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Articles / Applying to College / Is National Young Leaders Conference a Scam?

Is National Young Leaders Conference a Scam?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Nov. 23, 2009

Question: Is the National Young Leaders Conference Program (NYLC), that includes a six-day visit to Washington D.C. and is sponsored by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council (CYLC), a scam or not? They are asking for a tuition of $1,700, which sounds awfully high.

Most of the students in my orbit praise the National Young Leaders Conference Program (NYLC) and its affiliated programs as being very interesting and well-run. However, these programs are indeed expensive. Many high schoolers think it's a big honor to be "chosen" and that by putting NYLC on their applications, they'll get a boost at college-admissions time. But this is simply not true. Too many students are "invited" to take part to make this a truly selective organization, and so many college candidates do take part--especially those from the more well-heeled families--that college-admission officials usually just yawn when they spot NYLC on an application.

The NYLC and similar offerings have been discussed extensively on the College Confidential forum. For instance, see http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/199281-national-young-leaders-conference.html So check there for advice from students and parents with first-hand experience.

If the cost seems steep to you and you don't get a scholarship, you'll have to think carefully about why you want to do this and what your other summer options are. I've really heard little that's bad about these programs--except for complaints about the price. But don't sign on if your main goal is to wow admission committees because, in that department, your time and money can be better spent.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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