The Creative Writers Workshop at Emerson College: A Deep Dive

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a high school student studying

The Creative Writers Workshop at Emerson College: A Deep Dive

Are you passionate about creative writing and considering your college options? Emerson College’s Creative Writers Workshop may just be the perfect fit for you.

In this article, we’ll explore why Emerson College is a standout choice for creative writing enthusiasts. We’ll also delve into its reputation and writing programs and provide insightful application tips and workshop reminders. Boost your chances of getting into the program by reading this comprehensive guide.

Is Creative Writing at Emerson College Good?

Emerson College, located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, is a renowned private college specializing in communication and the arts. With a legacy dating back to 1880, Emerson has consistently been at the forefront of education in fields like journalism, film, and, of course, creative writing.

Emerson College has earned a notable reputation in the realm of creative writing education. Its commitment to fostering creative talent is evident in its robust creative writing programs and famous alumni.

stone signage of Emerson University

Creative Writing Programs

The institution’s Creative Writing BFA and Creative Writing MFA programs, offered through the Department of Writing, Literature & Publishing, have garnered recognition for their excellence. These programs provide students with a comprehensive foundation in writing, literature, and publishing, equipping them with the skills necessary to excel in the field.

The MFA program holds a nationally ranked position in creative writing education, further attesting to its quality. This recognition reflects the program’s dedication to nurturing emerging writers and helping them achieve their literary goals.

The college also offers the Creative Writers Workshop, which is a pre-college summer program designed for high school students who are interested in developing their writing skills. It offers an intensive seminar where young writers can work on the fundamentals of creative writing through workshops and individual instruction.

Emerson College’s creative writing programs prioritize student development. This hands-on approach, coupled with a faculty of experienced writers, underscores the institution’s dedication to nurturing creative talent.

Notable Alumni

The institution boasts an impressive roster of alumni who have made their mark in the creative writing and entertainment industries.

This includes individuals like Sam Simahk, known for his work in musical theater, and Iliza Shlesinger, a prominent figure in the world of comedy and film. These success stories serve as a testament to the quality of education and mentorship provided at Emerson.

Emerson College has carved a niche for itself in the creative writing education landscape, boasting a strong academic foundation, accolades, accomplished alumni, and a genuine commitment to cultivating the next generation of creative writers. It’s a place where aspiring writers can thrive and develop their craft with confidence.

Creative Writing Workshops: What to Expect

Creative writing workshops are the creative crucibles where writers are forged, stories are sculpted, and words come alive. Here’s what you can typically expect in a creative writing workshop:

  1. Writing Exercises: Workshops often begin with writing exercises designed to spark creativity and generate new ideas. These exercises can vary from prompts to free-writing sessions.
  2. Reading and Analysis: Participants read and discuss assigned texts, which may include published works, classmates’ writing, or literary excerpts. Analyzing these texts helps writers understand various styles and techniques.
  3. Sharing and Discussion: Writers share their own work with the group. This sharing allows for constructive feedback and critique, a fundamental aspect of the workshop experience.
  4. Peer Feedback: Peer feedback is crucial in creative writing workshops. Writers provide constructive criticism to their peers, offering insights on strengths and areas for improvement. It helps writers refine their work and gain different perspectives.
  5. Craft Lectures: Instructors often provide lectures or discussions on various aspects of writing, such as character development, plot structure, and voice. These insights enhance writers’ understanding of the craft.
  6. Revision and Editing: Workshop participants revise their work based on feedback received. This iterative process helps writers polish their pieces for publication or further development.
  7. Genre Exploration: Workshops may focus on specific genres like fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or screenwriting. This allows writers to delve deeply into their chosen genre.
  8. Building Writing Community: Creative writing workshops foster a sense of community among writers. Participants support and inspire each other, creating a nurturing environment for artistic growth.

View of a man talking to a teacher.

In essence, a creative writing workshop is where you hone your craft, explore your imagination, and become part of a vibrant literary community. It’s a place where words find their wings and writers find their voices.

So, whether you’re a budding wordsmith or a seasoned scribe, these workshops offer a creative haven where your stories can take flight.

The Writing Program at Emerson College

Emerson College’s Writing Program is known for its commitment to fostering strong writing skills across various disciplines. It offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to prepare students for effective communication in both academic and professional settings.

This program’s foundation is built on these core pillars:

  1. Creative Writing Excellence: At the heart of Emerson’s Writing Program lies a deep commitment to creative writing. Students are encouraged to explore their creative voices, develop storytelling skills, and craft compelling narratives. The program offers courses in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and screenwriting, providing a well-rounded creative writing experience.
  2. Academic Rigor: Emerson’s Writing Program upholds academic rigor. Students are challenged to refine their writing techniques, analyze literary works, and engage in critical thinking. This academic foundation enhances their ability to craft impactful narratives.
  3. Professional Development: Beyond creativity and academics, the program emphasizes professional development. Students learn how to navigate the publishing industry, build a writing portfolio, and prepare for careers in various writing-related fields, including journalism, editing, and publishing.

