Frequently Asked Questions
- I applied during Round 1 but haven't received anything since. Have you released decisions already about Round 2??
We released decisions about Round 2 on March 26. If you did not receive your decision, please check your spam and if it's not there, contact the program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How do I submit my documents for Round 2?
Students who were selected to provide additional documents for Round 2 of the application process should have received an email containing detailed instructions for submitting documents electronically. Please check your email, including your Spam and "Promotions" (if using Gmail) folders. You can access required forms and instructions by logging into your application portal.
Be sure to read the email thoroughly, as some special circumstances are already explained in there. If you have a special circumstance that is not addressed in the email, please contact the program at email@example.com.
- I am a semi-finalist. When I log into my application portal, I see a blank page.
It is possible you have created an application for more than one program, which has changed your application status. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. As a reminder, PSJP applicants should ONLY choose "PSJP 2021" when logging into their portals. Do not begin an application for PUPP.
- I submitted a transcript with my initial application. Do I have to submit another one?
If your official transcript is not marked as received, your counselor or other school official must submit one directly to the program via the instructions provided. Please review the semi-finalist notification email for step-by-step instructions and contact email@example.com if you have questions.
- My 11th grade classes are still in progress. What should I do?
Your official transcript should include all final grades from 9th and 10th grades and all mid-year grades (i.e. final grades from completed terms (trimester or semester)) in 11th grade, as well as any outstanding coursework. If your 11th grade grades from completed terms (even for year-long classes) do not appear on your transcript, please have your counselor also send report cards.
- How many recommendations can I submit?
We require ONE teacher who has taught you in an academic subject (preferably in the last 1.5 years) to submit a recommendation electronically. We strongly recommend choosing a teacher from a humanities course, such as English or history. Recommendations must come directly from the teacher. When you submit your Round 2 Documents Request form, it will generate an email to your teacher with a link for them to upload or write their recommendation. We will only need ONE recommendation.
- I only have one teacher recommendation. Will I be at a disadvantage in the process?
No. We only require ONE teacher recommendation. The additional recommendation is 100% optional.
- My newspaper adviser/journalism teacher is also an English teacher, although I haven't taken their class in an academic/core class. Can they still write a recommendation for me?
We will accept a journalism teacher or adviser as an additional recommendation. We also require a recommendation from a core subject teacher.
- I accidentally submitted my Round 2 Documents Request Form and noticed [insert error here]. Can I go back and change it?
Applicants should plan to submit their Documents Request form and Family Financial Information forms only once. However, if you have an *emergency* situation and need to correct an egregious error, you may submit the form once more. Please be advised that submitting the form more than once can cause delays in processing, so please aim to get all of the information correct the first time.
- I don't write for a school newspaper, but I do write other news or opinion-style pieces for myself, a blog, or another publication. Can I submit those?
Of course! If you have written pieces in the style of a news or magazine opinion, feature, or investigative story (not a school report), we welcome you to submit those. However, please note that submitting a writing sample is entirely optional. Students who do not submit any written work beyond what was asked on the initial application will not be disadvantaged in our process.
- What tax information should I submit? What if my parents do not file taxes?
Semi-finalists received a detailed email with instructions about what financial information to submit. We require at least the 2019 federal tax return and, if available, the 2020 federal tax return. If your parents cannot find their tax information, they can request a copy from the IRS or from the company they used to submit them, if applicable. All finalist will be required to submit 2020 tax documents, if filing, before we release final decisions in May.
If your parents do not file taxes, your family should submit a financial statement signed by the relevant parent/guardian.
If you have a special circumstance that is not addressed in the emails, please contact the program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that we reserve the right to request additional financial information as we have questions.
- Can you let me know if X document has arrived? I did not receive a notification.
Due to the small size of our staff, mandatory office closures, and the volume of incoming documents we are processing, we are not able to notify you when your documents arrive and will not respond to inquires about the status of application materials, except to correct an error. However, you can check the status of documents at any time by logging into your application portal. Please allow at least 24 hours for electronic submissions to process. If you notice an error, please contact email@example.com immediately. We will be in touch in late April with an update, especially if we need more information. Thank you in advance for your patience.
- When will students be notified if they have been invited to interview?
Students who are chosen as a finalist will be invited to interview with our leadership team. We will begin interviews on a rolling basis in late April through the week of May 16. We choose less than 100 finalists, and therefore not every student will be invited to interview. All students will be notified whether they will be invited to interview and/or of final decisions by May 21.
- My teacher says the link for the teacher recommendation isn't working. What should I do?
Please have your teacher email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- My teacher/guidance counselor says they have already submitted my document(s), but it/does not appear in my portal. What should I do?
There can be a number of reasons for this, the most common being that someone (either you or your teacher) used a different email address for you when they submitted the form. This creates a separate record, and, therefore, doesn't match the document back to your main account. Or it could be a simple miscoding. No worries. Please contact email@example.com and we will work with you to correct it.
Applying: Round 1
- When is the application due?
The application deadline for the Princeton Summer Journalism Program has passed, and we are no longer accepting new applications.
- Where can I find more information about the application process?
You can answer most questions by exploring our website, including the Apply section. However, if you do not find the answer to your questions, feel free to reach out to our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Can you contact me when the application opens next year?
If you are 9th-10th grader or work with any, you can sign up to be contacted when the application opens next year by using this form.
If you are a current junior or senior, you are no longer eligible to submit a new application.
If you're a current senior, unfortunately, you are no longer eligible.
- What if I don’t meet one or more of the eligibility requirements?
While students meeting the eligibility requirements are prioritized above all others in our process, we understand that there can be extenuating circumstances that warrant a second look. We will review all applications submitted by high school members of the Class of 2022 and make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Read below for more specific information about different situations.
