Membership in the University Press Club is determined through a try-out process that begins in September of each academic year. UPC membership is open to all first and second year students enrolled at Princeton University. Each candidate is asked to complete a series of articles for evaluation by the current club members. The program is divided into three folders, each of which contains four or five articles ranging from news to sports to feature stories. Although candidates are required to complete all three folders, only the last two folders are considered when determining bids for membership. Current members edit and review each folder with the writer to ensure that each candidate has adequate feedback throughout the process. Throughout the fall semester the club offers a variety of assignments for articles so that each candidate has the opportunity to showcase both his or her writing and reporting skills.
Decisions on bids for membership are based on the quality of the candidate’s folders; writing skills, reporting ability and perhaps as importantly, improvement over the course of the try-out period, are all taken into account when choosing new members. The number of candidates accepted varies from year to year depending on the needs of the club. Bids are made every December prior to the winter break and new members will begin their first assignments upon their return in January.
Current members come from a variety of backgrounds – there is no specific formula that will make you a good candidate for the club. In the past we have accepted editors of high school newspapers alongside students with little or no prior journalistic experience. Press Club is looking for writers who can adapt to the style of various newspapers with regional and national circulation, a very different experience from writing for a campus publication. Above all, it is exceptional writing and a knack for finding the story that distinguishes candidates for the club.
We encourage anyone with an interest to participate in the candidate’s process. It is not only a valuable tool for the current members to choose the next group of club members, it is also a valuable exercise in writing – you will be a better writer at the end of the process regardless of the outcome of the try-out.
Please do not hesitate to contact the club with any questions; we look forward to hearing from you and working with you throughout the fall.