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10 Best Creative Writing Programs for High School Students
Creative writing has a wide range of applications and benefits. It not only helps you structure and write in different ways but also makes you a better reader and communicator!
In this post, we have compiled a list of great creative writing programs for high school students. We’ve also thrown in some journalism programs for good measure!
10 Great Creative Writing Programs
1. iowa young writers’ studio – residential program.
Location: Online and in-person versions available
Fee/stipend: $575 for the online version, $2,500 for the in-person version
Financial assistance: Several full tuition and partial tuition grants are available.
Application deadline: February 5, 2023
Program dates: Session 1 from June 11, 2023, to June 24, 2023, Session 2 from July 9, 2023, to July 22, 2023
Eligibility: 10th, 11th and 12th graders are eligible to apply
The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is one of the most prestigious writing programs in the country, with an estimated acceptance rate between 15-20%. You get to choose one course from poetry, fiction, creative writing, playwriting, or TV writing. The course structure contains a mix of seminars and workshops. The mentors are graduates of the University of Iowa, which holds the most prestigious creative writing program in the country (strange but true)! This is a great program if you’re looking for an immersive experience in a single style of writing.
2. Princeton’s Summer Journalism Program
Location: Online and in-person versions available throughout the year culminating in a 10-day residential program at the end of July
Financial assistance: NA
Application deadline: February 27, 2023
Program dates: Year-long
Eligibility: Students must be in the 11th grade, have a minimum GPA of 3.5, and must qualify for one of these socioeconomic conditions .
You will get a taste of life as a journalist in this year-long course. You will participate in a range of activities, including attending online workshops and lectures with renowned journalists from all over the country.
Apart from the usual workshops and lectures, you will have access to a number of exciting opportunities such as visiting newsrooms, making a documentary, and working on the Princeton Summer Journal which is published at the end of the program. Fair warning - this is a highly selective program including a three-round application process and a final cohort of up to 40 students .
3. NYU Tisch’s Future Dramatic Writers Workshop
Location: Commuter program at NYU's New York City campus
Application deadline: Closed for 2023
Program dates: February 4, 2023 - May 13, 2023
Program Selectivity: Highly selective
Eligibility: Open to 9th, 10th and 11th graders
If accepted to this program, you get the opportunity to study and practice writing for theatre, film, and television. The program takes place every Saturday for 14 weeks , where you will be spending 8 hours in lectures and workshops. It culminates in a yearly showcase where students can present what they’ve worked on. It is an intensive course equivalent to Tisch’s undergraduate curriculum . This has an in-person component, so it may be easiest if you are in New York City.
4. Telluride Association Summer Seminars
Location: Cornell University, University of Maryland, and University of Michigan
Program dates: June 25, 2023 – August 5, 2023
Eligibility: 10th and 11th graders
Primarily rooted in humanities and social studies, TASS looks at systems of power and oppression. While its main agenda is to exercise students’ critical thinking skills , reading and writing essays is a crucial part of the curriculum. You will find the opportunity to hone your writing skills in fields such as history, politics, culture, and more . This is a highly selective program with an estimated acceptance rate of 3-5% . While this may not fit the bill for traditional ‘creative writing’, the way in which it weaves a connection between critical thinking and impeccable writing is likely to enhance your creative writing projects.
5. Yale Young Writers’ Workshop
Application deadline: April 3, 2023
Program dates: July 9, 2023 – July 14, 2023
Eligibility: Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders
Yale Young Writers’ Workshop will give you an in-depth look at one of the following genres — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or graphic storytelling. With only 12 students per workshop, the highly selective, one-week program ensures each person gets an immersive experience in developing the craft of writing, experimenting with their work, and finding their own voice .
6. Asian American Journalists Association’s JCAMP
Location: On campus at American University, Washington D.C.
Application deadline: March 17, 2023
Program dates: July 15, 2023 – July 21, 2023
Known for its multicultural diversity and unique hands-on training, this renowned program aims to prepare you for a career in journalism. Not only will you get workshops with veteran industry leaders and go on field trips, but you’ll also have the chance to produce news packages for the program’s news site ! You will also have some published work to your credit. This is a highly selective program with about 30 students chosen from hundreds of applicants.
7. Kenyon Review Young Writer’s Summer Residential Workshop
Location: On campus at Kenyon College
Financial assistance: Need-based financial aid is available.
Application deadline: March 1, 2023
Program dates: Session 1 from June 25, 2023, to July 8, 2023, Session 2 from July 16, 2023, to July 29, 2023
Eligibility: Open to 16–18-year-old students
This program offers a combination of individual conferences with your instructor and peer-led group discussion and exercises. The coursework is ungraded and focuses on students recognizing and working on their writing skills. You will also have the opportunity to sign up for a genre session where one genre or element of writing will be explored in-depth . This is highly selective with 12-14 students per workshop.
8. Bard College at Simon’s Rock Young Writers Workshop
Location: On campus
Financial assistance: Moderate
Application deadline: None. Applicants are reviewed until the program is full, usually in mid-April or May
Program dates: July 9, 2023 – July 29, 2023
Eligibility: Open to students from grades 9-11
Instead of focusing only on the writing style, this three-week workshop focuses on enhancing language and thinking skills that are key for effective writing. The program consists of three 90-minute sessions every day with each having a different area of research. You will engage in writing activities and reading discussions within small groups of 12, so every student gets individual attention. Writings are shared by the workshop leaders as well as peers. While building a portfolio, you will be encouraged to focus on the process and finding your voice rather than the end product. This program is a good fit if you’re looking for informal coursework with a heavy emphasis on critical thinking.
9. Sarah Lawrence Writer’s Week – A Creative Writing and Performance Art Workshop
Location: Commuter program
Financial assistance: Limited scholarships available to Yonkers Public School students
Application deadline: Registrations open in February.
Program dates: Virtual program from July 10, 2023 – July 14, 2023, On campus program from August 7, 2023 – August 11, 2023
Eligibility: Students must be 14 years of age or older
Writing (workshops and collaborative discussions) and theatre (workshops on improvisation, solo performance, character comedy, and the like) come together in this program with students learning components of each as well as their relation to each other. While this is a highly selective program, once in, you’ll find yourself in an interactive and supportive environment in a class of 18 students.
10. The Adroit Journal’s Summer Mentorship Program
Financial assistance: Available
Application deadline: March 12, 2023
Program dates: June 19, 2023 – July 31, 2023
Eligibility: Open to students from the 9th to 12th grades
Hosted by a literary and art non-profit organization, this program pairs budding writers with established ones , making this a highly individualized program. While peer activities are also offered, you will get personalized support and guidance from your mentor. You can choose from poetry, fiction and non-fiction/memoir writing. However, the program’s acceptance rate has been approximately 8-9% in the past so keep in mind that it is highly selective.
If you’re interested in going beyond creative writing and want to explore research in fields you’re interested in (e.g., research in literature!) , consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program , a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.
What are your chances of acceptance?
Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.
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20 Summer Writing Programs for High School Students in 2023
What’s covered:, 20 summer writing programs for high school students, how impressive are summer programs in college admissions, other ways to spend your summer.
Summer programs offer high school students an excellent opportunity to explore subjects that interest them, build valuable skills, get a taste of college life, and meet like-minded peers. They also look awesome on a college application! If you’re interested in writing, you’ll want to check out these 20 summer writing programs for high school students.
