Good writing ecs/mentorships/opportunities?

hello! i’m a freshman in hs right now and i’m reallyy interested in writing. i’d love to improve thru any online writing programs but i don’t really know very many since i don’t have a writing tutor or anything. here are a couple that i’m considering tho :slight_smile:

  • polyphony lit (seems pretty interesting, but im not sure if the $75 editor training will be worth it)
  • adroit summer mentorship (hella competitive but i might as well try it out haha)
  • im a prose reader for a few small litmags, but thats abt it. if there are any other programs (preferably at a low cost) that you would recommend, please comment them ! thank you
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Kenyon, Rhodes, and Sewanee all have summer writing programs for high school students. I suspect this summer they will be online rather than on campus.


You should check out:

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
Foyle Young Poets
Google - John Fox 33 writing contests for Teens (this will have a lot of different contests for you to consider entering)

Some other summer programs in addition to those suggested by @MIP750:
Duke Young Writers Workshop
Iowa Young Writers Workshop (also has online programs in fall and spring)
Bard Young Writers Workshop
University of Virginia Young Writers Workshop
Smith College Young Writers Workshop
Belin Blank Young Writers Summer Residency
Ellipses Online Young Writers Courses
Bennington Unbound Online writing courses

I would also suggest that you look at any local colleges or universities within 30-45 minutes of your house and see if they offer summer writing programs for high school students. Those are often much lower cost and allow you to commute. Google your town name and writing programs as well. For years, a local arts high school would offer a commuter writing camp around here.

You should start planning your summer now. Most programs will likely ask for a writing sample, possibly a letter of recommendation and some have deadlines that are a lot earlier than you would anticipate. Many of those summer programs offer reduced tuition and need based aid.


thank you so much, this was super helpful! also as for the letter of recommendations: uhhh i have never met my teachers before (covid) so i feel like it would be awkward to ask lmao :’)

It won’t be awkward. People miss lots of opportunities because they don’t ask. Your teachers want to help. Most people want to help and if asked will help you pursue your goals.

You email your teacher, tell them that you are planning on applying for various writing programs that require a letter of recommendation, and would they be willing to write one on your behalf. Would probably attach your writing sample as well and maybe a 1/2 page bullet point of your GPA, honors etc. if any to help them write.

Here is the key: Give them LOTS of time. At a very minimum 2 weeks (with lots of apologies for the late notice), more like 4-5 weeks. After they write it - you write them a handwritten thank you card (always nice to throw in a $10 Starbucks gift card). and then after you go to whatever program they wrote a letter of recommendation for - follow up and tell them how much you learned and appreciate their assistance.

You may want to go back to these teachers for future recommendations. You want to make it as easy as possible and make sure they know that their recommendation was very appreciated.

You can also look into the summer creative writing programs of Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development (, or Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth (

The two are essentially the same thing.

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thanks for all the good suggestions! More specifically, do you know which one is good for fiction writing?

I participated in the Iowa Young Writers program last month and loved it. The instructor’s critiques were constructive. They really helped me think about the art of writing in a different way. I would highly recommend.

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hi! i’ve participated in the adroit summer mentorship (for poetry) and the iowa young writer’s studio (for fiction), and i’m also currently an editor at polyphony lit, so feel free to dm me if you have specific questions!

if you like speculative fiction, i’d also recommend the alpha young writers workshop. it’s a very small, focused summer program, and it’s not as widely known as other programs, so it might feel less intimidating :slight_smile: