read the application carefully, as it has changed from previous years!
New this year - The Top Ten applications selected for a virtual interview will be required to submit a 3-4 minute video "portfolio" outlining their work as a youth civics leader.
It is completely up to the local school district to decide how to select one student to nominate to the USSYP. Some principals delegate that responsibility to someone such as a school counselor or student council advisor. They may have a small committee within the school interview potential candidates.
Students must complete the online application (if the link is not live, the application is not yet available). You will need to enter your email address to receive the link to the application. It is strongly advised that students download the PDF of the application and answer the questions first on paper before returning to enter answers. Although applicants may return to the form multiple times, you cannot work ahead due to the required questions. At this time, Wisconsin has moved to accepting applications electronically only. If this is a problem, please contact the program coordinator for assistance.
Every high school (public or private) in Wisconsin may nominate one student. Nominated students must be a high school junior or senior during the current school year, and must be serving in an elected or appointed position in which they are actively representing a constituency in organizations related to student government, civic, or education, public affairs, and community service (for example, student body or class president, vice president, treasurer or secretary, or student council representative). Participation or holding an officer position in academic clubs and/or educational competition programs DO NOT qualify students for USSYP (ex: attendance at Badger Boys/Girls State, member of National Honor Society, officer in Mock Trial, Model UN, or Debate, or founder/chair of a self-created group). It is the students responsibility to check the official USSYP brochure to ensure their eligibility - page 3 outlines the leadership positions accepted. Students must be a permanent resident of the US and currently enrolled in a high school in Wisconsin. At least one parent must also reside in Wisconsin. In addition, Wisconsin students must fill out the application in its' entirety, answer the essay questions posed, and obtain a short letter of recommendation from their school principal.
Homeschool students are encouraged to apply if their parents have filed the appropriate paperwork with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to show they are homeschooling. Students being homeschooled must meet the requirements of the USSYP set by the Hearst Foundation, and must be currently serving in an elected or selected capacity to a district, regional, state, or national civic or educational organization. You must state the name of the organization, the elected office, and briefly summarize the election process. As with non-homeschooled students, academic clubs, educational competition programs, or an organization that is for academic enrichment only does not qualify the student for the USSYP program. Examples of accepted positions could be a student position in the local community such as a student advisory board for a local or state official, or as an officer in Junior State of America, National Honor Society, etc. Please contact the state administrator, Kris McDaniel, with any questions.
All application materials will be accepted online only through the official application (if link is not live, the application portal is not yet available or it is past the due date). Letters of recommendation from the school administrator must be emailed to DPI.USSYP@dpi.wi.gov .
How are Wisconsin's student Delegates and Alternates chosen?
- Application materials are complete and due by the October 9, 2023 deadline. This includes the short letter of recommendation from the school administrator and all required essays.
- The ten students with the highest scores will receive notification that they are a finalist by the end of October 2023. These ten students will sign up for a 15-minute interview time (via Zoom or Microsoft Teams) in November 2023. Included in these interviews may be: the USSYP coordinator, Wisconsin educators, a USSYP delegate from past years, a representative from the Wisconsin State Bar, a Political Science professor from a Wisconsin university, a member of the state legislature, a member of the state supreme court, a Senator from the US Senate, and/or the finalists congressional representative.
- The two students with the highest interview scores will be selected as delegates from Wisconsin and will be notified after December 1, 2023 (names are due to the Hearst Foundation on that date and no one can be notified before). The two students with the next highest scores will be selected as alternates, who would attend the program if for some reason the delegates cannot.
If you have additional questions, please contact Kristen McDaniel, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Social Studies Consultant [ (608) 266-2207 ].