The Best Creative Writing Summer Programs 2019 

The summer goal for every high schooler should be to do something impressive with their time. You want to work hard and show that your hard work paid off. But a lot of people think that creative writing isn’t a rigorous field. We disagree. In fact, we feel that having a strong grasp of the creative process is crucial for writing standout college essays. There’s no reason you shouldn’t explore your passions during your time off of school, whatever they may be. That’s why we’ve identified a list of programs just for creative writers who are too ambitious to spend the summer siting by the pool and reciting poetry.   

And one more time for the people in the back: going to a school’s particular summer program is not going to help you get in there. Universities are a business and they need to rent out dorm space in the summertime. So, when choosing a summer program, consider that you’re objective should be to choose a prestigious program that doesn’t necessarily have to be at the school of your dreams.

Columbia Immersion

Columbia is a great place to spend a summer. It’s an Ivy League school located in the heart of New York’s Upper West Side. Students can choose from 7 courses specific to creative writing and journalism, plus playwriting and writing for television. We also love this program, because students can opt to take additional elective classes over the course of their three-week stay.  

Yale Summer Springboard

Much like Columbia, Yale offers a prestigious program for kids who are up for the summer challenge. This program incorporates writing exercises and reading assignments geared towards a variety of creative writing media, from scripts to short stories.

Brown Pre-College Program  

Brown University is home to an acclaimed department of Literary Arts for undergrads and graduate students alike in pursuit academic careers rich with poetry, fiction writing, and screenwriting. It’s no surprise that Brown offers multiple, one to four-week sessions in the creative writing discipline. Students can opt for a number of creative writing and fiction courses, from experimental writing to fiction for social change.

UPenn Kelly Writers House

The UPenn Kelly Writers House made it onto our list largely because it will likely be helpful in honing those application-writing schools. In addition to grades and scores, the personal essay matters a great deal for college applications. That is why we, at TKG, put so much emphasis on them. Students at the Kelly Writers House will spend time in personal essay writing workshops, in addition to attending lectures and engaging in artistic activities.

NYU Tisch Summer High School Program

NYU’s Tisch School is one of the top arts programs in the nation. The summer high school program is a four-week, residential offering for students interested in gaining professional training and a rigorous course load for college credit. While the program offers classes in dance, drama, and production, among other artistic disciplines, Tisch Summer High School Program made our list for its focus in dramatic writing.

Emerson University Pre-College Program

Any school that offers college quidditch is probably a safe bet for creative students. In fact, Emerson is just one of those schools that’s great for the imaginatives out there. The school offers a five-week long writers workshop studio program for high schoolers. The intensive incorporates classes for students interested in developing their fiction, prose, screenwriting, magazine, and graphic novel abilities.

Sarah Lawrence Writers Week

Duration of a program doesn’t necessarily matter as much as rigor. As long as you pack the rest of your summer with other impressive activities that fall under the same niche as whatever course you’re taking, a one-week course at a great university can make for a worthwhile experience. Sarah Lawrence’s Writer’s Week is a workshop-based course  grounded in one-on-one learning. With a 6:1 student teacher ratio, this selective program offers students the opportunity to work closely with the university’s esteemed faculty. NOTE: There is no residential option for this program

Boston College Experience for High School Students

This three-week creative writing seminar explores creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction writing. High schoolers will take discussion-based classes that involve reading and traditional assignments. But what sets this program apart is the capstone offering in which the class will edit and design a literary journal.

 Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference  

The Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference offers small class sizes and a small-town environment. 9th, 10th, and 11th graders will engage in lectures and interactive courses about creative writing. According to the website, the class has a strong reading emphasis, with numerous authors who visit as guest speakers.


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