We can’t wait to see you on Close Up! All of our high school programs encourage you to discuss, debate and interact with your peers about our democracy and the policy- making process. You will also have the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of notable figures in media, politics, and government. Here are some ways you can prepare to get the most out of your Close Up experience:

  • Stay up-to-date on local, national, and international news

    Read a newspaper every day, watch a daily newscast or follow a blog or Twitter feed from a news organization. Try to read a variety of different news sources. The knowledge you gain will enhance your ability to engage other students, potential speakers and debaters, and even your elected officials.

    Discuss current issues with your friends and family. Ask them their opinions on the issues you read about in the news. Listen with an ear towards understanding their perspective, even if it is different from your own.
  • Explore these websites and blogs:

    U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate

    If you want to learn about what is happening in the House of Representatives and prepare for Mock Congress, these sites offer information on the structure of the House and Senate, procedure and current legislation, and contact information for your Representative and Senators. The U.S. Senate also has a page that showcases committees and current legislation being considered in the Senate. You may find a committee or two that you would like to watch in person on your Capitol Hill Day.

    Library of Congress - Congressional Legislation

    This link to the Library of Congress makes following legislation easy. You can enter keywords for legislation that interests you. For example, you can enter “Syria” in the search box and can find all the recent bills introduced in the House and Senate about that topic. You can even find the voting record for your member of Congress as well as their Twitter account so you can start learning about them before your Capitol Hill Day.


    Countable is a great website that offers the pros and cons of all issues currently facing the U.S. Congress, as well as a few other jurisdictions across the country. Countable makes it easy to search by any issue that interests you. You can also download their app and use while you are on program to help you stay current on the issues. You can even register your opinions on an issue and see what other citizens think.

    White House

    Want to know what issues the Executive Branch is working on? Or, perhaps you would like to know the President’s schedule to see if he will be in DC during your program week. The White House website gives you that information and will help you prepare for your study visit to Lafayette Park, where you will have a chance to take photos of the White House and discuss the role of citizens in public policy.

    Supreme Court & Supreme Court Blog

    Learning about the highest court in the land will prepare you for your discussions on famous Supreme Court cases and will help you get ready for your Capitol Hill Day. You can be in the know about what cases the Court will be hearing (and when) as you plan for your Hill Day and learn about historic Court decisions that are relevant to our democracy today.

    Real Clear Politics - Political Blog

    Real Clear Politics is a great place to learn about opinions from the right, left and center on political issues of the day. The site also provides election polling data, which can give you great insight on the outcomes of recent elections.

    Isidewith & Votesmart

    If you haven’t thought much yet about your own opinions on public policy, there are some great tools to start exploring the issues and developing your stance on them. Isidewith allows you to look across a variety of issues and think about your views on them. The site then tabulates who you may be more likely to agree with in the Presidential election with analysis across issue areas. Votesmart allows you to not only see how the issues that matter to you align with presidential candidates but with candidates for House and Senate races as well. These tools will get you thinking about issues that we discuss on program.

    Politico - In-Depth Political Coverage

    Politico is a great resource for all things political in Washington, DC. It is a great way to get some “Inside the Beltway” knowledge before you arrive on program.

  • We would love to hear from you before, during and after program! Follow Close Up on Twitter and contribute your ideas and pictures from program.
  • Be part of our alumni community on Facebook! You never know where the connections of our 850,000 alumni might lead you - perhaps an internship, maybe a community project or your own political campaign. Please stay in touch.
  • Share your photos and memories from program with everyone on our Instagram page.
  • Review the resources available to your through your individual account at You can view your sample program schedule, travel itinerary, hotel and suggestions on what to wear and pack for the program!
  • Remember to complete your enrollment form online and review all Close Up terms and conditions before program. Be sure all required forms for Close Up and your school are signed and ready to go.

For more information, or if you would like to speak directly to a Close Up Representative, please feel free to contact us at 800-CLOSE UP (256-7387) or at We also encourage you to visit our website to learn more about Close Up and all of our exciting program options.


"The Close Up program was great in that it gave me a wonderful opportunity to see our government in a personal way. It was also great to get together and meet others from around the world from Brazil to Zaire."

   – Terez, Student, HI
Educating for democracy since 1971