Application Submission Process

What is my deadline to apply to YoungArts?

The 2020 YoungArts competition application deadline is October 11, 2019 at 11:59pm ET (Eastern Time). To be considered for the competition, you must complete, upload, and SUBMIT all of your materials according to the requirements for the discipline/category in which you are applying by the deadline (this also includes payment information and/or a fee waiver document if applicable). There will be NO grace period for completing an application.

How do I apply?

Application to the YoungArts competition is made through the completion of an online application that includes the submission of an audition or portfolio and payment of an application fee or fee waiver documentation. Please refer to the discipline and category guidelines by visiting

What are the YoungArts eligibility requirements?

Young artists in grades 10-12 or ages 15-18 on December 1, 2019 may apply. Applicants must be either a United States Citizen or have permanent resident status (copy of documentation is required to submit your application). Finalists who have previously attended YoungArts Week may not apply, under any discipline or category. There are NO exceptions to these guidelines.

What are the application requirements?

The application asks for basic information about how to contact you and about your artistic training. Each discipline and category has its own media submission requirements. Please visit the for your particular discipline’s specific requirements (i.e. Classical Music, Dance, Design Arts, Film, Jazz, Photography, Theater, Visual Arts, Voice and Writing).

If I have already graduated high school, may I still apply to the YoungArts program?

Yes, as long as you are between the ages of 15 and 18 on December 1, 2019. 

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply to the YoungArts program?

No, if you are a U.S permanent resident/green card recipient (copy of documentation is required to submit your application), you may also apply.

Can I apply to YoungArts if I was a previous winner?

Honorable Mention and Merit Award winners, as well as Finalists who were unable to attend YoungArts Week are eligible to re-apply in any discipline and category provided they meet all other eligibility requirements. Finalists who previously attended YoungArts Week may not reapply, under any discipline or category.  

What artistic disciplines does YoungArts accept applications for?

The YoungArts competition includes ten disciplines across the visual, literary, design and performing arts. They are: Classical Music, Dance, Design Arts, Film, Jazz, Photography, Theater, Visual Arts, Voice and Writing. Some disciplines also have specific categories. Please visit ​ for more information. 

Can I apply in more than one discipline?

Yes, you may apply in as many disciplines and categories as you’d like. Please note that there is an application fee for each application you submit. If you qualify for a fee waiver, the documentation must be uploaded into each application in order for your fees to be waived.

What is the fee for applying to YoungArts?

The application fee for applying to YoungArts is $35.  If you submit multiple applications across disciplines or categories, there is a $35 fee for each.  If you are unable to pay $35, fee waivers are available.  

How do I pay my application fee?

You may pay your application fee online with a credit card. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards are accepted.

What if I cannot afford the application fee?

Fee waivers are available to qualified applicants, which will cover the entire cost of your application fee. To receive a fee waiver, you must upload one of the following required documents* in the Payment section of the application prior to the deadline.

    • An approved and fully completed ACT or SAT testing fee waiver or NACAC College Application Fee waiver form.
    • Document stating that you participate in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program (FRPL).
    • Document stating that you are enrolled in a federal, state or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., TRIO programs such as Upward Bound).
    • A letter from a school official, on school letterhead, requesting your fee to be waived.
    *Document MUST have your name on it.

Can I get a refund after I pay the application fee?

No, the application fee is non-refundable.

How do I submit my portfolio, audition or other submission materials?

Materials are uploaded as part of the online application process.
Please Note: Even small files may take multiple hours to upload. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL DEADLINE DAY! Make sure you have ample time to complete the uploading process by the deadline.

Can I begin my application before my audition/portfolio materials are ready to upload?

Yes, you may begin an application and come back to it at a later time to complete. The information you have entered is automatically saved and available to you up until your application is submitted.


How will my work be evaluated?

Your submission is evaluated on its own merit in a blind adjudication process that includes multiple rounds of review.  In each round, a national pool of master artists within their respective specialties review and evaluate materials. Winners awarded at the Finalist level have the opportunity to participate in an additional tier of evaluation in person.  

How many applications does YoungArts receive and how many winners are there?

Last year, YoungArts received more than 7,000 completed applications from across the nation. There were approximately 700 winners, making being selected as a national YoungArts Winner a very prestigious honor. It is important to note that our focus is not on the total number of applications received, but the quality of each submission.

Notification and Awards

Does YoungArts offer scholarships?

​Not exactly. YoungArts winners are eligible for cash awards of up to $10,000. That money is unrestricted, meaning it can help pay for college, art school, a conservatory program, or anything else you wish. 

How will I be notified of my status in the competition?

Winners are notified via the email address (only) provided in your application as well as via the official Winners’ List posted to our website. Applicants who have not been awarded but who qualify for YoungArts’ feedback program (see next question regarding feedback) will also be notified of their status via email. Applicants who have not been awarded and are not eligible for feedback will not receive notification.

