Yale Young African Scholars Program Moves to New African Countries for Summer 2015

November 13, 2014

New Haven, Conn. - As the flagship student initiative of Yale’s Africa efforts, the Yale Young African Scholars Program (YYAS) seeks to make higher education in the United States more accessible to Africa’s most talented student leaders. The inaugural 2014 program held in Ghana and Ethiopia was a resounding success, with 100 students from 13 African countries participating. In 2015, YYAS will go to two new countries - Rwanda (August 11-16, 2015) and Zimbabwe (August 20-25, 2015). Applications for the 2015 program are now available online.

Administered by the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, YYAS is an academic enrichment program designed for high achieving African high school students. The program was started by a group of Yale African undergraduate students, who wanted to share their US college application experience with others on the continent. YYAS participants are self-starters who have an interest in attending university in the United States, and a demonstrated commitment to giving back to their communities. To make the program accessible to students of all financial backgrounds, there is no cost for students to participate in YYAS.

“We are looking for the next generation of Africa’s leaders,” says YYAS Project Manager Helinna Ayalew. “Our goal is to expose students to the opportunities available in higher education in the United States, while helping them fully realize their role in the continent’s future.”

After outstanding experiences in Ghana and Ethiopia, the program is going to Rwanda and Zimbabwe this summer in order to reach even more students. In addition, in an effort to attract a geographically diverse group of students next year, YYAS will offer a limited number of travel grants for admitted students to offset the costs of airfare between African countries.  The program also will add an extra instructional day, from five days in 2014 to six days, allowing students more time to prepare for assignments and socialize with their peers.

All program participants live at the site for the duration of the program, providing a residential atmosphere conducive for learning. Yale faculty members, staff, and Yale student instructors will travel to Rwanda and Zimbabwe to take part in and administer the program. In the 2014 session Ian Shapiro, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Faculty Director for the Yale Africa Initiative, delivered one of the lectures to YYAS students, giving them a small taste of the Yale classroom experience. YYAS also invites local experts in various disciplines to present the exciting work they do on the continent. Past topics have included financial systems in Africa, intellectual property law and development, literacy and publishing, public health, and personal leadership development. Yale students, who serve as YYAS instructors, lead a number of engaging seminars in their respective disciplines.

An important component of YYAS is helping students navigate the U.S. college application process. In line with this goal, the program offers daily workshops on different components of a college application – crafting a personal essay, introducing the SAT, and choosing where to apply. By the end of the program, students will have a plan and timeline for submitting their applications, as well as abundant resources for further research.

Eligibility Requirements for the Yale Young African Scholars Program:

Students eligible to apply for YYAS have 2-3 years left before graduating from high school (in the US system, equivalent of current freshman and sophomores), are currently enrolled in high school on the African continent, and will be 18 years old or younger at the time of the program. YYAS looks for candidates with excellent academic achievement, demonstrated leadership potential, and the language ability to write, communicate and analyze difficult texts in English. To apply, students must submit the online application form including one essay, three short-answer responses, a high school transcript, and one teacher recommendation letter.

The application deadline is February 26, 2015. For more information, please visit globalscholars.yale.edu/Africa.