Frequently Asked Questions: WJMC
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Question  Frequently Asked Questions: WJMC
What is the Washington Journalism and Media Conference?
George Mason University, along with the Newseum, is the host of the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) and each summer welcomes high school student leaders from all over the country as National Youth Correspondents. With its distinguished list of faculty, guest speakers, and direct access to the political scene of D.C., the Washington Journalism and Media conference is the place to be for aspiring journalists and student leaders. The week-long program, held on George Mason University's state of the art campus, will encourage and inspire young leaders from across the country who desire a unique experience focused on the future of this dynamic industry. National Youth Correspondents join the Mason community which includes students and faculty from all over the world. Mason is both the largest public university in Virginia and one of the most culturally diverse universities in the nation.

How are students selected for the conference?
To be a WJMC National Youth Correspondent and represent their school, students must be nominated. Nominations may be made by high school educators, alumni of the WJMC (with permission from their school administrator), or by George Mason University through information we receive about students' interests and academic ability via college entrance exams such as SAT or ACT, or through data from NRCCUA (National Research Center for College and University Administrators), which conducts high school interest/career surveys. Educators and WJMC Alumni are invited to complete a nomination form on behalf of a student. The student will be notified and given the opportunity to accept his/her nomination. Students must be in good academic standing: with a minimum 3.5 GPA; a demonstrated interest in journalism; and be willing to represent their school and state as a National Youth Correspondent.

What does tuition cover?
Tuition to attend the Washington Journalism and Media Conference includes the following:
  • One week of journalism and leadership skills development, including hands-on activities and distinguished speakers
  • A dedicated Faculty Adviser/Mentor for the week
  • On-campus residence in state-of-the-art facilities
  • Transportation to and from the Washington, DC-metro area's two main airports: Dulles International (IAD) and Ronald Reagan National (DCA).
  • Deluxe motor coach transportation between program locations
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (students bring approximately $15 for one lunch during WJMC)
  • National Youth Correspondent Dinner and Gala with distinguished guests
  • All activities, admissions, and fees
  • Certificate of completion
  • Night chaperone staff to monitor residence halls during the night
  • 24-hour staff to address emergencies
  • Full-time, adult, conference counselor to assist students with sensitive issues, away from home adjustments, or private matters.
  • One college credit*
  • 24 hour conference hotline available to parents and students for questions and emergency situations

Tuition to attend the Conference is $1965. A deposit of $250 is due when students accept their nomination, and a tuition payment plan is also available.

*College credit is issued by George Mason University. Upon successful completion of WJMC, student will earn one general elective, college credit. This credit is issued on a pass/fail basis. The transferability of this credit is the determination of the college/university to be attended.

Can a student apply if they are not nominated?
The Washington Journalism and Media Conference will accept applications directly from students for a select number of spaces. Students must demonstrate academic excellence: leadership, experience, and interest in journalism and media. In addition, self-nominating students must submit additional writing samples. Applications will be reviewed by George Mason University Admissions staff and WJMC faculty. To self-nominate, click here.

How many students will participate in the conference?
250 National Youth Correspondents will be selected for each session of WJMC to represent their schools and states at the 2017 Washington Journalism and Media Conference.

What will students do during the conference?
National Youth Correspondents will participate in hands-on, experiential learning through decision-making simulations that challenge them to solve problems and explore the creative, practical, and ethical tensions inherent in journalism and media.

The experiential portion of the program is complemented by speakers who are themselves leaders in the field. These presenters range from prominent journalists to CEOs of major media and from researchers to recent college graduates already successful in the field. Speakers will engage participants in discussions on the topics explored in the energy-charged role-playing experiences, taking the National Youth Correspondents far beyond a traditional classroom experience. The conference will also offer a handful of opportunities to take advantage of visiting the nation's capital, with tours of the U.S. Capitol and the Smithsonian Museums.

During these intensive educational programs, students will be led in small groups by faculty advisers who have extensive experience in teaching journalism and media. In addition, the program is enhanced by our resident faculty of esteemed professors in Communication. Students will have an opportunity to network with the nation's top journalism and media professionals, as well as with their dynamic peers, throughout the week.