Emerson College’s Writing Program offers a comprehensive and hands-on approach to writing education, preparing students to excel in various writing genres and professional contexts. Whether your passion is fiction, poetry, journalism, or any form of written expression, Emerson’s Writing Program provides a nurturing environment for your growth as a writer.

The Structure of Emerson College’s Creative Writing Workshop

Creative writing courses at Emerson College often follow a workshop structure. Let’s dive into the structure and format of this workshop.

Typical Class Size

The class size in the Creative Writers Workshop is deliberately kept small to ensure personalized attention and meaningful interactions. This smaller class size fosters a sense of community and allows instructors to engage with each student effectively. While specific numbers may vary, it’s common for workshops like this to have around 10 to 15 participants.


The workshop spans a defined period, typically lasting for several weeks or even months. High school students participating in the Pre-College Creative Writers Workshop, for example, engage in an intensive, on-campus program over four weeks, while college-level creative writing courses may follow a semester-based schedule.

Frequency of Sessions

The frequency of sessions can vary. In some cases, workshops meet several times a week, providing students with ample opportunities for in-depth exploration and feedback. Others may opt for a once-a-week format to accommodate students’ schedules. These sessions involve both in-class learning and out-of-class writing assignments.

Group Activities

Workshops often emphasize group activities such as peer critiques and group discussions. These activities enable students to receive diverse feedback, learn from each other’s perspectives, and develop their critiquing skills. Group activities are a cornerstone of the workshop, fostering a collaborative learning environment.

multi national students studying together

One-on-One Guidance

Instructors in the Creative Writers Workshop provide invaluable one-on-one guidance. This personalized attention helps students refine their writing, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and set individualized goals. Instructors act as mentors, offering constructive feedback tailored to each student’s needs.

Independent Work

Independent work is crucial in a writing workshop. Students are assigned writing exercises, projects, and readings to complete independently. This independent work allows them to practice and experiment with their craft. It also serves as the foundation for in-class discussions and critiques.

In short, Emerson’s Creative Writers Workshop strikes a harmonious balance between class size, duration, and session frequency. Its structure revolves around a combination of group activities, personalized guidance, and independent work.

Emerson College’s Creative Writing Success Stories

Emerson College’s Creative Writers Workshop has a rich history of nurturing emerging talent, and the success stories of past participants are both inspiring and indicative of the program’s impact. Here are a few anecdotes showcasing the achievements of alumni in creative writing.

Publication and Awards

Many alumni of the Creative Writers Workshop have gone on to publish novels, collections of poetry, and short stories. Some have received prestigious literary awards, including Pushcart Prizes and recognition from organizations like the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP).

Literary Journals

Emerson’s Creative Writing MFA program is home to two award-winning literary journals. Alumni often contribute to and edit these journals, gaining valuable editorial experience while continuing to refine their craft.

Literary Magazines

Students in Emerson’s pre-college programs, including the Creative Writers Workshop, have contributed to literary magazines like “The Paramount Palette.” These magazines provide a platform for young writers to showcase their work and connect with a wider audience.

Novel Incubator

Some workshop participants have extended their writing journey by joining programs like Grub Street’s Novel Incubator. R.J. Taylor, who received her MFA from Emerson College, has found success through such initiatives, demonstrating how the program can be a stepping stone to further opportunities.

Career in Writing and Media

Alumni have pursued careers in various writing-related fields, including journalism, screenwriting, and content creation. The workshop equips them with essential writing skills and storytelling techniques that are valuable in today’s media landscape.

a group of students working with a cameraman

Therefore, Emerson College’s Creative Writers Workshop has played a pivotal role in the journeys of many successful writers. The program’s combination of expert guidance, a supportive community, and opportunities for publication and recognition has propelled numerous alumni into fulfilling careers in the world of creative writing. These stories not only celebrate the achievements of past participants but also serve as a testament to the program’s effectiveness in nurturing literary talent.

Benefits of Attending Emerson College’s Creative Writing Workshop

Participating in Emerson College’s Creative Writers Workshop offers numerous tangible benefits:

  1. Skill Development: Attendees have the opportunity to enhance their writing skills, whether in fiction, creative nonfiction, or other forms of creative writing. Through workshops and individual instruction, they can refine their craft and storytelling abilities.
  2. Creative Exploration: The workshop encourages creative exploration and experimentation. Students can push their boundaries, explore new genres, and develop their unique voice as writers.
  3. Professional Guidance: Experienced instructors provide valuable guidance and feedback. They can help attendees identify their strengths and areas for improvement, fostering growth as writers.
  4. Portfolio Building: By creating new pieces during the workshop, participants can build a portfolio of their work. This can be beneficial for future college applications or writing pursuits.
  5. Networking: Interacting with fellow aspiring writers provides networking opportunities. Building connections within the writing community can be valuable for future collaborations or support.
  6. Confidence Boost: Successfully completing a writing workshop can boost confidence in one’s abilities. It demonstrates a commitment to the craft and the ability to accept constructive criticism.

