20 Writing and Literature Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A student writing her essays

20 Writing and Literature Programs for High School Students

Writing and literature programs for high school students offer a unique space for young minds to refine their craft.  Hosted by some of the most prestigious institutions and organizations across the United States, these programs are fertile ground for budding writers to flourish.

From the serene campuses of liberal arts colleges to the dynamic online platforms that bring literary instruction into the digital age, each program is designed to meet high school students’ specific needs and aspirations. They provide the tools and techniques necessary for effective writing and a profound understanding of literary traditions and innovations.

As we delve into the details of these programs, we uncover opportunities available to young writers, each offering its unique approach to nurturing talent and fostering a lifelong engagement with the written word.

1. Carleton College Summer Writing Program

  • Location: Northfield, MN
  • Registration Fee: Approximately $4,500 for 2024.
  • Important Dates: Program dates are July 6-26, 2024. Application deadlines for 2024 were in early February and March.
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors.

The Carleton College Summer Writing Program is a distinctive writing and literature program for high school students. Hosted in the serene environment of Northfield, Minnesota, this program is specifically designed for academically motivated sophomores and juniors with a strong inclination toward writing and literature.

View of a woman using a laptop.

The program spans three weeks, typically in July, offering an immersive experience beyond mere classroom learning. It emphasizes a writing process approach, guiding students in composing academic papers akin to college-level writing. This is achieved through engaging literature discussions led by Carleton professors and hands-on writing workshops.

Moreover, the program’s setting on Carleton College’s campus allows students to experience college life firsthand, staying in dormitories and participating in various cultural activities. This aspect of the program enhances the academic experience and offers a glimpse into college life, preparing students for their future educational endeavors. The program’s success is reflected in the feedback from participants, with many reporting a significant increase in their preparedness for college-level studies​​​.

2. Columbia University Creative Writing

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Registration Fee: Not explicitly mentioned; varies by course and workshop.
  • Important Dates: Spring 2024 sessions. Specific dates vary by course.
  • Eligibility: High school students with little or no experience writing literary nonfiction or poetry.

Columbia University’s Creative Writing program is a premier writing and literature program for high school students, renowned for its rigorous approach and prestigious setting in New York City.

Columbia University of New York in winter

This program, housed within one of the most esteemed Ivy League universities, offers an array of workshops and courses that cater to young writers with varying levels of experience. The curriculum is designed to foster literary talent in many genres, with specific focus areas such as nonfiction, poetry, and fiction writing.

The program offers opportunities for students to attend guest lectures and readings by accomplished writers. These events inspire and offer insights into the professional writing world, creating a bridge between academic learning and practical application. Columbia University’s Creative Writing program educates young writers, encouraging them to explore and develop their literary talents in a challenging and supportive environment​​​​​.

3. Writer’s Village at Sarah Lawrence College

  • Location: Bronxville, NY
  • Registration Fee: Information not available in the provided sources.
  • Important Dates: Two sessions in 2024: July 10-14 (virtual) and August 7-11 (on campus).
  • Eligibility: Students entering 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grades, at least 14 years old at the program’s start.

The Writer’s Village at Sarah Lawrence College is an esteemed writing and literature program for high school students, uniquely designed to cultivate the literary skills of young, aspiring writers.

View of a student using her laptop while writing.

Located in Bronxville, New York, the program offers an enriching experience that transcends the typical classroom setting. Writer’s Village is specifically tailored for students entering grades 9 through 12 and is well-suited for those passionate about creative writing and the performance arts.

What sets the Writer’s Village apart is its immersive week-long curriculum, which provides students with a blend of creative writing workshops and theatre experiences. The program is structured to encourage a deep exploration of various writing styles, fostering creativity and self-expression among its participants.

The workshops are led by a team of accomplished prose writers, poets, and performance artists, ensuring a high level of mentorship and guidance. Additionally, the program includes mini-workshops conducted by faculty, graduate students, and guest artists, offering various perspectives and techniques.

4. Juniper Institute for Young Writers at UMass Amherst

  • Location: Amherst, MA
  • Registration Fee: $2,600 for one-week residential; $4,950 for two-week residential; $1,280 for online.
  • Important Dates: One-week residential (July 29–August 2, 2024), two-week residential (July 29–August 9, 2024), online (August 5–9, 2024). Application deadline: March 7, 2024.
  • Eligibility: Rising sophomores to seniors in high school.

