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Selection Process

2020 Selection Process

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Due to the large number of applications to the US Senate Youth Program and the limited resources on our end, individual feedback cannot be given to students on their applications.  
Please note that 11th graders who applied this year but were not selected are invited to apply again next year. 
The following process was used for the 2018/19 selection once the application portal closed on October 14, 2019:
  • 113 applications were submitted.
  • Incomplete applications were discarded.  This left 50 applications.  (note: there were a LOT of incomplete applications this year!)
  • Each student's application was checked for the elected/selected position required by the Hearst Foundation for this program, and accuracy on Wisconsin's senators, governor, and the individual student's Congressional Representative.  This left 47 completed applications.
  • Applicants were matched to letters of recommendation from their school principal.  Those without letters from their principal were disqualified.  High schools with more than one student application were discarded (program rules specifically say that only one student per school may apply).  This left 44 applicants.
  • Short essays were evaluated on a 1 (poor/weak) -5 (excellent/strong) scale based on how students supported their answer (students were not evaluated based on what their answer was - they were opinion questions), use of appropriate grammar and syntax, and supporting evidence from outside sources (if necessary).  Short answers were evaluated blindly and separately (no names were attached to the answers).  After this step, students with a 3 or lower on a scale of 1-5 were removed from the competition. This left 27 completed applications.
  • Long essays were evaluated on a 1 to 10 scale, with 1 being poor/weak, 5 being average, and 10 being outstanding.  Students were assessed on political knowledge, answering the question completely, supporting their answer, appropriate grammar and syntax, and supporting evidence from outside sources.  Essays were evaluated blindly and separately.  After this step, the 10 students with the highest combined scores were selected to move on and phone interviews set up. 
  • The four judges/interviewers were given detailed information about each student to be interviewed by telephone, including future plans and answers to the long and short essays.  They will NOT receive information such as gender, name, year in school, or school district. 
  • Telephone interviews with the top 10 students will be conducted on November 15, 2019. All interviewers will be in one room in Madison during these interviews. 
Immediately following the conclusion of the telephone interviews, two delegates and two alternates will be selected after extensive discussion using all information on the applicants.  
For questions about this information, contact Kristen McDaniel (608) 266-2207