General information

What is the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute?

The institute, also known as “Medill cherubs,” is a five-week journalism program for rising high school seniors. Students learn from accomplished journalists and Northwestern professors while gaining practical experience in the field. By the end of the summer students create a body of work, build connections and meet aspiring journalists from around the world.

Rebecca Seeger and Anne Snabes walk from Fisk Hall to East Fairchild. Most cherub classes meet in Fisk Hall. Photo by Christian Paz.

What is a “cherub?”

It’s a nickname. Students are traditionally known as “cherubs.”

Who are the teachers?

The program has been run by Professor Roger Boye since 1985. The rest of the staff is made up of professional journalists and Medill School of Journalism graduates, many of whom are cherub alumni. Students are assigned a specific instructor who will be their mentor throughout the summer. This instructor provides individual feedback and meets with the student weekly. Dorm life is supervised by community associates, who are current Northwestern students.


How do I apply?

The 2015 applications will be available later. Students need a transcript, letter of recommendation and samples of their work in addition to the application.

What are the important dates?

Applications and financial aid requests are due in March. Exact deadlines will be announced. The 2015 program will begin June 28 and end July 31.

How selective is the program?

In selecting students, the program looks for a strong academic record and a strong background in journalism. There are no more than 84 students enrolled each year. In 2014, roughly half of all applicants were accepted. The program does not accept late applications.

Illustration by Ashley Yong.

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How much does the program cost?

In 2014, the total price was $5,200, with $3,640 for tuition and $1,560 for room and board.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. In 2014, 20 of the 84 cherubs received financial aid and/or scholarships provided through Northwestern. Aid is need-based but there is no set income level necessary to qualify. There are also eight named scholarships, awarded on the basis of geographic area and/or exceptional journalistic ability and/or financial need, with two of those scholarships given to two applicants each. In 2014, $60,300 was given in aid and scholarships.

Can I apply if I’m not a U.S. citizen?

The program welcomes journalism students from around the world. Four of the 2014 cherubs were international students. Learn more about cherub diversity through this podcast.

Can I apply if I’m not involved in newspaper?

Any student with experience in journalism should consider applying. Many cherubs have backgrounds in broadcasting, audio and yearbook. Over the course of the program, students will be exposed to these media and more.


What skills can I expect to gain?

During the program, students will focus on journalistic writing, AP style and practical reporting experience in various types of media. In addition to print, students will learn video, audio and photojournalism as well as other forms of digital storytelling. Students will also be given the opportunity to learn coding.

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What kinds of articles will I write?

Students will write a wide range of articles from news to opinions to features. The length of assignments varies.

Daily life

What is the daily schedule?

Class usually begins at 9 a.m. Throughout the day, students attend lectures and workshops and work on journalism. Read cherubs chatting about the schedule.

What are the housing and meal accommodations?

Students stay at East Fairchild, Northwestern’s Communications Residential College. Meals at a dining hall are included in tuition. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.

Cherubs reside in East Fairchild, also known as CRC, for the five weeks they will be at Northwestern. Photo by Christian Paz.

Is there free time?

As long as students manage their assignments, they have free time to visit the city of Evanston or relax on campus. Classes are held every weekday morning, afternoon and evening. Students have individual conferences with their instructors on Saturday mornings and there’s usually a social event Saturday evenings. The program schedules optional classes Sunday afternoons and mandatory classes Sunday evenings. Check out this 360 degree tour of cherub hangouts.

How much money should I bring?

Spending money is at the discretion of students and their families. The only essential expense is for laundry (tuition covers field trips and all meals in a university dining hall) but most students spend money to eat out on occasion as well as to buy such things as clothing, snacks and toiletries. The 2014 cherubs created a budget calculator to help you estimate these optional costs.

Can I leave campus?

Students can go to Evanston to shop or go to restaurants. There are also weekly field trips to Chicago to visit media outlets and sightsee.

What should I pack?

Here is a packing list of some items that cherubs brought.

Can I practice sports during the program?

The Sports Pavilion and Aquatic Center, an athletic facility, is available for a fee. Students can also run or exercise on their own around campus or use the excerise equipment on the first floor of the dorm. It is up to students to find time for these activities.

Will I be able to attend religious services?

There are many religious centers on campus for multiple denominations. Upon arrival, students may request contact information for these centers. Time is available on the weekends so that students may attend services.

Other information

Who made this website?

This website was created by the 2014 cherubs in two days at the end of the program.

Any other questions?

Send an email to Prof. Roger Boye, program director, from our contact page. Or call him at (847) 491-2069.