1. Princeton Summer Journalism Program
Application deadline: February 27, 2023
Location: Princeton, NJ
Dates: July 28- August 7, 2023
The Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) selects 40 high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds to participate in its revered program. In the PSJP, students explore current events, listen to lectures, and participate in workshops led by professional journalists and Princeton professors. The program culminates with the publication of a student-produced newspaper, the Princeton Summer Journal . To qualify for the PSJP you must:
- Be a junior in high school
- Live in the United States and intend to attend college in the U.S.
- Have a minimum GPA of 3.5
- Have an interest in journalism
- The combined income of custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) plus child support payments, if any, must not exceed $60,000
- Qualify for free or reduced-price lunch
- Qualify for an SAT or ACT fee waiver
Application deadline: March 17, 2023
Location: Washington D.C.
Dates: July 15- 21, 2023
JCamp is a free six-day program put on by the Asian American Journalist Association that brings together a culturally diverse group of students from across the U.S. Under the eye of veteran journalists and leading media executives, students take part in workshops to sharpen their journalistic skills and gain hands-on experience producing multi-platform news packages for the program’s website. JCamp is not limited to Asian American students; any student with an interest in journalism—like writing for a newspaper or magazine—is encouraged to apply.
3. Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program
Application deadline: March 12, 2023
Dates: June 19- July 31, 2023
The Adroit Summer Mentorship Program pairs high school students with experienced writers to explore the creative writing process of drafting, redrafting, and editing. Rather than offering formal instruction, the program offers individualized and flexible correspondence for students who are good communicators and comfortable with criticism—and who have an interest in the genres of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction/memoir, and spoken word.
4. Iowa Young Writers’ Studio
Application deadline: February 5, 2023
Location: In-person in Iowa City, IA, or virtual
Dates: Session 1: June 11-24; Session 2: July 9-22
Cost: In-person: $2,500; virtual: $575
The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio provides high schoolers the incredible opportunity to have a residential experience and study with graduates of one of the most renowned writing programs in the nation: the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Participants in this program choose a focus—either poetry, fiction, creative writing, playwriting, or television writing—and share their work, practice their craft, and improve their writing while working alongside other high school writers from across the U.S.
5. Sarah Lawerence Writer’s Week
Application deadline: TBD
Location: Virtual or Bronxville NY
Dates: Virtual: July 10- 14; In-person: August 7- 11, 2023
Cost: Virtual: $725; In-person: $1,125
During Sarah Lawerence Writer’s Week, participants (the program welcomes students entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades) explore the creative process led by esteemed Sarah Lawrence faculty and alumni. Sarah Lawerence Writing Week celebrates the risk and adventure of the creative process, fosters a non-competitive and non-judgmental environment, and keeps with the Sarah Lawrence tradition of individualized attention—groups are limited to 18 students with two faculty members per workshop. The program ends with a celebration that includes both faculty and student readings.
6. California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) Writing Program
Application deadline: February 28, 2023
Location: Sacramento, CA
Dates: July 8- August 4, 2023
Cost: CA State Residents: $4,250; Out-of-state: $6,500
This summer program for high school students in California is a unique public-private partnership that was founded by the California State legislature in 1987. Approximately 70 students are selected to participate in this program led by professional writers and educators who guide them through work in fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and dramatic writing. The program prides itself on its creative environment and looks for young writers who love language, reading, and are ready to share their own stories.
7. Juniper Young Writers Online Writing Lab
Application deadline: Rolling
Location: Amherst, MA
Dates: July 23- 29, 2023
Students in the Juniper Young Writers Online Writing Lab participate in writing sessions, share questions, and discuss their work and writing-related topics over the course of this program. Led by professional teachers, published authors, and graduate students at UMass Amherst, Writing Lab participants gain insight into the creative process, find inspiration for work, learn tips to improve their writing and develop relationships with other young writers. Students will be provided a written summary of their work, an evaluation toward writing goals, and future considerations for their writing.
8. Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement (AYA)
Application deadline: March 31, 2023
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Dates: June 19- July 14, 2023
AYA is a free, immersive experience for talented high school students from the area surrounding USC. The program allows participants to explore USC Annenberg’s undergraduate programs, gain insight into careers in media and journalism, and meet the people advancing issues of race, gender, and ethnicity in communication and journalism. Over the course of this program, students build a variety of skills, including writing and critical thinking.
9. Reynolds Young Writer’s Workshop
Application deadline: March 1, 2023
Location: Granville, OH
Dates: June 24- July 1, 2023
For more than a quarter of a century, Denison University has welcomed talented high school writers to its acclaimed Reynolds Young Writer’s Workshop. Led by Denison’s creative writing faculty and notable visiting writers, participants take part in small creative writing workshops and group sessions to explore a variety of writing techniques in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere.
10. Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Application deadline: April 9, 2023
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Dates: June 11- 17, 2023
The Camp Cronkite program is a summer media enrichment camp allowing high schoolers to dive into the world of media. Led by Cronkite faculty, staff, and students, campers learn about digital journalism, broadcast journalism, or sports media. They will work on reporting, pitching, storytelling, and editing, and receive hands-on instruction in video editing, photography, reporting and writing, script development, and more. There are several scholarships available for students who demonstrate financial need.
11. Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Dates: July 19- July 30, 2023
Over Alpha’s 12 days, students with an interest in science fiction, fantasy, or horror learn how to generate ideas, turn those ideas into drafts, critique each other’s work, make revisions, and submit their work to paying markets. The program also provides students with an introduction to college life and allows them to explore a career as a professional writer.
12. 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center Young Writers Workshop
Application deadline: June 5, 2023
Location: New York, NY
Dates: July 10- 27, 2023
The Unterberg Poetry Center has been home to established and up-and-coming poets since it was founded in 1939. Students at its Young Writers Workshop receive coaching from some of New York’s best writing teachers and explore a variety of forms, styles, and voices in a warm and supportive environment. Participants learn to look critically at their own work and will leave the workshop with a clearer understanding of their goals as a writer and what it takes to make a career in the literary world.
13. Shared Worlds
Location: Spartanburg, SC
Dates: July 16- 29, 2023
This fun writing program is for high school students with an interest in speculative fiction—for example, science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk. Shared Worlds is a residential program for rising 8th-12th grade students to work under the guidance of renowned fantasy and science fiction writers. Over the course of the workshop, students imagine, build, and write their own stories and have their enthusiasm for writing encouraged.
14. Bard College at Simon’s Rock Young Writers Workshop
Location: Great Barrington, MA
Dates: July 9- 29, 2023
This program is modeled on the well-known Language and Thinking Workshop all students entering Bard College are required to take. Unlike other creative writing workshops, leaders of this young writers workshop encourage informal, playful, and expressive writing and lean on peer response to develop polished pieces of writing. Students will live, eat, and work on campus, gaining firsthand experience living and learning in a college atmosphere while producing pieces ranging from short stories and poems to brief dramatic works and experiments in creative nonfiction.
15. Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshops
Location: Gambier, OH
Dates: June 25- July 8; July 16- 29, 2023
Every summer, talented writers from across the U.S. come to the picturesque campus of Kenyon College to participate in its Young Writers Workshop. In this multi-genre program, students experience what it’s like to be part of the literary community while bolstering their talents, discovering new strengths, and challenging themselves in the company of similarly interested peers.
16. BYU Young Authors Academy
Location: Provo, UT
Dates: July 10- 15, 2023
At BYU’s Young Authors Academy, students speak with local and nationally-recognized authors, review each others’ writing, work with faculty in the BYU English department, stay in campus housing, take small-group writing courses, and meet other, like-minded peers. Students can choose from two electives over the program, including Creating Believable Tales and Villains, Flash Fiction, and Breaking News.