The benefits of attending a writing workshop, such as Emerson’s, extend beyond skill development. They include personal growth, networking, and the confidence to pursue a passion for writing. Workshops offer a supportive environment for writers to thrive and evolve in their craft.

How to Apply for the Emerson College’s Creative Writers Workshop

Emerson College offers degree programs in creative writing, each with its own application process. But if you’re eager to join its Pre-College Creative Writers Workshop, here’s a step-by-step guide to the application process, along with essential prerequisites and tips for a successful application.

a woman student wearing a headset while smiling facing her laptop

Application Procedure

  1. Online Application: Start by filling out the online application provided by Emerson College for the Pre-College Creative Writers Workshop. This application serves as your initial submission.
  2. Application Fee: Pay a non-refundable application fee of $60. This fee covers the administrative costs associated with processing your application.
  3. Application Deadline: Pay close attention to the application deadline, which may vary from year to year. Applying early is advisable, as space in the program may be limited.
  4. Program Selection: Select the Pre-College Creative Writers Workshop program when completing your application. This ensures that you are considered for this specific workshop.
  5. Rolling Admission: Emerson College typically follows rolling admission for its pre-college programs. This means that applications are reviewed as they are received, and decisions may be made on an ongoing basis. Applying early increases your chances of securing a spot.

Specific Requirements and Prerequisites

  1. Academic Qualifications: While specific academic prerequisites may vary, having a strong academic background and a demonstrated interest in creative writing is generally advantageous.
  2. Letters of Recommendation: Typically, you will need to submit at least two letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, or individuals who can attest to your writing abilities and potential.
  3. Admission Essay: Craft a compelling admission essay that highlights your passion for writing and your reasons for wanting to participate in the Creative Writers Workshop.

Tips for a Successful Application

  1. Prepare a Strong Personal Statement: Use your personal statement to convey your passion for creative writing and why you want to participate in this workshop. Highlight any relevant experiences or achievements.
  2. Submit Writing Samples: If you have any previous creative writing pieces, consider submitting them as writing samples. This can showcase your talent and dedication.
  3. Proofread Your Application: Ensure that your application is free of errors. Carefully proofread your personal statement and any other written components.
  4. Apply Early: Given the rolling admission process, applying early can give you an advantage in securing a spot in the workshop.
  5. Follow Instructions: Pay close attention to the application instructions provided by Emerson College. Submit all required documents and information promptly.

By following these steps and tips, you can enhance your chances of a successful application to Emerson College’s Creative Writers Workshop.

Tips for Maximizing Your Workshop Experience

Participating in a workshop is an excellent opportunity to enhance your skills and build valuable relationships. Here are some practical tips to excel in the program and make the most of networking opportunities with your peers and instructors:

  1. Prepare and Be Proactive: Before the workshop, familiarize yourself with the program’s goals and curriculum. This will help you engage more effectively. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to fellow participants and instructors. Networking often starts with a friendly conversation.
  2. Active Listening and Participation: During workshops, actively listen to others’ ideas and provide constructive feedback. Engaging discussions can lead to meaningful connections. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or share your thoughts. Active participation showcases your dedication to learning.
  3. Seek Feedback and Advice: Approach instructors and peers for feedback on your work. Constructive criticism can help you refine your writing skills. Don’t be afraid to seek advice or guidance from experienced participants. Learning from others’ experiences can be invaluable.
  4. Build Genuine Relationships: Focus on building authentic connections rather than simply collecting contacts. Genuine relationships often lead to long-lasting collaborations. Attend social events or gatherings related to the workshop. These informal settings can foster deeper connections.
  5. Follow Up: After the workshop, follow up with your new contacts through email or social media. Express your interest in staying in touch and collaborating. Share your work and achievements with your network, keeping them updated on your writing journey.
  6. Stay Engaged with the Community: Join online writing communities, forums, or alumni groups associated with the workshop. These platforms offer ongoing networking opportunities. Offer support and assistance to others in your network when possible. Reciprocity strengthens relationships.
  7. Reflect and Adapt: Periodically reflect on your workshop experiences and assess your progress. Adapt your approach based on what works best for you. Be open to feedback and continuously refine your writing skills and networking strategies.

A mother and her student looking at her laptop.

By following these tips, you can not only excel in the workshop but also build lasting relationships with peers and instructors, enhancing your overall learning experience. Networking and building connections are essential aspects of any educational program, and they can significantly contribute to your personal and professional growth.


Emerson College’s Creative Writers Workshop is a remarkable opportunity for high school students to develop their writing skills intensively. This four-week program offers a curriculum that covers the fundamentals of fiction, creative nonfiction, and personal essays, providing young writers with a solid foundation in various writing forms.

Emerson College’s commitment to fostering creativity and individual growth makes this workshop an excellent choice for young writers looking to hone their craft. It’s a unique chance to nurture your writing talents, build lasting connections with peers who share your passion, and prepare for a future in the world of literature and storytelling.

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