Adroit Journal: A Guide to Publication and Participation 

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Male student holding books while smiling at the camera.

The Adroit Journal: A Guide to Publication and Participation

A great way to stand out on college applications is by demonstrating skills in poetry, prose, and art. One way to showcase these skills while also receiving additional scholarships is through publication in the world-renowned Adroit Journal.

The Adroit Journal is a quarterly literary and arts magazine that focuses on recognizing and publishing the works of emerging student and non-student writers.

In addition to earning recognition and publishing credits for your work, the journal also offers special scholarships, prizes, and mentorship programs that can benefit students during the college admissions process as well as forming the initial foundations for a career in the arts.

The Adroit Prize:

One significant award offered by the Adroit Journal is the Adroit Prize. The Adroit Prize is offered annually to two students holding secondary or undergraduate status. Winners are selected in both the Poetry and Prose categories. In addition to being featured in the quarterly Adroit Journal, winners are also awarded a $200 cash prize for their works.

Two people having a one-on-one talk

The selection committee for the Adroit Prize often features a variety of published and recognized authors. The 2020 judges included 2019 National Book Award finalist Jericho Brown as well as published author Kristen Arnett, recognized for her 2019 novel Mostly Dead Things. In addition to prize money and publications, winners also receive a copy of their judges’ latest published work.

Submissions for the prize require six to ten original poems or up to three works of prose with a combined word limit of 3,500 words. For writers who excel in both categories, simultaneous submissions are accepted as well as submissions that have also been published in campus-wide publications. Each student, however, is only allowed one submission per genre per year, so it is best to only submit your strongest pieces.

There is a small submission fee of $13 for each submitted work, but the Adroit Journal also offers a fee waiver for those who require financial assistance. The fee waiver can be found here on their website.

The deadline for submissions usually falls between late April and early March of the academic year. Winners of the prize are then announced in mid-to late-July through the Adroit Journal website.

Previous winners and alumni from the Adroit Journal have been from several top schools and universities including:

In addition to the top universities, student winners of the prize have also been selected from much smaller schools such as Logan High School, Monroe Community College, and Charleston County School of the Arts, making the program accessible and without bias, focusing solely on the quality and power of the submitted writing samples.

The Gregory Djanikian Scholarship:

In addition to the Adroit Prize, the journal also offers the Gregory Djanikian Scholarship. Named after the author of several notable poetry collections and the former Director of Creative Writing at the University of Pennsylvania, the scholarship provides emerging writers the chance to have their poems published within the Adroit Journal as well as a $100 cash prize for each piece selected.

With only six emerging student or non-student poets chosen each year, the award is highly coveted and can boost students’ college applications.

Students can submit between six and ten poems for consideration of the award through the Adroit Journal’s general submission portal.

In addition to the financial incentive as well as the exposure from publication, winners are also awarded a copy of Gregory Djanikian’s collection of poems Dear Gravity. The selection committee for the prize offers a list of semifinalists that are released on the Adroit Journal website which can also boost college applications. By providing a list of finalists and semifinalists, feedback is provided for certain poems.

The submission fee for the prize is $9, but much like the Adroit Prize, fee waivers are offered for both students and non-students who require financial assistance. The fee waivers for the scholarship can be found here on the Adroit Journal website.

Submissions for the Djanikian scholarship begin in the Fall of the academic year with deadlines around December that same year. The complete list of winners including both finalists and semi-finalists are listed on the website beginning in September of the academic year.

Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program:

In addition to scholarships and awards, the Adroit Journal also offers a unique Summer Mentorship Program. The Summer Mentorship is an entirely online program that benefits students applying within the 2020 academic year as the Mentorships will continue regardless of the COVID-19 regulations and safer-at-home orders.

The online-based program pairs experienced and published authors with high school and secondary students ranging from those in grades 9-12 as well as graduating seniors. The program covers the creative writing process and goes into detail regarding drafting, redrafting, and editing techniques.

A man writing on a piece of paper

The program caters to several literary genres including poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Beyond formalized instruction, the program is designed to offer critical one-on-one feedback for students, offering direct correspondence for questions and critiques.

In addition to individual instruction and flexible correspondence, the program also offers Poetry students a weekly workshop where they will share their poems with both mentors and peers to provide and receive additional feedback for further development.

The Prose program offers a similar structure by providing students a biweekly workshop where their work is shared and discussed among both mentors and peers.

Applications for the Summer Mentorship Program begin in the spring of the academic year. The workshop itself is held online from June until August of the academic year.

Interested students can sign up for updates on the program through the Adroit Journal’s website here.

Alumni from the workshop and program have gone on to earn recognition and awards including the National Scholastic Art & Writing Award as well as the Foyle Young Poet of the Year awards. Students from the program have also gone on to be selected to participate in the National YoungArts Foundation (Innerlink) and have been chosen for the United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts Scholarship.

The Mentorship Program also claims that over 65% of graduates have gone on to several Ivy League Universities in addition to other top schools such as Stanford, the University of Chicago, and Oxbridge. A full list of top colleges and universities that have been attended by alumni from the program can be found on the Adroit Journal’s website here.

