Five things to know about the Yale Young African Scholars Program
What is this program?
Born of an initiative by YASA students (Yale African Students Association), this annual program aims to answer the questions asked by students of this continent who want to apply to universities in the US. The starting point is that African students are under-represented in US universities, and that even for brilliant students, moving continents, understanding and adapting to the system across the Atlantic can be very challenging.
What does it consist of?
This program is a “summer school”, lasting seven days, taking place during the northern hemisphere summer holidays (July and August) It is a pre-university program made up of conferences covering very diverse subjects, seminars, workshops and coaching sessions, led by students and professors from universities in the US. The program exposes the participants to, and prepares them for, the demands of university life in America, both in terms of admission procedures, study, and student life. It provides the opportunity for the university students to share their experiences with secondary school students. Participants have the means to make an informed decision about their future choice of university. The program also tackles the critical issue of financing and scholarships.
Where is it held?
The organisers have opted to hold sessions in different African countries to better meet the demands of hundreds of students who want to be part of this unique opportunity. In 2017, sessions will be held in Ghana, Mauritius and Rwanda. The appeal of this pan-African program is that as well as the information it provides to secondary school students, it gives them the opportunity to meet other students from different African countries and develop their knowledge and understanding of the issues faced by the continent. The secondary school students will also be mentored after the program by university students, until their university registration.
Who can apply?
The program is open to brilliant and highly motivated African students, aged under 18 years, ideally in the two years before last of their secondary education. For the 2017 sessions, applicants who will graduate from secondary school in 2018 or 2019 are given priority. It is only open to African students who are at school or college on the continent. Non-Anglophone applicants are expected to have a good level of fluency in English, as the conferences, seminars and workshops are held in this language. Each year, a hundred students are selected by the program.
When and how can I apply?
The deadline for applications this year is 16 March 2017. You must fill in an online registration form. The procedure is similar to that for admission to an English university. You have to provide personal information, statements of your grades from the last two years and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, and write a short essay introducing yourself.
The icing on the cake is that since 2016, assistance with financing for the program has been provided by the Higher Life Foundation; the program is free of charge, which makes it unique. Students and their families only have to pay for travel costs, and possibly a passport and visa fees.
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