Where will students reside during the conference?
All National Youth Correspondents will reside in state-of-the-art residence hall rooms on the campus of George Mason University. All rooms are air-conditioned, have a wireless internet connection, and residence halls are staffed by conference faculty and monitored by adult, campus staff 24 hours a day.

How safe and secure is the program?
The safety of our students is at the forefront of all conference activities. National Youth Correspondents will be led in small groups. The resident staff/ (adult) faculty to student ratio will be approximately 1:10. Students will be supervised both on campus and during all excursions and off-site activities. While National Youth Correspondents do have opportunities for independent time, all students will remain in small groups with adult staff at designated meeting spots. The conference faculty comprises two dedicated program directors, the Washington Scholars Program content team, and a team of trained educators at the secondary and collegiate levels. All National Youth Correspondents must reside in Mason's secure residence halls that are monitored at all times by adult faculty members. Parents and guardians can reach a member of our team at any time during the conference.

WJMC staff will conduct extensive pre-conference outreach to obtain students' health and wellness information.

How do students travel to the conference?
WJMC staff members will be stationed to meet students arriving at Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) and Washington Dulles International (IAD) airports from Noon to 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Sunday - the first day of the conference. Each student should schedule his/her flight to arrive at DCA or IAD between Noon to 4 p.m., EDT. Students arriving within this timeframe will be shuttled to George Mason University's Fairfax, VA campus.

If you are coming directly to campus, please plan to arrive between Noon and 5 p.m., EDT.

The conference concludes by 11 a.m., EDT on Friday - the final day of the conference. Shuttles will transport students to both Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) with ample time to make their departing flights. All flights should be scheduled to depart after 2 p.m., EDT.

Attending the Washington Journalism and Media Conference is an amazing opportunity that requires a commitment of your time and resources. Many students, with the help of their families, fundraise as a viable way to hone leadership skills and raise funds toward tuition. To be a successful fundraiser, you will need to be resourceful, focused, dedicated and plan your strategy in advance.

Refer to the National Youth Correspondent Fundraising Guide (PDF) designed to assist students in their efforts to fundraise from sponsors in their communities.

Remember: start early, plan ahead, and use all of your resources. Good luck and have fun!

The deadline for the 2017 Scholarship Application is December 9, 2016. Notification of scholarship awards will be sent out by December 16, 2016 via email.

There are a limited number of partial, need-based scholarships available for qualified National Youth Correspondents. Scholarship applicants must submit a High School transcript, must demonstrate financial need, and all applicants will be required to submit a copy of the most recent 1040 Federal Income Tax Form from the individual who claimed them as a dependent. Scholarship amounts are $500, $1000, and $1500, and are applied as partial tuition waivers. No full scholarships are available for the conference.

Students wishing to apply for scholarships should email or fax (703) 993-2631 WJMC with the following information:
  • A brief statement on your current financial need, what you hope to gain from participating in the program, and your interests in the field of journalism
  • An unofficial copy of your high school transcript
  • Your most recently filed Federal Income Tax Return, Form 1040

*Federal income tax return, Form 1040, filed by the individual by whom the student was claimed as a dependent.  Please obscure or remove any Social Security Numbers.

The deadline for the scholarship application is December 9, 2016. Notification of scholarship awards will be sent out by December 16, 2016 via e-mail.

Is there a payment plan?
Yes, we do offer a payment plan. To take part in the payment plan, students are required to submit a deposit of $250 when the student accepts their nomination. On or about the 15th of each subsequent month $500 will automatically be charged to the credit card on file until the full conference tuition and fees have been collected.

Cancellation Policy
For cancellations prior to February 1, 2017, you will receive a full refund. For cancellations after February 1 through April 3, 2017 there is a $250.00 cancellation fee. There are no refunds issued after April 3, 2017. Students must submit all refund requests in writing to:

George Mason University
The Washington Journalism & Media Conference
4400 University Drive
MS 3A4
Fairfax, VA 22030

The full registration fee is due by May 15, 2017.

By registering for the WJMC, the student and his/her parent/guardian agree to abide by the WJMC Code of Conduct. Further, should the Contract be violated, you understand that the student will be sent home immediately at the student's expense.

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