Is National Young Leaders Conference a Scam?

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 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.