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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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21 Summer Writing Programs for High School Students in 2024

What’s Covered:


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. 


21 Summer Writing Programs for High School Students


1. Princeton Summer Journalism Program 


Dates: Classes begin mid July, residential portion is July 26 – August 5

Location: Online and in Princeton, NJ

Application deadline: February 15

Cost: Free


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
  • Meet at least one of these socioeconomic conditions:
    • 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


2. JCamp 


Dates: August 3 – 9

Location: Austin, Texas

Application deadline: March 1

Cost: Free


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. Iowa Young Writers’ Studio 2 Week Residential Program



  • Session 1: June 16 – 29
  • Session 2: July 14 – 27

Location: In-person in Iowa City, IA, or virtual

Application deadline: February 4

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. 


4. Sarah Lawerence Writers’ Week 



  • Virtual: July 15 – 19
  • In-person: August 5 – 9

Location: Virtual or Bronxville NY

Application deadline: TBD. Registration opens in February

Cost: Virtual: $1025; In-person: $1,550


During Sarah Lawerence Writers’ 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.  


5. California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) Writing Program


Dates: July 6 – August 2

Location: Sacramento, CA

Application deadline: February 29

Cost: CA State Residents: $4,600; Out-of-state: $7,000


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. 


6. Juniper Young Writers Online Writing Lab 



  • One-week program: July 29 – August 2
  • Two-week program: July 29 – August 9

Location: Amherst, MA

Application deadline: March 7

Cost: $2,600 for one week; $4,950 for two weeks


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.


7. Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement (AYA) 


Dates: June 17 – July 19

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Application deadline: March 22

Cost: Free


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. 


8. Reynolds Young Writers Workshop 


Dates: June 22 – 29

Location: Granville, OH

Application deadline: March 1

Cost: $1,500


For more than a quarter of a century, Denison University has welcomed talented high school writers to its acclaimed Reynolds Young Writers 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.


9. Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication


Dates: June 23 – 28

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Application deadline: April 1

Cost: $699


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. 


10. Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers


Dates: July 24 – August 4

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Application deadline: March 10

Cost: $1,500


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. 


11. 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center Young Writers Workshop


Dates: July 8 – 25

Location: New York, NY

Application deadline: May 28

Cost: $2,600


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. 


12. Shared Worlds


Dates: July 14 – 27

Location: Spartanburg, SC

Application deadline: Rolling

Cost: $2,600


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. 


13. Bard College at Simon’s Rock Young Writers Workshop


Dates: July 7 – 27

Location: Great Barrington, MA

Application deadline: Rolling

Cost: $3,500


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.


14. Kenyon Review Summer Residential Young Writers Workshops



  • Session 1: June 23 – July 6
  • Session 2: July 14 – 27

Location: Gambier, OH

Application deadline: March 1

Cost: $2,575


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. 


15. Kenyon Review Summer Online Young Writers Workshop


Dates: June 16 – 21

Location: Online

Application deadline: April 15

Cost: $995


For students who can’t make it to Ohio for two weeks, the online workshop is a great alternative. With writing workshops for three and a half hours every day, it’s possible to take advantage of the program without relocating. In the evening, students will attend virtual open mics, social gatherings, and talks and readings by authors. 


16. BYU Young Authors Academy


Dates: July 8 – 13

Location: Provo, UT

Application deadline: Rolling

Cost: $489


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


Dates: June 23 – July 6

Location: Portland, OR

Application deadline: March 8

Cost: $3,700


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 



  • Session 1: June 23 – July 6
  • Session 2: July 14 – 27

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Application deadline: March 15

Cost: $5,800 plus a $65 application fee


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: June 22 – July 20

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Application deadline: March 1

Cost: $6,800- $8,995


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



  • On Campus: June 24 – July 12
  • Virtual Session 1: June 17 – 28
  • Virtual Session 2: July 1 – 12
  • Virtual Session 3: July 15 – 26

Application deadline: April 19 for in person; May 10 for remote

Location: Virtual or Boston, MA

Cost: $1500 to $6200


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. For applicants who get their materials in by March 8th, there is a $400 discount for in-person, and a $200 discount for virtual learning. 


21. The School of The New York Times’ Summer Academy



  • Term 1: June 9 – 21
  • Term 2: June 23 – July 5
  • Term 3: July 7 – 19
  • Term 4: July 21 – August 2

Location: New York City

Application deadline: April 1

Cost: $5,935 to $7,220


From DIY Filmmaking to A Million Lives in the Law and Pop Music as Art & Business, The School of the New York Times offers a wide range of fascinating classes to students interested in journalism. In the heart of New York City, students can spend several weeks learning from experienced journalists working in the field. Scholarship applications are only available until the end of February, so interested students should apply ASAP. 


How Impressive Are Summer Programs in College Admissions?


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!


Other Ways to Spend Your Summer


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.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.