Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility
Application Process
Tuition Policies and Financial Aid
Workshops
Social and Residential Life
Getting to Campus

Eligibility

Who can apply for the Young Writers program?

Any high school student between the ages of 16-18 years old is eligible to apply. Most of our participants are rising juniors and seniors during the program.

I’m not a U.S. Citizen. Can I still apply?

Yes. International students participate in our program each year. If you have specific questions about visa requirements for your country, please contact us.

I’m 15 now, but will turn 16 before or during the program. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes.

I’m 15 now, and won’t turn 16 until after the program is over. Am I eligible to apply?

If you will be a rising junior or senior in high school at the time of the program, you are eligible to apply. If you will be a rising sophomore, you are not eligible this summer, but we encourage you to apply next year.

I’m 18 now, but will turn 19 before or during the program. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Although we prefer that participants be 16-18 years old during the program, we occasionally make exceptions for talented students who fall close to that range.

I am currently a senior and will graduate before the program. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Although we prefer that participants be rising juniors and seniors during the program, we occasionally make exceptions for talented students who have just graduated high school.

I attended the Kenyon Review Young Writers program last year. Can I apply again this year?

No. Because of the high demand for our program, students can only attend once.

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Application Process

How do I apply?

You will need to create a free Submittable account in order to apply, which you can do on our application page. If you already have a Submittable account, please sign in using your existing account. Be sure to whitelist submittable.com and/or check your spam folders for email confirmations and notifications that we will send via Submittable.

To complete the online application, you must submit the following:

  • The online application form
  • A 300 word essay, to be uploaded with the application form
  • A high school transcript, to be uploaded with the application form (we accept both official and unofficial transcripts)
  • A letter of recommendation. The application asks for the name and email address of the teacher who will submit a letter of recommendation. Once your application form is complete and has been submitted online, your teacher will receive an email with a link to submit the letter.
  • Financial aid information and any supporting financial aid documentation (optional).

What is the application deadline?

The application form, essay, transcript, and optional financial aid form, must be submitted electronically no later than March 1. You must submit the name and email address of the teacher who will write your letter of recommendation when you submit your application form. Your teacher will have until March 7th to upload his or her letter to your application. You are responsible for making sure that your teacher submits his/her letter on time.

How do I know that you received my application?

When you have submitted your application, you should receive an email notification at the address you entered when you signed up for a Submittable account. Be sure to whitelist submittable.com or check your spam folder to ensure that you receive notifications from Submittable. You can also log back in to your Submittable account to check the status of your application at any time. If you have any problems or questions, please contact us at youngwriters@kenyonreview.org, or 740-427-5391.

I missed the March 1st deadline. Can you accept a late application?

No.

How do I submit my letter of recommendation?

When you fill out the online application form, you will be asked for the name and email address of the teacher who will submit your letter of recommendation. Once your application form is complete and has been submitted online, your teacher will receive an email with a link to upload the letter. The online application is due March 1st, but teachers will have until March 7th to upload a letter of recommendation. You are responsible for making sure that your teacher submits his/her letter on time. Please let your teacher know when you have submitted your application and ask him/her to whitelist submittable.com or check spam folders for the email request.

How do I know you have received my letter of recommendation?

You should receive an email confirmation from Submittable when you teacher has uploaded a letter of recommendation to your application. Be sure to whitelist submittable.com or check your spam folder to ensure that you receive this request.

You can check the status of your letter of recommendation at any time by logging in to your Submittable account. Click on your application in the “Submissions” list, and scroll down to the Teacher Recommendation section. Next to “Reference status,” you can see whether the letter is still pending or has been received. If the letter is still pending, you can resend the request to your teacher by clicking the “Resend Request” link in this section. Your teacher has until March 7th to upload a letter of recommendation. We recommend that you check the status of your letter of recommendation well before March 7th.

What if my teacher doesn’t receive a request to upload a letter of recommendation?

Make sure that your teacher has whitelisted submittable.com or checked his or her spam folders for this request. You can resend the request by logging in to your Submittable account. Click on your application in the “Submissions” list, and scroll down to the Teacher Recommendation section. Next to “Reference status,” you can see whether the letter is still pending or has been received. If the letter is still pending, you can resend the request to your teacher by clicking the “Resend Request” link in this section. Your teacher has until March 7th to upload a letter of recommendation. We recommend that you check the status of your letter of recommendation well before March 7th.

