The New Jersey Scholars Program is a tuition-free five-week summer program for rising seniors of any high school in New Jersey, and who claim residency in the state.
Applications are not available online. Each school is permitted to submit up to two applications and the process is coordinated by the Director of Guidance. Applicants write essays, submit a paper written for a class, a letter of recommendation and a transcript of their grades. If selected as a semifinalist, applicants are invited to participate in a group interview with NJSP. The Program selects thirty-nine Scholars from among the semifinalists.
The mission of the New Jersey Scholars Program is to reach out to able and enthusiastic students who come from a broad cross-section of the state’s population. The program creates an intense, interdisciplinary intellectual experience that will change students’ lives by teaching them to think in a new way — relating disciplines instead of dividing them. Scholars participate in lectures and small-group seminars where they actively engage with the disciplines. They also have extensive reading assignments, and pursue research at world class libraries and museums. They write essays and work closely with a faculty member to produce a 10-15 page interdisciplinary research paper. They are also stretched as they hone their creative talents in art, music, writing, drama and public speaking by contributing to an Arts Festival that is thematically related to the Program topic.
The Scholars do not receive grades and the faculty evaluates their work in an interactive fashion. As a result, the Scholars discover the love of learning for its own sake and gain confidence in their intellectual abilities. For many Scholars, the program awakens in them the awareness of their potential to achieve academic excellence and dramatically increases their ambitions for higher learning. There is no program comparable to the New Jersey Scholars Program.
The program topic and faculty change biennially, and over the years, the faculty have been drawn from colleges and universities including Columbia University, Columbia University School of Law, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Penn State University, Pratt Institute, Princeton University, Rhode Island School of Design, Rutgers University, The Sorbonne (Paris), The University of Bristol (UK), The University of Cape Town, The University of Illinois, The University of Indiana, The University of Jordan, The University of Pennsylvania, The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Vermont.