New Delhi: In light of the unprecedented circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for the tenth cohort of The Young India Fellowship, the flagship one-year multi-disciplinary residential post graduate diploma programme of Ashoka University has been extended till April 13. The third and final phase of admissions which began on 3rd February 2020 was previously due to end on 31st March 2020.
All offline steps of the application process like Comprehension Tests and Personal Interviews have been moved online. Relaxations have also been made on application submission requirements (such as recommendation letters and documents) that typically need offline work (such as reaching out to institutions and professors) from candidates.
“YIF pushed me to think critically and inclusively about the issues I choose to work on, reflect on the impact of my professional decisions, and develop the humility to recognise my privilege and not misuse it.”
–Prineeta Kulkarni, YIF 2014-15; MBA candidate, Harvard Business School.
Eligibility Criteria and Application Process
Candidates who have a recognized undergraduate or postgraduate degree in any discipline (final-year candidates as well) and are no more than 28 years of age on 15th July 2020 are eligible to apply. Candidates may have work experience as well.
Evaluation is made after a thorough application assessment, a telephonic interview and a final round of a written comprehension test and an interview. The application process takes a few hours to complete—a majority of the time is typically spent on writing the essays, which ask candidates to talk about what matters most to them, their personal journey and what they hope to accomplish from the YIF, and so on.
Ashoka University is distinguished by its collective philanthropy and shared governance model, an unprecedented initiative in Indian higher education. The YIF offers up to 100% need-based financial aid to students, and there is no fee for applying to the programme. About 2/3rd of the current YIF student body is on some form of need-based financial aid, with roughly 30% of the body on 100% tuition waivers or more.
“Through group exercises, I realised my unique contribution to the problem solving table. I am now more confident in taking bigger risks to solve complex challenges. My ability to accept diversity and be appreciative of others also expanded through YIF.”
– Abhishek Choudhary, YIF 2012-13; Founder and CEO, Saajha; Forbes 30 Under 30.
About YIF, the Current Student Body and the Alumni Community
Started in 2011, the YIF brings together 300 bright scholars from diverse academic, professional, socio-economic and geographical backgrounds, and exposes them to an array of new age educational experiences that help Fellows acquire enhanced intellectual and professional capabilities.
A YIF class typically has economists, doctors, artists, lawyers, engineers, musicians, business and literature graduates, entrepreneurs, writers, filmmakers and people from several other backgrounds. The purpose is to train young people to become effective leaders of tomorrow, with a strong commitment to public service—no matter what career path they choose.
Fellows study about 20 subjects across unique fields of study, in the academic year. Each course offering is from a distinct academic or professional domain. Disciplines range from sciences to social sciences and from leadership to the arts. Course offerings include public policy, art appreciation, gender and media studies, leadership, group dynamics, business essentials, Shakespeare, communication, and Indian elections.
In addition to the academic curriculum, Fellows also undergo an 8-month long Critical Writing Programme as well as an Experiential Learning Module (a team-based project on a real-world problem statement, with a partner organization), both of which are core components of the YIF. The programme shapes 21st century skills—critical thinking, problem solving, effective communication and empathetic leadership—that are key to succeeding in any career, be it academic or professional.
To enable faculty, curriculum and student exchange, Ashoka University has partnered with world-class institutions. Collaborations include University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, King’s College London, Sciences Po, HEC Paris, Trinity College Dublin, University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Tel Aviv University, Duke University, and Yale University.
The current YIF student body (Class of 2019-20) comprises 301 Fellows from more than 120 villages, towns and cities across over 25 Indian states and UTs. They represent over 180 undergraduate institutions, and roughly half of them come with work experience. Typically, there are more female-identifying students in the YIF than any other gender expression.
“The experiential component of the fellowship initiated a transition for me: from being an engineer to being a passionate advocate for the environment. It helped me give structure to my interests, and I learnt what it takes to design a project from scratch.”
– Radhika Sundaresan, YIF 2015-16; Fulbright Scholar in Environmental Sciences, Yale University.
The 1400+ strong YIF alumni community has pursued and excelled in a diverse set of career paths. They are spread across more than 30 countries.
Alumni continue to pursue master’s and doctoral studies at top global institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Penn, Brown, Columbia UC Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, NUS, King’s College London, Sciences Po, TU Delft, and many more. Alumni have also received many of the world’s most prestigious scholarships. There are twelve Fulbright Scholars amidst YIF alumni who continue to pursue master’s degrees at top US institutions. Other scholarships include the Rhodes, Schwarzman, Commonwealth, Chevening and Inlaks.
YIF alumni have started over 50 ventures. Around one third of the alumni community works in the development sector. Many are making a mark in the top policy, education and corporate organisations across the world.