Writing Summer Programs for High School Students

Introductory Information about Summer Writing Programs

Student Writing a Summer Writing ProgramThere are a variety of summer writing programs available for high school students and teenagers. Whether formal or informal, writing is a skill that can be utilized in many different ways and in many different settings.
Writing occurs regularly in public school settings, college environments, and career pathways. Writing is also used to correspond with others, share thoughts, and exhibit creativity. The summer months provide an opportunity for students to enhance their writing skills, explore writing genres, and enjoy the process of writing.
This page of the directory, includes background information about summer writing opportunities and provides descriptions as well as  examples of summer writing programs below.
Students with an interest in a pre-college writing program, may also want to view the information on the following pages of the directory:

Students may also want to check out the different state pages with summer programs. The state pages can be found by using the tab near the top of the page.

Different Types of Writing Experiences in Summer Programs

Pen and Writing Journal for a Writing Summer ProgramSome writing summer programs are designed to enable high school students to explore different types of writing. For example, these programs may have workshops or seminars on poetry, fiction, playwriting, nonfiction, and more. Other programs may be more narrowly tailored for a specific type of writing.
As a result, it can be useful for high school students to carefully read about and investigate different summer writing programs in order to find those that will best align with their summer goals as well as their interests.

Developing Writing Skills in a Summer Program

Writing summer programs provide an opportunity for students to develop their own writing skills in a variety of ways. Depending on the program, students can receive feedback from instructors, engage in daily writing sessions, participate in vibrant discussions to help enhance creativity, work collaboratively with peers, and learn techniques from professional writers.
Summer writing programs often provide students with the chance to explore the writing process. These program tend to include segments that are more instruction-focused while also providing valuable opportunities for students to work on developing their own pieces. In addition, many programs foster an atmosphere where students can share their thoughts, ideas, and written work. There are also some programs that culminate with students sharing their work in a showcase setting with a supportive audience.

Pre-College  Summer Writing Programs

Writing on a College Campus for a Writing Summer ProgramWriting pre-college summer programs typically take place in a college environment, which enables high school students to gain experience being on a campus. Some pre-college programs enable students to learn from faculty members, explore college majors, and gain insight into the way that writing is used in careers. Depending on the program, students may also get a sense of the academic expectations for writing at the college level.
Overall, writing summer programs can be beneficial for high school students with regards to improving writing skills, learning about different types of writing, and preparing to use writing in a variety of settings.

Featured Summer Pre-College Programs

Summer program for high school students at Susquehanna University

Summer Writing Workshop for High School Students at Susquehanna University

University of California Los Angeles summer pre-college video game design program for high school students

UCLA Game Lab Summer Institute – Online Learning

Wealthy summer program for high school students

Wealthy Habits Summer Financial Literacy Virtual Courses for Students Ages 11-19

Bard College summer writing program for high school students

The Young Writers Program – Bard College at Simon’s Rock

American University pre-college scholars summer program for high school students

American University Community of Scholars Summer Pre-College Program

Recommended Resources

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The Fiske Guide: College Admission Information & College Reviews

The Official SAT Guide from the College Board

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Featured Writing Summer Programs

Auburn University summer writing program for high school students

Auburn University Creative Writing Summer Program – Auburn, Alabama

Auburn offers a creative writing program for high school students during the summer. This summer experience gives students, with an enthusiasm for writing, the opportunity to come to the campus to take part in a variety of writing activities. The program is designed to help students enjoy the writing process while also developing their writing skills.

The summer opportunity at Auburn enables to students to open up to their own creativity while focusing on the writing types of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. During the program, students have a chance to engage in activities that enable them to express their ideas through developing their own pieces of written work. Students also spend time analyzing and reflecting on literature as a way to discover techniques that can be utilized in their own writing.

Throughout the summer program, participants engage in writing activities and receive instruction as well as feedback. Participants also have a chance to hear from professional writers and visit local sites in which writing takes place on a daily basis.

This pre-college summer program is designed to give students access to college resources and the university campus. As a results, students can stay in a university dormitory and gain insight into living on a college campus during the program.

Participants: Students who will be going into freshman through senior year in high school.

Learn more: Auburn Summer Writing Program

Young Writers Summer Program on the campus of Bard College at Simon's Rock

Bard College at Simon’s Rock – Young Writers Workshop – Barrington, Massachusetts

In 1983 Bard College at Simon’s Rock established a summer creative writing program for high school students modeled after the three-week Language and Thinking Workshop required of all entering students at Bard College. Each summer 84 academically motivated students are selected to attend the Young Writers Workshop. Former participants have gone on to such colleges as Amherst, Bard, Bryn Mawr, Harvard, Haverford, Kenyon, Oberlin, Penn, Princeton, Smith, Williams, and Yale.

