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10 Summer Programs in Literature for High School Students

If you love literature, then you should check out our list of summer programs that will expose you to new ways of understanding and analyzing literature, new types of literature and even strengthen your writing skills! We’ve covered a wide range of programs - some are free while others are paid.

Location: On campus, residential and commuter tracks available

Fee: $6,500 with a $1,000 discount for commuter students

Financial assistance: Need-based financial aid is available, not including transportation costs.

Application deadline: November 2, 2022, for Early Action applicants, January 10, 2023, for Regular Decision applicants

Program dates: Session I from June 18, 2023 - June 30, 2023, Session II from July 2, 2023 - July 14, 2023, Session III from July 16, 2023 - July 28, 2023

Eligibility: Students must be at least 16 years of age by the first day of the program and their graduation should fall in May/June 2024 or 2025 (Northern Hemisphere) or November/December 2023 or 2024 (Southern Hemisphere)

This two-week program offers students the opportunity to study fiction, poetry, philosophy, film, theatre and other visual and performance arts. You will learn through an interdisciplinary approach and a combination of lectures, seminars, collaborative projects as well as a symposium. By the end of the program, you will have new insights into critical thinking and the creative arts. Keep in mind that the program has been known to have an acceptance rate of approximately 34% (based on publicly available information).

Location: On campus with residential and commuter options

Fee: $9,058 for the residential track, $7,772 for the commuter track

Financial assistance: Limited need-based financial aid is available, but students are advised to apply early.

Application deadline: April 15, 2023

Program dates: Session 1 from June 25, 2023 - July 14, 2023, Session 2 from July 23, 2023 - August 11, 2023

Eligibility: Open to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Barnard College of Columbia University offers this program to young women who are particularly interested in leadership. Within the program’s writing and literature track, you will study different forms of literature, themes, filmmaking and creative writing, all of it geared towards helping you find your voice.

Location: Cornell University, University of Maryland, and University of Michigan

Fee: Free

Financial assistance: NA

Application deadline: Closed for 2023

Program dates: June 25, 2023 – August 5, 2023

Program Selectivity: Highly selective with a 3-5% acceptance rate

Eligibility: 10th and 11th graders

Primarily rooted in humanities and social studies, TASS looks at systems of power and oppression and exercises students’ critical thinking. Literature is one of the program’s key areas, amongst history, politics, and art of people of African descent. At this highly prestigious program, you will attend lectures, plan group activities, and even participate in a public speaking program. Students of color and those who face financial hardships are encouraged to apply to this program.

Location: On campus with residential and commuter options available

Fee: Ranges from $600 to $1,038 depending on number of credits

Financial assistance: Need-based scholarships for 50% of the tuition fee are available.

Application deadline: June 15, 2023

Program dates: July 6, 2023 – August 16, 2023

Eligibility: 10th and 11th grade students with a minimum GPA of 3.0

This summer program offers you the full NYU college student experience, from campus resources and events to organized trips to NYC destinations. To pursue an interest in literature, you can opt for the ‘Storytelling: from Aristotle to Beyonce and Beyond’ course, which looks at the mechanics of storytelling and its impact on the world. Another option is ‘Readings in Contemporary Literary Theory’, which looks at feminist theory and writings by women of color.

Location: On campus

Fee: $13,750 for the residential track, $3,600 (4-credits) and $7,200 (8-credits) for the commuter and online tracks

Financial assistance: Need-based scholarships awards are available.

Application deadline: February 22, 2023

Program dates: June 17, 2023 - August 5, 2023

Eligibility: Open to 16-18 year olds who will graduate from high school and enter college in 2023, 2024, or 2025

Spend seven weeks doing a deep dive into a specific area of research in this summer program at Harvard University. The program is moderately selective and course options include The Rise of the Novel, Poetry in America, The Culture of Capitalism, Indigenous Literatures, and Superheroes and Power. At the end of the course, you will receive a letter grade, a Harvard University transcript and a solid Ivy League-level experience.

Location: On campus with commuter and residential options

Fee: Minimum $4,952 for commuter tracks, minimum $16,095 for residential track

Financial assistance: Not available for high school students

Application deadline: Rolling admissions with a final deadline of May 1, 2023, but high school students are advised to apply early as the program fills up by February.

