FAQ

Do you have a specific question about the 2023 CSPA workshop? Find answers to the most common questions below.

If you have a question not listed here, please email support@cspaworkshop.org.

  • Can students attend the workshop after graduating from high school?
  • What is the minimum age for a workshop student?
  • Can students who don’t live in California apply for the workshop? What about international students?
  • Will you accept applications after the May 15 deadline?
  • The application requires writing samples. Do they have to be journalism pieces?
  • Can students submit letters of recommendation or other materials beyond the required sample?
  • Should students still apply if they have a schedule conflict that would require them to miss days, or portions of days, of the workshop?
  • Is this a residential workshop?
  • Is travel included in the cost of the workshop?
  • How are sleeping rooms assigned?
  • Is financial assistance available?
  • How much are workshop instructors paid?
  • What are the COVID-19 protocols during the workshop?
  • When is payment due for accepted students?
  • What is your refund policy?

Can students attend the workshop after graduating from high school?
Yes. Students are eligible to apply during their final year of high school and attend the summer immediately following their high school graduation. Preference is given to students who apply in their senior and junior years.

What is the minimum age for a workshop student?
A student must be 15 years old at the start of the workshop to apply. However, simply being old enough to attend high school, or reading and writing at a high school level, is not the most important consideration. Parents/guardians must realize this is an experience as close to college as many high schoolers will experience. Students must be comfortable living, eating and sleeping away from home for the entire duration of the workshop. They must be comfortable sharing a room with one to two other students, and a bathroom with as many as eight students. They also must be prepared to attend classes that can start as early as 8 a.m. and run as late as 11 p.m. These are just a few of the reasons why preference is given to current high school seniors and juniors.

Can students who don’t live in California apply for the workshop? What about international students?
We encourage students from all U.S. states and territories to apply. Tuition is the same price for all students. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 protocols, international students will not be accepted for our 2023 program.

Will you accept applications after the May 15 deadline?
Students will be selected on a rolling basis, starting Monday, April 18. We will continue to accept and review applications after the May 15 deadline for as long as seats remain available. Some applicants may be added to a waitlist due to the high volume of applicants.

The application requires writing samples. Do they have to be journalism pieces?
No. Students may submit any samples of work that best represent their abilities. That can include anything written, including articles, essays, short stories, persuasive pieces, scripts for video or podcast projects. The samples do not need to be published.

Can students submit letters of recommendation or other materials beyond the required sample?
They may submit those materials, but typically they are not considered.

Should students still apply if they have a schedule conflict that would require them to miss days, or portions of days, of the workshop?
Students are expected to arrive and leave on the same days and participate fully in the workshop, including attending all classes and activities in person. Students who cannot fully participate are encouraged to wait and apply in a future summer.

Is this a residential workshop?
Yes. Students are required to live on campus for the duration of the workshop. They are not permitted to leave unless on a workshop-approved field trip or activity and under the supervision of CSPA faculty and counselors. Guests, including parents, are not permitted. Students are also not permitted to bring their own cars. Non-residential or virtual options are not available.

Is travel included in the cost of the workshop?
No. The listed cost covers all living expenses while students are at the workshop, but students must coordinate and cover the cost of their own travel.

Students are not permitted to bring their own cars to the program. Many are dropped off by parents or guardians. Others travel to San Luis Obispo by bus, train or plane and are picked up at the station or airport by our faculty or counselors. As the start of the workshop approaches, we will be in touch to confirm travel arrangements. 

How are sleeping rooms assigned?
Counselors and faculty will assign the students to rooms in Cal Poly’s residence halls, which provide accommodations for up to three people per room with community-style bath facilities.

Floors or wings (varies by building), which include all bedrooms and bathrooms, are separated by gender. At least one counselor of the same gender will stay in the same wing or on the same floor as the students.

Is financial assistance available?
Yes. If students are uncertain whether they can afford the cost of the program, we encourage them to apply. Students should note their financial need on the application and a board member will reach out if they are accepted. Please note that an application must be submitted, and the student accepted, before we will make a consideration for need-based aid.

How much are workshop instructors paid?
All instructors are volunteers and are not paid. They volunteer because they have a sincere desire to help the next generation of journalists. The majority of our faculty attended the workshop when they were high school students. They know the value of our curriculum and remember what it was like to be a student at CSPA.

What are the COVID-19 protocols during the workshop?
CSPA faculty and our board of directors continue to monitor COVID-19 rates in San Luis Obispo County and across the state. We will meet or exceed all campus, county, state and federal guidelines for the duration of the workshop.

All faculty, counselors and students will be required to be vaccinated (with booster) and proof will be required in advance.

Students will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. Students will be monitored closely and those who show signs of COVID-19 will be tested. If a student becomes COVID-19 positive during the workshop, they will be required to isolate and parent/guardians will need to pick them up within 24 hours of being notified.

Counselors and students will be asked to wear masks if someone tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the workshop.

When is payment due for accepted students?
Accepted students will be offered the opportunity to confirm their spot and pay a deposit of $400 within seven days of acceptance. The remaining balance is due on or before Wednesday, June 1. Payments can be made using a credit card (please note that all processing fees will be the responsibility of the payer). Checks can also be accepted.

What is your refund policy?
Students who have paid tuition but are unable to attend must notify CSPA by email as soon as possible.

  • At least 30 days before the start of the workshop (on or before June 9, 2023): 100% refund credited to the card used to make the payment, minus a $25 processing fee
  • Less than 30 days but at least 14 days: 50% refund, minus a $25 processing fee
  • Within 14 days of the beginning of the workshop, or after the workshop has started, no refund will be given