17. Fir Acres Writing Workshop
Application deadline: March 10, 2023
Location: Portland, OR
Dates: June 25- July 8, 2023
Fir Acres writing program takes sixty rising 10th-12th graders from around the country and forms a community of enthusiastic writers on the campus of Lewis and Clark College. Students participate in daily workshops studying and writing under the guidance of Lewis and Clark’s faculty. They also meet and hear from visiting writers and work on their own poetry, fiction, and other writings.
18. LMU’s Beginning Screenwriting Program
Application deadline: March 15, 2023
LMU’s School of Film and Television offers this program to students looking to enhance their writing skills and learn the elements of screenwriting. Students will work on structure, character development, dialogue, formatting, and genre while analyzing both classic and contemporary popular movies. They will learn from faculty members who are also professional screenwriters and leave the program with a short script.
19. Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Writing and Culture Program
Dates: July 1- August 11, 2023
Cost: $7,417- $10,025
Over the weeks of the program, students at CMU will examine film, writing, design, art, and culture through various lenses. Learning will take place both on CMU’s campus and around the city of Pittsburgh. Students will produce a body of work perfect for a portfolio during the program under the tutelage of highly distinguished faculty members of the Department of English. Classes are held Monday through Friday, and students emerge with individualized feedback and guidance to enhance their creative pursuits.
20. Boston University Summer Journalism Academy
Application deadline: April 14, 2023
Location: Virtual or Boston, MA
Dates: In-person : News Reporting and Writing: June 26 to July 14, 2023; Virtual : News Reporting and Writing A: June 19 to June 30, 2023; News Reporting and Writing B: July 3 to July 14, 2023; News Reporting and Writing C: July 17 to July 28, 2023
Cost: In-person, residential: $6000. ($5600 until March 3.) In-person, commuter: $4350. ($3950 until March 3.) Virtual: $1450. ($1250 until March 3.)
Taught by working journalists, BU’s Summer Journalism Academy gives high school students actual reporting assignments to give them a jump-start into the world of journalism. With both virtual and in-person options, there is something for everyone. There are scholarships and financial aid available for students demonstrating financial need. Students must be a rising 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grader in high school to attend.
Summer programs—and other extracurricular activities—can help set you apart, particularly at highly selective schools. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can tell you how colleges value your extracurricular activities and uses factors like grades and test scores (along with extracurriculars) to estimate your odds of acceptance at hundreds of schools across the country. It even provides insight into how you can improve your profile!
Though summer break provides you with the most time to explore your passions, it is not the only time. Colleges want to see that you are curious about the world around you and are constantly seeking new learning opportunities.
Instead of participating in a program, you could create your own. Writing a book or mobilizing a team to solve an issue in your local community are examples of independent efforts that look impressive to colleges.
You can show further initiative by taking on internships and paying jobs. Both demonstrate initiative, a career direction, and key life skills like time management and responsibility. Since most internships are reserved for college students and graduates, it can be a challenge to find opportunities for high school students. To help with the search, here is a list of summer internships for high school students. Looking for more summer programs? Take a look at this list of virtual opportunities for high school students.
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Top 10 Summer Writing Programs for High School Students
If you are a high school student interested in enhancing your writing skills over the summer, look no further. Scholarships360 has you covered with our picks for top 10 writing summer camps for high school students. Let’s dive right in!
What is a summer writing program?
A summer writing program offers high school students interested in different types of writing to immerse themselves in the field. These programs range from creative writing, to playwriting, to poetry, and everything in between.
Why we selected the following writing programs
We chose a diverse range of writing summer camps for high school students that vary in price, location, and academic focus. These are definitely not all of the writing programs that are in existence, but we wanted to name a few that impressed us.
A note on application deadlines and program dates
Application deadlines and program dates vary from program to program because these are all at different institutions, all over the country. We will do our best to keep these dates updated, so if a program that you are interested in currently says “TBD”, check back in a few weeks and the program may have released that information!
Top 10 summer writing programs for high schoolers
1. iowa young writers’ studio.
The Iowa Young Writers ’ Studio is a two-week session located at the University of Iowa campus or online. The two programs run at the same time, and there are two different date options for students to choose from. With this program, students select their primary focus throughout the program– fiction writing, poetry writing, or creative writing.
- Program benefits : Readings by published writers; workshops on process and aspects of craft; discussions on writing-adjacent subjects (literary translation, film, revision, mental health); collaborative projects to allow small groups of students to work together; as well as open mics, talent shows, icebreakers, and social gatherings
- Application deadline: February 5th, 2023
- Program dates: June 11th – 24th, 2023 or July 9th – 22nd, 2023
- Cost: The in-person program is $2,500, and the online program is $575
2. Interlochen Center for the Arts Camp Creative Writing Programs
Interlochen Center for the Arts is a prestigious arts center for students of all ages who are interested in various types of arts to hone in on their craft. The Camp Creative Writing Programs are for high school students of all ages. Campers choose between four different tracks– Comics and Graphic Narratives Intensive, Creative Writing Program, Novel Writing Intensive, or Performance Poetry Intensive. The focus below is the broadest category, the Creative Writing Program. This three week intensive allows students to immerse themselves in the world of writing.
- Program benefits : Genre workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting; placed in classes outside of comfort zones to learn more about different genres; reading showcase; guest artists and speakers
- Application deadline: January 15th, 2023, for both sessions
- Program dates: Session one is June 24th – July 15th, 2023, and session two is July 16th – August 6th, 2023
- Cost: $6,550
3. Sarah Lawrence College Writer’s Week: A Creative Writing & Performance Arts Workshop
The Sarah Lawrence Creative Writing and Performance Arts Workshop is offered both online and in person. The in-person workshop is a day camp, not a residential program. Each day of the program, students attend writing workshops led by poets, prose writers, and performance artists. The program also includes faculty led workshops and meetings, as well as a celebration of student work at the end of the program.
- Program benefits : Work with distinguished faculty and graduate students, generating materials to share, collaboration with peers, learning to revise and edit.
- Application deadline: TBD, registration opens in February
- Program dates: The virtual session is July 10–July 14, 2023, and the in-person session is August 7–August 11, 2023
- Cost : The on-campus cost (including lunch) is $1,125, and the virtual cost is $725
4. Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Writing and Culture Program
The Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Writing and Culture Program is a six-week high school summer program where students immerse themselves in writing, film, design, art, and culture. This program teaches students how to properly tell a story, regardless of what their story may be. Applicants must be sophomores or juniors in high school at the time of the application submission. There are opportunities to receive scholarships for this program as well, which is something to keep in mind while applying.
- Program benefits : Opportunities to explore some of Pittsburgh’s world-class museums, access to the Carnegie Mellon Archives and Fine and Rare Book Rooms, mentorship and networking opportunities.
- Application deadline : February 1st, 2023
- Program dates: July 1st – August 11th, 2023
- Cost: $10,025
Related: Top writing and essay scholarships
5. Denison University Reynolds Young Writers Workshop
The Reynolds Young Writers Workshop based out of Denison University in Granville, Ohio is an eight-day residential writing program that helps to immerse students in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writing. This program is open to students who have completed their sophomore or junior year of high school who have an interest in writing. Generous financial assistance is available to those who need it.