Over the course of the three weeks, students have the opportunity to engage in various creative writing activities, including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, drama, as well as imaginative and reflective responses to published work by contemporary writers. Using non-judgmental techniques of peer response, students then revise and develop more polished pieces from these initial drafts. The small size of the workshop sections allows for individual attention to each student and helps to foster the sense of belonging to an intimate and supportive community in which students can feel comfortable taking risks with ideas and exploring new directions in their creative writing.

Each week students develop a portfolio of “works in progress” and then meet individually with their workshop leader to go over their drafts and discuss possible directions for revision. When not in class, students can use the College’s athletic center, participate in a variety of on-campus activities organized by the residential staff, as well as attend off-campus events sponsored by such organizations or venues as Shakespeare and Company, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, MASS MoCA, and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.  The program is being offered online this summer.

Participants: High school students in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.

Learn more:  Young Writers Workshop

University of Chicago creative writing summer program for high school students

University of Chicago Creative Writing Program – Chicago, Illinois

The University of Chicago offers a variety of summer pre-college opportunities for high school students. A creative writing summer program is an option that is offered through the summer immersion experience at the university. This program is designed to give high school students the opportunity to engage in a variety of creative writing activities, collaborate with other participants, become more familiar with learning in a college setting, develop an understanding of new techniques to utilize in their writing and enhance their skills in this area.

During the three-week program, students are able to explore different genres of writing and engage in interesting and high-level discussions. Students work on their own pieces of writing and collaborate with peers to receive as well as share ideas. Participants also learn writing techniques and receive feedback from the instructor.

One of the features of the creative writing program involves the analysis of pieces of literature. This enables students to share their thoughts and to learn techniques that can be applied to their own writing.

Another feature of the summer program involves students producing multiple pieces of their own writing by the time the program comes to a conclusion. In order to meet this goal, students have time to write on daily basis and to implement the writing techniques and ideas that they are learning through the program.

The summer creative writing program is designed to be a  pre-college experience. Participants can stay in dorms on the campus and utilize a variety of resources at the university. Additionally, there are extracurricular and social activities for students to take part in during the evenings.

Participants: Current high school students freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.

Learn more: UC Summer Writing Program

Gettysburg College summer writing program for high school students

Gettysburg College Summer Creative Writing Program – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The Young Writers’ Summer Workshop provides high school students with the opportunity to learn about and develop skills in the area of creative writing. The program enables students to interact with multiple faculty members, share ideas with peers, gain exposure to different avenues within creative writing, and generate their own writing pieces.

Through the summer program, students have the opportunity to build upon and strengthen their knowledge in creative writing in genres such as poetry, fiction, and playwriting. Professors guide students through an exploration of creative writing that involves analyzing text, experimenting with techniques, participating in discussions, and engaging in the writing process.

During the program, students have the chance to share their writing, receive feedback from instructors as well as other young writers, and offer ideas in a collaborative environment. Towards the end of the summer writing experience, students can present a piece of writing in a supportive large group setting.

This pre-college program enables students to stay on the campus in college-run housing. This can add to the summer experience by giving students a preview of life in a higher education setting.

Participants: High school students who will be going into the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.

Learn more: Gettysburg Summer Writing Program

University of Iowa writing summer program for high school students

University of Iowa Summer Writing Program – Iowa City, Iowa

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Program enables high school students spend two weeks immersed in a supportive environment that recognizes that importance of writing. Students have the chance to connect with other young writers, hear from published authors, and work collaboratively with instructors. The classes are small and students receive individualized support as they implement new writing ideas and techniques.

The program is designed to allow each high school student to select a primary focus. Students can choose poetry, fiction, or creative writing. Within each of these areas, there are seminars that involve engaging discussions and thoughtful analysis about published texts that have been read. There is also a studio or workshop component, which is intended to apply newfound thoughts, ideas, and strategies to writing. This component provides the opportunity to for students to share their work, discuss ideas, and receive feedback in positive setting. During the workshops, students also provide thoughts, ideas, and feedback to other writers.

There are also a variety of writing activities and exercises that students engage in throughout the program. As a result, students have time to reflect and writing through the program.

During the summer program, students receive guidance and support from instructors. Each student is expected to work cooperatively with instructors. To some degree this can model the collaborative expectations for writers and editors. The instructor also works to ensure that environment is conducive for all students to incorporate new ideas and techniques in their writing.

