YSP Program Overview and Components

Program Overview and Components

The Young Scholars Program (YSP) was founded in 1988 as an initiative of the Office of the President to increase diversity at The Ohio State University. Housed within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), YSP's mission is to improve pre-college preparation, retention, and degree completion among academically talented, low-income, first-generation students. The Young Scholars Program is an exceptional opportunity for students to advance their goal of pursuing a higher education.

YSP recruits pre-college students from nine of the largest urban school districts in Ohio: Akron Public Schools, Canton City Schools, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Columbus City Schools, Dayton Public Schools, Lorain City Schools, Toledo Public Schools and Youngstown City Schools. Each year, YSP serves 1,000 students state-wide, including over 700 in grades 8-12 and 350 undergraduate students.

Young Scholars must complete a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and maintain a minimum unweighted high school GPA of 3.3 or above to be eligible for the scholarship. Scholars in good academic standing who are accepted to and enroll at Ohio State's Columbus Campus receive a robust financial aid package receive a financial aid package that meets 100% of their demonstrated financial need. The financial aid package consists of federal and state grants, work-study, and the YSP Scholarship award. Scholars are expected to sustain their high academic achievement after admission to Ohio State.

In addition to financial support, our Scholars receive:

  • Pre-college preparation through intensive college advising
  • Group and one-on-one academic coaching and mentoring
  • College planning tools and resources
  • Academic, leadership, and social engagement at The Ohio State University
  • Guided major and career exploration
  • An opportunity to attend a world-class research university with a generous scholarship


YSP serves pre-college Young Scholars statewide in grades 8-12 by providing year-round college counseling and programming in their cities designed to enhance college preparation and readiness in partnership with school district administrators and staff, Ohio State faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as community partners.

Program activities are implemented in each city by Program Coordinators who provide college advising, academic monitoring, and support for scholars.

Academic programs include workshops, tutoring, as well as one-on-one and group college advising. These programs provide scholars with a strong foundation of support and help scholars with what is expected to be successful in high school and admissible to The Ohio State University.

YSP offers campus visitation and residential summer programs that introduce scholars to the Ohio State Columbus campus and allow students to:

  • Gain increased awareness of Ohio State's campus resources, academic offerings, faculty and students and practice college level work
  • Learn the Ohio State application process to improve their chances of admission to the university
  • Develop an understanding of the expectations and rigors of college level coursework
  • Increase awareness of campus resources, academic units, majors and how to navigate the campus successfully
  • Understand the attitudes and behaviors that contribute to academic success

Scholar Ambassadors are undergraduate Young Scholars who desire to connect with pre-college scholars in the YSP cities. During holiday and school breaks, Scholar Ambassadors return home to participate in workshops, school visits, and programs to meet with, mentor, and talk to the pre-college students about their experience as a collegiate scholar.


YSP undergraduate programs are designed to assist Young Scholars with reaching their full potential and achieving their academic and career goals through personal, professional, and leadership development. Scholars begin with a Summer Bridge Experience followed by academic year programming including: holistic success coaching, peer mentoring, study skills enrichment, freshman seminar and leadership development courses, scholarship support services and post-baccalaureate preparation.

This three-week pre-collegiate program aids scholars with transitioning from high school to college. During the residential program, scholars engage in a series of personal, academic, and wellness workshops instructed by university faculty and staff. Summer Bridge Experience workshops include the Young Scholars Seminar, Financial Aid, Study Abroad, Undergraduate Research, Rec Sports, Wellness and Post-Baccalaureate Preparation. The program's centerpiece is an Academic Core Curriculum including English, Math, Psychology, Economics, Statistics, Chemistry and Physics taught by Ohio State faculty and graduate students.

ASPs are academically successful undergraduate students in their junior or senior year who serve as peer mentors to first and second year students. ASPs meet with all first year scholars once per week during the academic year. They assist participants in making a successful transition from high school to college and in their matriculation toward upper-class status. They will identify and direct participants to key resources across campus. They will assist participants in their adjustment to Ohio State's competitive culture and environment.

Full-time professional staff members provide holistic retention counseling to assist undergraduate scholars with their transition from high school to college andto ensure they have the tools and resources necessary to complete a bachelor's degree. Meetings focus on cognitive and non-cognitive factors impacting student retention including personal wellness, social adjustment and integration, financial aid, student relationships and family support, student safety, time management, and major application, exploration, and degree attainment. Success Coaches monitor student academic progress and work with Scholars to ensure their personal and career goals directly align with their academic strengths.

The autumn semester Young Scholars Program Freshman Seminar, entitled Education Studies: Counselor Education (ESCE) 2273, is designed to assist Scholars with gaining a greater sense of self-identity, self-efficacy, and personal responsibility. Scholars will improve their self-management skills, and Scholars will deepen their understanding and development of interdependence. The course incorporates a series of workshops, discussions, and classroom activities that focus on student identity and goal development, study and academic success strategies, and healthy relationships.

The grades and academic progress of all Young Scholars are monitored each term the students are enrolled to ensure each student is meeting or exceeding grade requirements and making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree.

ODI offers free tutoring in core subjects for first year students, including Math and English as well as supplemental instruction in courses.

These seminars cover a set of cohesive and progressive topics to help students deepen their knowledge of learning strategies, motivation and goal setting, as well as career and professional development.

This new program focuses on the professional and career development of undergraduate junior and senior Young Scholars by connecting them with successful OSU and YSP alumni. Scholars are matched with a mentor, who they meet with monthly. The program is guided by curriculum that focuses on career exploration, life skills and leadership development, and the promotion of scholarly behaviors both inside and outside the classroom.