- Program benefits : Group sessions, hands-on work with Denison faculty and staff, notable visiting writers
- Application deadline: March 1st,2023 at 11:59 PM
- Program dates: June 24th – July 1st, 2023
- Cost: $1,500
6. Alpha– The Young Writers Workshop
Alpha – The Young Writers Workshop is a 12-day writing workshop for students ages 14-19 located on the University of Pittsburgh Greensburg campus. Not only will students immerse themselves in their writing and have the opportunity to hone in on that skill, but they will also learn more about the technical side of writing– submitting for publication, editing, and receiving feedback. Alpha also offers scholarships for those who may need them.
- Program benefits : Ample time spent with influential professors, opportunities for brainstorming workshops, professional writer presentations, lectures.
- Application deadline : March 12th, 2023
- Program dates : July 19th – July 30th, 2023
- Cost: $1,200
Don’t miss: Top free summer programs for high school students
7. Loyola Marymount University- Beginning Screenwriting Program
The Loyola Marymount University Beginning Screenwriting Program is a hands-on two-week program located on the campus of one of the nation’s best film schools. Students learn the basics of the script developing process, gain a deeper understanding of cinematic storytelling, and enhance their writing skills. The first program dates are for eligible high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The second program dates are for juniors and seniors only.
- Program benefits : Opportunity for hands-on experiences within Los Angeles’ film industry, touring local film or television studio”
- Application deadline : March 15th, 2023
- Program dates : June 25th – July 8th, 2023, and July 16th – July 29th, 2023
- Cost : $5,400 for tuition with a $65 application fee
8. Georgetown University Creative Writing Academy
The Georgetown University Creative Writing Academy is a week-long writing academy for high school students of all ages. During this academy, students have the opportunity to work on and present a capstone project, which can be on various topics and within various subject areas. This academy focuses largely on the publishing aspects of creative writing.
- Program benefits : Readings from published authors, work with Georgetown faculty and staff, field trips, group discussions
- Application deadline : The “Early Bird” deadline is January 31st, 2023, and the Final deadline is May 15th, 2023
- Program dates: July 16th – 22nd, 2023
- Cost : $3,225
9. Emerson College Creative Writers Workshop
The Emerson College Creative Writers Workshop is an on-campus program that focuses on topics such as fiction, prose, scriptwriting, comedy writing, graphic novel writing, and performance poetry. This four-week program offers students opportunities to create and revise their personal writing portfolio.
- Program benefits : Work with highly regarded faculty writers, participate in literary hangouts, participate in “final reading” at the conclusion of the program
- Program dates : July 6th, 2023 – August 5th, 2023
- Creative Writers Workshop Non-Credit Tuition: $3531
- Creative Writers Workshop Credit Tuition: $4310
- Residential Room and Board Fee: $3744*
- Non-refundable application fee: $60
Also see: How to rock the summer before your senior year
10. Harvard Pre-College Summer School Program
The last entry on our list of writing summer camps for high school students is also one of the most prestigious. The Harvard Pre-College Summer School Program is a two-week summer program that offers over 100 non-credit courses for high school students to take part in. The Speech, Writing, and Literature topic is a great option for students who want to pursue a career in writing or just want to develop their craft. This topic offers multiple different courses, such as creative writing, English, expository writing, journalism, and speech. The program also offers some financial aid for qualifying students.
- Program benefits : Build valuable academic skills, learn to live independently on a college campus, take sample college courses
- Application deadline : Early application deadline is January 25th, 2023, and the regular application deadline is February 22nd, 2023
- Program dates : Choose between June 25th – July 7th, 2023, July 9th – July 21st, 2023, and July 23rd – August 4th, 2023
- Cost : $5,300 plus a $75 application fee
Don’t miss: High school checklist: Freshman through senior year
- Now that you’ve got some writing summer camps for high school students in mind, start preparing your application materials! This may include application essays , letters of recommendation , transcripts, or sample writing materials
- Apply for program scholarships if needed
- Write! Bring your writing samples with you, as you never know when you might need them
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- Career Edge - NYU High School Summer Program
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This summer, immerse yourself in the craft of creative writing with fellow young authors in a pre-college environment. Learn from an industry expert as you transform your ideas and stories into compelling writing. Develop the techniques that are fundamental to all types of fiction writing—literary fiction, dystopian fantasies, fairy tales, and mysteries—and refine your skills in story structure, character development, description, and dialogue. Students will also experience lectures, interact with noted authors, and receive information on how to turn your passion into a career. Gain exposure to workshopping your writing with constructive feedback, ultimately walking away with a variety of short creative pieces ranging from poems, stories, and scenes, to collage texts and flash fiction.
- High school students who have completed grades 9, 10, or 11
- High school students interested in strengthening creative writing skills
You'll Walk Away With
- Refinement of your creative writing, including narrative arc, world-building, authentic dialogue, and character development
- A portfolio of peer-critiqued short stories
- An NYU transcript showing grade(s) earned upon completion of the course (Please note: No college credit or certificate of completion is granted for this course.)
Students from around the world attend NYU summer programs, but only a college prep program like High School Academy provides the opportunity to explore both traditional and emerging career paths.
Projects and short assignments provide take-aways that prepare you for college classroom work, while demonstrating your newly acquired skills.
Career Edge Schedule
Start Date : July 10, 2023 End Date : July 14, 2023
Start Date : July 17, 2023 End Date : July 21, 2023
Start Date : July 24, 2023 End Date : July 28, 2023
Start Date : July 31, 2023 End Date : August 4, 2023
Start Date : August 7, 2023 End Date : August 11, 2023
Session 6 (Commuter Only and Limited Online Courses)*
Start Date : August 14, 2023 End Date : August 18, 2023 * No Housing/Dining available this week
Applications for Summer 2024 will become available in early 2024!
Application Requirements and Fees
To apply you must have successfully completed grades 9,10, or 11. You must submit the online application, a 250-500 word essay, and an official high school transcript. Essay Topic: Please describe why you would like to take your selected course(s). Please include any previous courses you've taken in this subject or previous experiences with this subject. Give more detail as to why you would like to take this course over the summer. Your response should be 250-500 words total. If selecting multiple courses, please contain all responses to a single essay.
Fees for Summer 2023
Application Fee: $25 (non-refundable) $2,395 Tuition $100 fees Total cost per course: $2,495 Housing & Dining Fees: $607 per week* * Housing & Dining Fees still being finalized Please note: No financial aid, scholarships, or discounts are available for Career Edge
For International Students
Resources and visa information for international students interested in studying abroad in NYC
212-998-7006 - [email protected]
Resources for students who have been admitted to the program
Kratz Center for Creative Writing
at Goucher College
Creative Writing Programs for High School Students
Summer Creative Writing Programs for High School Students
For writers below the age of eighteen we suggest the following programs. Click the names below and visit the program’s websites.
Between the Lines International Writing Program at the University of Iowa ( facebook )
Iowa Young Writer’s Studio
Interlochen Summer Writing Program
Creative Writing Workshops at Columbia University’s Summer Program for High School Students
Wriitopia Lab (In-Person and Digital Programs)
Juniper Institute for Young Writers at UMass Amherst, MA http://www.umass.edu/juniperyoungwriters
The Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop at Kenyon College, OH: http://www.kenyonreview.org/workshops/young-writers
Johns Hopkins University Pre-College Summer Programs (select creative writing courses): http://www.jhu.edu/summer
More Creative Writing Workshops
Here are websites for summer creative writing workshops, conferences, centers, festivals, residencies, or retreats. Keep in mind that these programs are usually engaged by writers over the age of 18. A writing “residency” is a short-term period of instruction for writers at a specific geographical location.
Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll get right back to you ( [email protected] ).
Choose Your Test
Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 12 summer writing programs for high school students (2022 -2023).
Love reading, writing, and being creative? Then consider checking out summer writing programs for high school students!
Whether you want to become a journalist or the next Poet Laureate, there are tons of summer writing programs that will help you achieve your goals. Participating in these programs can look great on college applications too!
In this article, we’ll give you all the info you need to decide if creative writing summer programs for high school students are right for you, including:
- A full description of 12 summer writing programs for high school students (including cost, eligibility, and what they cover!)
- A quick, five question quiz to help you decide if a summer writing program is right for you
- Three tips on how to impress colleges with your summer writing program
Let’s get started!
Summer's the perfect time for sitting on the beach, eating ice cream...and participating in writing programs.
What Are Summer Writing Programs for High School Students?
Creative writing summer programs for high school students are a great way for students with an interest in writing to explore subjects they’re interested in, build skills for college, and meet other students who share their interests.
As a bonus, summer writing programs can look great on college applications!
Summer writing programs for high schoolers are typically held between May and August each year . These programs are similar to a summer class or camp. Additionally, these programs last anywhere from a week to several weeks throughout the summer.
Like summer camps, writing programs for high schoolers are pretty intensive. Students spend their time l istening to lectures from experts, participating in workshops, presenting their work, and getting real-life feedback.
Best of all, summer writing programs are hands-on, so you’ll spend lots of time writing and creating original work ! The goal of any summer writing program is to help you develop and improve your writing skills through practice and feedback.
While some programs teach general writing skills, many summer writing programs focus on a particular field or genre, like journalism, essay writing, or creative writing . For instance, if you’re thinking about becoming a journalism major, you might participate in a journalism writing summer program that’ll give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in the industry.
There are many benefits of summer writing programs when it comes to college applications too. After all, writing great college essays is an important part of getting into your dream school! And because they’re extracurricular activities, summer writing programs are also a good option for students who are aiming for an arts-based spike approach on college applications.
Dust off that typewriter...it's time to apply!
12 Summer Writing Programs for High School Students
We’ve put together a list of 12 summer creative writing summer programs for high school students to help you get a sense of the many great options out there. Our list includes journalism, research-based, and creative writing summer programs for high school students so you can find the best one for you!
#1: The School of New York Times Summer Academy
- Eligibility: Must be entering 10th, 11th, 12th grade, or graduating high school
- Dates: Term 1: June 5-17; Term 2: June 19-July 1; Term 3: July 3-15; Term 4: July 17-29
- Location: New York City
- Cost: $6,420 for residential; $5,820 for day program
- Deadlines: Varies by term; deadlines range from early May to mid-June
The New York Times (NYT) offers a series of writing-based summer courses for high school students at their campus in New York City. Courses are designed to develop students’ curiosity and critical thinking through traditional coursework and in the museums, arts centers, think tanks, and start-up labs of New York City. Courses are offered on various topics , including creative writing and investigative journalism.
The program “seeks talented student leaders with diverse interests, ambitions and writing styles.” To participate, students complete an online application that includes short answer questions and optional writing samples, high school transcripts, and one recommendation.
#2: Boston University Summer Journalism Academy
- Eligibility: Must be aged 14-18
- Dates: Vary by year; Session 1: June 20-July 1; Session 2: July 4-July 15; Session 3: July 18-July 29
- Location: Boston University, Boston, MA
- Cost: On-Campus w/tuition, room, board and activity fees: $3700; On-Campus Commuter w/tuition and activity fees: $2700; Learn-from-Home: $1300
- Deadlines: Applications due mid-May
The Summer Journalism Academy at Boston University is designed to introduce high school students to life as news reporters . Students practice their skills in the classroom then apply them to hands-on learning opportunities in a real newsroom. One of the biggest perks is that students get to learn from working journalists who cover a wide range of beats.
Students can participate in person or remotely. In-person participants can stay on BU’s campus through the residential program, where they’ll get a chance to live alongside other academy attendees. To participate, applications must be submitted online and should include a 300-word letter explaining the student’s interest in journalism.
#3: Asian American Journalist Association (AAJA) Journalism Camp
- Eligibility: 9th-12th graders with a strong interest in journalism
- Dates: Summer; exact program dates may vary
- Location: Varies by year; JCamp 2022 is hosted by the University of Southern California
- Cost: No cost (travel expenses are also covered by the program)
- Deadlines: Applications due March 31
The AAJA‘s six-day summer training camp, called JCamp, gives students the opportunity to learn from journalists and journalism executives while developing their writing skills. This summer writing program gives students hands-on experience producing multi-platform news packages that are published on the program’s news site, JCamp Live.
Students who show a strong interest in broadcasting, newspaper, magazine, photojournalism, or online media are encouraged to apply online. Also, JCamp isn’t limited to Asian American students, so all high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible. Even better: all program costs are covered , including travel, university lodging, and meals.
#4: Yale Daily News Summer Journalism Program
- Eligibility: Open to all high school students
- Dates: August 16-20
- Location: Varies by year; 2022 program held via Zoom
- Cost: Free to students from New Haven Public Schools; all other participants pay $160 in tuition
- Deadlines: Unspecified
The Yale Daily News Summer Journalism Program is a one-week journalism course for high school students. Students participate in workshops on the basics of writing and reporting, hear lectures by journalists from major publications, and work as a team to produce an issue of the Yale Daily News.
As a bonus, the program is run entirely by undergraduate staff members of the Yale Daily News , so students will get to see what it’s like to be a real journalism student at an Ivy League school.
To apply, students must submit four short answer questions and a pitch for one professional-grade news article . Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible as program costs may increase as the program start date approaches.
Howard University's writing program is perfect for people who want to write across media--and yes, that includes TikTok.
#5: Howard University Multimedia Academy
- Eligibility: Must be in 9th-12th grade
- Dates: June 14-25
- Location: Virtual/online
- Cost: Not specified
- Deadlines: Applications due June 5
Howard’s virtual summer writing program teaches students to use multimedia journalism to report on health and wellness in underserved communities . At the end of the program, students’ work appears on the Howard University News Service and on Voices of Tomorrow, a nonprofit that provides social services to immigrants and refugees from East African communities.
Additionally, the best work by seniors and recent graduates will be eligible for the Dow Jones News Fund’s scholarship competition . To apply to Howard’s Multimedia Academy, students must fill out an online application, including a 250-word essay.
#6: The Multicultural Journalism Program (MJW)
- Eligibility: Rising 9th graders through college freshmen
- Dates: June 3-12
- Location: University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
- Cost: Free, including housing, meals, and field trips; students are responsible for transportation to and from Tuscaloosa
- Deadlines: Applications due April 1
MJW’s summer writing program selects 10 to 15 students to attend an intensive workshop held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This workshop focuses on multimedia reporting, writing, editing, graphics, photography, and production. During the workshop, students produce an issue of the MJP Journal to showcase everything they’ve learned.
Applicants must submit a high school transcript, a typed 500-word essay explaining their interest in journalism, and a recommendation letter. The program also encourages students to submit samples of published journalistic work , but unpublished writing samples are also acceptable.
#7: Carnegie-Mellon University Writing and Culture Program
- Eligibility: Must be at least 16 years old by program start date; must be a current high school sophomore or junior at time of application; must have an academic average of B (3.0/4.0) and/or have received a B or higher in their last English class.