Participating students have the opportunity to experience life as a college student. This residential program enables students to stay in a university dormitory and utilize resources on the campus. The opportunity to spend two weeks on a college campus serve to give students a preview of being in a college.

There is an application process for this program. Students are encouraged to prepare and submit application early when they can. Some aid is available based on financial need.

Participants: High school students completing at least 10th grade.

Learn more: Iowa Summer Writing Program

Summer Writing Program for High School Students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Juniper Institute for Young Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

This summer program is designed for students who have an interest in writing and the motivation to enhance their writing skills. The program includes workshops that promote student creativity in the areas of fiction and poetry. Students have the opportunity to implement new writing techniques, explore different types of writing, share pieces, receive valuable feedback, and engage in the writing process.

The program is also intended to develop a communal writing environment where students work cooperatively with each other and with the program instructors. During the program, students have a chance to learn and interact with a variety of instructors, including professional writers. In addition, the program enables students to visit interesting sites, engage in literary readings, take part in activities to encourage creativity, and collaborate with peers.

The Juniper Writing Summer Program is residential and there is an application for interested students. There are a limited number of scholarships that may be available. Students are encouraged to get their applications in early.

Participants: The program is designed for high school students who have finished their freshman, sophomore, or junior year.

Learn more: Juniper

Lake Forest College summer writing program for high school students

Lake Forest College Writing and Thinking Summer Workshop – Lake Forest, Illinois

Join our supportive, dynamic community for two weeks of inspiration and new friends on our beautiful campus on the Lake Michigan shore. You will learn innovative ways to generate ideas and get words on the page to share with your fellow writers. We also draw on the resources of Chicago to give you unique opportunities to get those creative juices flowing. Apply today!

Participants: High school students

Learn more: Lake Forest College Writing & Thinking Workshop

Sarah Lawrence College writing summer program for hig school students

Sarah Lawrence College Summer Writing Program – Bronxville, New York

This creative writing summer program, known as Writer’s Village, provides high school with the opportunity to enhance their writing skills and get a feel for living and learning on a college campus. Participants have an opportunity to learn from professors, professional writers, as well as each other.

The summer program includes a variety of interesting writing activities. Students regularly take part in seminar-style classes that focus on prose and poetry. Through the summer experience, participants have the opportunity to gain experience analyzing different types of text, participating in college-level discussions, and exploring writing from multiple angles. Students also gain exposure to a variety of writing genres and learn about techniques that they can be readily applied to their own writing. 

During the program, students frequently interact with experienced instructors and receive guidance as well as personalized feedback on their writing. Students are encouraged to try to new writing styles, share thoughts, engage in writing exercises, and cultivate a strong interest in writing.

This pre-college program allows students to stay on the campus and utilize resources at the college. This enables students to get a feel for college life.

Participants: High school students.

Learn more: SLC Summer Writing Intensive

Young authors summer creative writing program for high school students

The Young Authors Summer Program: A Creative Writing Pre-College Program

Rev up your writing! Spring Street International School is hosting a Young Authors Summer Program for passionate high school writers of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. This two-week program takes place on San Juan Island in Washington State. Writers stay in our residence hall staffed with a dorm parent and a chef who will prepare locally sourced meals.
Award-winning authors Megan Kruse and James Crews will lead seminars in the morning to help students hone their writing skills and provide them with new craft techniques. Afternoons include guided field trips into the woods, out to the ocean, and down to the cozy town of Friday Harbor.

Evenings include guest speakers, editors, and local writers who come to commune with student writers. Our program is limited to 20 in order to provide a community-based learning environment where students will receive one-on-one attention.

Participants: High school students.

Learn more: Young Authors Summer Program

Summer Writers Workshop for high school students

Summer Writers Workshop at Susquehanna University – Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania

The Summer Writers Workshop is an intense, weeklong, pre-college program in which high school writers share and receive feedback on their own writing—fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and performance writing. We accept rising juniors and seniors in high school, and although no formal training in creative writing is necessary, we require a portfolio at the time of application.
Participants meet in small groups and in individual conferences with faculty members, assisted by talented creative writing majors at Susquehanna University’s Writers Institute. They learn and practice specific, craft-based techniques in a chosen genre, and they produce new work to be shared in a public reading at the week’s end and published in our annual anthology.
Students leave the workshop with new skills, confidence, a writing community, and a sense of what it might be like to pursue creative writing as a career. We are proud of this uniquely supportive environment that rewards hard work and fuels the passion of the next generation of young writers.

Participants: High school students who will be entering their junior or senior year.

Learn more: Summer Writers Workshop

Additional Summer Writing Programs for High School Students

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