Princeton offers spot to driven, compassionate IT teen pursuing journalism career

Photos by Curtis Lindgren, Photo Director

Article by Annphia Shelton, Staff Writer

       Annphia Shelton

In 2021, Princeton University in Princeton, NJ, had an acceptance rate of 6.1%, with over 31,000 student applicants. Among that 6.1% is Indian Trail’s own Justus Wilhoit, a Communications Academy senior.

Getting accepted to such a high caliber educational institution is very special to him, but he hasn’t made a final decision yet on whether he’ll attend.

“Even though I am excited at the thrill of being able to attend Princeton, I have not committed to any school,” he said. “I am an individual who likes to keep my options open and really I just want to evaluate which school will give me the greatest experience, academically and socially, but with the least amount of money coming out of my own pocket.”

What drew Wilhoit to apply to Princeton was its Ivy League status, as well as its location between two major cities. With him seeking a career in journalism, it’s ideal for internship opportunities, he said. He was also able to attend a meeting discussing Ivy League schools and black issues. Wilhoit said he got the best impression from Princeton because it showed a mix of perspectives from students.

Wilhoit applied to nine universities across the country, and is hesitant to make a decision until he’s weighed what each has to offer.

“None of the colleges, not even Princeton, checks all of my boxes, despite it having name recognition,” Wilhoit said. “Each of the nine schools I applied to are unique in their own way.”

When Wilhoit commits to a school, he said he will know that he has put himself first, but he has also taken into consideration the current situation of his family.

“I refuse to make a decision out of fear and refuse to choose a school simply because of its name or popularity,” Wilhoit said.

Wilhoit has made his own mark at Indian Trail, with his involvement in various student clubs and school internships including ITTV, earning numerous awards for his work in broadcast journalism. AP Literature and Composition teacher Katie Phillips described her own experiences with Wilhoit.

“Justus is very multidimensional. He is a very hard worker, always willing to put in ef-
fort to create a high quality product, even if that means re-submitting a piece of work multiple times,” Phillips said.

He’s compassionate, caring and a lot of fun to be around, she said.

When asked to describe his own traits, Wilhoit had this to say: “Justus Wilhoit is someone who is vocal, relatable, and strives to become educated each day. Justus Wilhoit is someone who knows that even when motivation is non-existent, he is able to push through and overcome hardships because he knows there is a mission, a goal that needs to be accomplished.”

Wilhoit acknowledged the honor and accomplishment that comes with acceptance into such a prestigious school. He’s grateful to Princeton admissions officials for seeing his potential
among the many applicants.

An important adage to Wilhoit is “As people we have hopes and desires, to use our passion and create our own beautiful fires.” Wilhoit plans to apply this motto as he embarks on his college experience, be it with Princeton or elsewhere.