Princeton University Summer Journalism Program 2018 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.

Please find a summary of the program and requirements below, as well as detailed information about the application process.

What is the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program? Founded in 2001, SJP is one of the most innovative and successful programs of its kind. Our mission is to diversify college and professional newsrooms by encouraging outstanding students from low-income backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism. Every summer, we welcome 35-40 high school students from across the country to Princeton’s campus for a free, 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. All expenses, including students’ travel costs to and from Princeton, are paid for by the program. 

When are the program dates? Fri, Aug 3 - Mon, Aug 13, 2018

Who is eligible? To apply for the program, you must be a current high school junior living in the United States with an unweighted 3.5/4.0 GPA and 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) exceeds $45,000 and you still wish to apply, you may explain on your application why you believe your family qualifies as financially under-resourced.

What is the program like? SJP is as much a college access program as it is a window into the world of journalism. Classes are taught by reporters and editors from The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Politico, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, CNN and NBC, among other media outlets and focus on multiple skills related to the field of journalism. More information about the program—including last year’s schedule—can be found here.

The program also introduces students to life at one of the best universities in the country. Students live on campus and eat in one of the university’s cafeterias. They meet with numerous Princeton professors as well as the school’s president and admissions officers, attend seminars on every aspect of the college admissions process, and take a practice SAT or ACT. After students return home, the program’s counselors help them navigate the college application process. 


How to apply:

Round 1: 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, March 23, 2018.

UPDATE: You are now able to create an account if you would like to save your work. Please note that if you do not create an account and choose "Save Progress" before exiting, you must complete the application in one sitting or your answers will not be recorded. Read through the application and gather all the information that you will need to complete it before you start to fill it out.

On Page 2 (the next and last page), you will be asked to submit detailed information about your family's finances. We recommend having your family's 2016 or 2017 tax forms available to complete that section.

You will also have to write three short essays. The topics are listed below:

a. In about 150 words, tell us about a news, feature or opinion article you’ve read recently that impacted you deeply, and why it had an effect on you. 

b. In about 150 words, tell us about your interest in pursuing a career in journalism.

c. Take an issue, a trend, a phenomenon, a group or an important person in your local community, and write an article about it, her or him. This is a chance for you to show off your skills as a journalist. Your article may take the form of a news piece, a feature piece or an opinion piece. Please indicate which type of article it is in the box beneath your article. It should be about 400 words in length.


Round 2: 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 send us copies of the following documents within one week of being notified:

- Your official high school transcript

- The first page of the income-tax return form (the 1040 or 1040EZ form) for the calendar year 2016 or 2017 of your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s); or a signed statement by your parent(s)/guardian(s) saying that they do not file income tax returns.

- A recommendation letter from a teacher

- A high school profile from your guidance or college counselor. If your school does not have a profile, we will provide a form they can fill out to the best of their ability.

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


Round 3: A select number of students will be invited to interview via video conference for the final round of the application process. More information will be provided to those students when the time comes.


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. 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

The program directors are 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

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