Does YoungArts provide feedback to applicants who do not receive an award?

YoungArts is piloting a feedback program for select applicants whose applications reach the last round of the adjudication process, but are not awarded, and who are in grades 10–11 at the time of submitting their application to YoungArts national competition. Applicants must meet both these criteria to be eligible for this program. If eligible, applicants will be notified via email by the end of November and provided with constructive suggestions from the judges who reviewed their materials by February 1.

When are YoungArts winners announced?

Winners are announced, with an official winners list posted to our website, by the end of November. Please refer to the full application timeline* below.

  • Application close: October 11, 2019 at 11:59 PM ET (Eastern Time).
  • Week 1 through 4: Application reviews.
  • Week 5: Notification of Finalists by phone.
  • Week 6: Finalist confirmations received.
  • Week 7: Honorable Mention & Merit email notifications sent, full winner announcement and winners list posted to our website.
  • *This timeline is subject to change.

    What types of awards can I win?

    YoungArts recognizes hundreds of the country’s most promising artists with national awards each year. Beyond award designation, winners have the opportunity (space permitting) to participate in life changing programs that consist of learning experiences with some of the most accomplished artists in each of our ten disciplines. They are able to connect with a rich network of peers and showcase work via performances and exhibitions. YoungArts Winners join the ranks of our 20,000+ YoungArts alumni who have attended many of the top universities and conservatories across the country and have become leading professionals in their fields. The following section highlights specifics related to each award level designation.

    Recognition Levels
    Merit: The YoungArts Merit award level recognizes work that has been deemed as commendable by the panel, strong technically with a clear artistic point of view.
    Merit winners receive a medallion and are invited to participate in a regional program, space permitting*.
    Honorable Mention: The YoungArts Honorable Mention award level recognizes work that demonstrates exceptional technique; a strong sense of artistry; and a depth of thinking/performance that exceeds the level of peers at this career stage.
    Honorable Mention winners receive a medallion, a $250 monetary award, and are invited to participate in a regional program, space permitting*.
    Finalist: The YoungArts Finalist award recognizes work that demonstrates exceptional technique; a strong, sophisticated, nuanced, and clear artistic point of view; and a depth of thinking/performance that far exceeds the level of peers at this career stage.

    Finalists receive a medallion, and are invited to participate in National YoungArts Week. During National YoungArts Week participants have the opportunity to be mentored by the panel in person and will have their work further evaluated and recognized as one of the following: Level 3$1,000; Level 2 $1,500; Level 1 $3,000; Silver $5,000; and Gold $10,000. In addition, Finalists who meet eligibility requirements are considered for nomination to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Finalists are also invited to participate in a regional program, space permitting*. 

    *Winners may only participate in one regional program in their lifetime.

    What is PSA (U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) and how does it relate to YoungArts?

    U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts (PSA) is the arts portion of the U.S. Presidential Scholars program.* Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Scholars program celebrates 161 outstanding high school seniors each June in Washington, DC during National Recognition Week, which includes a Medallion Ceremony and visit to the White House.

    YoungArts is the exclusive pathway to the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistically talented high school seniors. Each year, up to 60 YoungArts Finalists who attend National YoungArts Week in January are nominated to the Presidential Scholars Commission, of which 20 are selected as Arts Scholars. The performing arts winners create a performance-based salute to all of the Scholars, and the visual and literary artists exhibit their work at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

    If you are chosen to participate in National YoungArts Week before you meet the grade level requirement for Presidential Scholar nomination, you will have the opportunity for consideration in the year you become a graduating high school senior. At that time, you will submit updated portfolio/audition materials and be considered by the current year’s National Selection Panel and in performance disciplines audition live during the adjudication process. To be considered, Finalists must meet the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program GPA and citizenship requirements.

    *For further information on the U.S. Presidential Scholar Program including application guidelines, academic requirements, etc., please visit their website (

    Is it possible to be a winner in more than one discipline or more than one category?

    Yes. Our panel may select winners to be awarded for multiple levels in multiple disciplines and categories. YoungArts will recognize you in all disciplines and categories for which you were selected.

    If you were selected to attend National YoungArts Week in more than one discipline or category, you will be required to select the discipline or category in which you would like to participate; you will be honored in the other discipline or category with a “Finalist Award” and will receive a monetary amount of $500.

    When are award checks mailed?

    Finalist and Honorable Mention winners will receive instructions on completing their award forms at the end of February and all checks are mailed by the end of May.

    Anyone receiving an award check from the National YoungArts Foundation must submit a W-9 to the YoungArts office. No check will be issued without this document. The W-9 form must be filled out with the winner’s information in order for the award(s) to be issued. 

