How to Apply: Summer Residential Program

Students hanging out at Prairie Lights Books

We accept applications to the Summer Residential Program (in-person and online versions) from students who are currently in the 10th, 11th or 12th grade. 9th graders may apply; in rare cases we will admit an exceptionally talented and mature student. Nearly all students who attend the Studio have just completed their sophomore, junior, or senior years by the time the program begins. We welcome applications from students outside the United States.

What are the 2023 session dates?

Session 1: June 11-24, 2023. Session 2: July 9-22, 2023. You will be given the option, on the application, to select a preference for Session 1 or Session 2, or to indicate that you are willing to do either.

When is the deadline to apply?

Applications for the 2023 Summer Residential Program will be accepted via Submittable, an online submissions manager, during a two-week Application Period in January and February, 2023. We will begin accepting application materials via Submittable at 1:00 AM (Central Time) Monday, January 23, 2023 and stop accepting application materials at 11:59 PM (Central Time) Sunday, February 5, 2023. Application materials will not be accepted before or after the Application Period.

Is the procedure for applying to the in-person version and online version of the program the same?

Yes. You will be given the option, on the application, to select a preference for in-person or online, or to indicate that you are willing to do either.

What do I have to submit?

Applications to the Summer Residential Program must submit the following 4 items:

1. Writing sample

If you want to study fiction, poetry, or creative writing during your time at the Studio, your sample should consist of not more than ten pages of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction/essay, or any combination of the three. We are looking for writing that is vivid and interesting. For fiction, the sample may consist of a short story, part of a short story, several very short stories/pieces, or part of something longer (i.e. a novel or novella). The same applies for poetry and creative non-fiction/essay -- whole works or parts of works are acceptable. (Bear in mind, however, that parts of works should not be so small, fragmentary and/or isolated as to be incoherent. Meaning: please don't send ten pages of fragments of sonnets). Writing samples do not have to be in the same genre as the course you want to take, though we recommend that you apply with your strongest work, whether that be fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, or some combination of the three. The writing sample should be typed and double-spaced (poems do not need to be double-spaced, and multiple poems can appear on a page) and should be submitted as either a Microsoft Word or PDF file.

If you want to study TV writing (Writers' Room) during your time at the Studio, your sample should consist of: 1) a piece of dramatic writing (part of a script or play) not more than 5 pages; 2) the answer to the question, What is your favorite TV series and why? (not more than 2 pages); 3) the answer to the question, What is your favorite episode of that TV series and why? (not more than 3 pages). Your entire writing sample should not be more than 10 pages. In the dramatic writing sample, we are looking for writing that is vivid and interesting. In the answers to the questions about your favorite TV series and episode, we want to know what artistic aspects (narrative arc, suspense, characterization, atmosphere--whatever) you appreciate as a writer. The dramatic writing portion of the sample should be typed and spaced as you wish. The answers to the series/episode questions should be typed and double-spaced. The sample should be submitted as either a Microsoft Word or PDF file.

If you want to study playwriting during your time at the Studio, your sample should consist of: 1) a piece of dramatic writing (part of a play) not more than 5 pages; 2) the answer to the question, What is your favorite play and why? (not more than 2 pages); 3) the answer to the question, What is your favorite act or scene of that play and why? (not more than 3 pages). Your entire writing sample should not be more than 10 pages. In the dramatic writing sample, we are looking for writing that is vivid and interesting. In the answers to the questions about your favorite play and act/scene, we want to know what artistic aspects (narrative arc, suspense, characterization, atmosphere--whatever) you appreciate as a writer. The dramatic writing portion of the sample should be typed and spaced as you wish. The answers to the play and act/scene questions should be typed and double-spaced. The sample should be submitted as either a Microsoft Word or PDF file.

2. Statement of purpose

In 1-2 pages, tell us why you want to participate in the Studio and what you hope to accomplish here. You may want to discuss your writing sample or talk about writers or works that you admire. This is a chance for us to get to know you a little bit from your own words. The statement of purpose should be typed and double-spaced and should be submitted as either a Microsoft Word or PDF file.

