Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

January 9, 2024
By AdmissionSight
Three students studying together outdoors at the campus grounds.

Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio at the University of Iowa is a great place for high school students who love to write. Whether you like writing stories, poems, or non-fiction, this program helps bring your writing to life. It’s located in the Magid Center for Writing and offers different options to suit your needs. You can join a 2-week program in the summer, either in person or online, or take a 6-week course online in the summer or winter.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything about the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. You’ll learn about where it happens, why you should join, and how to apply. We’ll talk about what you can expect and how it can make a big difference in your writing. If you’re interested in a writing adventure that can change how you see things and improve your writing, keep reading!

What is the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio?

At its core, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is a creative writing program designed specifically for high school students. What sets it apart is its rich blend of academic rigor and creative freedom, providing an environment where young writers can hone their craft under the guidance of experienced teachers and counselors. Most of these mentors hail from the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop and other esteemed writing programs at the University of Iowa, ensuring that students learn from the best.

college student leaning against campus wall

The Studio offers two primary programs: the Summer Residential Program and the six-week online creative writing courses.

Summer Residential Program 

In the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio’s Summer Residential Program, high school students get to spend two weeks focusing on creative writing. They choose one main class that lasts the whole session, taught by teachers who graduated from the famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Students can pick from classes in fiction, poetry, creative writing, TV writing, or playwriting.

During these classes, students share their writing with their teachers and other students, getting helpful feedback. They also do different writing activities to improve their skills. Apart from these classes, there are extra activities like readings by published authors, workshops on writing techniques, discussions about topics related to writing, and group projects. Plus, there are fun events like open mics and talent shows where students can get to know each other better.

6-Week Online Courses

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio offers online writing courses for 6 weeks in winter and summer. The winter session runs from mid-January to late February, and the summer session is from late June to early August. There are no online courses in the fall.

Students can apply for the winter courses in September and October, and for the summer courses in March and April. Updates on these dates can be found on their website. The courses are open to 9th to 12th graders from both the United States and other countries. It’s important for students to be good at reading and writing in English.

These online courses are different from the Summer Residential Program. They focus more on a student’s eagerness to learn about writing rather than just their current writing skills. You’ll be spending around 3-4 hours a week writing, reading, giving feedback, and talking in online discussions. This makes it a great opportunity for students really interested in improving their writing.

Moreover, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio at the University of Iowa focuses on improving writing skills and helping students love writing more. Its main goal is to make learning creative writing easy and important for all students, even those who don’t plan to be professional writers. Good writing skills are really useful in today’s world.

At the Studio, writing is more than just putting words on paper. Students get to try out different types of writing like poetry, stories, and non-fiction. They’re encouraged to find their own unique way of writing and to share their work in a supportive environment.

High school students attending the Iowa Young Writers' Studio.

High school students who have finished 10th, 11th, or 12th grade can join the Summer Residential Program. The application for this program starts in early February. Students need to send in a piece of their writing, a short essay about why they want to join, their school grades, and a recommendation letter.

For those who want a more flexible schedule, the 6-week online courses can be perfect for you. These courses are great because you can do them on your own time. They are taught by people who graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and cover many topics. To join these courses, you should be in high school and have good grades. You’ll need to write a short essay, get a teacher’s recommendation, have your parent’s permission, and show your school grades.

In short, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio isn’t just a place to learn writing. It’s a place where you can really grow as a writer, try new things, and meet others who love writing just as much as you do. Whether you want to get better at a certain type of writing or just improve your overall skills, this is a place where you can make your writing dreams come true.

Where is the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Being Held?

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is located in Iowa City. This city is more than just a regular town; it’s a special place for writers.

Iowa City: A Writer’s Haven

Iowa City is in the Midwest and is known for being a lively and beautiful college town. It has a strong connection to writing and has been attracting writers since the 1930s, mainly because of the famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The town is full of history and celebrates its writing culture.

As you walk around Iowa City, you can see its love for writing. There’s a place called the Literary Walk on Iowa Avenue where you can see bronze panels honoring famous writers with connections to Iowa, like Kurt Vonnegut and Flannery O’Connor.

The Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City is not just a place to buy books. It’s a key spot in the town where people enjoy readings and literary events.

Two women are studying in their dorms.

The University of Iowa, where the Young Writers’ Studio is based, is also in Iowa City. It’s a well-known university, especially for its writing programs. The university started the Iowa Writers Workshop Graduate Program and has helped many students become successful writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners. For young writers, this university is a great place to learn and grow.

