January 11, 2011

Free journalism program for high school students @ Princeton U.

An all-expenses-paid summer program for high school student journalists from low-income backgrounds will take place for 10 days in August on the campus of Princeton University. Below are the details, including info about how to apply...

The program is entering its 10th year; since 2002, more than 185 students from high schools across the country have been selected to participate in the program. They were taught by journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, The New Republic and The New Yorker; they covered Yankees, Mets, Jets and Liberty games and held a press conference with New Jersey's secretary of state; they met with Princeton University's president and dean of admissions; they received counseling on their college applications from our staff, which consists of Princeton University alumni and undergraduates; and they published their own newspaper. We hope that you will consider nominating some of your students to participate in this exciting program for aspiring young journalists.

Below is a quick list of instructions and pointers for having your students fill out the applications:

Please feel free to nominate as many students as you have who are interested. We will happily accept several students from the same school, so there is no need to worry about your own students competing for slots in the program. We have not determined the exact dates, but the program will run for 10 days from a Friday to a Monday. It normally runs during the first two weeks of August.

The application process will take place in two parts. For the first part, students should fill out the attached application, and then email it to sjpapplication@gmail.com as a Microsoft Word attachment. (If the student does not have access to Microsoft Word, the student should just copy and paste the text of the application into an email.) Before emailing us the application, students should name the document using the following format: Lastname.Firstname.doc. So, if the student's name is Mary Jones, the title of the document will be Jones.Mary.doc. In addition, the student should type his or her name and high school in the body of the email and put only the name of the Word document (e.g., Jones.Mary.doc) in the subject line of the email. We must receive the application by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, February 4, 2011. No extensions will be given for any reason. Please do not mail a hard copy of the application to Princeton University.

In the second round of the application process, finalists will be interviewed by the program directors—either in person or over the phone—and they will be asked to provide printed copies of the following items via U.S. mail: an official transcript; the first page of the 2009 (or 2010, if available) income-tax return form (the 1040 or 1040EZ form) of their custodial parent(s)/guardian(s), or a signed statement by their parent(s)/guardian(s) saying that their income is below the level at which they would be required to file income tax returns; a recommendation letter from a teacher; and clips from their high school newspaper or other publication (optional).

To be eligible for the program, students must meet the following qualifications:
- They must currently be juniors in high school.
- They must live in the continental United States.
- They must have at least an unweighted 3.5 grade point average (out of 4.0).
- They must have an interest in journalism.
- The combined income of their custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) plus
child support payments, if any, must not exceed $45,000.
Note: This program is for students from low-income backgrounds. If the combined income of the custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) plus child support payments, if any, exceeds $45,000 and a student still wishes to apply, he or she may attach a letter explaining why his or her family qualifies as financially under-resourced.

If you have questions, the best way to reach us is via email at sjp@princeton.edu. Please note that applications should be sent to sjpapplication@gmail.com, which is a GMAIL address. Questions should be sent to sjp@princeton.edu, which is a PRINCETON address.

All application materials—as well as additional information about the program—are available at www.princeton.edu/sjp.

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