- Do students have to be juniors to be considered?
In effect. Students must be current juniors during the 2020-2021 academic year or students who will graduate in the Class of 2022. Otherwise, no current senior or sophomore will be considered. No exceptions.
- Should I report my current/semester GPA or my cumulative GPA?
Students should report their most updated cumulative GPA, weighted (if applicable) and unweighted.
- If my GPA is lower than a 3.5 unweighted, can I still apply for SJP?
PSJP will review every application that is submitted by a high school junior. If your GPA is below a 3.5, we will require an explanation of why you should be considered and take into account an upward trend in grades, the rigor of your courses and any disruptions to your education.
- If I am not a US citizen, can I still apply?
All students living (permanent address) and attending high school in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including refugees and undocumented and DACAmented students, are encouraged to apply.
- Our family’s income exceeds the cutoff for eligibility. Should I apply?
The Princeton Summer Journalism Program is for students from low-income backgrounds. Any student whose family does not meet the income requirements specified should write a statement on their application explaining why they think their background still qualifies. PSJP will review every application that is submitted, taking into account family size, cost of living in your area, and all other application factors when making a final decision.
- My income and family circumstances would not qualify as low-income or socioeconomically disadvantaged. Can we pay for my child to attend?
We appreciate your willingness to contribute to the program! You can learn more about making a tax-deductible contribution to PSJP on our “Support PSJP” page. However, please note that your contribution will have no bearing on your student's application for admission. PSJP is intended for students from socioeconomically under-resourced backgrounds. We do not accept payment for students to attend the program. If you are certain your family will not qualify financially for PSJP, we recommend looking into paid programs offered by other universities and news outlets.
- I don’t know if I want to pursue a career in journalism.
That's OK! PSJP is, first and foremost, intended for students who are interested in journalism—who are at least considering writing for their high school or college newspapers, and can see themselves potentially pursuing an eventual career in journalism. Some students are not sure, have not been able to write for a formal school paper, do not have access to one in their high schools, or have only just started writing in their spare time. That’s OK, too! You should still apply. We don't require students to have experience as a journalist. However, every year, we receive applications from students who are smart and talented—but who don't even read the news or care to. Apply to this program only if you have a serious interest in learning about journalism and will contribute fully to the experience, if accepted.
- What kind of student would thrive in this program?
PSJP approaches the exploration of journalism through many lens. Students who love learning, who enjoy writing, have a strong work ethic and would appreciate engaging in discussion and debate with their peers and professionals on topics ranging from history, social issues, politics, and current events (to name a few) tend to be most successful in this program. Prior experience as a journalist is not required.
Questions about PSJP
- When are the program dates for 2021?
PSJP will run a fully virtual program for the summer of 2021 from mid-June through the first week of August. If you are a semi-finalist or finalist and anticipate a conflict, contact the team at email@example.com ASAP.
- Do I have to participate for the entire time?
In short, yes. PSJP has always required students to participate in all sessions and that will not change. However, we understand that, given a number of factors, some students may not be available for online programming for every single session all summer. We will discuss these potential conflicts and our attendance expectations further with students during their interviews, if applicable.
- What can I expect during the virtual program?
This is a very big question, one that is hard to address in this limited space. In general, we pride ourselves on providing an experience for students that is thorough in its exploration of journalism; includes a broad range of topics related to the field; fosters the creation of a strong community among students and between students and staff; is developmental and transformative for students, allowing them to increase their knowledge, build and improve skills, and enhance their impact within the communities they touch; and equips students well for their next steps. However, what this looks like and how it unfolds evolves each year. We encourage you to review our program schedule, read more about the components of the program, meet our students, and review our publications to get a sense of what's in store for you!
- What is the cost of the program?
PSJP is offered at no cost to participants. We arrange and pay for all travel, lodging, food, and supplies during the residential program, although students are encouraged to bring spending money for souvenirs or treats off-campus. For the fully virtual program, students will need to supply their own internet-capable device and have access to internet. Students with concerns about these will have a chance to discuss them during their interview, if applicable. We will work with accepted students to address barriers as best as we can.
- How will I get to Princeton? Do I need to arrange my own ride or flight?
PSJP will run the program 100% online for the summer of 2021, so this is not a consideration for this year. However, during the summers that we offer the program in person, our program coordinators work with students and their families to arrange transportation to NJ and/or to campus. All transportation airfare, train fees, and shuttle costs are covered for the students by the program. Typically, students who live within driving distance of campus are dropped off by a family member, although we will send transportation to retrieve the student if that is not an option.
- Where will I sleep during the program?
Students sleep in dormitories on Princeton's campus for the duration of the residential component of our program.
- Am I guaranteed admission to Princeton if I participate in PSJP?
No. PSJP is not a recruitment or bridge program for Princeton University. Admission to Princeton is not a guarantee for any PSJP participant. Students should only apply for PSJP if they have a genuine interest in journalism.
- Does PSJP provide any financial support for college?
PSJP is not a scholarship-granting program, and we do not provide any funds for the college admissions process. However, PSJP counselors work with students to identify and apply for colleges and universities with a strong commitment to financial aid for low-income and first-generation students. Counselors guide students through applying for financial aid and getting waivers for financial hardships during the admissions process.
- Do PSJP participants really go into journalism afterward?
Family Information Questions
- I don't currently live with my parents. Whose financial information should I send?
Please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can talk through how best to proceed.
- My parents haven’t yet filed taxes for 2019. Can I use tax information from 2017 or 2018.
If you are completing the online application (Round 1), you do not need exact information about income, although it helps. If 2019 tax information is not available, provide your best guess. If you are advanced to Round 2, we will require official 2019 tax forms to verify income for all students whose families file taxes. All Round 3 applicants will be required to submit 2020 tax documents before final decisions are made in May.