    If I win, is my school recognized as well?

    Yes. High schools receive an engraved plaque for them to display that includes the names of all YoungArts winners from that school in a given year.

    Is there a benefit to applying even if I don't win?

    Yes.  All applicants enrolled in high school (grades 10-12) will receive information by the participating Student List Service colleges. Applicants eligible to apply to outside art-related competitions will receive information from organizations that work with YoungArts to provide additional opportunities.  For more information regarding Student List Service and Educational Affiliates participants, you may contact Senior Director of Education, Evan Plummer at [email protected]

    YoungArts Programs

    What are the programs that YoungArts offers to its Winners?

    YoungArts winners have the opportunity to participate in National YoungArts Week (Finalists only) and YoungArts’ regional programs (all levels of winners), space permitting.* YoungArts program participants enjoy the rare opportunity to take master classes and interdisciplinary workshops from renowned artists like Marina Abramović, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Frank Gehry, Bill T. Jones, Wynton Marsalis, James Rosenquist and many others. Winners also have the chance to connect with fellow artists at all career stages and perform/exhibit their work. Additionally, all winners join the more than 20,000 YoungArts alumni and are able to participate in exclusive programs and opportunities. 
    *Winners may only participate in one regional program in their lifetime.

    What is National YoungArts Week?

    National YoungArts Week is our signature program where approximately 170 Finalists across ten disciplines convene in Miami in January for an intensive, life changing week of performance and study. During this week, Finalists have the opportunity to work with the National Selection Panel in person; take master classes with some of the most accomplished artists working in the field; meet one another; and exhibit/perform their work for the public. Learn more..

    What are regional programs?

    Inspired by the transformative experiences offered during National YoungArts Week, Regional programs are designed to offer the YoungArts experience to as many winners as possible from across the United States. Presently, our regional programs take place in Miami, Los Angeles and New York. The goal of the YoungArts Regional program is to provide a multi-day, immersive learning experience for emerging young artists.  During this full-time, residential program, participants engage in discipline specific and multidisciplinary master classes, and participate in public performances or exhibition showings of their work.

    Who can attend a regional program?

    Any current YoungArts winner (Finalist, Honorable Mention and Merit awardees) may attend one regional program in their lifetime.

    How is my region determined?

    We use the mailing address state that is submitted on your application to determine which geographic region you are a part of. ​Click here​ to see how we divide our regional programs. If you do not reside in the same state as your mailing address, or plan to move before a regional program takes place, please notify us right away so we can make sure you are in the correct region.

    ​How are attendees chosen?

    Eligible winners who submit their request to attend a program are added to a waitlist based on their specific geographic region. Acceptance into a regional program is determined by the winner’s discipline/category and then via lottery selection.

    I’ve been accepted, how can I participate?

    ​Online registration forms are required to participate in any YoungArts program. Participation in the ENTIRE regional program schedule is required in order to attend. Participants and/or parents are expected to speak with their teachers, counselors, coaches and/or mentors before registering for the program. Hotel accommodations, meals, scheduled activities, and transportation during the program are provided by YoungArts at no cost. All participants (regardless of age) are supervised by the National YoungArts Foundation and trained Resident Advisors.

    ​I can't attend in my region, can I go somewhere else?

    You may only sign up for the regional program where you reside (see map here).  If you are unable to attend in your region, you may contact us about being placed on the waitlist for another program. Please note that priority is given to those within the region first. If you moved, or plan to move before a regional program takes place, please notify us right away so we can make sure you are in the correct region.


    What is a YoungArts alumnus/a?

    A YoungArts alumnus/a is anyone who has been named a YoungArts winner since 1981. This includes all Finalists, Honorable Mention and Merit winners whether they have participated in a YoungArts program week or not.

    Our alumni community is made up of over 20,000 gifted artists who have gone on to attend top colleges, universities and conservatories across the country and become leading professionals in their fields. From Juilliard to Harvard, New York City Ballet and Alvin Ailey Dance Company, exhibiting at the Venice Biennale, and making the New York Times Best Seller list, YoungArts alumni have a strong presence in their artistic communities and serve as leaders and creative thinkers that redefine the way that art is created, experienced and appreciated.

    I’m an alumnus/a. How can the alumni community help me?

    The alumni community is here to help provide individual support for each alumnus/a to reach their full potential in their artistic careers. We foster the community as a whole, bringing together alumni from different participation years and disciplines and encourage networking and collaboration.YoungArts is always looking for new and different ways to maintain relationships with our alumni by integrating them into our national and regional programs, campus programming and events. We also provide new and interesting opportunities for alumni to collaborate through alumni open calls, by supporting their personal projects, and providing resources to advance their careers and promote their artistic ideas.Visit our Alumni page for more information about ways to connect with the YoungArts alumni community.