If your teacher has any problems uploading a letter of recommendation to your application, please have him or her contact us at youngwriters@kenyonreview.org, or 740-427-5391.

Does the letter of recommendation have to come from a teacher? Does it have to come from an English teacher?

We prefer that the letter of recommendation come from a current or recent high school English teacher, but we will accept letters from any teacher who can speak to your abilities and passion for creative writing, as well as your performance in the classroom and other academic settings.

How do I submit my transcript?

We strongly prefer that you upload a copy of your transcript when you submit your online application form. See below if you are unable to upload a copy of your transcript.

I am unable to obtain a copy of my transcript. Can I have my school send the transcript separately?

We prefer that you upload an official or unofficial transcript with your application; however, if you are unable to do so, you may have your school send the transcript separately.

If your school will be sending a transcript separately, please upload a document in place of your transcript indicating how we can expect to receive your transcript (email, fax, or mail).

Your school can send the transcript via email (youngwriters@kenyonreview.org), fax (740-427-5417), or mail (Kenyon Review Young Writers, Finn House, 102 W. Wiggin St., Gambier, OH 43022).

Do you need an official transcript or can I send an unofficial copy?

We accept both official and unofficial transcripts. Unofficial transcripts may include a scanned copy of a recent report card, a screenshot of an online report card, or any other document that shows all high school grades thus far.

What should I include in my 300 word essay?

The selection committee will accept any piece of writing that showcases your ability and enthusiasm for writing in 300 words or less. Many students submit a straightforward essay describing why they want to attend Young Writers and what they would bring to the program, but some students feel that they can better express their passion for writing in a poem, story, vignette, etc.

How do I submit a financial aid application?

If you would like to apply for need-based financial aid, please fill out the Financial Aid section of the online application form. You may also upload additional financial information that may be helpful in the evaluation of your financial aid application. Useful additional information may include a letter explaining circumstances affecting your family’s financial status, and/or copies of your parents’ most recent tax return.

Does requesting financial aid affect acceptance decisions?

No. Financial aid decisions are made in conjunction with admissions decisions; however, acceptance decisions are not affected by aid requests.

Who is eligible for financial aid?

Our financial aid money is set aside for those families who cannot afford the costs of the program. Financial aid decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. We are usually able to offer the amount of financial aid requested to all admitted students, but occasionally have to offer less aid than an applicant has requested.

How are applicants chosen for the Young Writers program?

In evaluating applications, the selection committee pays particular attention to the 300 word essay and the teacher recommendation. We are looking for students who show real talent and passion for writing, as well as students who will thrive in both the workshop and residential setting. We strive to admit a diverse group of students with a wide range of academic and personal interests.

How selective is the Young Writers program?

We are only able to admit a small percentage of applicants, and have to turn away many talented writers. If you are not accepted this year, and will still be eligible next year, we encourage you to reapply.

Do session preferences affect acceptance decisions?

No.

When and how will you let me know your decision?

We will notify applicants of our decisions in late March. To ensure that you receive our admissions decisions, we will mail decision letters to the address listed in your application, and send email notifications from both youngwriters@kenyonreview.org and the Submittable site. You can also check the status of your application by logging back in to your Submittable account.

If accepted, can I defer my admission to next summer?

No. If you are accepted but cannot attend this year, you must reapply next year.

If accepted, can I switch to a different session?

Although we cannot guarantee it, we are usually able to accommodate a switch. Because we accept an exact number of students for each session, you can only switch sessions if a student in the other session declines or also needs to switch. The earlier you request a session change, the more likely we will be to accommodate your request.

If I am put on the waitlist, when will I find out whether a spot has opened up?

We will contact waitlisted applicants about final decisions no later than April 30th.

If I am not accepted, can I apply again

Absolutely. Because of the volume of applications we receive each year, we have to turn away many talented writers. We encourage you to reapply next year if you are still eligible.

Can you give me feedback and tell me why I wasn’t admitted to the Young Writers program?

No.  Due to the volume of applications we receive each year, we cannot comment on individual applications.

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Tuition Policies and Financial Aid

How much does the Young Writers program cost?

The total cost of the program is $2,375.