The Juniper Institute for Young Writers at UMass Amherst is a remarkable writing and literature program for high school students, offering a unique combination of creative exploration and intensive writing practice.

View of a man typing on his laptop.

Nestled in the inspiring setting of Amherst, Massachusetts, this program is particularly tailored for rising sophomores through seniors in high school, providing an ideal environment for young writers passionate about honing their craft.

An essential aspect of the Juniper Institute is its competitive admission process, focusing on the quality of writing samples and writer’s statements submitted by applicants. This ensures a cohort of dedicated and talented young writers.

5. Tisch Summer High School Dramatic Writing Program at NYU

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Registration Fee: Information not explicitly mentioned.
  • Important Dates: Specific dates not provided, but typically include daily sessions Monday to Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.
  • Eligibility: High school students interested in writing for theatre, film, and television.

The Tisch Summer High School Dramatic Writing Program at NYU is an illustrious writing and literature program for high school students, uniquely focused on dramatic storytelling. Located in the heart of New York City, a global center for arts and culture, this program offers an unparalleled opportunity for young writers interested in writing for the stage or screen. It is part of the Tisch School of the Arts, renowned for contributing to the arts and performance industries.

A female student doing her letters of recommendation on the laptop

This program dives deep into the fundamentals of dramatic structure, providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop their plays and screenplays. The curriculum is structured to explore the core principles of dramatic action, the intricate relationship between character and circumstance, and how these elements weave together to create compelling dramatic narratives. Students engage in rigorous writing workshops where their work is reviewed, critiqued, and rewritten, fostering an environment of continuous improvement and creative growth.

6. Bard College Young Writers Workshop @ Simons Rock

  • Location: Great Barrington, MA
  • Registration Fee: $3,500 (includes tuition, room, and board).
  • Important Dates: July 7 to July 27, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students who have completed grades 9, 10, or 11.

The Bard College Young Writers Workshop at Simon’s Rock is a dynamic and highly regarded writing and literature program for high school students. Located in the scenic town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the workshop offers a unique three-week summer experience for students who have completed grades 9, 10, or 11.

View of a woman using her phone and laptop.

This program stands out for its emphasis on informal, playful, and expressive writing to strengthen language and thinking skills, encouraging students to delve into genres such as poetry, personal narratives, short stories, drama, and creative nonfiction.

One of the distinguishing features of this workshop is its approach to teaching, which is geared towards generating new writing and developing workshop drafts through collaborative small group work. The program’s faculty, comprising experienced teachers and writers associated with the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking, are selected for their teaching excellence and deep understanding of the needs of younger writers. This ensures that students receive high-quality instruction and guidance tailored to their development as writers.

7. Creative Writers Workshop at Emerson College

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Registration Fee: Workshop Tuition: $4310; Residential Room and Board Fee: $4114; Application Fee: $60.
  • Important Dates: July 8 to August 2, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students (exact grade levels not specified)

The Creative Writers Workshop at Emerson College, located in the vibrant city of Boston, is a comprehensive writing and literature program for high school students. This four-week immersive experience, running from July 8 to August 2, 2024, is designed to cultivate the writing skills of young, aspiring writers across various genres. The workshop is characterized by its in-depth curriculum encompassing various creative writing aspects, including fiction, prose, scriptwriting, and performance poetry.

View of a man using a laptop.

Financially, the workshop is accessible, with tuition set at $4310 and an additional room and board fee for residential students. The program also requires a non-refundable application fee of $60. However, it’s important to note that Emerson College suspended its Summer 2024 Pre-College programming, including the Creative Writers Workshop, to re-envision the experiences of high school students.

8. Georgetown Creative Writing Institute

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Registration Fee: Residential: $3,389; Commuter: $2,625.
  • Important Dates: July 14 to July 20, 2024.
  • Eligibility: Current or rising high school freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior with a 2.0 GPA.

The Georgetown Creative Writing Institute presents a prominent writing and literature program for high school students, nestled in the historic and politically charged environment of Washington, D.C.

This program, scheduled for July 14 to July 20, 2024, offers an enriching week-long experience that aims to transform students’ creative ideas into compelling written works. The institute provides a unique blend of dynamic lectures on various aspects of writing, workshop sessions led by graduate student instructors, and the invaluable opportunity for peer feedback.

