Rising Experts Program FAQs

When is the application window for the program open?

  • The specific dates vary from year to year, but program applications open in the Fall and close in December. The program begins in the subsequent calendar year.

Can I apply to the program outside of the application window?

  • No, once the application window has closed, we do not take applicants until the following year. There are too many applicants to consider accepting requests beyond the determined window.

When can I apply to be an editor with the program?

  • Any time! We accept editor applications on a rolling basis, but we will be slower to respond to editor applications during the Rising Expert application period.

What type of background do Rising Experts usually have?

  • Rising Experts come from various backgrounds, including government, private sector, academia, military, and non-profits. They have undergraduate and often graduate degrees and two to three years of professional experience, usually related to their chose area of expertise.

What are the expectations and requirements for Rising Experts?

  • Rising Experts must publish one 600-1200-word article, at a minimum, once every two months within the broader field of your specialization. They are normally given two weeks to write op-eds and two weeks to work on edits with our team. Writing, research, and edits require roughly 5 hours of commitment a week.

Do Rising Experts need to be based in Washington, D.C.?

  • No. We accept Rising Experts from numerous countries and even continents. However, applicants must occasionally be remotely reachable during U.S. EST business hours for events or meetings.

Which topic should I apply for?

  • Applicants must indicate their preferred regional or substantive area of expertise (i.e., Africa, Latin America, Energy, National Security and Defense, etc.). Applicants should choose an area in which they have a demonstrated interest and previous professional, academic, or writing experience.

What type of writing sample should I include?

  • Rising Experts will be writing short op-eds and analysis pieces (600-1200 words) as part of the program. Applicants are encouraged to submit a writing sample of this style and length in their desired topic area. We will not accept writing samples longer than three pages.
  • Please do not submit overly technical writing samples (e.g. academic journal or scientific articles). We understand that some applicants may not have extensive short-form writing samples, so abridged versions of longer-form articles may be accepted.

Can my writing sample be something that's been already published?

  • Yes.

Can I submit custom or alternate topics not listed among the existing Rising Experts position descriptions?

  • No, however, experts have broad licenses to write on almost any issue that could be considered under the established categories.

Any tips on the cover letter?

  • Tell us about the articles you want to write. This can be a specific article idea or a theme/category you believe deserves attention.
  • We like to hear about your interest and expertise in your chose subject matter area and how or why you are qualified to speak about it.
  • Let us know what you hope to gain from the Rising Experts Program and how you believe it may help you in your career.

How competitive is the application process for the Rising Experts Program?

  • YPFP typically selects 15 to 20 Rising Experts each year. The number of experts selected is based on the number of suitable applicants, and varies from year to year.

This might not be the right year for me to apply for the program. Is there another way to get involved?

  • Absolutely! YPFP’s Discussion Groups allow members to build specific subject-matter expertise and network with other young professionals with similar interests. The Rising Experts Program also employs a team of editors who help our experts craft their pieces and get them ready for publication. To see the full array of YPFP positions, visit: https://www.ypfp.org/build/join-our-volunteer-team/.

What are some writing challenges Rising Experts grapple with throughout the program?

  • Running out of ideas. Generating new ideas is an important aspect of thought leadership. Rising Experts learn to adopt a big picture-approach to article writing that is linked to but not dependent on the news cycle. We help our experts formulate article ideas with long-term relevance in their areas of expertise and to think beyond current events analysis.
  • Why should the reader care? Writing for a public or general audience is challenging and requires different skills than academic or specialized professional writing. We help experts craft analysis around strong central ideas and themes that are both accessible and insightful.
  • Mastering structure. Mastering the basics of writing is essential for the program. We help experts present an argument, organize supporting facts, and establish proper pacing in a short-form writing style.