Distinguished Young Women is a unique program which combines the opportunity to earn college scholarships with professional development and Life Skills training to prepare young women for life after high school. Each year we make over $1 billion dollars in scholarship opportunities available and it costs nothing to enter!
The program takes place in all 50 states and Washington DC with some states having local programs as well. Depending on the state and local program, young women participate in either their junior or senior year of high school.
Local program winners, in states where locals are available, advance to the state level. All state representatives participate in the National Finals the June after high school graduation.
Throughout the program’s history, Distinguished Young Women participants have been evaluated in these categories.
Participants are evaluated on their academic record, standardized test scores and academic extracurriculars.
Participants take part in a 10-minute interview with our panel of judges.
Each participant has 90 seconds to share a passion of theirs through a performing art or presentation.
Participants have the opportunity to express their views through response to relevant topics.
Participants demonstrate their overall physical well-being during a group fitness routine.
Our Life Skills Workshops include workshops and online resources to help participants with interviewing, public speaking, self-confidence building, becoming involved with their community and much more.
These skills not only prepare everyone for our program but also for the world after high school and college while providing participants with a lifelong network of women. Life Skills Workshops are incorporated at every level — local, state and national — of the Distinguished Young Women programs.
The Be Your Best Self program allows Distinguished Young Women participants to empower young people nationwide with valuable tools to face the challenges of negative peer pressure as well as encourage them to be their best selves in areas such as: academics, physical fitness, morality, character, and social and civic participation.
Your participation in Distinguished Young Women (local, state, or national) automatically makes you a DYW alumna. Enjoy the benefits of being able to connect with over 780,000 women that have a shared experience as part of the DYW program.
Each year’s class of state representatives travel to Mobile, Alabama, the June after their high school graduation to take part in the Distinguished Young Women National Finals. They spend two weeks getting to know each other while enjoying events and volunteering in the local community, developing Life Skills for college and beyond, and performing on stage to a national audience.
Class of 1997
Like many working-class families, the practicalities of how my family would afford college were elusive. Were it not for the generosity of the Distinguished Young Women scholarship fund, my journey as a lifetime learner may have never taken flight.
Class of 1995
I truly believe that when I get up to present to the CEO of my hospital, that I have an element of confidence that stems back to DYW. The program’s influence is written throughout the pages of my journey to where I am today.
Class of 2019
The longest-lasting impact that I have taken from DYW has been the values of the program exhibited through the passion and sacrifice of the volunteers who, year after year, give up weeks and months of their lives to ensure the two weeks of Nationals are flawless. The DYW spirit is deeply rooted within my commitment to community and focus on long-term impact that guides my daily decisions.
Class of 1971
DYW was a grand adventure with the life-changing gift of scholarship dollars for college. The program widened my horizons and boosted my self-confidence. My world got bigger through this program. What a gift that was at age 17.
Class of 2019
The impact of Distinguished Young Women has been life changing. Due to the full-tuition scholarship I received, I can spend my time volunteering and being active on campus instead of working. I have gained irreplaceable lessons and life skills. I have been given the confidence to wholeheartedly pursue my career. And I have been blessed with lifelong friendships, mentors and role models. Thank you DYW for continuing to invest in my future and the futures of all women across the country.