Princeton University Summer Journalism Program 2015 Application

Dear Applicant:

Thank you for your interest in the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program. We’re looking forward to reading your application and, if you are selected for the program, getting to know you this summer.

What is the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program? PUSJP is one of the country’s most innovative and successful programs working to provide opportunities to outstanding high school students from low-income backgrounds. We welcome about 25 high school students from low-income backgrounds every summer to Princeton’s campus for an all-expenses-paid, intensive 10-day seminar on journalism. After the program ends, counselors stay in touch with students to help guide them through the college admissions process. Counselors assist students in preparing for standardized tests, determining an appropriate list of colleges to apply to, and filling out applications and financial aid forms. The program’s goal is to diversify college and professional newsrooms by encouraging outstanding students from low-income backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism. All expenses, including students’ travel costs to and from Princeton, are paid for by the program. Students who attend come from across the country. The program will enter its 14th summer in 2015. It will take place from July 31 to August 10.

What is the program like? Classes at the program are taught by reporters and editors from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, National Journal, New York Magazine, The Daily Beast, Time, The New Republic, ESPN the Magazine, CNN and NPR, among other media outlets. Students tour the Times, The Daily Beast and CNN; conduct an investigative project; cover a professional sports event (last year, a Jets preseason game); cover news events in the Princeton area; film and produce a TV segment; and report, write, edit and design their own newspaper, The Princeton Summer Journal, which is published on the program’s last day. The program is also designed to give students a taste of what life is like at one of the best colleges in the country—students live on campus and eat in one of the university’s cafeterias—and to prepare them to apply to top schools. Students meet with numerous Princeton professors as well as the school’s president and its dean of admissions. Students attend seminars on every aspect of the college admissions process and take a practice SAT. After students return home, program staff remain in contact with them, assisting them during the college application process and helping them to apply for journalism internships once they are in college.

What have our students accomplished? About 260 students have graduated from our program during the past 13 years, and many return each summer to serve as mentors to our current students. We are proud of their academic and journalistic accomplishments. Eleven of our alumni have attended Princeton. Others have gone on to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, the University of Pennsylvania, Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Wesleyan, Middlebury, Georgetown, Bowdoin, the University of Virginia, Johns Hopkins, New York University and many other selective schools. Their work has been published in college newspapers across the country, including The Daily Princetonian, The Harvard Crimson, The Yale Daily News, The Brown Daily Herald, The Columbia Spectator, The Cornell Daily Sun, The Daily Pennsylvanian, The Amherst Student, The Wesleyan Argus and The Bowdoin Orient. Our alumni have also landed jobs or internships at The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, National Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The New Republic, The American Prospect, Newsweek, The Miami Herald, The New York Observer, the Associated Press, The New York Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Star-Ledger, The Philadelphia Daily News, NPR, NBC and CBS.

Who is eligible? This program is intended for low-income students with excellent academic records who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism. To apply for the program, you must meet the following qualifications:

- You must currently be a junior in high school.
- You must live in the United States.
- You must have at least an unweighted 3.5 grade point average (out of 4.0).
- You must have an interest in journalism.
- The combined income of your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) plus child support payments, if any, must not exceed $45,000.

Note: This program is for students from under-resourced financial backgrounds. If the combined income of your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) plus child support payments, if any, exceeds $45,000 and you still wish to apply, you may explain below why you believe your family qualifies as financially under-resourced.

How to apply. The application process consists of two rounds. For the first round, fill out the application below in its entirety, and then click "Submit" at the bottom of the form. 

We must receive this part of your application by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, February 20, 2015.

After we receive the first round of applications, we will select a group to proceed to the second round. If you are selected for the second round, we will ask you to mail us printed copies of the following documents:

- Your official high school transcript

- The first page of the income-tax return form (the 1040 or 1040EZ form) for the calendar year 2013 of your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s); or a signed statement by your parent(s)/guardian(s) saying that their income is below the level at which they would be required to file income tax returns. (If the form for calendar year 2014 is available, you may send that instead.)

- A recommendation letter from a teacher

- Clips from your high school newspaper or other publication (if you have them)

Note: From the time they are notified that they have made it to the second round, applicants will have about two weeks to mail these items to us.

Here are some tips about the application process:

1. When submitting your application or when contacting us for any reason, use an email address to which you will have regular access throughout the application process. Do not change your email address or stop checking email in the middle of the application process.

2. Send all questions about the program to

3. Proofread and edit your application carefully before submitting. You may find it easiest to write your essays and article in Word and then cut and paste the documents into the application form.

4. Be prepared to complete the entire form in one session. If you exit the application form before submitting it, you will lose all your data. Read through the application and gather all the information that you will need to complete it before you start to fill it out.

5. Most importantly, this program is for students who are interested in journalism—who are planning to write for their college newspapers and who are at least strongly considering an eventual career in journalism. Every year, we receive applications from students who are smart and talented—but who are not really interested in journalism. Apply to this program only if you are serious about pursuing a career in journalism. 

A final word: We know that the process of applying to any selective program can be stressful, not to mention a lot of work. But, over the years, the students we have had come through our program have told us that, ultimately, the work they put into their application was worth it.

All applicants will be contacted by early May. The program directors are all looking forward to reading your application. If we can answer any question along the way, don’t hesitate to contact us at


Program Staff

Applicant Information

Gender *
Please provide us with your unweighted and weighted grade point averages through the end of the first semester of your junior year, on a 4.0 scale. We want the aggregate GPA for high school and not just the GPA from the most recent semester alone.
0/255 characters
List your extracurricular activities (both at school and outside it) in order of importance to you.  Please do not use acronyms when listing your activities. Use the Plus sign to add more activities, up to a maximum of six. *
Please briefly tell us about your summer activities during the past three years. Please be specific about the exact name of the camp/program/employer and the dates of attendance/employment. Write two or three sentences about what you did.
0/300 characters
0/300 characters
0/300 characters

Guardian Information

Is this parent living? *
Is this parent your legal guardian? *
Is this parent living? *
Is this parent your legal guardian? *

Sibling Information

Please list names and ages of your siblings. If they have attended college, indicate the name of the college and the year they graduated or are expecting to graduate. Use the Plus sign to add more entries.

Family Financial Information

Number of custodial parents/guardians: *
If your parent(s)/guardian(s) is not required to file income tax returns because his or her income is below the level at which he or she would be required to file an income tax return, please indicate so here: *
If you have two custodial parents/guardians, do they file income taxes jointly or separately? *
If you have two custodial parents or guardians and they file separately, write the total income from 2013 (or 2014, if available) below for each parent or guardian (this is the number that appears in the bottom right-hand corner of the first page of his or her 1040 or 1040EZ form):

Writing Samples

Please check over your application to ensure that everything is correct and filled in completely. When you're satisfied that your application is ready to submit, click on the Submit button below. Thank you for applying.