Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

December 2, 2020
By AdmissionSight

Learn More about the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio out of the University of Iowa

To become a writer, you must practice, receive feedback, and have a passion to make writing a part of your life, whether that means career-wise or for better understanding yourself. The Iowa Young Writers Studio based out of the University of Iowa provides two programs that offer promising high school writers the chance to express themselves. Young writers can grow, share their work, attend literary events, and more, all while gaining experience for the college application process. If you are someone who has a story to tell, this could be the program for you.

Group of friends giving high fives

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio provides online courses as well as a Summer Residential program revolving around poetry, fiction, or creative writing. The Iowa Writers Workshop was created in the 1930s, and Iowa City continues to be a writing community. The Literary Walk on Iowa Avenue honors writers with an Iowa background, explore some of those authors here. The University of Iowa is home to forty-three Pulitzer Prize-winning alumni and faculty as well.

Not only is the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio in a writer-centric city, but since the program is put on through the University of Iowa, which is ranked #34 in Best Public University by U.S. News and World Report, it is also home to the Iowa Writers Workshop Graduate Program. The Iowa Writers Workshop was founded in 1936 as the first program for a creative writing degree, read more about it here. The graduate program is a prestigious two-year program bringing together writers from all over. AdmissionSight also assists in applying to graduate programs, if the Iowa Writers Workshop Graduate Program is a goal for the future.

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio has various friends and partners in Iowa revolving around writing, some examples include the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, The Writing University, The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, and more. Use this link to explore the various partnerships Iowa Young Writers’ Studio has with surrounding organizations, these partnerships can help to advance the experience during the program through other opportunities.

Students attentively listening to the professor

This blog post will go in-depth about the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio and it’s two program options, the online courses, and the Summer Residential. Plus, it will expand on what being a writer can mean, why the program is important for prospective high school writers, and how to apply. This is a unique program with outstanding qualities to make you a better writer, as well as a better applicant for the college admissions pool. Even if you decide writing isn’t your chosen career path, either way, it makes a difference to have a plan and broaden your horizons.

Fiction, Poetry and Creative Writing

Writing is unique to each student, and the goal of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is to allow for and to encourage students to discover various methods of writing on their terms while understanding themselves as a writer and person. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is also a great opportunity for high school students to explore passions. If you aren’t necessarily sure you want to become a writer, high school is a great time to explore your interests, whether professional or casual. Find out about more summer programs that AdmissionSight recommends here.

You might be thinking, what kind of career can I have as a writer if I don’t necessarily want to write a book? There are so many different paths you can go down with an interest in writing. Even if you realize writing isn’t a career for you, it’s important to be well rounded. Here are some examples of what a career as a writer can look like.

  1. Copywriter
    1. A copywriter can work for various companies in marketing departments or an advertising agency. A copywriter’s main job is to ensure all copy is properly worded, formatted, and grammatically correct. As well as, the copywriter works with the creative to come up with ideas for the copy for the marketing materials or campaign. A copywriter is also someone who could help you edit your college essay.
  2. Speech Writer
    1. Have you ever heard an inspiring speech and thought, I wish I could do that! As a speechwriter and experience in writing, you can. Speechwriters assist celebrities and even presidents in writing and perfecting speeches.
  3. Teacher
    1. Maybe you don’t want to write on your own, but a lot of writing majors become teachers or college professors.
  4. Screenwriter
    1. If you don’t want to write poetry or a novel, there’s always the opportunity to write for the screen. Screenwriting is different formatting than the average novel, but it takes creativity and understanding how to write to convey the on-screen emotions that are needed. Screenwriters can also assist novelists in adapting their novel for a script.
  5. Blogger
    1. Blogging is another path for someone who may not want to write a book, but just like writing a book, blogging can be very independent. There are so many successful blogs, varying from travel to cooking blogs, that are independently run. If you’d like to be an entrepreneur and a writer, this could be a great job for you.

All of these jobs contain an element of writing, but this is to show that not all prospective writers aim to be novelists. That’s why Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is important for high school students, it allows you to discover what is important to you as a creative and a writer, and how to use fiction, poetry, and creative writing in your way. That’s also why testing out various extracurriculars and summer programs is important, not only to show college admissions your hook but to ensure you’re trying as many things as you can before college.

Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Programs

Online Courses

  • The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Programs offers online courses twice a year for six weeks at a time. One course is offered during the spring semester from January to February, while the summer course is offered from June to August. The online courses provide flexibility if you are unable to participate during the school year or the summer or if you have an extracurricular plan that you’re trying to follow. The application acceptance times vary based on if you are applying to the spring or summer courses, check the website for further information. The online courses are separate from the Summer Residential Program, but the admissions decisions are based more on a willingness to learn as opposed to the writing experience. The online courses may be a good introduction for a beginner writer who wants to transition into the Summer Residential Program.


