Great Summer Creative Writing Programs for High School Students

Opportunities for Lovers of Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Creative Non-Fiction

Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College. Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

Summer is a terrific time to focus on your creative writing. A summer program gives you the opportunity to develop your writing skills, meet like-minded students, and gain an impressive line on your activities resumé. Below you'll find some excellent summer creative writing programs for high school students.

Emerson College. Wikimedia Commons

Emerson’s Creative Writers Workshop is a five-week program for rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to develop their writing skills in a variety of media, including fiction, poetry, screenwriting, graphic novels and magazine writing. Participants attend college-level writing classes exploring these genres and write and present their own work, creating a final portfolio of their writing, contributing to the workshop’s anthology and presenting a reading for family and friends. On-campus housing for the duration of the workshop is available. More »

Alfred University Steinheim
Alfred University Steinheim. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

This summer writing program introduces rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to many different genres, including poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction and drama. Students read and discuss the work of established authors and participate in writing-intensive exercises and workshop sessions led by Alfred University faculty members. Campers stay in university housing and enjoy a variety of recreational activities outside of classes and workshops, such as movie nights, games, and social gatherings. The program runs for five days at the end of June. More »

Rothschild, Garrison, and Taylor Residence Halls (left to right) at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY
Rothschild, Garrison, and Taylor Residence Halls (left to right) at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. Wikimedia Commons

This program is a one-week, non-residential summer workshop for rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to explore the process of creative writing in a non-competitive, non-judgmental environment. Participants have the opportunity to attend small writing and theater workshops led by faculty and guest writers and theater artists as well as attend and participate in readings. Classes are limited to 15 students with three faculty leaders per workshop to provide individual attention for each student.  More »

Sewanee, University of the South
Sewanee, University of the South. wharman / Flickr

This two-week residential program, offered by The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee provides dedicated rising high school sophomore, junior and senior creative writers an opportunity to develop and polish their writing skills. The conference includes workshops in playwriting, fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction led by celebrated professional writers as well as visiting writers whose works students analyze and discuss. Participants select one writing genre and spend their two weeks attending a small workshop dedicated to that genre, with opportunities for one-on-one contact with workshop leaders. Students also participate in lectures, readings and discussions.  More »

Yale University
Yale University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Education Unlimited offers the Emerging Writers Institute creative writing camp each summer at Yale University, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley. This two-week residential program for rising 10th-12th graders includes daily workshops, evaluations, peer editing groups, and creative presentations designed to encourage students to challenge themselves as writers and hone their expressive writing process.

Each student chooses to major in the writing of short stories, poetry, playwriting or nonfiction, and the bulk of their critical reading and writing exercises and workshopping is devoted to their selected major. They may also attend afternoon workshops on nontraditional genres such as speechwriting, graphic novels, and advertising copy as well as guest presentations by local authors and publishers. More »

Old Capitol at the University of Iowa
Old Capitol at the University of Iowa. Alan Kotok / Flickr

The University of Iowa offers this two-week summer creative writing program for rising juniors, seniors, and college freshmen. Students choose one of three Core Courses in poetry, fiction or creative writing (a more general course sampling from poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction). Within their course, they participate in seminar classes where they read and analyze literary selections and workshops to create, share, and discuss their own writing, as well as large group writing exercises, inspirational outdoor writing excursions, and nightly readings by prominent published writers. Many of the teachers and counselors are graduates of the university's Iowa Writers' Workshop, one of the most prestigious creative writing graduate programs in the country. More »

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Cody, Eileen. "Great Summer Creative Writing Programs for High School Students." ThoughtCo, Nov. 27, 2017, Cody, Eileen. (2017, November 27). Great Summer Creative Writing Programs for High School Students. Retrieved from Cody, Eileen. "Great Summer Creative Writing Programs for High School Students." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2018).