Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Washington Journalism and Media Conference?
George Mason University and the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) welcomes high school student leaders from all over the country as National Youth Correspondents to Washington, D.C. every summer.

With its distinguished list of faculty, guest speakers, and direct access to the political scene of D.C.,  WJMC is the place to be for aspiring journalists and student leaders.

The experiential portion of the program is complemented by speakers who are well-known leaders in the field.  These presenters range from prominent journalists to CEOs of major media outlets, 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.

What are National Youth Correspondents?

Students attending WJMC serve as National Youth Correspondents and take part 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.

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.

How are students selected for the Conference?
Students must be nominated or invited to represent their school. Nominations may be made by high school educators or alumni of WJMC. Students are invited 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. The student will be notified and given the opportunity to accept his/her invitation. Students must be in good academic standing: a minimum 3.5 GPA; a demonstrated interest in journalism; and be willing to represent their school and state as a National Youth Correspondent.

Can a student apply if they are not nominated or invited?
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. 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 WJMC.

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 students will reside in state-of-the-art residence halls at George Mason University. All rooms are air-conditioned and have a wireless internet connection. Residence halls are staffed by conference faculty and monitored by adult, campus staff 24 hours a day.

What is the tuition cost and what does it cover?

Tuition to attend the Conference is $2,150. The online payment plan divides the tuition into equal monthly installments beginning with the day you register for WJMC.

The full tuition is due by the end of May.

Tuition covers:

  • Six days of journalism and leadership skills development, including hands-on activities and distinguished speakers
  • A dedicated Faculty Advisor/Mentor for the week
  • On-campus residence in state-of-the-art facilities
  • Transportation to/from Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Reagan National Airport (DCA)
  • Deluxe motor coach transportation between program locations
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (students need to bring ~$15 for one lunch during WJMC)
  • WJMC Dinner and Gala with distinguished speakers and guests
  • Full-time conference counselor to assist students with sensitive issues, away from home adjustments, or private matters
  • Night chaperone staff to monitor residence halls during the night
  • 24-hour staff to address emergencies
  • 24-hour telephone hotline available to parents and students for emergencies
  • Certificate of completion
  • One college credit*

*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.

Fundraising
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!

Scholarships
The deadline for the 2020 Scholarship Application is December 6, 2019. Notification of scholarship awards will be sent out prior to December 13, 2019 via email.

A limited number of partial, need-based scholarships are available for qualified students. Scholarship amounts are $500, $1000, $1400, and $1700, and are applied as partial tuition waivers. No full scholarships are available for the Conference.

To apply for a scholarship, students must upload the following information via our online form:

  • Statement explaining your desire to attend the Conference and the reason a scholarship is necessary
  • An unofficial copy of your high school transcript
  • The most recently filed Federal Income Tax Return (Form 1040) filed by the individual by whom the student is claimed as a dependent.  Please obscure or remove any Social Security Numbers.

If you cannot upload the documents for any reason, please fax them to (703) 993-2631.

Safety
The safety of our students is our staff and faulty’s highest priority. National Youth Correspondents will be led in small groups, and the resident staff/faculty (professional) to student ratio will be approximately 1:10. Students will be supervised on campus and during all excursions and off-site activities. While students do have opportunities for independent time, all students will remain in small groups with adult staff at designated meeting spots. The conference faculty is comprised of two program directors and a team of trained educators both at the secondary and collegiate level. 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.

Students are required to submit health and emergency information prior to attending the Conference.

How do students travel to the Conference?
WJMC staff members will meet students at Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Dulles International Airport (IAD) from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on arrival day. Each student should schedule their flight to arrive at DCA or IAD between 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., ET. Students arriving within this time frame will be shuttled to George Mason University’s Fairfax, VA campus.

If you are coming directly to campus, plan to arrive between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., ET.

WJMC concludes by 11 a.m., ET on the final day of WJMC. Shuttles will transport students to Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Dulles International Airport (IAD) with ample time to make their departing flights. The last shuttle leaves campus at 11:30 a.m., ET. All flights should be scheduled to depart after 2 p.m., ET.

Cancellation Policy
The Washington Journalism and Media Conference requires extensive planning and costs are incurred well before the start of the program. All cancellations and refund requests must be submitted in writing to: wjmc@gmu.edu

Accordingly, the following Cancellation and Refund Policy applies:

  • For cancellations prior to February 3, 2020, you will receive a full refund
  • For cancellations after February 3 – April 1, 2020 there is a $250.00 cancellation fee
  • There are no refunds issued after April 1, 2020

If you have additional questions/concerns, please contact the WJMC program staff at telephone (703) 993-5010 (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., ET) or email wjmc@gmu.edu.

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