The 2019 edition of the Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS) program will hold the first of its series of three sessions in Accra, Ghana on Wednesday, July 25, 2019.
The first session will run until August 1, with the second commencing in Nairobi, Kenya six days later on August 7 and ending on August 14.
YYAS usually hosts programs in three African countries, and the trend will continue this year as the team will then head to Harare in Zimbabwe for the final week of sessions from August 18 – August 25.
YYAS is a high-intensity program that brings together African Secondary School students for a cost-free seven-day residential program designed to introduce students to the demanding U.S. university and financial aid application process and requirements.
The program will soon welcome 300 African high school students into its growing alumni network.
YYAS was started by a group of African students studying at Yale University in 2014, and who wanted to share their experiences as international students and the whole application process with other African students back home, hence the pilot program was held that same year in Ghana and Ethiopia.
As a multidisciplinary program, YYAS aims to expose its participants to an array of global and African issues to mirror what they could experience in a university setting.
Participants will attend lectures led by prominent Yale faculty, seminars developed by Yale student instructors, and experiential exercises designed to augment their leadership skills.
They will also engage in robust intellectual exchanges that are crucial to understanding Africa’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.
In addition to the introduction to university application processes, Yale student-led courses and leadership training, the YYAS participants will also receive standardized test preparation lessons during the program which are designed especially for African test-takers new to exams like the SAT.
All YYAS participants are citizens of an African country, are between the ages of 14 – 18 and currently attend schools on the continent.
This year’s group is the most diverse since the program’s inception as it includes students from over 40 different African nations who attend over 280 different secondary schools.
Given the level of diversity, Associate Director of YYAS, Lucy Appiah described the program as “synonymous with the African Union (AU) Assembly” adding that “the competitiveness of YYAS alone having an acceptance rate lower than 6% this year, makes each participant an outstanding leader and representative from his or her country”.
Thanks to the generous support of the Higherlife Foundation, YYAS continues to be free to all participants this year and offers travel stipends for students from low-income backgrounds.
Further support for the YYAS program comes from partnerships with youth and education access-focused organizations working in each host country.
Ahaspora in Ghana, Education Matters in Zimbabwe, and new partners Akili Dada in Kenya, will run parallel Educators’ Conferences for 180 teachers, headmasters and advisors from African secondary schools in their regions through the Higherlife Foundation’s support.
With expert contributions from new partner universities such as Johns Hopkins, Rice and Ashoka, and existing ones such as Ashesi, African Leadership University, Columbia, and Sciences Po, these conferences will introduce the educators to university guidance strategies and resources so that they can offer application support to all the students at their schools who may want to pursue tertiary education abroad.
By equipping both students and educators with information about university access, the YYAS program hopes to magnify its ability to help and support students across all Africa.