Unidentified person using a laptop.

A distinctive aspect of this program is its comprehensive coverage of multiple genres, including poetry, fiction, and personal prose. Students participate in workshops and attend readings by published authors, gaining insights into the craft of writing from experienced professionals. The program’s curriculum is meticulously designed to awaken the powers of observation and imagination, teaching concrete elements of writing craft through hands-on experience.

9. Scholastic Art and Writing Competition

  • Location: Place varies depending on region.
  • Registration Fee: $10 per individual entry; $30 per portfolio.
  • Important Dates: Entries open in September; Deadlines vary by region, typically between December and January; National Ceremony in June.
  • Eligibility: Students in grades 7–12, age 13 and up, residing in the United States, U.S. territories or military bases, or Canada.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Competition is a prestigious and renowned writing and literature program for high school students. It is celebrated for identifying and nurturing the next generation of great American artists and writers. With a history stretching back to 1923, this program has become a significant milestone in the creative journey of young writers and artists across the United States.

Young woman using a laptop on a table.

The competition’s structure is regionalized, with students first submitting works to their local community for judging. Award-winning works from these regional events then progress to the national level.

The Gold Medal Art Portfolio is the most notable of these awards, honoring outstanding creativity and skill. Exhibitions showcasing selected awarded works, like the Colorado Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Showcase, are held in various venues, including the Denver Art Museum, which hosted the showcase from February 5 to March 8, 2024.

10. Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference

  • Location: Sewanee, TN
  • Registration Fee: $2,575
  • Important Dates: June 30 – July 13, 2024
  • Eligibility: typically for high school students

The Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference, hosted at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, is a distinguished writing and literature program for high school students. Scheduled from June 30th to July 13th, 2024, this conference provides an idyllic setting for young writers to immerse themselves in the literary world.

A female student using a laptop.

The program is unique in its ability to bring together students passionate about creative writing, offering them a chance to read extensively, cultivate their writing, and form a community with fellow young writers.

One of the hallmarks of the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference is its diverse range of courses, which includes Fiction, Poetry, Literary Nonfiction, Songwriting, and Fantasy/Science Fiction/Fabulism, among others.

This array of genres ensures students can explore and develop their writing skills in the most interesting areas. Moreover, the program includes multiple craft classes taught by Sewanee faculty and special guests, providing students with a rich learning experience. Additionally, meeting with experts in revision and development via Zoom adds an invaluable dimension to the learning process.

11. Summer Advanced Writers Workshop at Susquehanna University

  • Location: Selinsgrove, PA
  • Details Unavailable: The 2024 Summer Pre-College Program information and registration will be available soon.

The Summer Advanced Writers Workshop at Susquehanna University is a prestigious writing and literature program for high school students. Set on the beautiful campus of Susquehanna University, the program provides an immersive experience for students eager to delve into fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Male student studying and writing in the library.

It’s an opportunity for young writers to live on campus, engage in intensive writing workshops, and receive mentorship from experienced and published authors. The workshop fosters a creative environment where students can focus on honing their craft, exploring different genres, and developing their unique voices as writers. This program enhances writing skills and offers a glimpse into a writer’s life, making it an invaluable experience for aspiring authors.

12. Writing Institute at Washington University in St. Louis

  • Location: St. Louis, MO
  • Registration Fee: Not specified.
  • Important Dates: The program runs in July (exact dates not specified).
  • Eligibility: Open to writers of all levels.

The Writing Institute at Washington University in St. Louis is a renowned writing and literature program for high school students, offering a robust curriculum that spans various genres. This program, conducted during the summer, is designed to cater to students from diverse academic backgrounds and interests.

Male student using a laptop in a coffee shop.

It emphasizes developing strong writing skills essential in higher education and beyond. The Institute’s curriculum includes core courses covering fundamental storytelling elements, complemented by specialized workshops in genres like poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Students receive guidance from experienced faculty and have opportunities to interact with guest speakers from the literary world. The program enhances writing abilities and boosts students’ confidence and self-expression, making it a transformative experience for young writers​.

13. Duke University Young Writers Camp

  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Registration Fee: Not specified.
  • Important Dates: Specific dates for sessions are not provided.
  • Eligibility: Middle and high school students.

The Duke University Young Writers Camp is a distinguished writing and literature program for high school students designed to cultivate and enhance their writing skills. This camp encourages students to experiment with various writing styles and techniques, fostering their unique voices.