- Dates: July 5-August 12
- Location: Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
- Cost: $9,000 for residential program; $6,932 for commuter program
- Deadlines: Applications accepted on a rolling basis
The Carnegie-Mellon Writing and Culture Program teaches high school students to think critically and express themselves creatively. This six-week course features classes taught by Carnegie-Mellon faculty, readings and events with local authors, and hands-on visits to Pittsburgh’s museums. Throughout the program, students produce a written portfolio that explores film, art, and culture .
To apply, students must complete an online application that includes a high school transcript, responses to essay prompts, and up to three optional writing samples. If an applicant’s cumulative high school GPA is below a B average (3.0/4.0), submitting writing samples is strongly encouraged.
#8: Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Residential Program
- Eligibility: Must be a current 10th, 11th, or 12th grader
- Dates: Session 1: June 12-25; Session 2: July 10-23
- Location: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
- Cost: $2,500 for residential
- Deadlines: Applications due February 6
The Iowa Writers’ Workshop offers a two-week, residential creative writing summer program for 144 high school students from across the country. Once accepted, students will select a course of study from the following options: poetry, fiction, creative writing, playwriting, or TV writing. Students also participate in writing workshops, receive constructive feedback, and star in open mics and talent shows.
The Iowa Young Writers’ studio acceptance rate falls between 15% and 20% . A competitive application to this program will include a polished writing sample, statement of purpose, letter of recommendation, and high school transcript. Students from outside the United States are also welcome to apply.
It turns out that Virginia is for writers.
#9: UVA Young Writers Workshop
- Eligibility: Session 1: rising 9th-12th graders; Session 2: rising 10th graders through rising first-year college students
- Dates: Session 1: June 19-July 1; Session 2: July 3-July 22
- Location: Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA
- Cost: $2450 for Session 1; $3500 for Session 2
- Deadlines: Applications due March 1
UVA Young Writers Workshop is a summer program designed to immerse students in a creative writing genre . Students focus on one of the following for the duration of the program: short form creative writing, poetry, songwriting, screen and playwriting, creative nonfiction, or fiction.
UVA Young Writers Workshop is one of the best summer writing programs for high school students because it offers two program sessions that are geared toward different skill levels . Session 1 is designed for a wider range of skill levels and experience, whereas Session 2 is geared toward more advanced writers. You can apply to both sessions online by submitting several writing samples, a brief autobiography, and a letter of recommendation.
#10: Smith College Creative Writing Workshop
- Eligibility: Must be in 9th-12th grades; must be female-identified or gender-nonconforming students
- Dates: July 9-23
- Cost: $4,285
- Deadlines: Applications due May 15
Smith’s Creative Writing Workshop teaches the importance of practice and perseverance by engaging students in a multi-draft writing process in a variety of mediums . Students are taught by real published writers and get the chance to present their work at open mic and improv nights. In the evenings, there are even opportunities to meet with agents and learn how to create an author website!
Students are selected for this writing program based on academic performance, a written essay, and a teacher recommendation. Also, because Smith is a women’s college, this summer writing program is only open to young women, female-identified, or gender-nonconforming students . Students from outside of the U.S. are also encouraged to apply.
#11: Sarah Lawrence Writer’s Week
- Eligibility: Must be in 9th-12th grade and 14 years of age or older by the program start date
- Dates: On-campus session: July 11-15; online session: August 1-5
- Location: Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY; online
- Cost: $1,125 for on-campus; $725 for online
- Deadlines: Unspecified; contact [email protected] for more information
Writer’s Week at Sarah Lawrence is a week-long experience with creative writing and performance arts for high school students. Students attend workshops taught by real writers, artists, and Sarah Lawrence faculty and will get the chance to meet in small groups with workshop leaders. At the end of the week, the program hosts a celebration of student work and faculty and student readings.
Sarah Lawrence Writer’s Week offers both an on-campus and online session (but note that the on-campus session is a day camp, not residential). Applications and registration must be completed online.
#12: Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers
- Eligibility: Must be aged 14-19
- Dates: July 20-31
- Location: University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, PA
- Cost: $1,200
- Deadlines: Unspecified; applications open in January
Alpha is a twelve-day writing workshop for 20 high school students at the University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg campus. During this program, students are expected to write an original science fiction, fantasy, or horror short story of 2000 words or more. During the writing process, students receive plenty of hands-on guidance.
The Alpha program is held in-person on the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg campus . To apply, students must fill out an online form and submit an original short story of at least 2000 words.
Quiz: Is a Summer Writing Program Right for You?
If you’re still not sure if participating in a summer writing program is right for you, don’t worry–we’re here to help!
We’ve put together a five-question, yes-or-no response quiz to help you decide if summer writing programs support your interests and goals. Just read the questions below and respond with “yes” or “no.”
- Is your English class the most exciting part of your school day?
- Do you spend free time reading and writing for fun?
- Are you looking for new challenges and experiences as a writer?
- Are you willing to share your writing with others, including peers you’ve just met and writing professionals and experts?
- Are you highly motivated to pursue your interests outside of school and even during your summer vacation?
If you responded with “yes” to three or more of the questions above, you might consider applying to a summer writing program for high school students!
At the end of the day, you want your summer activities to support your interests and boost your college applications . If you’re aiming for a future career as a writer or just want to hone your writing hobby, a summer writing program may be the perfect fit for you.
3 Tips To Impress Colleges With Your Summer Writing Program
Summer writing programs for high school students look great to college admissions teams . But what are the best ways to showcase your writing experience on your applications?
We’ll show you how to impress colleges with your summer writing program–just check out the tips below !
Tip 1: Work It Into Your College Essays
You want your college essays to tell a vivid story about your interests . Your experiences in a summer writing program provide a great springboard for illustrating your interests and passions on your college applications!
Colleges want to accept students who are creative, courageous, and motivated to pursue their dreams. Writing about how you stretched and grew during your summer writing program will show colleges that you’re up for a challenge…and that you won’t give up, no matter how many revisions your draft needs.
Tip 2: Connect It to Your Major
If you’re already certain you want to major in a writing-related field in college, your summer writing program will be especially helpful. Many elite schools ask students to apply directly to their chosen major. So if you’re applying to an arts or humanities major, there’s a good chance you’ll have to submit a writing sample as part of your college application .
The good news is that most summer writing programs give you the chance to produce original writing and receive critiques from professional writers. By taking the writing you produce during your summer writing program and continuing to revise it, you’ll have a top-notch writing sample to include with your application.
Tip 3: Ask a Program Instructor for a Recommendation
Creative writing summer programs for high school students give you the opportunity to connect with writing faculty at elite colleges and real-life writers, journalists, poets, and more. These professionals provide feedback on your writing during your summer program…which means they’ll have unique insights into your potential as a college student !
In fact, several summer writing programs offer students the chance to receive a college recommendation from program faculty . For instance, the New York Times Summer Academy says this about recommendations from program faculty:
As a pre-college program, [NYT] Summer Academy gives students the opportunity to get a glimpse of the college experience while also exploring possible topics of study. Typically, college admissions officers look favorably on students who continue to enhance their academic portfolio during the summer months. Students will also benefit from receiving a narrative evaluation from their instructor which can be included as part of their college applications.
If you build strong rapport with an instructor at your summer writing program, consider staying in touch and asking them to write you a letter of recommendation for your college applications. Having a recommendation from someone outside of your high school will show colleges that you’re already building real-world connections with people in your future career field .
Writing programs can prepare you for writing your college admissions essays . Our expert guide breaks down the whole admissions essay writing process , step by step.
