Distinguished Young Women, or DYW, is a scholarship program that rewards young women for their academic achievement through a program that includes fitness, academics, talent, and self-expression. It provides millions of young women significant scholarship opportunities, and for me, allowed me to attend college debt free. Distingushed Young Women’s mission is “to positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent. Let’s dive into 10 reasons why you should consider getting involved if you’re in high school.

It has a storied history 

Distinguished Young Women is the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school girls.

The $$$

Last year, the program “made more than $1 billion in cash tuition and college-granted scholarships available nationally.”

More $$$

College granted scholarships can often stack on top of other merit scholarships. For me, that meant a full ride to Auburn University!

All states can participate

Distinguished Young Women programs take place in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

It’s limited to high school girls

Young women participate in either their junior or senior year of high school, often beginning with a local program.

You’re more than a test score

Each Distinguished Young Women program evaluates participants in the following categories: Scholastics (25%), Interview (25%), Talent (20%), Fitness (15%), and Self-Expression (15%).

You get another family

Participants on the state and national levels stay with host families, who graciously provide a place for participants to stay, and in return, you make lifelong friendships.

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The National Finals

The National Finals, held in Mobile, is a two-week extravaganza of appearances and excursions, filled with memory making experiences like line dancing on the USS Alabama Battleship, oyster eating contests, autograph signings and more.

Confidence building

Being on stage and speaking in public allows you to grow your confidence and gain skills like thinking on your feet in the private Interview and on-stage Self Expression categories.

You get to meet new friends

Local, state, and national programs mean there are lots of chances to meet like minded, driven young women! I am still friends with state pals from National Finals 2012, and we remain connected through an exclusive alumnae Facebook group.

If you are a current junior in high school, or will be soon, apply now to participate in your local program. It’s completely free! 

Jordan O

Jordan Orris is a second year M.S. Integrated Marketing Communications graduate student at Ole Miss. She graduated from Auburn University in marketing and journalism. Originally from Henderson, Nevada, she enjoys SEC Football, reading, and politics.