Best Art and Writing Summer Programs for High Schoolers 2022

Do you love the visual arts, journalism, or creative writing? Then you’re in the right place. The following summer programs are pretty niche, but they can be meaningful experiences with admissions value if you approach them the right way.

By ALEX LOVELESS

If you haven’t already, please check out my original article on identifying worthwhile summer programs before determining what programs you want to apply to. There are certainly many more programs than the ones listed here, but for the arts, there isn’t a ton of consensus on the quality of certain programs. 

I group the art and writing programs together because, quite honestly, there aren’t enough worthwhile programs out there to warrant separate lists. The summer programs here are not nearly as competitive as top programs like RSI or Telluride, so their admissions value comes from the mentorship you receive to put together art or writing pieces for your portfolio. These programs provide students with structured time to work on pieces with guidance so that they can later submit their visual arts or creative writing to literary magazines, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, or college application art supplements through Slideroom. If students put the work in, they can expect to produce higher-quality pieces that will be more likely to receive recognition through honors and awards. 

Many of these programs, especially competitive ones, will require that you submit samples of your work. Make sure you put your best foot forward when applying for the A-Tier programs in particular. For creative writing programs, you can bet that they will look very closely at your application essays and writing portfolios, expecting to see some top-notch writing there. 

I’ve tiered the programs into only two categories: A-Tier and B-Tier. None of these are deserving of an S-Tier designation, but we do think that if you can afford the programs, they are worthwhile to attend. As I’ve mentioned in our other summer program articles, I believe that the in-person programs hold more value beyond instruction, but I know that some of the online versions of programs are quite affordable in comparison. 

A-Tier: Competitive Programs

Creative Writing

Iowa Young Writers’ Studio
Program Dates: Session 1 — June 12th – 25th, Session 2 — July 11th – 23rd
Application Deadline: February 6th, 2022
Cost: In-person $2,500, online $575 (financial aid available)
International Students: Yes

Kenyon Review Young Writers Summer
Program Dates: In-person – Session I – June 26th – July 9th; Session II – July 17th – 30th
Online – Words and Wonders — June 19th – 24th;  Observation Meets Imagination – July 10th – 15th, Writing Across Worlds — July 10th – 15th
Application Deadline: In-person – March 1st, 2022; Online – April 25th, 2022
Cost: In-person – $2,475, Online – $995 per week-long course(financial aid available)
International Students: Yes

Emerson College – Creative Writers Pre-College Program
Program Dates: July 3rd – August 6th
Application Deadline: Rolling until May 6th, 2022
Cost: Credit Tuition – $4,310; Non-Credit Tuition – $3,531; Room & Board – $3314
International Students: Yes

Adroit Journal – Summer Mentorship Program
Program Dates: Online June 2th – August 1st
Application Deadline: March 15th, 2022
Cost: $450
International Students: Yes

 

Journalism

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism – Summer Journalism Institute
Program Dates: June 19th – July 1st
Application Deadline: April 8th, 2022
Cost: Free
International Students: No

Asian American Journalists Association – JCamp
Program Dates: July 23rd – 29th
Application Deadline: March 31st, 2022
Cost: Free (travel also paid for)
International Students: Yes

Princeton Summer Journalism Program
Program Dates: July 29th – August 8th
Application Deadline: February 28th, 2022
Cost: Free (travel also paid for)
International Students: No

Visual Arts

Interlochen Center for the Arts – Visual Arts High School Summer Program
Program Dates: Intensives (1 week) June 18th – June 24th; Session 1: June 25th – July 16th; Session 2: July 17th – August 7th
Application Deadline: Priority Deadline – January 15th, 2022 for programs that require audition/portfolio; rolling admissions afterwards
Cost: 1 week programs – $1,675; 2 week – $4,100; 3 week – $6,375; 4 week – $7,250; 6 week – $9,950 (financial aid available)
International Students: Yes

Otis College of Art and Design – Summer of Art Online
Program Dates: July 5th – July 29th (2x/week or 3x/week or 5x/week)
Application Deadline: Scholarship deadline – April 22nd, 2022; Deadline for Early Enrollment (EE) discount – April 29th, 2022, Rolling admissions afterwards
Cost: 5x/week program – $4,050 ($3,950 for EE), 3x/week program – $2,450 ($2,350 for EE), 2x/week program – $1,600
International Students: Yes

These programs are all pretty competitive, and they are some of the best art and writing summer experiences you can have.

For creative writing, Iowa’s Young Writers’ Studio is still one of the best. The University of Iowa has one of the best creative writing programs in the country, and they will be offering both in-person and online instruction this summer. The Kenyon Review Young Writers Online is also a great program with themed week-long programs though they are more expensive. If you’re looking for more depth of instruction and time, look to Emerson College’s Creative Writers Pre-College Program, though again, it will come with a higher price tag. The Adroit Summer Mentorship Program deserves a spot on this list because of the value of the price tag compared to the length of the instruction. Just like last year, we don’t see creative writing programs losing too much quality in experience in the virtual format compared to visual arts and journalism, as much of the value in the experience is getting feedback/edits on your writing through online platforms. These programs do expect you to submit your own writing in the form of a writing portfolio, so make sure to put your best foot forward to demonstrate your passion and skill in the craft. 

