Our 2023 Summer Mentorship Program: Your Questions, Answered

We’re excited as ever to be working towards assembling our 2023 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program cohort for this summer. As a reminder, anyone currently in grades 9-12 can apply to the program (including graduating seniors and gap year students, high school class of ’22 or ’23).

The program will last from June 19th, 2023 until July 31st, 2023. We’re accepting applications in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction/memoir this year. Please see our mentorship info booklet linked below for information about this year’s mentors.


Please click here for application guidelines. 

If you have a burning question and it isn’t answered in this list, please direct them to mentorship director 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 mentorship applications from students who are currently high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors (or gap year students, high school class of ’21 or ’22). We hope you’ll keep us on your radar and apply next year, though!


What time on March 12th(, 2023) is the official application deadline for the mentorship? 


The application manager will close at 11:59pm U.S. Pacific Standard Time (PST) on March 12th, 2023. Click here to see what time it is in the PST time zone. You can also Google “what time is it in Los Angeles” or “what time is it in San Francisco” if you’re unsure.


Can I participate in the 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. The most important part of the mentorship is having the time to be in conversation with your mentor, write new work, and offer feedback to your peers. Keep this in mind as you plan your summer commitments!


What happens if I miss the March 12th deadline?


Unfortunately, we aren’t able to accept applications that aren’t submitted by 11:59pm PST on March 12, 2023. Keep in mind that your transcript is not required, so once you finish your application essays and sample (and your additional info document, if you’d like to include one!), you can send in your application in a matter of minutes.


My school is closed and/or my guidance office is not accessible, 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?


For the past two years, we’ve maintained about an 8.5% acceptance rate. We accept a few students off of the waitlist each year, but yield among admitted mentorship students has remained approximately 95% for the past two years (as in, for the past two years, about 95% of admitted students have accepted their spots). Please note that the waitlist is not ranked.


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 8-10 pages for poetry and 8-12 pages for fiction or creative nonfiction and both should be in the writing sample file. 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 — 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 8-10 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 8-10 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, a good option is to send one full story and an excerpt of the other one. We take our 12-page maximum seriously, as many students apply in multiple genres, which means lots of reading!


What is your policy on plagiarism?


The mentorship program has zero tolerance for intentional plagiarism, or knowingly submitting another person’s work as your own. Mentorship applications from students who are found to have sent intentionally plagiarized material will be withdrawn promptly, even if these students have already been accepted and even if the program is already underway.

We want to note, unintentional plagiarism sometimes happens and often takes the form of accidentally borrowing a phrase or syntax from a piece you recently read. Sometimes “after” poems can look and feel a little too close to the original. These are all starting places for conversations but not grounds for punitive action.


Is participation in the 2023 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 pulled from the waitlist much, but we construct a waitlist each year, 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. It’s worth noting that some of our mentors live outside the U.S. as well!


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 40% of our cohort is comprised of students who have chosen to reapply. These previous applicants span all tiers of previous consideration, including students who were previously waitlisted.


One part of my application didn’t upload correctly, but I already submitted my app! What do I do? 


Please email the component of the application (be it your Application Essays, Writing Sample, Transcript, Additional Information Section, 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/or is 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.


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. One typo does tend to stick out to us: It’s the Adroit Journal, not the Adriot, Aldroit, Androit, or Android 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 admitted and waitlisted students in early April. 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 mentorship director John Allen Taylor at adroitmentorship[at]gmail[dot]com.

Again, please click here for application guidelines. Thanks again, and best of luck!

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.