The Congressional Award

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Combined with an academically rigorous high school homeschool curriculum, community involvement can bolster a student’s chances of getting into the colleges of their choice, getting scholarship money, or earning those jobs/internships they so desperately want.

Colleges and employers are looking for students who have interacted with their communities, and one way to show evidence of community involvement is through the Congressional Award program.

As non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive program, the Congressional Award is an accessible way for students to show dedication, growth, and commitment. The program consists of Bronze, Silver, and Gold Certificates and Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. Students in the program set goals and meet requirements in four areas:

  • Voluntary Public Service
  • Personal Development
  • Physical Fitness
  • Expedition/Exploration

The Congressional Gold Award is a high value award because it requires dedication over a long period of time (at least 24 months), in excess of 800 hours devoted to it, commitment in multiple areas of your life (volunteerism, physical development, and personal development), and trip planning. In 2021, only 518 Gold medals were awarded.

Your student needs an advisor who is not family for the Congressional award. I’m happy to talk with you to go over the rules and/or to be your teen’s advisor if they are interested in doing this award. The volunteering part has stringent rules, including but not limited to:

  • You cannot volunteer for a politician, church, or for-profit organization.
  • You need to register for the Congressional Award before you start working on it.
  • You have to be 13.5 years old to register.

If you want to use the Congressional Gold Award on your college application, I suggest that you start in 9th or 10th grade. You want to submit your paperwork before February/March of your Junior year for the award ceremony in the summer.

For details about the program, please read the Congressional Award Program Book.

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