Opportunities for Students

There are many extracurricular opportunities available to Tennessee students and teachers, such as grants, scholarships, and experiences. On this section of the site, students can apply for these opportunities, some of which are coordinated by the Department of Education in partnership with other agencies and organizations.

The Governor's School Program provides immersive summer programs for high-achieving Tennessee students during the summer semester preceding either their 11th or 12th grade year. Selected students participate in challenging and intensive learning experiences in one of eleven disciplines. More information is available on the Governor's School webpage.

An Important COVID-19 Update from the United States Senate Youth Program:

The 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week is being planned for March 4–11, 2023. The program may be held online pending public health guidance and status of large group access to the government venues traditionally visited. If held in person, all delegates will be required to be fully vaccinated and boosted to attend.

All eligible students are encouraged to apply. A final decision regarding the in-person program will be determined in the fall of 2022, with adequate time for students to complete the full vaccination series prior to travel. If held online, vaccination status will not be required. Students must attend the program to receive the scholarship. Regardless of platform, all student delegates will partake in a comprehensive, interactive leadership program in the stated timeframe, and each will receive the $10,000 college scholarship in the name of the United States Senate.



Program Overview

The annual United States Senate Youth Program authorizes the selection of 104 student delegates, two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Office of Dependents Schools (DoDDS). The delegates are immersed in Washington activities throughout their week-long stay, including visits to the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and the Pentagon. Delegates hear major addresses by senators, cabinet members and officials of the Department of State and the Department of Defense, as well as other federal departments. Additional activities include visits to the various Smithsonian Museums. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation pays all expenses for the weeklong Washington experience, including transportation, hotel accommodations, and meals. In addition, each delegate is awarded a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies.


Program History

In 1962, the United States Senate voted unanimously to endorse a nationwide youth program that would bring high school students to Washington, DC for a brief introduction to the functions of the federal government—particularly the Senate.

The program was created and authorized by Senate Resolution 234 and has been reauthorized ever since. The original resolution specified that the program be "supported by private funds with no expense to the federal government". As a result, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation assumed financial support of the program and continues its sponsorship today. The Foundation states that "it is in the public interest to encourage these outstanding young people to continue their educational development".


Criteria for Applying in Tennessee

1.      The student applicant must be a current junior or senior enrolled in a public, private, or home-school high school. 

2.      The student must be enrolled for the entire academic year in a public, private, or home-school high school located in the state in which at least one of his/her parents or guardians currently resides.

3.      The student must be a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States at the time of application.

4.      The student applicant must currently serve in an elected or appointed capacity in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations:

·         Student body: President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer

·         Class President, Vice president, Secretary, or Treasurer

·         National Honor Society Officer

·         Student Council: Representative

·         District, regional, or state-level civic or educational organizations: Representative.

·         Note: School clubs (e.g., Chess Club) are not considered civic or educational organizations



Selection will be based on academic accomplishments, community service, knowledge of current American government issues and procedures and demonstrated qualities of leadership for the current school year. 

Virtual interviews for finalists will be held in November 2022.





Student applications should only be submitted through the online portal. Click here to access and submit the online student application for the 2022-23 United State Senate Youth Program. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. CT on October 14, 2022.



Charlotte Woehler, Student Opportunities and Quality Assurance Control

Office of Academics | Academics & Instructional Strategy Division

Phone: (615) 733-9670

Email: Charlotte.Woehler@tn.gov.

The National Youth Science Camp (NYSC) is a residential science education program that honors and challenges two graduating high school science students from each state.  Scientists from across the nation present lectures and hands-on science seminars and linger to interact informally with student delegates.  Delegates are challenged to explore new areas in the biological and physical sciences, art, and music with resident staff members. Opportunities are provided for delegates to present seminars covering their own areas of interest and research. A visit to Washington D.C. permits delegates to visit some of the nation’s premier scientific, governmental, and cultural facilities. The NYSC experience includes overnight excursions into the Monongahela National Forest featuring backpacking, rock-climbing, caving, mountain biking, and kayaking opportunities. Delegates are required to participate in the camp program for its entirety as the fast-paced activities and remote location make travel to and from the NYSC very difficult. 

More information is available online at www.nysc.org.


The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

Criteria for Applying in Tennessee

Tennessee high schools may nominate a maximum of two seniors to be considered as state finalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program. One senior may be nominated from each school for the general academic component of the program, and one senior may be nominated for the CTE component of the program.

General Academic Component

High school seniors may be considered for the general academic component based on academic success and perseverance. The general academic component emphasizes the following areas on the application:

·                Academic achievement

·                Leadership skills

·                Community involvement

·                Overcoming obstacles

·                Strong writing skills

CTE Component

High school seniors may be considered for the CTE component based on excellence in career and technical education (CTE). This component emphasizes the following areas on the application:

·                Academic rigor

·                Technical competence

·                Employability skills

·                Ingenuity and creativity


The school principal, guidance counselor, or other designee may assist the student nominee with the completion of the online state application.

·       Click here to access the general academic component application for the Presidential Scholars Program.

·       Click here to access the CTE component application for the Presidential Scholars Program.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. CT on November 6, 2021.

The School Verification Form  must be completed by appropriate school staff and uploaded with the application.


With questions regarding the general academic component of the Presidential Scholars Program, reach out to Charlotte Woehler at Charlotte.Woehler@tn.gov.

With questions regarding the CTE component of the Presidential Scholars Program, reach out to Sarah Williams at Sarah.G.Williams@tn.gov.