Why Iowa City is Ideal for Creative Writing

What makes Iowa City perfect for creative writing? It’s a great place for creative writing because it’s full of energy and inspiration. It’s not just about writing by yourself; it’s about being part of a community that loves writing. You can feel this creative energy all over the town, like in coffee shops, at bookstore events, or just walking around.

The city is not only beautiful to look at, but it also makes you think and feel more deeply. With its rich history of famous writers and a culture that really values creativity, it’s a place where your writing can really grow.

Ultimately, The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio in Iowa City is not just a regular summer program. It’s a special experience in a place that really cares about writing. In Iowa City, writing is a big part of everyday life, and you can really feel connected to other writers. Here, you’re not just writing words on a page; you’re part of a bigger story.

Why Should You Join the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio?

Joining the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is more than just getting better at writing. It opens up many new chances for you. Whether you want to be a writer who publishes books or you just enjoy making up stories, this program has a lot to offer. Here are some benefits of joining the program:

Sharpening Your Writing Skills

At the heart of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is the opportunity to develop your writing skills. You’ll be diving deep into various writing forms – fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and more. The program is designed to challenge you, to push your boundaries, and to help you discover new depths in your writing. It’s not just about learning the rules of good writing; it’s about learning how to break them creatively.

lady in green sweater looking outside with laptop and mug

You’ll engage in workshops where your work will be read and critiqued, not just by your teachers but by your peers. This kind of feedback is invaluable. It’s one thing to write in a vacuum; it’s another to see how your words resonate with others. These sessions are a chance to see your work from new perspectives, to refine it, and to make your stories shine.

Learning from the Best

One of the biggest perks of the Studio is the chance to learn from experienced writers and educators. These aren’t just teachers; they are mentors who have walked the path you’re on. They come from prestigious backgrounds, including the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience.

In these sessions, you’ll be soaking in insights and techniques from some of the best in the field. Imagine getting tips on character development, plot structuring, or poetic rhythm from someone who has mastered these arts. This is a rare opportunity to learn from those who have turned writing into a successful career.

Exploring Different Genres

Writing isn’t one-size-fits-all, and the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio celebrates this diversity. Here, you’re encouraged to experiment with different genres. Maybe you’ve always been a fiction writer but are curious about poetry. Or perhaps you want to try your hand at playwriting. This is your playground.

Exploring different genres means you’re not just learning different styles of writing; you’re learning different ways of thinking and seeing the world. Each genre has its own rules and beauty, and understanding these can only make you a more versatile and insightful writer.

Building a Network

Networking might sound like a business term, but it’s equally important in the world of writing. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is a gathering of like-minded individuals – your peers, who share your passion for writing. These connections can last a lifetime.

Beyond your peers, you’ll also be exposed to professional writers. These connections can open doors to internships, mentorships, and even publishing opportunities. The literary world is a community, and being a part of this program introduces you to this community in a meaningful way.

A Boost for Your Future

Whether you plan to pursue writing as a career or keep it as a passionate hobby, the skills you gain at the Studio are invaluable. Good writing is a skill that transcends professions. It enhances your ability to communicate, to persuade, to inform, and to entertain.

Furthermore, participating in a prestigious program like this looks great on college applications and resumes. It shows commitment, creativity, and the willingness to learn and grow. It’s not just a line item; it’s a testament to your dedication to your craft.

How to Get Into the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

Gaining admission to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is a competitive but rewarding process. Whether you’re aiming for the Summer Residential Program or the 6-week Online Courses, understanding the application procedure and how to make your application shine is crucial. Here’s your guide to navigating the process.

Getting Started

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

  • The program is open to students in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. Exceptionally talented 9th graders can be considered.
  • Students from outside the U.S. are also welcome.

Step 2: Choose Your Program

  • Decide between the Summer Residential Program and the 6-week Online Courses. Each offers a unique experience, so consider what fits your needs and interests best.

Applying to the Summer Residential Program

Step 3: Know the Key Dates

  • The application period for the 2024 sessions opens at 1:00 AM (Central Time) on January 22, 2024, and closes at 11:59 PM (Central Time) on February 4, 2024.
  • Session dates are June 16-29 (Session 1) and July 14-27 (Session 2).

Step 4: Prepare Your Application Materials

  • Writing Sample: Up to 10 pages of your best creative work in your chosen genre.
  • Statement of Purpose: A 1-2 page essay on why you want to join and what you hope to achieve.
  • Letter of Recommendation: From a teacher or mentor who knows your writing well.

