Frequently Asked Questions

Applying: Round 1

When is the application due?

The application for the 2022 summer program is now closed.

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 psjp@princeton.edu.

Can you contact me when the application opens?

If you are a 9th or 10th grader or the parent/guardian of one, you can sign up to receive information about the application process using this form.

If you are a current junior (2023) or senior (2022), unfortunately, you are no longer eligible to apply.

If you are faculty or staff at an organization, agency, or school and would like to be notified annually when the application opens, please sign up using this form.

    

Applying: Round 2

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 29. If you did not receive your decision, please check your spam and if it's not there, contact the program at psjp@princeton.edu.

How do I submit my documents for Round 2?

Students who were selected to provide additional documents as a semi-finalist 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 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 psjp@princeton.edu.

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 psjp@princeton.edu 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 Semi-Finalist 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 contact psjp@princeton.edu to submit a correction. 

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. Poetry and other non-journalism pieces will not be read.

What tax information should I submit? What if my parents do not file taxes?

Semi-finalists received an email containing detailed instructions about what financial information to submit. We require at least the 2020 and 2021 income statements, the 2020 federal tax return and, if available, the 2021 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 2021 tax documents, if filing, by May 1.

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 psjp@princeton.edu

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 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 psjp@princeton.edu 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 throughout the month of May. 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 27.

My teacher says the link for the teacher recommendation isn't working. What should I do?

Please have your teacher email psjp@princeton.edu.

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 psjp@princeton.edu and we will work with you to correct it.

   

Eligibility

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 2023 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 2021-2022 academic year or students who will graduate in the Class of 2023. Otherwise, no current senior or sophomore will be considered. No exceptions.

 

If you are a 9th or 10th grader and would like to be contacted when the application opens during your junior year, please sign-up here.

If you are a faculty or staff member at an agency, organization, or school and would like to be added to our annual mailing list, please complete this form.

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 any extenuating circumstances that 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 in (i.e. has a permanent address) and attending high school in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including refugees, 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 we do not accept payment for students to attend the program, and your contribution will have no bearing on your student's application for admission. PSJP is intended for students from socioeconomically under-resourced backgrounds. 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 lenses. 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. However, enthusiasm for exploring the field is a must. Students applying for PSJP for the Princeton affiliation only should explore other ways to become involved with the University through research, admissions events, or other camps.

  

Questions about PSJP

When are the program dates for 2022?

Due to ongoing health and safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, PSJP will run virtually for five weeks from late-June through early August.

Do I have to participate for the entire time?

Yes. PSJP requires weekly reading and writing/reporting assignments throughout the program, and we expect students to fully participate in those. We also expect students to attend every session throughout the five-week summer institute.

Do I have to be vaccinated to participate in PSJP for the summer of 2022?

As we are running the program online, participants will not have to be vaccinated to participate.

What is the cost of the program?

Students do not pay any fees to us to participate in PSJP.  

How will I get to Princeton? Do I need to arrange my own ride or flight?

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 public transportation logistics, 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. Students are not permitted to sleep away off-campus during the residential program. However, PSJP will run entirely online during the summer of 2022. Students will not spend the night on campus.

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?

Of course they do! Many also come back to serve as counselors for the program. Learn more about our outcomes and read articles by PSJP alumni.

 

Family Information Questions

I don't currently live with my parents. Whose financial information should I send?

Please contact our office at psjp@princeton.edu so we can talk through how best to proceed.

My parents haven’t yet filed taxes for 2021. Can I use tax information from 2019 or 2020.

If you are completing the online application (Round 1), you do not need exact information about income, although it helps. If 2020 or 2021 tax information is not available, provide your best guess. If you are advanced to Round 2, we will require official tax forms from 2020 and 2021 (once filed) to verify income for all students whose families file taxes. All Round 3 applicants will be required to submit 2021 tax documents before final decisions are made in May.