Yale Young African Scholars Opens the 2020 Application

November 5, 2019

The Yale Young African Scholars Program (YYAS) is excited to announce that our 2020 application is now available online!

Thanks to generous support from the Higherlife Foundation, YYAS is now entering its seventh year of programming. Since 2014, YYAS has been bringing together talented and driven secondary school students from across Africa. For eight days per session, students between the ages of 14 and 18 gather for a tuition-free intensive academic and residential program. In 2020, YYAS will be held in three locations between late July and August: Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.


YYAS is the flagship program of the Yale Africa Initiative and is designed to introduce secondary school students to the demanding university and financial aid application processes and requirements, as well as to make higher education more accessible to Africa’s most talented student leaders. This past July and August, YYAS brought together 294 secondary school students from 256 schools and 38 African nations.

Administered by the Yale Young Global Scholars Program and building off that model of interdisciplinary academic exploration, YYAS participants will attend lectures led by prominent Yale faculty as well as seminars developed and taught by Yale graduate and undergraduate students. Participants will also engage in several experiential activities focusing on leadership and teambuilding and have a chance to interact directly with admissions officers from North American, African, and European universities.

YYAS offers daily workshops on different components of the university application process, such as the ins-and-outs of the Common Application and how to craft a personal essay. 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 and mentorship. In addition, students will receive both individual and group lessons for standardized tests, designed specifically for African test-takers new to exams like the SAT.

Eligibility Requirements

Prospective applicants must be current secondary school students in Africa who have one term to one full academic year left to complete after August 2020. In addition, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of an African country.

Selected participants will be self-starters who have an interest in pursuing post-secondary education, are in excellent academic standing, and demonstrate leadership potential.

YYAS is a proud member of the HALI Access Network and gives admissions preference to high-achieving, low-income (i.e. “HALI”) students who do not have university guidance in their schools or communities. In addition, there are no tuition, meal, or lodging costs for students to participate in YYAS. A limited number of travel grants are also available for students from low-income backgrounds who demonstrate the need for financial assistance to offset the costs of airfare between African countries.

To apply, students must submit an online application that includes one essay and two short-answer prompts. Students must also upload an official school transcript or grade report as well as provide the contact information for one teacher who knows them well enough to fill out an online recommendation form. The deadline to submit all materials is 12th February 2020 at 11:59pm EST.