Yale Young African Scholars Program
The Yale Young African Scholars Program (YYAS) is an intensive academic and enrichment program designed for African secondary school students planning to pursue tertiary education and who wish to make meaningful impact as young leaders on the continent.
Participants will enhance their academic skills, receive university admission and financial aid application guidance, and join a network of young leaders from across Africa. Following the program, students will be paired with mentors from local organizations and U.S. university students who will help advise them throughout the university application process. There is no cost to students to participate in YYAS.
The Yale Young African Scholars Program (YYAS) is an intensive academic and enrichment program designed for African secondary school students who plan to pursue tertiary education and wish to make meaningful impact as young leaders on the continent.
Participants will enhance their academic skills, receive university admission and financial aid application guidance, and join a network of young leaders from across Africa. Following the program, students will be paired with mentors from local organizations and U.S. university students who will help advise them throughout the university application process.
There is no cost to students to participate in the YYAS Program. Room and board will be provided for all students, along with three meals a day. However, participants ARE responsible for getting themselves to the venue at the outset of the program and for their return home at the end of the program. Participants will also be responsible for any incidental expenses they elect to incur.
Students from low-income backgrounds who demonstrate financial need may apply for a limited number of travel grants offered by the program. If awarded, the grant will cover the cost of a roundtrip plane ticket between a student’s home country and the program location. Students can only apply for travel assistance after they have received an offer of admission to YYAS.
The demanding academic content is designed to improve students’ analytical thinking, intellectual flexibility, and written and oral communication skills. Current YYAS programming includes:
Lectures & Discussion Section
Lectures take place with Yale faculty members as well as local scholars and practitioners. Lectures are intended to expose students to a wide array of new ideas and perspectives and exciting new research, as well as to challenge them with first-year university level material. Past topics have included public health, financial markets in Africa, African languages in a globalizing world, and ethics and civic engagement.
Discussion sections follow each lecture and are led by a Yale student instructor. The instructors facilitate a conversation on the day’s lecture in smaller groups. Students are encouraged to voice their opinions, share their experiences, and defend their arguments.
Seminars are interdisclipinary, stand-alone classes that are designed and taught by Yale undergraduate and graduate students on various academic topics related to the African continent. The seminar style classroom gives students a taste of what they will experience in a university learning environment. Students will select their preferences for seminars in advance, and are expected to come to YYAS having closely read and analyze their assigned material, which will be made available to participants ahead of their arrival at the program. Past seminar topics have included:
- The Art and Science of Engineering Design
- Why Do We Sleep?
- Foreign Aid in Africa
- Religion and Politics in the 21st Century
- The Dark World of ‘White Gold’
- Renewable Energy
- Understanding HIV/AIDS Today
- African Identity and the Classroom
- The Ethics of Stem Cell Research
- Linguistics and Your Brain
- An Introduction to Moral Philosophy
- Gender in Africa
Workshops are held every evening of the YYAS program. Students are placed into groups of 6-8 students with a Yale student instructor to guide them through specific components of a standard university application, such as standardized testing, selecting schools, and extracurriculars. Students are expected to write a draft personal essay during the course of the program, and will get individual feedback and guidance on additional resources from their workshop leader.
Standardized Test Preparation
Throughout the program students receive individual and group tutoring lessons for standardized tests, designed specifically for African test-takers new to exams like the SAT. Lessons are focused on writing, math, and reading comprehension. Students will leave the YYAS program with access to additional practice material and resources that they can use to continue enhancing their test-taking skills.
University representatives spend a day with YYAS students and present on the liberal arts curriculum, financial aid, and their individual institutions. The university representatives then facilitate a case studies activity, in which participants form mock admissions committees and review two real university applications from Yale College.
At the end of the program, each participant is paired up with a mentor, based on school context or academic interest, who will serve as one of the many resources available to YYAS alumni throughout the university admissions process. YYAS volunteer mentors are current or recently graduated university students who provide the necessary post-program support that will make YYAS participants stronger university applicants. Mentors are on-hand to help YYAS students in several areas such as identifying extracurricular activities, selecting universities, writing essays, and test preparation strategies.
At the end of each session, YYAS hosts a talent show featuring student participants. This is an excellent way for students to showcase their talents and cultural heritage.
YYAS accepts applications from current secondary school students in Africa who will have to complete at least one full academic term or semester after August 2018. In addition, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of an African country.
YYAS does not accept applications from students in their final term of secondary school, from secondary school graduates, or from university students.
YYAS cannot accept applications from students who are younger than 14 years old by the application deadline.
A typical YYAS participant has:
- Excellent academic records
- Demonstrated leadership potential
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- A desire and ability to work cooperatively with peers
- Persistence and determination when facing challenges
- High standards of personal and professional conduct
- The ability to read, analyze, and reflect on large quantities of difficult material in English
- Interest in engaging in discussions about intellectual, moral, and political issues in Africa
If you have any specific questions about your eligibility, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to submit is 06 February 2018 at 11:59pm EST.
Required application components include:
- Completed application form - The application can be found online and must be filled out by the applicant. Students will be asked to complete one 500-word essay and three short responses, as well as to provide information on your activities and the school that you currently attend.
- Official transcript or grade report - Students must upload their official transcript or grade report(s) for each year of secondary school. A student transcript is an official document provided by the school and includes the applicant’s list of courses and grades received. National exam scores, if available, should also be submitted but are not required.
- One teacher recommendation - The recommendation must be written and submitted by a teacher through a link that will be provided by the applicant through the online portal. Alternatively, the teacher may email a letter of recommendation to email@example.com and staff will upload it to the student’s application.
Please note that letters must be sent in PDF (.pdf) format and placed on institutional letterhead with signature, if possible. We will not accept recommendations that are submitted by students. Applicants should request the recommendation from a teacher at their school who knows them well and has taught them in an academic subject. The recommendation also must be received by the application deadline, 06 February 2018.
We place great importance on these recommendations, because we understand that students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and education contexts. We appreciate teachers taking the time to write recommendations for their student(s). To ensure sincerity, we ask that teachers please refrain from sharing their recommendations with students.
For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.