Program dates: June 24, 2023 - August 20, 2023

Eligibility: Open to 16- to 18-year-old students. Academic excellence is a requisite but there is no minimum GPA.

Stanford University offers this opportunity for you to experience genuine college-level courses and social activities. The program’s literature-based courses include Greek Mythology, Curating 20th Century Literature, and The Detective and the City. This 8-week is highly selective (it has been known to have an acceptance rate of 6%) but is also highly prestigious, offers credit and will boost your college applications.

Location: Klein Theatre, Washington, DC

Fee: $850

Financial assistance: Scholarships available on a rolling basis

Application deadline: June 1, 2023

Program dates: Session I from June 20, 2023 – June 30, 2023, Session II from July 4, 2023 – July 14, 2023

Eligibility: Open to students between the ages of 15 to 18

This theatre summer camp primarily focuses on the craft of acting and armed stage combat, but it also has a component of text analysis. So, if you’re looking for an opportunity to deep dive into Shakespeare’s language while also honing your acting skills, then this is the ideal program for you. In 2023, Session I will cover A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Session II will cover Julius Caesar.

Location: Commuter and residential tracks available

Fee/stipend: $6,300 for the commuter track, $12,449 for the residential track

Financial assistance: Limited scholarships available only for commuter students

Application deadline: March 3, 2023, for the residential track, March 31, 2023, for the commuter track

Program dates: June 26, 2023 – July 14, 2023

Eligibility: Open to students from 8th to 12th grades, residential tracks are open to those who are 16 years of age or older

Explorations in Modern Literature is a 3-week pre-college course at Columbia University that will explore modern writers from Dostoyevsky and Woolf all the way to the Beat generation. Through discussions, short creative projects and oral presentations, you will learn about the writers' content, style and form. The program also includes visits to the Museum of Modern Art and other New York cultural institutions.

Location: On campus at UC Berkeley

Fee: $15,800 for the 8-week course, $14,500 for the 6-week course

Financial assistance: Scholarship available for the 8-week track

Application deadline: March 14, 2023

Program dates: June 20, 2023 - August 11, 2023, for the 8-week track, July 3, 2023 - August 11, 2023, for the 6-week track

Eligibility: Open to domestic and international students who will be 16-17 years of age at the start of the program. Students must also have at least an overall B average in their schoolwork

The University of California, Berkeley is known as one of the country’s top schools for studies in English Literature. Its pre-college program includes a number of literature courses including The Horror Genre, Science Fiction, Intro to Popular Fiction, Sally Rooney: Popularity and the Popular, Thinking Through Memory in Poetry and Fiction, Literature and Psychology, Rise of the Young Adult, Epic Poetry, Modes of Writing and more. It’s an ideal program if you’re looking to delve into a particular area of literature.

Location: NA, Online application

Scholarship: Awards range from $50,000 to $10,000

Financial assistance: NA

Application deadline: February 15, 2023

Program dates: NA, but an initial portion of the application must be submitted first. On approval of that, you may complete the rest of the application (including two nominators)

Eligibility: Applicants must be younger than 18 years of age and a permanent resident or citizen of the US

The Davidson Institute Fellows Scholarship is awarded to those who create a significant body of work. The research piece must be deemed meaningful by industry experts and have a positive impact on society. Under the literature category, you would have to submit a 60–75-page portfolio of creative work as well as a literacy narrative (a piece of writing that investigates the writer’s process of developing literacy). For this scholarship, you can even apply in teams of two!

Here is a bonus option for those of you who have read this far and are willing to look at courses that go beyond the summer period:

Location: Commuter program at NYU's New York City campus

Fee: Free

Financial assistance: NA

Application deadline: Closed for 2023

Program dates: February 4, 2023 - May 13, 2023

Program Selectivity: Highly selective

Eligibility: Open to 9th, 10th and 11th graders

If you’re looking for a program that brings literature and performing arts together, this dramatic writer's workshop is the ideal choice. The program takes place every Saturday for 14 weeks, where you will have the opportunity to both, study the fundamentals of dramatic structure and write your own scripts. It culminates in a yearly showcase where students can present what they’ve worked on.

Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing university-level research in literature then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Also check out the Lumiere Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.



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