What is included in the cost of the program?

The $2,375 cost covers program tuition, accommodations, all meals, and all activities.

What is not included in the cost of the program?

We do not cover travel costs.

How much is the enrollment fee and when is it due?

In order to enroll in the program, accepted students must pay a non-refundable $500 deposit and submit enrollment forms and a confidential medical form by April 8th. The balance of the program cost is due on or before June 1st.

What happens if I need to cancel my enrollment?

If you cancel your enrollment before June 1st, the Kenyon Review will keep the $500 deposit and a $500 cancellation fee, but will return the remaining balance paid. There will be no refund of tuition after June 15th for Session One or July 1st for Session Two. There will be no refund of tuition after arrival date and no refund in the event of early departure or dismissal.

Is financial aid available?

Yes, financial aid is available for students who demonstrate financial need as part of their application.

Who is eligible for financial aid?

Our financial aid money is set aside for those families who cannot afford the costs of the program. Financial aid decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. We are usually able to offer the amount of financial aid requested to all admitted students, but occasionally have to offer less aid than an applicant has requested.

How to I apply for financial aid?

If you would like to apply for need-based financial aid, please fill out the Financial Aid section of the online application form. You may also upload additional financial information that may be helpful in the evaluation of your financial aid application. Useful additional information may include a letter explaining circumstances affecting your financial status, and/or copies of your most recent tax return.

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Workshops

How is the workshop structured?

Students participate in two ninety-minute workshops each morning, and one two-hour workshop after lunch. The pace and content of the three workshops varies. Group writing activities are balanced by class discussions of assigned readings, by the sharing of writing, by frequent work in small writing or inquiry groups (which often meet outdoors), and also by time for individual writing. The atmosphere is informal. The workshop leaders write with the students.

Will I have a chance to write short stories and poetry?

Yes. Opportunities exist for composing in many different forms, and you will probably end up feeling that you have done a good deal of creative writing by the end of the two weeks. But the workshop also focuses on other uses of writing. For example, we practice ways of using writing as a learning tool, whether one is exploring history, art, one’s personal experience, or natural phenomena.

Students devote a significant part of their time to writing about what they observe and what they read, and then use these pieces of informal writing as starting points for discussion, further inquiry, and possibly more extended pieces of exploratory or interpretive writing. Free-writing, focused free-writing, and process writing (observing and writing about one’s own composing and learning experiences) are among the techniques most frequently used in the workshop.

Is the workshop graded?

The workshop is ungraded. Students’ work is not evaluated in any formal sense. Instead, both students and workshop leaders practice responding to one another’s writing in ways that help each other to extend their thinking and engage in revision. Through immersing themselves in language and thinking, students leave the workshop with a clearer, more self-directed sense of what they need and want to continue working on in their writing.

Who teaches the workshops?

Our instructors are talented writers and teachers from around the country who have a long association with the Kenyon Review and the Young Writers program. Many of our instructors have been published in the Kenyon Review and many are Kenyon College alums. Most have advanced degrees in creative writing and teach high school and/or college during the academic year. Because many of our instructors have been teaching in the program for several years, they are a strong team with a deep understanding of the curriculum and philosophy of the Young Writers program.

What kind of students enroll in the workshop?

Our students are a diverse group, representing a wide range of academic and personal interests. Some are experienced writers who are hoping to expand their range and their knowledge of technique. Others might be skilled in math and science and are looking to gain more experience in the ways that writing can empower learning in all fields. Overall, the student who will benefit most from the workshop is one who likes to work with other people and who isn’t looking for a traditional approach to writing and learning. Being open to experimenting with new approaches, willing to be playful and take some risks as a learner, interested in the process of learning more than final goals—these qualities characterize the typical student in the Young Writers program.

Our participants tend also to be multi-talented, and we encourage them to organize a talent show or dance or other creative recreation. These student-run activities are opportunities to have fun, share talents with friends, and to develop new interests as well.

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Social and Residential Life

What is the social and cultural life of the program like?

There is a strong social dimension to the workshop, both in and out of class. Students regularly share their work in progress, both in class and in small, peer writing groups. The focus is on working together as a writing and learning community. This sense of community is strengthened outside of class by dormitory life, recreational activities, and the opportunity to attend various cultural or sporting events. The presence on campus of other high school students in other programs contributes to the social and academic diversity.

