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15 Summer Writing Programs for High School Students

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 15 summer writing programs for high school students. 

 

15 Summer Writing Programs for High School Students

 

1. Princeton Summer Journalism Program 

 

Dates: June 29-July 30 

Location: Virtual   

Application deadline: NA  

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 here
  • 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: TBD 

Location: Virtual  

Application deadline: TBD  

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. Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program

 

Dates: June 21-August 2  

Location: Virtual  

Application deadline: March 22  

Cost: $350 

 

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. Over 65% of mentorship graduates have matriculated at Ivy League universities, Stanford, UChicago, Cambridge, or Oxford.

 

4. Iowa Young Writers’ Studio 

 

Dates: TBD 

Location: The University of Iowa   

Application deadline: TBD 

Cost: $2,500

 

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 two-week 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 144 other high school writers from across the U.S. 

 

5. Sarah Lawerence Writer’s Week 

 

Dates: TBD 

Location: Virtual   

Application deadline: TBD  

Cost: $725

 

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

 

Dates: July 12-August 6   

Location: California Institute of the Arts 

Application deadline: February 26

Cost: In-state: $2,350 / Out-of-state: $6,850

 

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 four professional writers and educators who guide them through work in fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and dramatic writing. The program prides itself on its free and 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 

 

Dates: July 18-29 

Location: Virtual   

Application deadline: TBD  

Cost: $900

 

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 five-day program. Led by professional teachers, published authors, and graduate students at UMass Amherst pursuing their MFA in creative writing, 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. Writing Labs are capped at 10 students, allowing participants to form close bonds with their peers and instructors alike. 

 

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

 

Dates: TBD

Location: Online/University of Southern California (USC)    

Application deadline: NA

Cost: Free

 

AYA is a free, three-week immersive experience for 28 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 

 

Dates: TBD   

Location: Virtual   

Application deadline: TBD  

Cost: $650 

 

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—groups are never larger than 12 people.  

 

10. Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

 

Dates: June 6-18  

Location: Virtual   

Application deadline: April 10  

Cost: Free

 

The Summer Journalism Institute is one of three programs offered to high schoolers by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Led by faculty, staff, and student counselors, participants at the Summer Journalism Institute gain firsthand experience in both digital and broadcast journalism. The two-week course is supported by the Arizona Broadcasters Association and is free. 

 

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

 

Dates: TBD 

Location: University of Pittsburgh

Application deadline: TBD 

Cost: $1,200

 

Alpha is one of the more interesting writing programs for high school students. Over its 12 days, students with an interest in science fiction, fantasy, or horror learn how to generate ideas, turn those ideas into drafts, critique work (their own and others), 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

 

Dates: July 12-29  

Location: New York, NY  

Application deadline: June 21  

Cost: $2,400

 

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 NYC’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   

 

Dates: July 11-17  

Location: Wofford College  

Application deadline: NA

Cost: $1,000

 

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

 

Dates: July 11-23  

Location: Great Barrington, MA  

Application deadline: NA  

Cost: TBD

 

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

 

Dates: June 26-July 9 & July 17-30 

Location: Kenyon College  

Application deadline: NA  

Cost: $2,475 

 

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.  

 

How Impressive Are Summer Programs in College Admissions?

 

Summer writing programs—and other extracurricular activities—play a major role in college admissions 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 (and extracurriculars) to estimate your odds of acceptance at hundreds of schools across the country. It even provides insight into how to 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 at heart 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 such as 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 online 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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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.