Information for School Counselors

All nominees must currently be in their Junior year of High School.

2021 Applications are due January 8, 2021. 

Recommendation Forms must be received by January 8, 2021. One must be from a teacher from the past two years and the second from someone outside the classroom (coach, boss, scout leader ect…). Below is the link.

Recommendation Form

Nominees receive the application email immediately after the Nomination form is submitted. Please contact if your student has not received the email. 

Dear Director of Guidance and School Counselors:

Thank you for submitting outstanding applicants over the years and welcome to those of you who are new to the New Jersey Scholars Program (NJSP).  NJSP’s mission is to “providing New Jersey’s rising high school seniors of extraordinary demonstrated academic potential with a free, ungraded, diverse, inclusive, and residential interdisciplinary learning environment that sharpens critical thinking, writing, and research skills, stimulates a desire for life-long learning, and fosters lasting interpersonal connections.”  Under the current uncertain circumstances brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we do not yet know if we will be able to offer the residential component of the Program.  However, we are confident we will provide a meaningful and enriching experience for our Scholars. Having had to cancel the residential aspect of our 2020 Program, we delivered a “virtual” Program that received raved reviews from all our Scholars.

The program requires students to claim residency as well as attend high school in New Jersey and complete their junior year in June of 2021.  It is tuition-free – there is no fee to the student other than personal expenses – and it is funded by private contributions. Scholars approach the program’s theme – please reference the included Program Overview document for this year’s theme – in an interdisciplinary fashion. The dates of the 2021 Program are Sunday, June 27 through Friday, July 30.

Our application is online and the process is as follows:

  • No more than two nominations submitted per school – no exceptions.
  • School counselors are to complete, in its entirety, the online nomination form. Your nominee(s) will not receive the application from NJSP unless this form is complete. School counselors will receive an email confirming receipt of the nomination form and instructions on how to submit the two required recommendation letters for each nominee. This email will also serve as confirmation that your nominee(s) received the application email.
  • If you would like to submit two nominees, fill out the first nominee’s form and hit submit. The “thank you” page will include a link to fill out a second nomination.
  • Upon submission of the nomination form, the nominee(s) will receive an email with instructions and a link to the application form. Please have nominees check their spam folder before contacting NJSP about not receiving the application email. Students must also use a google compliant email address or personal email address. Many school email addresses block outside communication. This could impact nominees receiving vital emails.
  • It is the nominee’s responsibility to complete all parts of the application including: 1) registration information, 2) summary of activities, 3) four short essays, 4) research paper sample.
  • Application and recommendation forms must be received no later than Friday January 8, 2021.
  • Applicants and School Counselors will receive an email confirming receipt of completed application and each completed recommendation form (provided the recommender enters both nominee and school counselor emails).
  • Copy this link into your browser to access the nomination form (please note: you must be using the same server in order for form changes to be saved).

If you would like the online nomination form sent to you, please email to request one.

Every year NJSP receives close to 300 applications yet we know there are many high schools and counselors who still do not know about the program.  Please spread the word by forwarding this letter to all Directors of Guidance you may know.

We will notify applicants about their application status by late February.  Those selected as finalists, are invited to attend our Finalist Interviews on either Friday, March 26 or Saturday, March 27.  Each Finalist will take part in a group interview with at least five other Finalists. We will notify all Finalists of the Selection Committee’s decision by early April 2021.  Throughout the process, we will inform School Counselors concerning the status of their applicant(s).  Should you have any questions about the application process, please email us at or contact our Program Administrator, Cathy Morgan, at (609) 620-6106.

Yours truly,

David Figueroa- Ortiz




2021 NJSP Program Theme – Mind and Body: The Future of Being Human


We are living in a time of rapid re-categorization of “the human being.” Neuroscientists continue to push our understanding of the brain into territories affecting our beliefs about the “mind,” “soul” and “will”; biologists claim animals show empathy, culture, and emotional lives that have more in common with ours than we ever imagined; social activists claim gender, race, and biology are identities to be selected, rather than inherited; technological entrepreneurs are actively pursuing initiatives to integrate the human brain with machines and make machines able to learn, self-organize, and invent; medical researchers hope to clone our organs and transplant them into our bodies, or splice out disease-causing DNA in utero, prolonging human life, perhaps, indefinitely; NASA has plans to colonize Mars.

We seem perched to transcend the traditional limits of “the human condition” upon which millennia of human cultures have been built. Or are we? And if we do, what then? What will we say to an artificial intelligence that may demand to know what makes a mind a mind, a person a person, or someone valuable? Or anything valuable? What can it mean to be human in an age when traditional markers of humanity are up for grabs? What is the best future we can imagine? How can we get there? This year, we won’t be looking to the past as a guide to answering traditional human questions. We will be looking to the future and developing answers to current questions so that it can be a bright one!

A crucial part of the magic of the New Jersey Scholars Program (NJSP) derives from the fact that the Scholars live together* for five weeks in one dormitory with each gender residing on separate floors.  Together they help each other rise to the challenges posed by NJSP.  The camaraderie that develops is extraordinary.  With their resident housemaster and assistant housemasters, the Scholars learn to live together, learn together, and laugh together. A theme-related field trip as well as Fourth of July cookout and group trip to a community pool, a food festival that showcases the cultural diversity of the Scholars, and arts festival that highlights the tremendous talents of all class members, offer additional opportunities for growth, learning, and fun. The program ends with a graduation ceremony to which all parents and families are invited.  All-in-all, the New Jersey Scholars Program offers an extraordinary experience.

*We are hopeful that we will be able to provide the residential experience this summer. However, we are confident we will provide a meaningful and enriching experience for our Scholars in the event a residential program is not feasible.