Unlike the scholarships and awards, there is no application fee for the program. Tuition to participate in the Summer Mentorship Program is $295 per student but the Adroit Journal offers a wide range of scholarships and financial aid for students who qualify for the program.

With a wide range of benefits and a more in-depth focus on writing, the program has a much more thorough application process than for its scholarships and awards.


Applications for the program consists of three parts:

  1. A Writer’s Statement
  2. A Writing Sample
  3. Academic Transcripts

Writer’s Statement:

The Writer’s Statement portion of the application should detail the reasoning behind the applicant’s interest in pursuing The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program. The Essay should be between one and two pages (double spaced) and should be both creative and original. For further insight on writing the perfect personal statement, check out this AdmissionSight article.

The Adroit Journal website also offers this advice for students completing the personal statement: explain why they want to spend their summer within the Mentorship program. Rather than other seminars that offer practice in reading, writing, and editing, they ask students to specify why the Adroit Journal program specifically will be a significant experience for them.

Writing Sample:

The Writing Sample should consist of either four to five poems or should include between eight to twelve double-spaced pages of fiction or nonfiction. Excerpts from longer works are also accepted as long as the sections fit within the Adroit Journal’s guidelines. If applicants plan on applying to both the fiction and nonfiction categories, they are encouraged to submit eight to twelve pages for each genre. When reaching the final stages of admission, only one genre will be accepted for the Mentorship program.

A female student very focused in writing

Academic Transcripts:

The Academic Transcript portion of the application is optional and is mainly used to verify a student’s academic status. Transcripts may be either official or unofficial but should be submitted in PDF form. If a student has changed schools multiple times during the academic year, only the latest transcripts are requested. If not sent with the initial application, transcripts are required after accepting a cohort spot.

For students who wish to apply to multiple genres of the Summer Mentorship program, during the application they are requested to mark which are their First Choice and Second Choice options. Multiple submissions must be submitted within the same file.

Application for Mentors:

Whether applying for graduate school or looking for additional extracurriculars to participate in throughout the academic year, the Adroit Journal also offers a Mentor Application for students and recent graduates who wish to share their knowledge with incoming students.

Many mentors from the program have gone on to attend several Ivy League schools. A list of top universities attended by mentors can also be found here on the Adroit Journal website.

Four students are sitting on the grass while holding their books

Requirements for the Mentor application include being at least 18 years of age as long as a knowledgeable professional or academic history with either poetry or prose. The applicant may be either affiliated or unaffiliated with the Adroit Journal but are requested to be able to work well with others and available for the duration of the program which begins in late-June and ends in early-August.

The ideal mentor will also have experience in the classroom setting, especially within creative writing. Whether that experience is as a student or professor, both are accepted and encouraged to apply.

If mentors wish to apply for more than one genre, they are asked to specify a preference in one of the dropdown boxes that will appear during the application process.

Once accepted into the program, mentors are asked to create an original syllabus model which will be provided to the Program Directors and used in conjunction with the programs already established curriculum.

The Blog:

In addition to the Adroit Journal’s quarterly issues, they also produce a blog that features a wide range of interviews, reviews, and articles that are accessible to any student who has a passion for writing or art. Some of the blog’s posts have featured conversations with published authors including Sarah Vap and Robin Hemley.


The Adroit Journal was first founded in November of 2010 by published poet Peter LaBerge. LaBerge graduated both Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English and Consumer Psychology.

He first founded the Adroit Journal (ISSN 2577 – 9427) as a high school sophomore. He then went on to begin the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program in 2013.

In addition to being a recognized writer through both TED and Teen Vogue, he was also the recipient of the 2020 Pushcart Prize as well as the Bucknell University’s Stadler Center Fellowship for Poetry. His works have been published in several press outlets ranging from the Harvard Review to the Kenyon Review Online. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the program and journal.

In recent years, the Adroit Journal has gone on to be featured in several of the nation’s top literary magazines including Best American Poetry, Poetry Daily, and the Paris Review. It has also been mentioned in several press outlets ranging from the New York Times to NPR.

The Adroit Journal has also published and featured some of the top world-renowned poets and authors including Terrance Hayes, a 2014 MacArthur Fellow, and Franny Choie, the author of the popular poetry collections Soft Science (2019) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (2014).


While the Adroit Journal publishes and archives its journals online, it has also created an online shop where they sell hard copies of select issues of the journal. In addition to the magazine, the shop also sells limited edition prints of certain poems published by some of their most acclaimed writers.

AdmissionSight provides reviews for several literary magazines and programs through its online blog, but the Adroit Journal stands out for its ability to propel up-and-coming writers into the publishing circuit, allowing their works to gain recognition from the established literary community. In addition to scholarships and prizes, it also provides students a way to stand out on their college applications.

Through its Summer Mentorship program, The Adroit Journal also serves as an invaluable resource for students to connect with professional and working writers to offer feedback, critiques, and development information based around their writings.

If students are looking for a way to not only expand their portfolios and college applications, but to connect with writers and continue in the pursuit of perfecting their craft, the program and journal are an established means of achieving their goals as a poet, writer, or artist.


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