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JP Applicant Support & Knowledgebase (JP ASK)

JP ASK board members and mentors at our annual program kick-off event (2022).

The students and administration of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program are committed to increasing the diversity of future admitted classes. We are excited that you are considering our program!

JP ASK is a mentorship program intended to advise and support prospective students through the graduate application process by pairing prospective applicant mentees with current graduate student mentors. It was started by graduate students who wanted to lower the barrier for an often confusing and complicated graduate school application process. We offer mentorship to both prospective PhD and Navy Masters students. We are focused on providing advice and support to potential students who are underrepresented at and/or unfamiliar to MIT, WHOI, or ocean sciences This includes but is not limited to:

  • applicants who are the first in their family to apply to graduate school
  • members of groups underrepresented in ocean sciences and engineering
  • applicants with financial hardship
  • non-traditional students, including those with caregiving responsibilities, switching fields of study, and/or returning to school after working full-time

When is the JP ASK program active?

September 1 to December 1. Mentors are not guaranteed and will be matched on a rolling basis, so we encourage you to sign up as soon as possible and be as specific as possible in your answers. Responses after the December 1 deadline are accepted but may not provide enough time for constructive feedback before the December 15 application deadline.

What type of guidance is available?

Current graduate student volunteers can:

  • answer questions about the MIT-WHOI curriculum and learning environment
  • share their perspectives of living in Cambridge and/or on Cape Cod
  • provide advice on the overall graduate application process
  • discuss how you may fit in the JP community
  • answer other graduate school related questions

How do I sign up for the program?

To sign up, click here! If this does not work, go to

What other resources are available?

The JP ASK program is run by current graduate student volunteers and is a supplement to your undergraduate, personal, and professional networks, as well as online resources like the Pathways to Science resource toolbox. Please make sure to take advantage of those resources as well.

Additionally, Joint Program students publish a newsletter called Through the Porthole aimed at prospective students. Some useful articles include suggestions about how to get involved in undergraduate research, a perspective on paths to graduate school, some reflections on the application process from current students, advice for cold-emailing scientists, tips on writing a personal statement, and recommendations for how to choose a graduate program.

Will participation in the program impact admissions decisions?

No. JP ASK volunteers are not involved in any aspect of the admission process and are acting solely as a source of advice and support for those unfamiliar with MIT, WHOI, or navigating the process of applying to graduate programs in oceanography. Participation in JP ASK is not considered by the JP admissions committee.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the JP ASK program?

Email the graduate student volunteers at