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15 Creative Writing Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

15 Creative Writing Programs for High School Students

With many creative writing programs available for high school students, choosing the right one can impact a student’s writing journey. These programs, from summer workshops at prestigious universities to online mentorships, offer immersive experiences in various genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic writing. They are designed to improve writing abilities and inspire a deep love for storytelling and literature.

Through intensive workshops, one-on-one mentorships, and collaborative projects, students are guided by accomplished writers and educators committed to nurturing young talent. Whether set against the backdrop of a university campus, delivered through the digital realm, or nestled within the creative havens of art schools, each program offers a unique pathway for young writers to explore their potential and push the boundaries of their creativity.

1. Shared Worlds at Wofford College

  • Location: Spartanburg, SC
  • Cost: $2,600
  • Eligibility: Rising 8th-12th grade students
  • Important Dates: July 14th to 27th, 2024; Rolling application deadline.

Shared Worlds at Wofford College is a distinctive entry among creative writing programs for high school students, uniquely blending speculative fiction genres like science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk into an immersive two-week residential workshop.

High school students writing their college applications for the fall 2020

Set in the picturesque campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Shared Worlds encourages students from rising 8th through 12th grades to dive deep into the realms of their imagination, creating entire worlds and narratives under the guidance of renowned authors and instructors in the field of speculative fiction.

Running from July 14th to 27th, 2024, with a rolling application deadline to accommodate interested young writers, the program is priced at $2,600, offering a comprehensive package that includes tuition, accommodation, meals, and an array of writing resources.

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

  • Location: Great Barrington, MA
  • Cost: $3,500
  • Eligibility: Not specified
  • Important Dates: July 7th to 27th, 2024; Rolling application deadline.

The Bard College at Simon’s Rock Young Writers Workshop stands as a distinguished example among creative writing programs for high school students, offering a unique blend of academic rigor and creative freedom.

Two students talking on the stairs.

Set against Bard College’s intellectually stimulating environment in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, this workshop runs from July 7th to 27th, 2024. It is tailored for students with a passion for writing and a desire to deepen their craft. With a cost of $3,500, the program adopts a methodology distinct from conventional writing workshops.

Inspired by the college’s Language and Thinking Workshop, it emphasizes informal, playful, and expressive writing exercises supported by a peer response system to refine and polish students’ works. Participants are immersed in a collegiate atmosphere, residing on campus and engaging in a daily schedule that fosters creativity and community.

3. Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshops

  • Location: Gambier, OH (Residential and Online)
  • Cost: $2,575 (Residential), $995 (Online)
  • Eligibility: Not specified
  • Important Dates: Residential (Session 1: June 23rd to July 6th, 2024; Session 2: July 14th to 27th, 2024), Online (June 16th to 21st, 2024); Residential application deadline: March 1st, 2024, Online application deadline: April 15th, 2024.

The Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshops are a cornerstone among creative writing programs for high school students, offering both residential and online formats to accommodate a wide array of participants.

Located in the scenic town of Gambier, Ohio, at Kenyon College, these workshops provide an enriching environment that mirrors the collegiate literary community. The residential sessions, scheduled for two separate sessions from June 23rd to July 6th and July 14th to 27th, 2024, and an online session from June 16th to 21st, 2024, attract students nationwide who are eager to explore their creative talents.

With $2,575 for the residential program and $995 for the online workshop, participants are immersed in a vibrant atmosphere that champions the written word across multiple genres. This program distinguishes itself by fostering a supportive community where young writers are encouraged to discover new strengths, challenge their abilities, and engage with peers who share a deep passion for storytelling.

4. Yale Young Writers’ Workshop

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: $950
  • Eligibility: Ages 16-18, rising high school juniors or seniors
  • Important Dates: Application deadline: April 1, 2024.

The Yale Young Writers’ Workshop is a prominent fixture in the landscape of creative writing programs for high school students. It offers a robust platform for young writers aged 16 to 18 to hone their craft in an immersive online environment.

Group of students talking.

This workshop has a curriculum encompassing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of literary forms and techniques. Participants are capped at twelve per genre, a policy that guarantees personalized attention and maximizes each student’s opportunity for growth and feedback.

The program’s structure is thoughtfully designed, featuring daily craft talks from visiting writers, intensive afternoon workshops, and special sessions, including open mics, faculty, and visiting author readings, further enriching the participants’ experience.

