We’re excited as ever to be working towards assembling our 2020 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program cohort for this summer. As a reminder, anyone currently in grades 9-12 can apply to the program, and the program will begin on June 21st until August 2nd. We’re accepting applications in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction this year. Please see our summer mentorship info booklet linked below for information about this year’s mentors.

Please click here for application guidelines, here for our 2020 summer mentorship info booklet, and here to begin your application. 

If you have a burning question and it isn’t answered in this list, please direct them to co-directors Peter LaBerge and John Allen Taylor at adroitmentorship[at]gmail[dot]com. 

Now — on with the FAQ! 


I’m a graduating high school senior. Am I eligible for the mentorship program?


Yes, you are. We look forward to your application.


I’m a rising high school freshman. Am I eligible for the mentorship program?


No, unfortunately we are only open to 2020 mentorship applications from students who are currently high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors. We hope you’ll keep us on your radar and apply next year, though! 


What time on April 15th is the official deadline for the mentorship? 


The application manager will close at 11:59pm U.S. PDT on April 15th, 2020. Click here to see what time it is in the PT time zone. You can also Google “what time is it in Los Angeles” or “what time is it in San Francisco” if you’re confused. 


Can I participate in the 2020 mentorship program along with other online or in-person summer writing programs?


Yes, you may pair the summer mentorship program with participation in other programs, as long as you will have an Internet connection for the duration of the program — and the time needed to complete all drafting, discussion, peer review, and portfolio assembly tasks.


Are 2020 mentorship participants selected on a rolling basis?


No, admissions aren’t rolling this year — only our evaluation of applications is rolling. In other words, we read apps and throughout the application period as they come in, but we won’t be deciding our actual cohort until after all applications have been received and read. Apologies for any confusion!


What happens if I miss the April 15th deadline?


Unfortunately, we aren’t able to accept applications that aren’t submitted by 11:59pm PDT on April 15th. Keep in mind that your transcript is not required, so once you finish your statement and sample, you can theoretically send in your application in a matter of minutes.


My school is closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak so I can’t get a copy of my transcript. Can I submit my application without it? 


Absolutely! The transcript is 100% optional and is used only to verify student status. If you don’t provide a transcript with your application we can work to verify student status either with a transcript or another way upon acceptance to the program. 


How selective is the program? Did you accept any students off the waitlist last year?


Last year, we received roughly 650 applications for 56 spots, which led to an ~8% acceptance rate. We accepted one student off the waitlist, as 98% of admitted students (or 55/56) accepted their spots. 


I’m applying in multiple genres. How should I structure my writing sample? Do I have 8-12 pages to use per genre or together?


If you’re applying in multiple genres, you can use up to 8-12 pages for each genre and both should be in the writing sample. The writing sample of your first choice should be followed by the writing sample of your second choice. We consider both genres independent of their ranking on your app until our final stage of consideration — so students can receive extended consideration for one or both of the genres to which they applied and then we look at expressed preferences from there.


I’m applying in the poetry category. Do I have to use 8-12 pages for my sample? Will I be disadvantaged if the poems I use are shorter?


No! You should feel confident in the work you send, whether it’s short or long or somewhere in-between. Definitely don’t feel a need to fill up 8-12 pages if your poems are on the shorter or mid-sized side.

I have two fiction pieces that I’d like to include in my portfolio, but together they are over the 12-page maximum. Should I send them both, or only one? 


In this case, please feel very encouraged to send one full story and an excerpt of the other one. We aim to take our 12-page maximum seriously, as many students apply in multiple genres, which means lots of reading! 


Is participation in the 2020 mentorship program binding? As in, if we are accepted, are we locked into attending?


While we hope those we accept into the program will be able to participate, participation definitely is not binding! Historically, we have not had to dip into the waitlist much (if at all), but especially with everything up in the air with the international COVID-19 crisis, we are expecting that some who apply and are accepted may ultimately not be able to participate. We will definitely have a waitlist for each genre, and look forward to making any seats that open up available to select students from the waitlist. 


I live abroad/internationally. Can I still participate in meetings with mentors, or will the time difference make it impossible to do so? 


Meeting hours for students and mentors are entirely up to each individual student and mentor pairing. It’s entirely flexible, so a student living in Europe, Asia, or any other continent can simply arrange for either morning or evening calls with his, her, or their mentor. 


I require financial aid to participate in the mentorship program, but I don’t have access to evidence of this need. What do I do?


In cases such as these, your parent or guardian can write a signed letter explaining your specific situation and the barriers to your payment of the program, and this can be uploaded in place of one of the materials requested.


I was rejected or waitlisted last year and encouraged to re-apply. How many students who re-apply are typically accepted?


There’s no exact or consistent percentage of previous applicants who gain admission on their second, third, or fourth try, but we absolutely admit a mix of previous applicants and new applicants each year. Usually at least 25% of our cohort is comprised of students who have chosen to reapply (emphasis on at least). These previous applicants span all tiers of previous consideration, including students who were previously waitlisted.


One part of my application upload correctly, but I already submitted my app! What do I do? 


Please email the component of the application (be it your Writer’s Statement, Writing Sample, Transcript, or Evidence of Need-Based Financial Aid) to adroitmentorship[at]gmail[dot]com, and we will add the component to your application to be considered.


My strongest work has been recognized by Scholastic, YoungArts, or another prize organization, and is also previously published. Can I still include it in my writing sample?


Absolutely! We don’t consider any part of the writing sample for publication, so you’re good to go. Same goes for if you have work under consideration elsewhere.


What do you mean by “tell us why you want to attend this program” in the guidelines for the Writer’s Statement?


When we give that advice in our guidelines for the Writer’s Statement, we’re effectively asking you to potentially explore some or all of the following questions: 1) What specifically about Adroit’s program piques your interest? 2) What sort of relationship (if any) do you have to Adroit and its previous issues? Do you have favorite poems or stories that have appeared in our pages? etc. 


How much do awards, publications, or staff roles matter? Will applicants who have them be seen as more qualified for the mentorship?


At the end of the day, we’re looking to put together a cohort of students that we believe are ready to thrive. Please feel free to reference any awards, publications, etc. particularly as they’re relevant to anything else you’re saying/demonstrating — but awards and publications and the like do not make the difference ultimately. 


I realized that there’s a typo in my app! Oh no! Will you hold it against me? 


Depends on the typo, but most likely not at all! We’re all human, and especially these days there’s a lot to stress about. The only exception: It’s the Adroit Journal, not the Adriot, Aldroit, or Adroint Journal! 


Is there anything you think that separates the successful apps from the rest? 


All successful applicants clearly expressed their passion for writing, as well as what drives them to write — and it felt authentic and honest. That, if anything, is the common denominator in successful apps.


When will decisions be released?


We will notify admits and waitlisted students in late April or early May. Once all students have confirmed they would like to participate, we will release results publicly. 


If I don’t get in, can I request feedback on my application?


Unfortunately, due to the volume of both applications and requests for feedback, we can’t provide specific feedback at this time. But we hope you’ll try again next time, if you remain eligible! 


Again, if you have a burning question and it isn’t answered in this list, please direct them to co-directors Peter LaBerge and John Allen Taylor at adroitmentorship[at]gmail[dot]com. 

Please click here for application guidelines, here for our 2020 summer mentorship info booklet, and here to begin your application.

Peter LaBerge
Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge founded The Adroit Journal in 2010, as a high school sophomore. His work appears in Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. He is the recipient of a 2020 Pushcart Prize.

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