3. Letter of recommendation

Your letter of recommendation should be from an English teacher or other writing instructor/tutor/mentor who is familiar with your writing. You must ask your recommender to write and upload your letter. Guidelines for recommenders can be found here. The letter of recommendation should be uploaded as either a read-only Microsoft Word or PDF file. Please do not submit more than one letter of recommendation.

4. Transcript

You must submit a transcript from your high school (an unofficial transcript is fine if an official transcript cannot be uploaded). There is no minimum GPA requirement for admission to the 2-week online camp, but we must see that you are enrolled and engaged in school.

How do I submit?

During the Application Period, you must complete these 3 steps:

STEP 1: COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION

Register free at Submittable (links below) and enter your basic information. (Please set up a Submittable account and apply with your e-mail address, one that you will continue to use through the summer. Do not use a parent's e-mail address!) You will be taken directly to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio application form for your genre category. (Note: your application form will not be available/viewable until the Application Period begins.) You will be asked a few more questions and have the opportunity to upload your writing sample and statement of purpose (Microsoft Word document or PDF only). Please upload your writing sample and statement of purpose as separate files. You will also be given the chance to choose your session preference and delivery preference (in person or online). Session preferences do not influence acceptance decisions.

  • To apply for Fiction Writing, Poetry Writing, or Creative Writing (a combination of the previous two genres and personal essay) click here.
  • To apply for TV Writing click here.
  • To apply for Playwriting click here.

You may apply in more than one category--for example, in both fiction writing and in TV writing--but you must complete a separate application form for each. You do not need to submit additional letters of recommendation or transcripts.

STEP 2: UPLOAD YOUR LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION

Ask your recommender to upload their letter of recommendation in Submittable. (The letter upload page will not be available until the Application Period begins.) Because of the large volume of submissions, we can no longer accept letters of recommendation via e-mail. Your recommender will have to register (free) at Submittable in order to upload the letter. After your recommender uploads the letter, only your recommender will receive a confirmation in Submittable. You, the applicant, will not be able to see the letter of recommendation in your Submittable profile. If you have any doubt as to whether your letter of recommendation has been uploaded, please check with your recommender.

STEP 3: UPLOAD YOUR TRANSCRIPT

Ask your high school to upload your transcript in Submittable. (The transcript upload page will not be available until the Application Period begins.) Because of the large volume of submissions, we can no longer accept transcripts via e-mail. We do accept transcripts via Parchment. Your high school will have to register (free) at Submittable in order to upload the transcript. After your high school uploads the transcript, only your high school will receive a confirmation in Submittable. You, the applicant, will not be able to see your transcript in your Submittable profile. If you have any doubt as to whether your transcript has been uploaded, please check with your high school.

Is there a cost to apply?

There is a $10 reading fee to apply to the Summer Residential Program. The fee can be paid in Submittable during the application process. The reading fee goes directly to the highly-qualified writers--students and graduates of the Iowa Writers' Workshop--who read and evaluate the writing samples. These writers read with great attention and care, and we believe in compensating them for their work. However, we do not want the fee to be an impediment to any applicant, and are happy to waive the fee without penalty for students who are unable to pay. The online application will give you the option of bypassing the fee.

When will I find out whether or not I’ve been accepted?

Decisions will be e-mailed to all applicants on April 3, 2023.

What happens if I’m accepted?

Students accepted into an in-person session must pay the $2,500 fee, register, and enroll in their course by May 15, 2023. If you cancel or withdraw before June 1, 2023 a $100 cancellation fee will be deducted from your refund. Thereafter no refunds are available. 

Students accepted into an online session must pay the $575 fee, register, and enroll in their course by May 15, 2023. If you cancel or withdraw before June 1, 2023 a $50 cancellation fee will be deducted from your refund. Thereafter no refunds are available. 

What if I have questions about applying?

Please direct all questions about the application process to iyws@uiowa.edu or 319-335-4209.

We look forward to reading your work!