What happens after class or on weekends?

Classes end at 3:30 each day, leaving ample time for recreational activities such as swimming, volleyball, hiking, art programs, and so on. Resident advisors often plan optional activities in the afternoons, evenings, and weekends, such as coffee houses, movie nights, dances, and more. Students normally have some writing and reading to do each evening and over the weekend. Although the work in the classroom is often demanding, overall the pace of life is fairly relaxed compared to the normal school year.

Where do students live during the program?

Students live in an air-conditioned dorm on campus, along with resident advisors (who are all current Kenyon College students). Girls live on one end of the building and boys live on the other. All rooms are double occupancy. The dorm has a lounge area, a kitchen, laundry facilities, and vending machines.

Can I commute to the program?

No. Young Writers is a residential program. All students must live on campus for the entire program.

How secure and safe is the dorm and the campus?

Exterior doors to the dorm are locked from 11:00pm (midnight on weekends) until 7:00am each day. All dorm rooms lock from the inside. Resident advisors (RAs) live in the dorm with students and make sure all students are in the dorm by 11:00pm each night. Outside of meals and mandatory meetings or events, there are always a few RAs in or around the dorm. Officers for Kenyon College’s Campus Safety Office are on duty 24 hours a day, and regularly patrol campus day and night. The campus itself is small, well-lit, and very safe.

What if I get sick during the program?

We have a college nurse on call for the duration of the program for consultation and treatment of minor illnesses or injuries. For more serious medical issues, students are taken to the local urgent care clinic or the emergency room of the local hospital (located about 10 minutes from campus). In order to enroll in Young Writers, you must submit an extensive medical form, which staff will consult in the event of a medical issue. All health information provided on this form is kept confidential.

How does the Young Writers program deal with drugs, alcohol, or other illegal or disruptive behaviors?

All participants and their guardians must read and agree to the Young Writers Community Contract, which spells out the following guidelines:

  • McBride Residence is your home for two weeks and must be treated responsibly. You will be held accountable for any damage to college property.
  • Boys are never allowed in girls’ corridors or rooms; girls are never allowed in boys’.
  • No alcohol, tobacco, or drugs are to be used at any time.
  • No one is allowed to leave campus without permission.
  • At no time should any student visit a dorm other than McBride.
  • Quiet hours begin at 11:00 p.m. You must be in your own room and quiet until morning. Be smart and get some sleep—you can’t write, think or have fun if you’re exhausted.
  • During the week, everyone must attend all meals.
  • You are responsible for your room key. Replacement is $150.

Anyone who deliberately violates the rules and the spirit of the Young Writers program, including the respect and tolerance we owe each other, will be sent home at their parent’s expense.

Can my family or friends visit me during the program?

We encourage you to focus on bonding with new friends during the program, but family members may visit with prior permission from the Site Director. If you go off campus with a family member, you must notify the Site Director and your RA, and let them know when you are leaving and when you will be returning. Friends may only visit under special circumstances; we require permission from your parents or guardians before friends may visit.

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Getting to Campus

How do I get to Gambier?

Gambier is located about 45 miles northeast of Columbus, Ohio. The Kenyon College web site has a map with driving directions to Gambier. The closest airport is Port Columbus (CMH) about an hour’s drive from Gambier. There is no public transportation from the airport to Gambier, so we provide a shuttle service. There is a $70 round-trip ($35 one-way) shuttle fee for this service.

When should I arrive?

Please plan to arrive on campus between 2:00-4:00pm on Sunday for registration and orientation. If you are flying, keep in mind that the Columbus airport is about an hour’s drive from campus. Arrivals by plane should be scheduled no later than 4:00pm when possible.

When should I depart?

The last Saturday of the program is a travel day. If you are driving, please plan to depart no later than 12 noon. If you are departing from the Columbus airport, please be advised that the last airport shuttle will leave campus at 2:00pm. Please plan flights accordingly.

Can I drive myself to the program?

You may not have access to a car during the program. If you drive yourself to Young Writers, you must give your car keys to a Young Writers staff member upon arrival. Young Writers staff will return your keys on departure day.

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Questions? Concerns? Please feel free to contact us at 740-427-5391 or email youngwriters@kenyonreview.org.

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