The Yale Young Writers’ Workshop facilitates the development of significant writing skills and fosters a supportive community where aspiring writers can experiment, play, and evolve. With a cost of $950, the program is accessible to a wide range of students, making it a key player in nurturing the next generation of literary talent.

5. Emerging Writers Institute by Education Unlimited

  • Location: UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Online
  • Cost: Varies (specific costs not provided)
  • Eligibility: Grades 10-12
  • Important Dates: Sessions range from June 10, 2024, to July 2024 (specific end dates not provided)​​.

The Emerging Writers Institute by Education Unlimited is a key player among creative writing programs for high school students, designed to cater to young writers in grades 10 through 12 who seek to develop their narrative and poetic abilities.

High school student writing a Princeton supplemental essay.

Offered in both in-person and online formats, the program takes place at prestigious locations such as UC Berkeley and UCLA. It provides a virtual option to accommodate students from anywhere. This flexibility ensures that more students can participate in a rigorous academic environment focused on enhancing their writing skills.

The program’s structure is meticulously crafted, featuring daily blocks dedicated to reading like a writer, exploring various genres, and developing a capstone piece that embodies the student’s growth and learning throughout the course.

With options to focus on short stories, poetry, or nonfiction, participants are encouraged to delve deep into their chosen genre, guided by experienced instructors who provide personalized feedback and foster a supportive workshop environment.

6. Juniper Institute for Young Writers at UMass Amherst

  • Location: Amherst, MA (Residential and Online)
  • Cost: Not specified
  • Eligibility: Motivated high-school age students
  • Important Dates: Residential program dates not specified; Online: August 5–9, 2024; Application deadline: March 7​.

The Juniper Institute for Young Writers at UMass Amherst distinguishes itself within the realm of creative writing programs for high school students through its dynamic and immersive approach to writing.

Pretty student walking in the hallway of a building.

Set against the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s vibrant academic backdrop, this program offers residential and online opportunities, allowing students from various backgrounds to engage deeply with creative writing practices.

Participants are invited to explore their narrative and poetic talents through experimentation, creativity, and wild invention, guided by a dedicated team of instructors who are both accomplished writers and passionate educators.

The program runs in the summer and is designed to foster a supportive and collaborative environment where young writers can freely express themselves, receive constructive feedback, and develop their unique voices.

7. KWH Summer Workshop at University of Pennsylvania

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Cost: $2,750
  • Eligibility: Not specified
  • Important Dates: Not specified.

The KWH Summer Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania shines as a significant offering within the sphere of creative writing programs for high school students, providing an enriching environment for young writers to explore and develop their craft.

Hosted by the esteemed Kelly Writers House, this workshop is tailored to engage participants in personal essay writing while introducing them to various other literary forms through guest lectures and craft sessions.

High school students writing the Harvard supplemental essays.

The program’s structure fosters an intimate setting that promotes intensive learning and personal growth, as students are encouraged to critique one another’s work as part of the revision process.

Beyond the workshops, the program broadens the educational experience by incorporating practical sessions in digital recording and collaboration with Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art, thereby offering a holistic approach to creative expression.

Priced at $2,750, the workshop aims to cultivate writing skills and instill confidence in young writers by immersing them in a community of peers and mentors who share a passion for storytelling.

8. Creative Writing Academy at Georgetown University

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Cost: Not specified
  • Eligibility: Not specified
  • Important Dates: Not specified.

The Creative Writing Academy at Georgetown University is a standout among creative writing programs for high school students, offering an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the world of literary creation and narrative construction.

View of students walking in the campus.

Situated in the heart of Washington, D.C., the program leverages the city’s rich cultural scene to inspire and inform its curriculum. Students engage in an intensive exploration of literary history, technique, and the transformative power of narrative, learning how to develop their ideas into polished pieces.

The program emphasizes using great literature and art as sources of inspiration, encouraging students to draw upon diverse voices and styles to inform their writing. This approach fosters a dynamic learning environment where students refine their writing skills and expand their understanding of what it means to contribute to the literary world.

The Creative Writing Academy at Georgetown University not only equips young writers with the tools necessary for literary success but also offers a glimpse into the professional writing world, all within a supportive community of peers and mentors dedicated to fostering literary talent.