Female student using a laptop in a library.

The curriculum balances creative freedom with structured learning, emphasizing the importance of organization and clarity in writing. Mentors who are accomplished authors play a pivotal role, offering personalized feedback and guiding students in refining their skills. The program sharpens writing abilities, builds confidence, and fosters self-expression, making it a holistic experience for young writers​​​.

14. Emerging Writers Institute at UC Berkeley

  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Registration Fee: Varies; for instance, Day Camp is $885 – $1,885, Extended Day Camp is $2,190, and Overnight Camp is $2,650.
  • Important Dates: Several sessions in June and July 2024, e.g., at UC Berkeley from June 23 to July 6, 2024.
  • Eligibility: For 7th-9th and 10th-12th graders

The Emerging Writers Institute at UC Berkeley offers high school students a comprehensive writing and literature program. This program is structured to nurture young talents in various writing genres.

UC Berkeley signage

Through a curriculum that emphasizes expressive writing and critical reading exercises, students are encouraged to find and refine their unique voices. The program includes specialized workshops in different genres, such as short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, alongside sessions with visiting writers.

Experienced faculty members provide invaluable guidance, ensuring students’ creative and technical skills are honed. This institute is an ideal environment for students to explore their writing interests and develop their capabilities in a supportive and stimulating setting​​.

15. Summer Writer’s Workshop at Sarah Lawrence College

  • Location: Bronxville, NY
  • Dates: Virtual session from July 15 to July 19, 2024, and an on-campus session from August 5 to August 9, 2024.
  • Registration Fee: Not specified in the sources.
  • Eligibility: Students entering 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grades, at least 14 years old at the program’s start.

The Summer Writer’s Workshop at Sarah Lawrence College is a prestigious writing and literature program for high school students. It offers a unique opportunity for young writers to immerse themselves in creative writing and performance arts.

Female student smiling while writing.

Celebrating its twenty-fifth year in 2024, the program is designed to foster creativity, encourage exploration of various literary genres, and develop a deeper understanding of writing. Students from diverse backgrounds can enjoy this enriching experience with virtual and on-campus sessions.

The workshop includes writing and theater workshops led by experienced prose writers, poets, and performance artists. It provides students with a broad spectrum of creative exercises and projects to expand their skills and artistic expression.

The program is tailored for 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th-grade students, ensuring that it caters to a wide age range and skill level. Participants must be at least 14 at the program’s start, allowing for a mature yet diverse cohort of young writers.

16. 37th Summer Fishtrap Gathering of Writers

  • Location: Typically held in Wallowa Lake, Oregon, offering a scenic and inspirational setting.
  • Registration Fee: Past workshops like these often have varying fees depending on the type of accommodation and workshop selection.
  • Important Dates: Workshops are usually scheduled in the summer, with specific dates varying each year.
  • Eligibility: Open to writers of all ages and levels, with some programs specifically designed for high school students or adults.

Summer Fishtrap Gathering of Writers is known for offering enriching writing and literature programs that cater to individuals across different age groups, including high school students. Such programs typically immerse participants in a creative environment, encouraging them to explore various writing genres, from poetry and fiction to nonfiction.

Female student writing on a bench.

In workshops and seminars led by experienced writers and educators, students often have the opportunity to develop their writing skills, receive feedback on their work, and engage in meaningful discussions about literature and the writing process. The picturesque and tranquil settings where these gatherings are usually held also provide a perfect backdrop for inspiration and creativity.

17. Yale Young Writers’ Workshop

  • Location: Conducted by Yale University, this workshop may offer both on-campus and online options to accommodate participants from various locations.
  • Registration Fee: Fees can vary based on the program length and format (residential vs. online).
  • Important Dates: These workshops are typically held in the summer, with application deadlines often set in the spring.
  • Eligibility: High school students passionate about writing, usually from grades 9 through 12, are the primary audience for these workshops.

Yale Young Writers’ Workshop is widely recognized as a prestigious writing and literature program for high school students. It is typically hosted by Yale University, one of the world’s leading institutions of higher learning, renowned for its commitment to excellence in education and the arts.

View of Yale building.

In addition to honing their writing skills, students attending the Yale Young Writers’ Workshop benefit from the inspiring academic environment of Yale University. The program focuses on improving writing abilities and aims to foster a love of literature, critical thinking, and the confidence to pursue creative endeavors.