One popular college essay format is the “why this school?” prompt. We’ll show you how to write an amazing “why this college” essay that will wow admissions counselors.
If you’re not sure what a great college essay looks like, that’s okay. We’ve compiled a list of over 140 college essays that can inspire you as you’re writing yours!
Thinking ahead to college applications?
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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.
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- Outreach for High School Students
Writing Summer Institute
The Writing Summer Institute is a non-resident writing course for English-speaking high school students who seek to strengthen their writing and discussion skills. For over twenty years, UCLA Writing Programs has helped undergraduates successfully meet the challenges of a university education. Through a three week summer workshop, UCLA’s highly regarded writing specialists will help college-bound students prepare for those challenges. All activities will demystify the unstated differences between college and high school writing. The summer workshop will also attend to the college application process, including the application essay. This writer’s workshop is ideal for the ambitious high school student who wants to start a step ahead. Click here for more information about this program.
To apply for a scholarship that covers the full tuition for the Writing Summer Institute, please click here .
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Creative Writing Academy
- How to Apply
Transform your dreams, ideas, and stories into organized, compelling, creative written works with dynamic lectures in craft topics, workshop sessions with graduate student instructors, and insightful, productive feedback from your peers. This combination of instructional approaches will help you generate and polish a wealth of new poems, stories, and essays, and allow you to experiment with innovative forms in the field of creative writing. The Academy will also focus on the publishing and professionalization aspects of the industry, exploring what markets are available for your writing, what jobs are available to creative writers, funding opportunities for your work, undergraduate and graduate programs in writing, and how to get published. Topics for discussion will include literary form and targeted craft points, often in relation to social, political, and environmental themes. In addition, this week-long program will feature excursions to sites around Washington, D.C., including an exercise in ekphrastic writing at the National Gallery of Art and the chance to read your work aloud at Busboys and Poets, a famous D.C. literary hub.
Price includes tuition, housing, and meals. Commuter Student tuition is $2,625.
How You'll Benefit
- Participate in writing workshops
- Awaken your powers of observation, imagination, and description
- Learn concrete elements of the craft of writing in daily workshops
- Attend readings from published authors, who will lead interactive classes and conduct group discussions
- Work with Georgetown's expert creative writing faculty to bring out your most creative ideas
- Read excerpts from award-winning works and use them to develop your own original works
- Visit local monuments, world-renowned theaters, museums, and literary organizations
- Take part in peer critiques and learn how to revise and refine your writing
Program Format & Subject Areas
As a student in the Creative Writing Academy, you'll spend your day immersed in a blend of classroom lectures, field trips, hands-on activities, and group discussions. Throughout the week, you'll have the opportunity to explore the following subject areas:
- Personal prose
- Literary history
- Technique (story structure, character development, theme, description, dialogue)
- Finding good ideas and turning them into polished pieces
- Using great literature and art for inspiration
All in all, I fell in love with the program. I got to meet so many amazing people not only from the D.C. area but all around the country.
Having the chance to experience once in a lifetime opportunities and getting to meet people from around the world made it so I got to really experience what college life was like.
My #SummerHoya experience was enriching, inspiring, and rewarding; if I could turn back the clock, I’d do it all over again.
It was amazing to be surrounded by such high caliber students and staff who were all encouraging and fabulous to work with. I took away many positive things from my week as a Summer Hoya.
As I am filling out my college applications, I am able to think back to my memories from the summer and I am reassured that I am pursuing the right educational path.
The program offers so much–from the off-site visits to the daily lectures and the on campus activities. The lectures were interesting, meeting new people was great and the off-site visits were interactive and intriguing.
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Our 2020-21 Writing Curriculum for Middle and High School
A flexible, seven-unit program based on the real-world writing found in newspapers, from editorials and reviews to personal narratives and informational essays.
Update, Aug. 3, 2023: Find our 2023-24 writing curriculum here.
Our 2019-20 Writing Curriculum is one of the most popular new features we’ve ever run on this site, so, of course, we’re back with a 2020-21 version — one we hope is useful whether you’re teaching in person , online , indoors , outdoors , in a pod , as a homeschool , or in some hybrid of a few of these.
The curriculum detailed below is both a road map for teachers and an invitation to students. For teachers, it includes our writing prompts, mentor texts, contests and lesson plans, and organizes them all into seven distinct units. Each focuses on a different genre of writing that you can find not just in The Times but also in all kinds of real-world sources both in print and online.
But for students, our main goal is to show young people they have something valuable to say, and to give those voices a global audience. That’s always been a pillar of our site, but this year it is even more critical. The events of 2020 will define this generation, and many are living through them isolated from their ordinary communities, rituals and supports. Though a writing curriculum can hardly make up for that, we hope that it can at least offer teenagers a creative outlet for making sense of their experiences, and an enthusiastic audience for the results. Through the opportunities for publication woven throughout each unit, we want to encourage students to go beyond simply being media consumers to become creators and contributors themselves.
So have a look, and see if you can find a way to include any of these opportunities in your curriculum this year, whether to help students document their lives, tell stories, express opinions, investigate ideas, or analyze culture. We can’t wait to hear what your students have to say!
Each unit includes:
Writing prompts to help students try out related skills in a “low stakes” way.
We publish two writing prompts every school day, and we also have thematic collections of more than 1,000 prompts published in the past. Your students might consider responding to these prompts on our site and using our public forums as a kind of “rehearsal space” for practicing voice and technique.
Daily opportunities to practice writing for an authentic audience.
If a student submits a comment on our site, it will be read by Times editors, who approve each one before it gets published. Submitting a comment also gives students an audience of fellow teenagers from around the world who might read and respond to their work. Each week, we call out our favorite comments and honor dozens of students by name in our Thursday “ Current Events Conversation ” feature.
Guided practice with mentor texts .
Each unit we publish features guided practice lessons, written directly to students, that help them observe, understand and practice the kinds of “craft moves” that make different genres of writing sing. From how to “show not tell” in narratives to how to express critical opinions , quote or paraphrase experts or craft scripts for podcasts , we have used the work of both Times journalists and the teenage winners of our contests to show students techniques they can emulate.
“Annotated by the Author” commentaries from Times writers — and teenagers.
As part of our Mentor Texts series , we’ve been asking Times journalists from desks across the newsroom to annotate their articles to let students in on their writing, research and editing processes, and we’ll be adding more for each unit this year. Whether it’s Science writer Nicholas St. Fleur on tiny tyrannosaurs , Opinion writer Aisha Harris on the cultural canon , or The Times’s comics-industry reporter, George Gene Gustines, on comic books that celebrate pride , the idea is to demystify journalism for teenagers. This year, we’ll be inviting student winners of our contests to annotate their work as well.
A contest that can act as a culminating project .
Over the years we’ve heard from many teachers that our contests serve as final projects in their classes, and this curriculum came about in large part because we want to help teachers “plan backwards” to support those projects.
All contest entries are considered by experts, whether Times journalists, outside educators from partner organizations, or professional practitioners in a related field. Winning means being published on our site, and, perhaps, in the print edition of The New York Times.
Webinars and our new professional learning community (P.L.C.).
For each of the seven units in this curriculum, we host a webinar featuring Learning Network editors as well as teachers who use The Times in their classrooms. Our webinars introduce participants to our many resources and provide practical how-to’s on how to use our prompts, mentor texts and contests in the classroom.
New for this school year, we also invite teachers to join our P.L.C. on teaching writing with The Times , where educators can share resources, strategies and inspiration about teaching with these units.
