The Common Young Writers Program | Summer Program Guide | Teen Ink

The Common Young Writers Program

The Common Young Writers Program welcomes high school students passionate about creative writing to join us virtually for two inspiring weeks dedicated to the craft of fiction. Students will learn and experiment with the essential elements of fiction (scene, character, plot, image) and be guided through the process of writing and revising their own short stories. At the end of the program, students will emerge more confident in their skills and more connected to a supportive writing community.


Taught by the editors and editorial assistants of Amherst College’s literary magazine, the summer courses run Monday-Friday and are open to all high school students (rising 9-12). Learn more about instructors here.


Level I 

Our introductory fiction class guides students through the process of writing a short story. No prior writing experience is necessary. Through daily writing assignments and class meetings, students will learn about the key building blocks of fiction and will each complete their own short story by the end of the course. In addition to submitting daily assignments, students will meet as a group with our instructors via Zoom. Students will also meet individually with an instructor to discuss their own short stories, and will not only receive written feedback on their first drafts and final stories, but on all daily assignments. The program also includes access to written Q&As with editors and authors, additional writing prompts, and a print subscription to The Common.

Students should expect to spend around 3-4 hours each day on their assignments, including meeting times. Class size will be small, and we’ll break into small groups for discussions during each session.


Level II: Advanced 

Students who have already completed a creative writing class or workshop may apply for Level II, a collaborative fiction workshop in which students share work and provide feedback to each other, under the supervision of experienced teachers. Each student will submit a short story prior to the beginning of the course and will receive written and verbal feedback from their peers and instructors using the workshop format. Each student will also meet individually with their instructors to discuss their story and the feedback they received in their workshop. The program includes beyond-the-course exercises and a print subscription to The Common.

Students should expect to spend 4-5 hours a day on their assignments, including meeting times. 

Cost & Scholarships

The cost of the two-week program is $725 for Level I, and $875 for Level II. Full and partial need-based tuition waivers are available for both levels; we hope that no student will let financial difficulty prevent them from applying. Tuition waivers will be awarded to students with strong applications who cannot attend the program without financial assistance. In the application, students will have the opportunity to briefly describe their financial circumstances and state the amount they could afford to pay, if any, if accepted into the program. No documentation is required.

Destination: USA

Region: New England Region

State/Province: Massachusetts

Program Delivery: Online

Provided By: College

Age: 13-18

Gender: Coed

Entering Grade: 9th

Session Length: Two Weeks

Start Month: July

Acceptance: Yes

Categories: Academic, Writing

Sub-Categories: Literature, Writing

Cost: $500 - $1,499

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