Step 5: Submit Your Application

  • Register and apply via Submittable during the application period.
  • Upload your writing sample, statement of purpose, and have your recommender submit their letter.
  • Pay the $10 application fee (waivers are available if needed).

Applying to the 6-Week Online Courses

Step 6: Check the Application Deadline

  • For Winter 2024, applications are open from September 9 to October 31, 2023.

Step 7: Gather Your Documents

  • Statement of Purpose: 300-500 words describing your interest in the course.
  • Permission Form: Signed by a parent or guardian.
  • Teacher Statement of Support: Attesting to your suitability for the course.
  • Transcript: Showing a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Step 8: Complete the Online Application

  • Use Submittable to submit your application, including all required documents.

Enhancing Your Application for the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

1. Highlight Your Passion for Writing

Your statement of purpose is more than just an essay; it’s a window into your world of writing. Share your journey with words, what inspires you, and what you hope to achieve. Talk about your favorite authors, books that moved you, or moments that made you realize your love for writing. This is your platform to show how much writing means to you and to express your eagerness to grow as a writer.

2. Choose the Right Writing Sample

This is your chance to showcase your talent. Select a piece that you feel best captures your unique voice and style. It could be a story that you’ve poured your heart into, a poem that speaks your truth, or an essay that showcases your insight. Make sure it’s well-crafted, engaging, and demonstrates your ability to weave thoughts and imagination into compelling narratives or expressive pieces.

3. Get a Strong Letter of Recommendation

The recommendation letter is a crucial part of your application. It should come from someone who knows your work intimately – a teacher, a mentor, or a writing coach. This person should be able to speak not just to your writing skills, but also to your character as a student and a writer. They should provide insights into your ability to accept feedback, work collaboratively, and your dedication to honing your craft.

4. Pay Attention to Details

Every part of the application counts. Read the instructions multiple times to ensure you understand what is required. Make sure each document you submit – from your essays to your writing samples – adheres to the specified format. Completeness and adherence to guidelines reflect your ability to follow directions and your respect for the application process.

5. Proofread Everything

Go over your application with a fine-tooth comb. Spelling mistakes or grammatical errors can distract from the substance of your writing. A clean, error-free application sends a message about your diligence and attention to detail. Consider asking a teacher or a mentor to review your application; a fresh pair of eyes can catch errors you might have missed.

6. Be Yourself

Authenticity is key. Your essays should reflect who you are, not who you think the admissions committee wants you to be. Speak in your own voice, share your own experiences, and be honest about your aspirations. Authenticity makes your application memorable and helps the committee see the real you.

7. Plan Ahead

Procrastination is the enemy of a strong application. Start early to give yourself ample time to prepare each component thoughtfully. This approach not only eases stress but also allows you time to refine and improve your application, increasing your chances of making a strong impression.

a student thinking while holding his pen

Remember, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is looking for students who are passionate about writing and eager to engage in a creative and challenging environment. Your application is your first step in showing them why you belong in their program. Take your time, be thorough, and let your unique voice shine through.

How to Apply to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

Applying to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is an exciting opportunity to enhance your writing skills and join a community of like-minded individuals. Here’s everything you need to know about the eligibility criteria, required documents, and submission guidelines.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Grade Level: The program primarily targets students who are currently in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. However, if you’re a 9th grader with exceptional talent and maturity, you’re encouraged to apply.
  2. Academic Standing: There are no strict GPA requirements, but a good academic record can strengthen your application.
  3. International Students: If you’re from outside the United States, you’re welcome to apply. The Studio values the diverse perspectives that international students bring.

Application Process

The application process is straightforward but requires attention to detail. Follow these steps to ensure your application is complete:

