What I Wish I Knew Before Applying to be a Joyce Ivy Summer Scholar

By Autumn Shelton

Joyce Ivy Summer Scholars celebrating at the annual gala
Via the Joyce Ivy Foundation

Last week marked the beginning of a new mini-series all about the Joyce Ivy Summer Scholar process. Up until the program’s March 1st deadline there will be new content all about the application, what it is like to be a summer scholar, and more. Today I’ll be highlighting what I wish I knew before I applied.

1. Apply early

As of the day this blog post was published, there is one month until the summer scholar application deadline. Now is the time to begin your application (if you haven’t already) and start brainstorming your essays as well as find your other supporting materials. I know I am a bit of a hypocrite here, as I only started my application with a few weeks to spare, but I promise your application will be much stronger if you begin now.

2. Remember to apply to Joyce Ivy and multiple summer programs

This is something I completely did not understand when I applied back in 2017. I thought, apply to the summer scholars program, and everything will work out. Since where I come from no one really goes to summer programs, I had no idea you had to apply to both Joyce Ivy and the different programs as well. This caused me to be able to apply to only one program because the deadlines had passed for all the others I was interested in. Even now in February, several summer programs have already closed their applications. So look at the ones you are interested in and apply as soon as possible.

3. Research the different summer programs

On the other hand, make sure to research all of the different summer programs as much as possible. Make sure you are looking at the ones Joyce Ivy sponsors. Additionally, evaluate your own comfort level. Would you prefer to be away from home for two weeks or do you think a six week or longer program would be for you? Do you want an all-girl environment like Smith or a traditional co-ed experience like Yale or WashU? These and many more, are important questions to ask yourself before you commit several weeks of your summer and hours of your life applying to.

4. Speak to your parents and recommender early

Along the same line of starting your application early, you need to give two other sets of people plenty of time as well before the March 1st deadline. The first set is your parents/guardians.The Joyce Ivy application requires tax forms as well as basic family money information that your parents/guardians will need to find and put down. Give them at least two weeks before the deadline so they have enough time to find the information. As Shubhra mentioned in last week’s post, for the one recommendation needed for the program, ask your recommender a few weeks in advance to make sure they can write you the best letter possible.

5. Get help if you need it

When I applied, I didn’t know how/when to ask anyone for help. News Flash: The Joyce Ivy Summer Scholars application takes a village to complete. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your parents, teachers, counselor, or even the Joyce Ivy Foundation itself if you have questions.

Wishing you all the best on the application process and on the spring semester!

Autumn Shelton is currently a freshman at Princeton University and plans to attend law school after her undergraduate career. Her favorite things include home baked chocolate chip cookies, Robert Pattinson’s Oscar-deserving performance in Twilight, books on the history of Alaska, and her rather large collection of decks of cards from various places around the country.