ADMISSIONS: Where to begin?

FIRST, you must decide if J&C is right for you. We encourage students and parents interested in our program to consider these opportunities:

  • Attend the annual JCPS Showcase of Schools at the downtown convention center. Teachers, students, counselors, and administrators will be on hand to answer questions about J&C, the other magnet programs, and duPont Manual academics and activities in general. You will also have the chance to pick up some printed materials and view our student publications. Showcase is usually held in October.
  • duPont Manual’s annual Eighth Grade Open House Night is usually held soon after Showcase of Schools on a weeknight at Manual. You can attend presentations by different magnet programs and gain a more in-depth understanding of what each one offers. Please call the school at 502-485-8241 to get the dates or check the school’s website for news.
  • If you are a private school student, Manual allows you to shadow. Unfortunately, public school students are not permitted to shadow per JCPS attendance policies. However, you can consider visiting during a publication worknight to see the yearbook or newspaper staff in action. Contact the department for more information.

SECOND, you must apply with JCPS online and mark your magnet choice. (Please look for J&C or CMA for our magnet name. We hope that the board will update our magnet name from our old name, CMA, this fall.)

THIRD, you must complete the Manual application process, which is detailed on duPont Manual’s website. Each magnet has a slightly different process. Unique to our process is an on-demand writing session that you will attend in the late fall or early winter. Please attend an early session so you do not have to worry about last minute issues with attending a later one. Dates will be posted on the application page.

FOURTH, wait for the decision, typically announced in the spring by mail. The official date has varied because JCPS has tweaked their application process in years past, which affects committees on the school level. Students typically find out between March and May.


Tips for applying to the Manual J&C magnet

So you’ve decided on the Journalism & Communication magnet, and want to give yourself the best chance. As the teachers on the magnet application committee, here’s our most common advice for applicants:

  • Start early! Manual is a competitive school, so you want to give yourself enough time to make a top notch application. Applications are typically due in January. 
  • Please type your essay. We don’t expect the interest survey or other forms to be typed, but please write in pen and please make everything very legible.
  • We look at sixth and seventh grade information, but your eighth grade year is most important. If it were our own children applying, we would advise them (starting as soon as possible!) to avoid absences, develop relationships with teachers, demonstrate their abilities whenever they can, take challenging classes, keep their grades up, and get involved in their schools and communities.
  • We like to see experience, but many students come to us from schools without a journalism club or program for you to join. We understand. Explain that to us in your essay and consider other ways you have demonstrated your abilities and interests. For example, do you blog? Take photos? Make videos for fun? Do you like to write stories? Make websites? Do you take on leadership roles? Are you creative?
  • Please do not send any extra items, including portfolios or work samples.
  • Do not forget your recommendation from an English teacher as one of your two recommendations. It does not have to be your eighth grade English teacher, but please don’t send us recommendations from elementary school teachers.
  • You may choose to send more than two recommendations if you prefer.
  • Sometimes applicants worry about the on-demand writing component. We believe writing ability is important, but no more important than any other component of your application. Sometimes applicants are selected for other attributes, such as leadership ability.
  • Parents, feel free to submit a note of explanation for notable lapses in attendance or other aberrations in the application that have a simple, understandable reason.
  • How can you make your essay stand out from the rest while still answering the prompt?
  • Finally, make sure your application is neat and clean.


Other Frequently Asked Questions

Is J&C harder or easier to get into than other magnets?

You have about a 1 in 3 chance to get into every magnet at Manual. None of them are more competitive than others.

I missed the deadline! I forgot to attend the on-demand writing session! I just heard about J&C for the first time! Is all hope lost?

We have talked to more than one parent in this situation. Contact the school immediately to find out if the admissions committee will accept a late application. It depends on our overall number of applicants and how far we are in the review process.

I’m at another high school and want to transfer as a sophomore/junior/senior. Is that possible?

J&C will consider sophomore applications, but we probably do not have a space available in the overall student population at Manual. Contact us to find out more. Junior and senior transfers are hardly ever accepted. We have too many prerequisites for students to join past the sophomore level.

I’m currently a Manual student but in another magnet. Can I transfer?

Possibly. The school requires that you submit an application as if you were applying as a freshman and adhere to the same deadlines. After going through the application process, it is a decision to be made between the J&C admissions committee, your current magnet’s admissions committee, and the administration. Typically we will only consider students applying to begin as sophomores unless there are extenuating circumstances. If you are not accepted into J&C, you do not lose your position in your other magnet.

Please see Manual’s Admissions page for deadlines, forms, and the most up-to-date information.