  1. Choose Your Program: First, decide whether you want to apply for the Summer Residential Program or the 6-week Online Courses. Each offers a unique experience, so consider what suits your interests and schedule.
  2. Prepare Your Documents:
    • Writing Sample: This is a crucial part of your application. If you’re applying for fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction, submit up to ten pages of your best work. For TV writing or playwriting, follow specific guidelines provided by the program.
    • Statement of Purpose: Write a 1-2 page essay explaining why you want to join the Studio and what you hope to gain from the experience. Be genuine and express your passion for writing.
    • Letter of Recommendation: Ask an English teacher or a mentor who is familiar with your writing to write a recommendation letter. This letter should highlight your writing skills and your potential as a writer.
  3. Submit Your Application:
    • Application Portal: Use Submittable, an online submissions manager, to submit your application.
    • Application Period: For the Summer Residential Program, applications are typically accepted during a two-week period in January and February. Check the specific dates for the year you are applying.
    • Fees: There is a $10 application fee for the Summer Residential Program. However, fee waivers are available for those who need them.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Format Your Documents Correctly: Make sure your writing sample and statement of purpose are typed and double-spaced (except for poetry). Use a standard font like Times New Roman, and ensure that all documents are legible.
  2. Label Your Files: When uploading documents, label them clearly with your name and the type of document (e.g., “JohnDoe_StatementOfPurpose”).
  3. Follow Deadlines: Keep track of deadlines and submit your application well before the due date to avoid any last-minute technical issues.
  4. Check and Double-Check: Before submitting, review all your documents to ensure they meet the requirements. Check for any spelling or grammatical errors.
  5. Confirmation of Submission: Once you submit your application, you should receive a confirmation email. If you don’t, reach out to the program to ensure your application was received.

Applying to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is a chance to take your writing to the next level. By meeting the eligibility criteria and carefully preparing your application, you can present yourself as a strong candidate. Remember, this is your opportunity to showcase your skills and passion for writing.

How Hard is it to Get Into the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio?

Getting into the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is quite challenging. The program is well-known and offers high-quality experiences, which means many talented young writers from across the country and even from around the world want to join. This makes it really competitive.

When you apply, the people in charge of choosing students take a close look at the pieces of writing you send in. They’re not just looking at basic things like grammar; they want to see your unique style and how you tell stories or share your thoughts and feelings through your writing.

Your writing skills are important, but so are your personal statement and the recommendation letter. These parts of your application help the selection committee understand more about you – like how much you love writing and how eager you are to learn and grow. They want to know that you really want to be part of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio.

a professor in class

To stand out, focus on submitting a great piece of writing that you’re really proud of, one that shows your own voice and style. Be honest and clear in your personal statement about why you want to join the program. Choose someone who knows your writing well to write your recommendation letter. They should be able to talk about your skills and your dedication to writing.

Applying to this program is about more than just trying to get a spot. It’s a chance for you to think about why you love writing and to share that with others. Even if you don’t get in, the process of applying is still a valuable experience that helps you grow as a writer. So keep writing, getting better, and sharing your stories. Each time you write or apply to a program like this, you’re moving forward in your journey as a writer.

When Does the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Take Place?

When you’re thinking about joining the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, it’s really important to know the program’s schedule. Understanding when everything happens helps you get ready and makes sure you don’t miss this great chance to improve your writing.

The program takes place in the summer, which is a perfect time because Iowa City is full of life, and it’s a great environment for young writers who are excited about writing.

How Long is the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio?

The Studio organizes a few different sessions, and each one lasts for two weeks. This length of time is carefully planned to make sure you get a full and deep experience that teaches you a lot but without feeling too intense or too much. During these two weeks, you’ll be on a kind of adventure that’s all about writing.

Every day, you’ll participate in workshops where you’ll learn new writing techniques and get to practice them. You’ll also attend readings, which are sessions where you can listen to interesting stories or pieces of writing. These readings are not just enjoyable; they help you understand different styles and approaches to writing. Plus, you’ll do various writing exercises. These exercises are like drills or practice activities that help you use what you’ve learned and improve your writing skills.

When is the Deadline to Apply to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio?

You usually have to apply early in the year. For example, for the summer program in 2024, you could apply from January 22 to February 4. It’s important to know these dates because the time to apply is short, and they won’t take late applications. The program happens in the summer, so it doesn’t clash with your school work.

Students participating in the program through available online courses.

For 2024, the first session is slated for June 16-29, while the second session will run from July 14-27. These dates are chosen to fit into the typical summer break, making it convenient for most high school students.

If you’re one of the lucky ones to get accepted, mark your calendar for the subsequent deadlines. For the 2024 program, accepted students had to enroll and pay the program fees by May 15. This deadline is crucial as it confirms your spot in the program.

Remembering these dates is really important. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is a special program that can help you a lot with your writing. If you miss a deadline, you might miss a great chance to learn and grow as a writer. Make sure to keep checking the Studio’s website for updates, write down these dates, and maybe set some reminders. This way, you’ll be all set to start this fun and creative journey.