Below are the seven units we will offer in the 2020-21 school year.
Unit 1: Documenting Teenage Lives in Extraordinary Times
This special unit acknowledges both the tumultuous events of 2020 and their outsized impact on young people — and invites teenagers to respond creatively. How can they add their voices to our understanding of what this historic year will mean for their generation?
Culminating in our Coming of Age in 2020 contest, the unit helps teenagers document and respond to what it’s been like to live through what one Times article describes as “a year of tragedy, of catastrophe, of upheaval, a year that has inflicted one blow after another, a year that has filled the morgues, emptied the schools, shuttered the workplaces, swelled the unemployment lines and polarized the electorate.”
A series of writing prompts, mentor texts and a step-by-step guide will help them think deeply and analytically about who they are, how this year has impacted them, what they’d like to express as a result, and how they’d like to express it. How might they tell their unique stories in ways that feel meaningful and authentic, whether those stories are serious or funny, big or small, raw or polished?
Though the contest accepts work across genres — via words and images, video and audio — all students will also craft written artist’s statements for each piece they submit. In addition, no matter what genre of work students send in, the unit will use writing as a tool throughout to help students brainstorm, compose and edit. And, of course, this work, whether students send it to us or not, is valuable far beyond the classroom: Historians, archivists and museums recommend that we all document our experiences this year, if only for ourselves.
Unit 2: The Personal Narrative
While The Times is known for its award-winning journalism, the paper also has a robust tradition of publishing personal essays on topics like love , family , life on campus and navigating anxiety . And on our site, our daily writing prompts have long invited students to tell us their stories, too. Our 2019 collection of 550 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing is a good place to start, though we add more every week during the school year.
In this unit we draw on many of these resources, plus some of the 1,000-plus personal essays from the Magazine’s long-running Lives column , to help students find their own “short, memorable stories ” and tell them well. Our related mentor-text lessons can help them practice skills like writing with voice , using details to show rather than tell , structuring a narrative arc , dropping the reader into a scene and more. This year, we’ll also be including mentor text guided lessons that use the work of the 2019 student winners.
As a final project, we invite students to send finished stories to our Second Annual Personal Narrative Writing Contest .
Unit 3: The Review
Book reports and literary essays have long been staples of language arts classrooms, but this unit encourages students to learn how to critique art in other genres as well. As we point out, a cultural review is, of course, a form of argumentative essay. Your class might be writing about Lizzo or “ Looking for Alaska ,” but they still have to make claims and support them with evidence. And, just as they must in a literature essay, they have to read (or watch, or listen to) a work closely; analyze it and understand its context; and explain what is meaningful and interesting about it.
In our Mentor Texts series , we feature the work of Times movie , restaurant , book and music critics to help students understand the elements of a successful review. In each one of these guided lessons, we also spotlight the work of teenage contest winners from previous years.
As a culminating project, we invite students to send us their own reviews of a book, movie, restaurant, album, theatrical production, video game, dance performance, TV show, art exhibition or any other kind of work The Times critiques.
Unit 4: Informational Writing
Informational writing is the style of writing that dominates The New York Times as well as any other traditional newspaper you might read, and in this unit we hope to show students that it can be every bit as engaging and compelling to read and to write as other genres. Via thousands of articles a month — from front-page reporting on politics to news about athletes in Sports, deep data dives in The Upshot, recipes in Cooking, advice columns in Style and long-form investigative pieces in the magazine — Times journalists find ways to experiment with the genre to intrigue and inform their audiences.
This unit invites students to take any STEM-related discovery, process or idea that interests them and write about it in a way that makes it understandable and engaging for a general audience — but all the skills we teach along the way can work for any kind of informational writing. Via our Mentor Texts series, we show them how to hook the reader from the start , use quotes and research , explain why a topic matters and more. This year we’ll be using the work of the 2020 student winners for additional mentor text lessons.
At the end of the unit, we invite teenagers to submit their own writing to our Second Annual STEM writing contest to show us what they’ve learned.
Unit 5: Argumentative Writing
The demand for evidence-based argumentative writing is now woven into school assignments across the curriculum and grade levels, and you couldn’t ask for better real-world examples than what you can find in The Times Opinion section .
This unit will, like our others, be supported with writing prompts, mentor-text lesson plans, webinars and more. We’ll also focus on the winning teenage writing we’ve received over the six years we’ve run our related contest.
At a time when media literacy is more important than ever, we also hope that our annual Student Editorial Contest can serve as a final project that encourages students to broaden their information diets with a range of reliable sources, and learn from a variety of perspectives on their chosen issue.
To help students working from home, we also have an Argumentative Unit for Students Doing Remote Learning .
Unit 6: Writing for Podcasts
Most of our writing units so far have all asked for essays of one kind or another, but this spring contest invites students to do what journalists at The Times do every day: make multimedia to tell a story, investigate an issue or communicate a concept.
Our annual podcast contest gives students the freedom to talk about anything they want in any form they like. In the past we’ve had winners who’ve done personal narratives, local travelogues, opinion pieces, interviews with community members, local investigative journalism and descriptions of scientific discoveries.
As with all our other units, we have supported this contest with great examples from The Times and around the web, as well as with mentor texts by teenagers that offer guided practice in understanding elements and techniques.
Unit 7: Independent Reading and Writing
At a time when teachers are looking for ways to offer students more “voice and choice,” this unit, based on our annual summer contest, offers both.
Every year since 2010 we have invited teenagers around the world to add The New York Times to their summer reading lists and, so far, 70,000 have. Every week for 10 weeks, we ask participants to choose something in The Times that has sparked their interest, then tell us why. At the end of the week, judges from the Times newsroom pick favorite responses, and we publish them on our site.
And we’ve used our Mentor Text feature to spotlight the work of past winners , explain why newsroom judges admired their thinking, and provide four steps to helping any student write better reader-responses.
Because this is our most open-ended contest — students can choose whatever they like, and react however they like — it has proved over the years to be a useful place for young writers to hone their voices, practice skills and take risks . Join us!
AIM: Creative Writing
The 2023 session of AIM was a great success. Please check back on December 15 for details about next summer’s program and to submit an application. Sign up for an email reminder.
If you’re a rising junior or senior, we invite you to apply to our intensive three-week writing program. Academic Immersion: Creative Writing is offered in partnership with BU’s MFA Program in Creative Writing , one of the oldest and most prestigious programs in the nation.
Here, you will hone your craft by focusing on a single genre each week: fiction, poetry, and screenplays. You will develop formal techniques in each genre during morning seminars led by BU instructors who are also seasoned writers.
Your afternoons will be filled with writing workshops, free-write sessions on campus and around Boston, visits from guest speakers, and pilgrimages to important cultural institutions throughout the city to see where other writers found inspiration.
The program concludes with a “writers showcase,” where you will share one of your own pieces with peers and other members of the BU community.
During the program, you will:
- Learn formal techniques and approaches to writing poetry, fiction, and screenplays
- Study with accomplished writers who are part of BU’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, one of the most highly ranked programs in the country
- Practice your craft and hone your style while gaining valuable insight into the writing process
- Develop confidence in your creative writing abilities through constructive critique and feedback
There are plenty of social activities to make sure everyone becomes familiar with the BU campus, Boston – and each other! You can plan your own free time or participate in weekend group activities, or even mix it up and join students in our other programs for a variety of scheduled events.
A Day in the Life
What's it really like to be an AIM student?
How to Apply
Applications open on December 15.
Check out our answers to commonly asked questions.