Congress has a terrific program for high school students — having them serve as pages
, assistants to the members. Being a page is a great opportunity to get to know the institution up close.
Pages serve as couriers, answer telephones, do research for members, and prepare the chamber floors for sessions, distributing legislation and papers. The duties rotate so pages have a chance to serve all functions.
The House and Senate each has its own programs with a few common requirements: Pages must be high school juniors and at least 16 years old when they start their duties with at least a 3.0 grade-point average. Beyond that, however, requirements for nominations vary from office to office.
Appointments are very competitive: Although not all representatives or senators can nominate pages every semester, more than 400 representatives nominate pages for just 66 House slots each semester, and the majority of senators nominate for 30 slots. Check with your representative or senator to see if he's eligible to nominate that year. If your representative is ineligible, try your senator; if your senator is ineligible, try your representative.
To apply, send a letter to your representative or senator with the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Home address and phone number
- Name of parent or guardian
- School name, address, and phone number
- Any honors or accomplishments
- Extracurricular activities
- Certified copy of school transcripts
- Grade-point average
- Semesters you'd like to attend. Pages can serve longer than a single semester as long as they're 16 years old.