9. Smith College Precollege Programs Creative Writing Workshop

  • Location: Northampton, MA
  • Cost: Not specified
  • Eligibility: Not specified
  • Important Dates: Assessed on a rolling basis, applicants can submit their materials until May 2024.

The Smith College Precollege Programs Creative Writing Workshop represents a unique and innovative offering within the realm of creative writing programs for high school students, distinguished by its imaginative approach and commitment to fostering a vibrant community of young writers.

Writing an essay

Set against Smith College’s prestigious campus backdrop, this workshop invites participants to immerse themselves in creative exploration and literary experimentation. Dubbed a “word coven,” the program emphasizes the magic and power of language, encouraging students to conjure their narratives through various exercises and collaborative projects.

From generating a plethora of story beginnings to engaging with visual, aural, and textual art, students are guided to discover and refine their writing processes. The workshop’s curriculum is designed to push the boundaries of traditional storytelling, urging participants to experiment with hybridized writing forms and to develop their rituals and practices that celebrate the art of writing.

This program equips students with the technical skills needed to craft compelling stories and poems and instills a deep appreciation for the creative process and the communal aspects of writing. By participating in the Smith College Precollege Programs Creative Writing Workshop, students join a supportive network of peers and mentors, all while developing their unique voice and vision as writers​.

10. NYU SPS High School Academy Creative Writing Program

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Cost: Not specified
  • Eligibility: Completed grades 9, 10, or 11
  • Important Dates: Sessions run from July 15 to August 9, 2024; International student deadline: March 15, 2024; Residential U.S. student deadline: May 17, 2024; Commuter U.S. student deadline: June 7, 2024​.

The NYU SPS High School Academy Creative Writing Program is a distinguished initiative among creative writing programs for high school students, designed to immerse participants in the intricacies of crafting narratives, building worlds, and developing authentic characters and dialogue.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Hosted by the prestigious New York University School of Professional Studies, this program offers an intensive week-long workshop that caters to students who have completed grades 9, 10, or 11. It stands out for its commitment to refining students’ writing skills and providing them with a portfolio of peer-critiqued short stories, showcasing the practical application of the techniques learned during the workshop.

Sessions are scheduled across multiple weeks in July and August, allowing for flexibility in attendance. The program takes place in a dynamic and supportive environment where students from around the globe come together to share their passion for writing and creativity.

This setting fosters a rich exchange of ideas and simulates a real-world literary community, offering students a glimpse into the professional writing world. By the end of the program, participants walk away with enhanced writing abilities, a deeper understanding of narrative construction, and valuable feedback from their peers, all of which are essential tools for any aspiring writer.

11. Interlochen Arts Camp Creative Writing Program

  • Location: Interlochen, MI
  • Cost: $6,765
  • Eligibility: High School (Grades 9-12)
  • Important Dates: Session 1: June 23 to July 13, 2024; Session 2: July 14 to August 4, 2024; Application status: Accepting applications.

The Interlochen Arts Camp Creative Writing Program is a preeminent summer enrichment experience among creative writing programs for high school students, offering an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the literary arts within the inspiring environment of the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

High school students prepare their college submission essay

This prestigious program, nestled in the scenic beauty of Northern Michigan, provides high school students in grades 9-12 with a three-week intensive that spans from late June to early August across two sessions.

With a tuition fee of $6,765, participants are immersed in a curriculum that covers fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of the literary world. Workshops focus on the fundamentals of narrative craft, encouraging students to experiment with voice, structure, character development, and dialogue while introducing them to contemporary techniques and genres.

By engaging in rigorous writing practices, receiving constructive feedback, and participating in a vibrant literary community, students leave the program with a deeper understanding of their craft, a portfolio of their work, and lasting connections with peers and mentors. The Interlochen Arts Camp Creative Writing Program is the leading choice for young writers seeking to challenge themselves and grow in a supportive, creatively charged atmosphere.

12. Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

  • Location: Iowa City, IA
  • Cost: Typically varies; scholarships may be available.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates:  They stopped accepting application materials on February 4, 2024.

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio stands as a formidable presence among creative writing programs for high school students, drawing upon the storied literary heritage of the University of Iowa, renowned for its Writers’ Workshop, the first creative writing degree program in the United States.

smiling woman inside university

This program offers a two-week, immersive experience in Iowa City, a UNESCO City of Literature, where students from across the nation gather to study under the guidance of accomplished writers and educators.

