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Frequently Asked Questions

Because of the pandemic, Lake Forest College will not host residential programs this summer. As a result, we will offer a virtual Writing and Thinking Workshop for high school students. Although we are sorry we won’t see participants on campus, we know that, through the magic of writing together, we will create a dynamic and creative community! To inspire our writing, we also anticipate virtual outings to Chicago’s cultural attractions.

Who may apply?

We welcome applications from young people who love to write and will have finished 9th, 10th, or 11th grade by the time the Workshop begins.

What is the application deadline?

The 2021 program is now full.

Who We Are
Why are you called a writing and thinking workshop?

We believe that the act of writing is a way of thinking. In the words of British author E.M. Forster, “How do I know what I think till I see what I say?” Participants learn creative strategies for getting their ideas on the page with ease and then shaping them into stories, poems, personal narratives, and much more. Participants are not required to focus on a single genre, as they are in some other writing programs. Finally, our program is affiliated with the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking.

What else makes your program unique?

Our proximity to Chicago, a one-hour drive south of Lake Forest, allows us unprecedented access to a wealth of cultural resources. To fuel writers’ creativity, we have visited the Art Institute of Chicago, the Neo-Futurist Theatre, and Millennium Park, home to outdoor concerts and stunning architecture.

Anything else?

We keep the program small because we believe that participants gain confidence in their voices when they belong to a small, supportive writing community. Each of the three sections consists of nine to twelve participants, in addition to the workshop leader and a residential mentor. 

Will this program improve participants’ writing for college?

Yes. Although the program does not focus on academic writing, it is modeled on the Workshop in Language and Thinking required of all students entering Bard College in New York. Thus, it is designed to prepare participants for the kinds of writing and thinking they will be asked to do in college. The unique and creative strategies we teach help participants develop confidence, stronger and more flexible voices, and proficiency in using writing as a tool for exploring ideas. These are all crucial in both academic and creative writing. In the words of a participant, “I learned that all writing can be creative.”

Who are the workshop leaders? 

They are veteran high school teachers who have been with our program for well over a decade. The workshop leaders are also longstanding Associates of the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking. The program director is also an Institute Associate and a professor at Lake Forest College.

What is the daily schedule like?

A typical day consists of writing in a workshop setting during the morning and early afternoon, with free time in the late afternoon. Guiding participants through a variety of writing experiences, workshop leaders help young writers find inspiration and translate their ideas into fresh, powerful language. During workshop time, participants also begin to shape their initial writing into more finished pieces. They have many opportunities, structured and not, to share their writing with others and to get one-on-one feedback from their workshop leaders. Participants also find inspiration while writing during off-campus outings.

What do students do in their free time?

The residential staff plans many activities, like games and movies in the dorm and a talent show. There is also downtime for relaxing, solo writing, and hanging out with new friends. Participants may be asked to read a short piece of published writing in the evening.

What is the tuition? 

For the one-week option, tuition is $500. For the two-week option, tuition is $950.

Is there financial aid available?

Unfortunately, we cannot offer financial aid in 2021.

Can deposits be reimbursed if students do not attend? Can the tuition be reimbursed if participants leave the program for any reason?

Deposits and tuition will not be reimbursed without documented medical difficulties or documented family emergencies. Tuition is also not reimbursed if participants choose to leave the Workshop before the final day, or are asked to leave.

More Information
Do participants earn college credit?

No, they do not. (Lake Forest College, however, offers for-credit summer classes.)

How many students usually attend, and what is the gender breakdown?

28-33 attend; typically three-quarters are female.

Where are participants from?

We have had participants from all around the Midwest as well as California, Alaska, Toronto, Puerto Rico, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, to name a few.