The workshop provides an invaluable platform for young writers to grow both personally and artistically, making it a highly sought-after program for high school students interested in developing their writing to a higher level.

18. Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

  • Location: Iowa City, IA
  • Dates: Session 1: June 16-29, 2024; Session 2: July 14-27, 2024.
  • Registration Fee: $475 for online courses; the fee for the residential program was not specified.
  • Eligibility: High school students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for online courses; specific eligibility for the residential program needed to be more detailed.

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is a distinguished writing and literature program for high school students, fostering a nurturing environment where young talents can flourish. Hosted by the University of Iowa, known for its prestigious Writers’ Workshop, this program invites students to delve into the intricacies of creative writing, offering residential and online courses catering to aspiring writers’ diverse needs.

Male student using a laptop while sitting on a table.

With sessions running from mid-January to late February for the winter course and a summer session from late June to early August, the studio allows students to engage with their passion for writing throughout the year.

Participants in the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio can explore various genres, including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, under the guidance of experienced instructors and mentors who are often graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

This program is not just about improving writing skills; it’s about inspiring a deep-seated love for writing and encouraging students to experiment with their voice and style in a supportive community of like-minded individuals.

19. Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop

  • Location: Gambier, OH
  • Dates: Summer Residential: June 23-July 6, 2024, and July 14-27, 2024; Summer Online: June 16-21, 2024.
  • Registration Fee: $2,575 for the residential program and $995 for the online workshop.
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 16-18 and recent graduates. International students and previous participants of the Young Writers online workshops are also welcome.

The Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop is an acclaimed writing and literature program for high school students. It offers an immersive experience to sharpen their writing skills and deepen their appreciation for literary arts.

View of a female student typing in her laptop.

Hosted at Kenyon College, a renowned liberal arts institution with a rich literary tradition, the program features two sessions in the summer of 2024, from June 23 to July 6 and July 14 to 27. This workshop provides a dynamic environment where students engage in generative writing exercises across various genres, including poetry, short stories, and essays.

With a registration fee of $2,575 and a policy of no application fee, the workshop emphasizes accessibility, offering need-based financial aid to ensure passionate young writers can attend regardless of financial circumstances.

Applicants are selected based on a 300-word personal statement, a high school transcript, and a letter of recommendation highlighting the program’s commitment to fostering a diverse and talented group of young writers.

20. Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference (Middlebury College)

  • Location: Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus in the Green Mountains, Vermont.
  • Dates: August 14-24, 2024.
  • Registration Fee: The specific registration fee 2024 was not detailed in the sources. However, Bread Loaf typically offers financial aid, making it accessible to many writers.
  • Eligibility: The conference is open to emerging writers who work closely with a diverse and talented faculty. Financial aid is available for both published and unpublished writers.

The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College is an esteemed writing and literature program that has established itself as a significant destination for writers from various stages of their careers, including high school students passionate about writing.

A woman writing an essay on a table.

Scheduled to take place from August 14 to 24, 2024, at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus in the picturesque Green Mountains of Vermont, the conference offers an ideal environment for creative exploration and literary discourse.

The conference is known for its small-group workshop model, a cornerstone of its educational approach. Each workshop, led by notable faculty members among the world’s most distinguished writers and translators, is limited to ten writers. This setting fosters intimate discussions, allowing participants to delve deeply into their craft while receiving personalized attention and feedback.

Apart from workshops, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference features enriching activities, including faculty and guest readings, lectures on literary writing, and classes on specific aspects of the craft. These sessions are designed to provide a comprehensive literary experience, enhancing participants’ understanding of the art and the writing industry.


In conclusion, writing and literature programs for high school students are more than just summer camps or extracurricular activities; they are gateways to personal growth, artistic development, and academic exploration.

Through workshops, seminars, and immersive experiences, students are challenged to push the boundaries of their creativity, engage critically with the world around them, and articulate their thoughts with clarity and conviction.

The skills and insights gained from these programs extend far beyond the page, preparing students for success in various fields and endeavors. Whether aspiring to become published authors, influential journalists, or innovative thinkers, participants in these programs step into a world where their voices matter and their stories can make a difference. Each word written and shared idea contributes to the ongoing conversation that shapes our culture and understanding of the human experience.

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