Student Conservation Association Essay Definition

Only applicants who receive a waitlist invitation via email are eligible for the National Crew waitlist.

SCA has more National Crew applicants than positions, so there are always many strong candidates who don’t receive a placement. Any qualified applicants who haven’t been placed in a position by April 1st are invited to join the waitlist. These candidates will be considered as new positions become available in the spring, and as spots open up last minute during the summer.

Candidates on the waitlist are not rank ordered, so there’s no way to calculate where a person stands on the list. Instead, if a space opens up on a crew, SCA will consider all waitlist candidates who meet the requirements for the open position. 

For example, if a 15-year-old girl drops out of a backcountry crew, SCA will use the waitlist to find 15-year-old girls who are able to serve in the backcountry.

Last minute spots often open up during the summer, so waitlist candidates may be contacted by SCA as late as July 31st

Candidates can request to be removed from the waitlist by contacting [email protected]. 

Applying for Youth Programs

Visit the Youth Programs page to learn about all of the opportunities for high school youth to serve with SCA. 

Who is eligible?

To be considered for SCA’s Youth programs you must be:

  • 15 to 19 years old on the start date of the program
  • A current high school student, including seniors who graduate the spring immediately before the program
  • Visit our program pages for additional requirements for specific youth programs

Strong candidates demonstrate: 

  • Leadership skills and/or responsibility
  • Participation with extracurricular groups or volunteer organizations
  • Social and group skills
  • Experience and/or interest in spending time outdoors
  • Interest in ecology or environmental topics
  • Comfort level spending extended time away from home (National, Regional and Tuition Crews only)

Tips for submitting a successful application: 

  • Complete your application by the deadline! Visit program pages for details.
  • Make sure your dates of availability are accurate and current.
  • Include at least one reference from someone who knows you in a team setting (coach, volunteer supervisor, youth group leader, etc.).
  • Use your essays to provide details about your skills, interest and experiences.  
  • Proofread, spell check, and use complete sentences, proper punctuation, and good grammar.
  • Review everything to make sure that your application is 100% complete and up to date.

New Candidates

1. Sign Up

  • Sign up in MySCA and follow the steps to create a username and password
  • Login to MySCA using the username and password you created

2. Complete an Application

  • Complete the Basic Application and one of the following program applications
  • To apply for National, Regional or Tuition Crews, complete the National/Regional Youth Crew program application
  • To apply for Community Crews, complete the Community Crew program application
  • Pay the $25 application fee if required (see program pages for details)
  • Submit your application

​3. Add an Application Code if Required

  • For Regional Crews, find your Application Code on the Regional Crews page
  • For Tuition Crews, find your Application Code on the Tuition Crews page
  • For Community Crews, your local SCA contact will provide you with an Application Code if you need one
  • For Custom Crews, your school or SCA contact will provide you with an Application Code
  • National Crews do not generally require an Application Code
  • Enter the Application Code on the Home Page in your MySCA portal

There is a one-time application fee of $25 ($40 for non-US citizens) for most youth programs.  If you have questions or concerns about the fee, please contact [email protected] or your local SCA contact.

    Start Your Application Today    


Your application is your chance to show your stuff. Update your application to share the experiences and skills that make you an even stronger candidate this season.

  • Make sure that your dates of availability are accurate and current
  • Share new experiences and insights in your essays
  • Add any new activities you’ve participated in
  • Add at least one new reference
  • Login to update your application now
  • See section 3 above about adding application codes

Admissions Process

To learn what happens after you complete your application, visit the program page for the youth program(s) you are applying for.

Questions about Applying for SCA Youth Positions?


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