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Selection Process

NOTICE for 2021 USSY Program


The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Washington Week will be held ONLINE Sunday, March 14, - Thursday, March 18, 2021. Two students from each state will be selected to attend the online program and each student will receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship. Students may qualify to apply through leadership positions they currently hold per the USSYP official criteria for the current 2020-2021 academic year. If students are unable to hold leadership positions this year due to the pandemic, they can submit the position they held during the 2019-2020 academic year. All student leadership qualifying positions are subject to the judgement of the state selection administrator and will be verified and confirmed.

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. 
With COVID-19, the number of applications for USSYP for 2021 was very low.
The following process will be used used for the 2020/21 selection once the application portal closes on December 7, 2020:
  • 65 applications were submitted.
  • Incomplete applications will be discarded.  This left 15 applications.  
  • Each student's application will be 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 13 completed applications.
  • Applicants will be 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 10 applicants.
  • Short essays will be 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 9 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 will be selected to move on and Zoom interviews set up. 
  • The three judges/interviewers will be 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. 
  • Zoom/Microsoft Teams interviews with the top 10 students will be conducted on January 12, 2021. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the interviewers will not be in the same room.  
Immediately following the conclusion of the 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