  • There are three courses offered per semester, the topics include fiction writing, poetry writing, and creative writing. The online course will take up about three hours a week, while homework and out of class discussions can be done on the student’s own time, providing the student time to think and work at their own pace. The homework assignments involve writing work, reading work, and providing feedback to other student’s pieces via critique and discussion.


  • The courses are led and taught by the Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate students who have been selected from a large pool of applicants into the program and can pass their knowledge and provide mentorship to the online course students. If you are interested in reading more about the program staff, visit the website here.
  • Not only do students a part of the Iowa Young Writers Studio online courses get the opportunity to work with prestigious professors, but they also get their work read and critiqued by others while becoming a better writer. And, once the course is completed you’ll earn one college credit towards the University of Iowa, not only does that help for the future when at college, but it can help show admissions counselors the strength of your academic course load, summer included!

Applying to the Online Courses

  • The deadline to submit varies based on whether you apply to the spring or summer program, check the website regularly for application deadlines, and other specific guidelines and cost.
  • To apply for the online courses for Iowa Young Writers Studio, students must have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA, and a transcript to prove it.
  • The application also needs a permission form, a statement of purpose from the student, and a statement of support from a teacher.

Summer Residential

  • The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio provides a two week Summer Residential program for 144 high school students to explore their craft and discover new approaches to writing through intimate instructor turn mentor-led courses, critiques, exercises, and reading and literary events.
  • Not only is participating in the Iowa Young Writers Studio important in helping students grow as writers, but they’re able to experience living and working on their craft on an actual college campus, one they can consider applying to when the time comes.
  • The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is a creative writing program for high school students at the University of Iowa, housed in the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing. Learn more about the Magid Center and all it has to offer during the program and after, here.


  • Just like the Iowa Young Writers Studio online courses, the Summer Residential is taught by Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate students. The in-person classes stay small, at a maximum of ten students per class, which not only allows for an intimate learning environment but turns teachers into mentors. Mentors can provide insightful feedback, which allows for students to learn about constructive criticism and adapt their writing. Not only is a small teaching environment good for a student to teacher bond, but also student to a student bond. Students will provide feedback to each other, learning even more about the writing process and receiving criticism.
  • Individual conferences are also scheduled with teachers and students to ensure that each student gets the proper attention. And there are ways to continue individual conferences through other means, AdmissionSight offers Private College Admissions Consulting for a personalized one on one. program.

Literary Events

Another unique portion of the Summer Residential through the Iowa Young Writers Studio program is the literary events. Since Iowa City is buzzing with authors, there are readings almost every evening in the city, readings are great experiences for aspiring writers to observe and also participate in. Interviews are an important part of the college admissions process, and what better way to be prepared than to have practice in public speaking?

College students having a discussion in the library


Iowa Young Writers Studio Summer Residential courses are classified as Core Courses, out of poetry, fiction, or creative writing, one becomes the focus for the two-week program. Each section also has a seminar and a workshop. The seminar is to become familiar with writing that relates to the reading they do, and the workshop is to provide a discussion and collaboration. To read more in-depth about each of the Core Courses visit the Iowa Young Writers Studio page, here.

A teacher helping her students in the library

Day in the Life

  • The Iowa Young Writers Studio Summer Residential focuses on the experience of writing. There are seminars and workshops, which are structured, but there is free time to write to ensure creativity and expression.
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday allows for observations, which are different writing exercises to broaden ideas. These days provide the opportunity to work with new teachers as well.
  • Read specifics about a typical day of Summer Residential.

Applying to the Summer Residential

  • To apply to the Iowa Young Writers Studio Summer Residential, there is a winter deadline application, continue to check the website for updates.
  • While applying, you must submit a creative writing sample of fewer than ten pages, a statement of purpose, letter, or recommendation, and a transcript. It costs $10 to apply to the program.
  • The website outlines the cost of the program which includes room, board, and more. The Iowa Young Writers Studio Summer Residential program does offer financial aid on a need basis.

Whether you want to hone in on becoming a writer, you have goals to be the next big screenwriter or your dream is to travel the world blogging, whatever venture you choose, you need hard work and motivation. Writing can be a career or a passion, and the Iowa Young Writers Studio is a great summer program to explore your passions while adding experience and keeping creative during the summer. A portion of the common app asks about how you spent your two summers before senior year of high school, there is a lot of value in attending a summer program, not only to continue your passion for writing but to ensure your college admissions application is ready. Attending the Iowa Young Writers Studio Summer Residential or taking the online courses can make you some friends, help you become a better writer, and prepare you for college.



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