The curriculum spans various genres, including fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, allowing students to delve deeply into their chosen field or explore new ones. Workshops emphasize the development of personal voice and style, while craft seminars examine the nuances of literary technique and theory. This nurturing environment encourages experimentation and growth, allowing students to produce work that reflects their evolving understanding of the craft.

Beyond the workshops and seminars, the program fosters community among participants, creating a network of young writers who support and inspire each other. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio not only equips students with the skills necessary for artistic expression but also instills a profound appreciation for the literary arts, making it a pivotal experience for those looking to pursue writing professionally and personally.

13. Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Free or low-cost; the program is known for being accessible.
  • Eligibility: High school students globally.
  • Important Dates: The application period is from March 1 to April 1, 2024.

The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program is a highly acclaimed fixture among creative writing programs for high school students, leveraging the prestige and literary understanding of The Adroit Journal to offer a unique, immersive experience.

This free online program pairs talented young writers from around the globe with established poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers, facilitating a one-on-one mentorship that spans several weeks during the summer.

The focus is on fostering creative growth, refining technique, and exploring new dimensions of voice and style under the guidance of mentors who are accomplished in their fields and deeply committed to nurturing the next generation of literary talent.

Participants can engage in an intensive curriculum designed to challenge their assumptions about writing and push the boundaries of their creativity. Students are encouraged to develop a sophisticated understanding of literary craft through assignments, feedback, and discussions and produce work that reflects their perspectives and experiences.

14. Creative Writing: Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction at Stanford University Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes

  • Location: The program is conducted by Stanford University, offering a rich academic environment for students to immerse themselves in creative writing.
  • Cost: While the specific cost for this course was not listed in the provided sources, Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes generally have varying tuition rates based on the program and length.
  • Eligibility: The course is designed for students currently in grades 8-11 at the time of application, catering to a wide range of young writers seeking to refine their craft in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
  • Important Dates: The course is offered in two sessions, with Session One running from June 17, 2024, to June 28, 2024, and Session Two from July 8, 2024, to July 19, 2024.

The Creative Writing: Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction course at Stanford University Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes is a prime example of the enriching experiences of creative writing programs for high school students.

Two students sitting on the stairs of a building.

This course sets itself apart by providing a deep dive into the craft of writing across three major genres. It offers students from grades 8 through 11 a unique opportunity to explore and refine their writing skills in an intellectually stimulating environment.

Located at the prestigious Stanford University, the program runs in two sessions during the summer, allowing participants to engage with the published works of well-known authors and craft their pieces under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Students are encouraged to develop their imaginative, critical, and technical skills through reading, writing, and workshop discussions, fostering a supportive writing community that values creative exploration and personal expression.

The course’s structure, emphasizing the workshop model, ensures that each student receives personalized feedback and learns to critique peers’ work constructively, thereby cultivating a nuanced understanding of the writing process and the diverse forms it can take​.

15. Tisch School of the Arts Summer High School Program in Dramatic Writing

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Cost: Varies; scholarship opportunities may be available.
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors.
  • Important Dates: The summer 2024 application is closed.

The Tisch School of the Arts Summer High School Program in Dramatic Writing is an exceptional opportunity within the realm of creative writing programs for high school students, aiming to immerse them in the world of playwriting, screenwriting, and television writing.

Princeton University Writing Contests

Hosted by one of the most prestigious art schools in the country, this program offers high school sophomores and juniors a rigorous and engaging curriculum designed to unleash their creative potential and refine their writing skills.

Students can work closely with experienced instructors and professionals in the field, gaining insights into the craft of dramatic storytelling and the intricacies of character development, dialogue, and plot structure.

This intensive, hands-on program focuses on the technical aspects of writing. It encourages students to explore their voices and perspectives, challenging them to create original, compelling stories that resonate with audiences.

Conclusion

As we conclude this exploration of 15 creative writing programs for high school students, it’s evident that each offers a unique set of opportunities designed to ignite passion, foster talent, and open doors to endless possibilities in the literary world.

These programs equip students with the technical skills needed for storytelling and imbue them with the confidence to share their stories with the world. Beyond the craft of writing, students gain invaluable life experiences, friendships, and mentorships that extend far beyond the classroom or screen.

The journey through any of these programs can be transformative, laying the foundation for future endeavors in writing, education, and beyond. For high school students passionate about writing, the path to discovering their voice and honing their craft is rich with opportunities.

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