The Walter Cronkite Program is well-known, not just because of the name attached to its school/program. Though it is a short experience, students there participate in hands-on experiences from reporting to production to camera work in Arizona State’s state-of-the-art broadcast facilities, as welto learn more about broadcast and digital journalism. JCamp was founded to address the shortage of diversity in the media, emphasizing multicultural perspectives. Students there participate in workshops, field trips, and hands-on instruction from professional journalists in a variety of areas, including writing, photography, broadcasting, and more. Princeton’s Summer Journalism Program is for talented current juniors from low-income households. Students similarly participate in workshops and lectures, tour leading news outlets, and cover real events in preparation for the publication of their own newspaper. One of the best aspects of PSJP is the mentorship that students receive from staff after they return home.

For visual arts, Interlochen and Otis have some of the best experiences. This is certainly debatable, as art itself is quite subjective, but these programs are respected by their peers. Aside from visual arts, Interlochen also has programs in performing arts, creative writing, and music. Otis has a number of programs that culminate in a final exhibition. Visual arts programs are probably the most affected type of summer program in a virtual format, and they are often also some of the most expensive, so you should really evaluate the overall value and cost for you. The arts, unfortunately, are more easily pursued if your family has the means, though each of these programs does have financial aid. Interlochen offers need-based and merit-based financial aid while Otis seems to offer scholarships, though their website detailing these scholarships seems to be down.  Just as in real-life, visual art is a pursuit that is easiest to accommodate if your family has the means to support the interest.

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B-Tier: Great Experience for Building a Portfolio

Creative Writing

Sewanee Young Writers Conference
Program Dates: June 26th – July 9th
Application Deadline: Review of applications starts February 2022 through March 2022
Cost: $2,550
International Students: Yes

University of Massachusetts Amherst – Juniper Institute for Young Writers
Program Dates: Online – July 18th – July 29th (one or two weeks)
Application Deadline: Scholarship – April 12th, 2022, Regular – May 17th, 2022
Cost: $900 for one week; $1,700 for two (financial aid available)
International Students: Yes

Journalism

Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute
Program Dates: Online – June 27th – July 22nd
Application Deadline: March 14th, 2022
Cost: $2,900 (financial aid available) 
International Students: Yes

Boston University Summer Journalism Academy
Program Dates: Session 1 — June 20th – July 1st; Session 2 — July 4th – July 15th; Session 3 — July 18th – July 29th
Application Deadline: May 13th, 2022
Cost: On campus + R&B – $3,700; On campus + commuter – $2,700; Online – $1,300 (financial aid available)
International Students: Yes

Columbia Scholastic Press Association – Virtual Summer Journalism Workshop
Program Dates: Various 1-week classes from June 20th – July 29th
Application Deadline: Rolling admissions
Cost: $849 per 1-week session ($300 discount for each additional class)
International Students: Yes

Visual Arts

Rhode Island School of Design – Advanced Program for High School Students
Program Dates: Session 1 — June 21st – July 17th, Session 2 — July 19th – August 14th
Application Deadline: Registration opens March 1st
Cost: $5,360 (Certificate program)
International Students: Yes

Parsons Summer Intensive Studies
Program Dates: Online – July 5th – July 28th; NYC – Session 1: June 13th – July 1, Session 2: July 11th – July 29th; Paris – July 1st – 23rd
Application Deadline: Online – Register by June 30th, 2022; NYC – Session 1 June 5th, 2022, Session 2: June 30th, 2022; Paris – Application due by April 1st, 2022
Cost: Online – Early discount: $2,950, $3,250 otherwise (3 credits award); NYC – 4,250 not including housing (3 credits awarded); Paris – $7,790 including housing (3 credits awarded)
International Students: Yes

School of Art Institute of Chicago – Early College Program Summer Institute
Program Dates: In-person Session 1 — June 20th – July 1st; Session 2 — July 4th – July 15th; Session 3 — July 18th – 29th; Session 4 – July 4th – 29th; Session 5 – August 1st – 5th
Online Session 1 – June 20th – July 8th; Session 2 – July 11th – 29th; Session 3 – August 1st – 19th 
Application Deadline: Financial aid/scholarship deadline – April 1st, 2022
Cost: Half-day – $1,740; Full-day – $3,480 (financial aid available)
International Students: Yes

This next set of programs are generally not quite as competitive as the A-Tier programs, but for this category, the gap is not quite as pronounced. Their placing in B-Tier again is debatable (especially the art programs), but judging by the later or nonexistent application deadlines, you know that they’re not going to be as competitive. 

The primary value of these programs will be to carve out time with an experienced mentor to help build your own writing/art portfolio. However, this can also be accomplished with a private tutor or other art academies year-round. They are also still expensive, especially the visual arts programs, and because the programs themselves don’t add a ton of admissions value to your profile, the main thing that matters is that you’re able to produce quality work. 

Like always, make sure to weigh the cost of the program with its length and overall cohesion with your Admissions Angle strategy. 

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