In short, by keeping track of these important dates and getting ready for them, you can have a smooth experience applying to the Studio. This could lead to a great summer where you learn a lot and take a big step forward in your writing.

Post-Application Information

After you’ve sent off your application to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, the waiting game begins. This period can be filled with both excitement and a bit of anxiety, but knowing what to expect can help ease the tension.

When Do I Find Out About My Application to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio?

After you apply and the application period ends, you’ll be waiting to hear back about your application. The Studio usually tells everyone if they got in or not by early April. For the 2024 program, they plan to send out these notices by April 5.

It’s also good to know about the Studio’s policy if you need to cancel. For example, if you cancel before June 1, they’ll keep a small part of your money, but if you cancel after June 1, you won’t get any money back.

How will you find out if you got into the program? Watch your email. The studio will send its decision to the email address you used when you signed up on Submittable.

What to do after you get the decision:

  • If you’re accepted: They’ll tell you what to do next. You’ll need to sign up for the session you got into and pay the fees for the program. Make sure you do these things by the middle of May.
  • If you’re not accepted: It’s okay to feel sad, but remember, many people apply to this program, and it’s tough to get in. Not getting in doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer. Keep writing and getting better. There are lots of other ways and places to improve your writing.

An invited author that attended a literary event.

Preparing for Attendance

Once your spot in the program is secured, the real preparation begins. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Travel Arrangements: If you’re coming from outside Iowa, you’ll have to figure out how to get to Iowa City. It’s a good idea to start looking for flights or train tickets early so you can get a good price. Make sure you plan your travel for the right days so you arrive when the program starts and leave after it ends.
  • Accommodation: If you’re going to the program in person, you’ll need a place to stay. The studio usually gives you options for where you can live, like dorms on the university campus. Staying in these dorms is a great way to really feel like you’re part of the college. Be sure to find out how much it will cost and what you need to do to get a room.
  • Packing: Iowa City is usually warm in the summer, but the weather can change, so bring different kinds of clothes. Don’t forget to pack things you’ll need for writing, like notebooks, pens, or a laptop, along with your usual stuff like clothes and things for the bathroom.
  • Budgeting: There are more costs than just the program fees. Think about how much you’ll spend on travel, where you’ll stay, eating, washing clothes, and doing fun things in your spare time. Planning how much money you’ll need for all this helps you not be surprised by the costs.
  • Health and Safety: Make sure you have any important health information with you and know what your insurance covers. It’s also a good idea to learn about the program’s rules for keeping everyone healthy and safe.

Attending the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is not just an educational experience; it’s an adventure into a world of creative exploration. By staying informed, preparing thoroughly, and embracing the journey, you’re setting yourself up for an unforgettable summer of growth, learning, and writing.

Final Thoughts

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio at the University of Iowa is a great program for high school students who really like writing. They offer a Summer Residential Program and 6-week Online Courses where you can learn a lot about different types of writing, like stories, poetry, essays, and scripts.

But this program is more than just making your writing better. It helps you find your own special way of writing. With experienced writers and teachers, you’ll join in workshops, get helpful feedback, and go to events about writing. Most students in high school can apply, even some really talented 9th graders. The application asks for a sample of your writing, an essay about why you want to join, and a letter from someone who knows your writing.

Diverse group of young people chatting in college library

Moreover, the program is scheduled during the summer break so that it won’t clash with your school. It lasts for two weeks and is filled with lots of learning.

If you get in, you’ll meet other students who like writing and teachers who can guide you. If you don’t get in, it’s still a good experience in trying to improve your writing.

Think about applying to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio as a chance to grow in writing. Whether you want to be a professional writer or just get better at writing, this is a good place to start.

In the end, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is more than just classes; it’s a chance to grow and find your voice in writing. If you love writing, want to learn more, and are ready to try new things, this program could be a great choice for you.

What are You Waiting For?

The Iowa Young Writer’s Studio is a great way for high school students to start thinking about the world and develop critical thinking skills that will serve them for their whole life. The Young Writer’s Studio helps students hone in on their reading, writing, and presentation skills and practice them in a summer program setting.

If you’re looking to get into the top colleges in the country, you’re going to need to make a strong case to the admissions officers that you’re not only successful academically but also successful in your commitment to your community. Here at AdmissionSight, our main goal is to set students up with the highest chance for success when it comes to college admissions.

Set up an initial consultation to see how AdmissionSight can assist you with the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio Summer Program. Trust us, you won’t regret it – we’ve been consulting students for a long time and can help you get your foot in the door.

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