For Parents

We understand that you, as a parent or guardian, have concerns about your writer’s safety and supervision during the Studio. We hope the following information will answer most of your questions. If you can’t find the information you need then please contact us at (319) 335-4209 or by email:

A great deal of your young writer’s time will be spent in scheduled activities. Workshops and seminars take up most of each day. Nightly outings and activities take place in groups and are supervised by counselors and/or teachers. Older students may find the level of supervision somewhat restrictive, but we believe it is necessary for the comfort of the student population as a whole.

What are the rules? The rules are a set of operating instructions delineating appropriate and acceptable behavior at the Studio. When your young writer is accepted to the Studio, he or she will be sent two copies of the Studio’s rules. We ask that you review the rules with your writer and that you both sign a copy indicating that you have gone over the rules and agree to abide by them while at the Studio. Send the signed copy back to the Studio and keep the other copy for your records. Students who break the rules as outlined in the agreement may be expelled from the program and sent home at their parents’ expense. Some of the rules are:

-Smoking and/or the use of alcohol, illegal substances, or un-prescribed medications is strictly prohibited.

-Nightly room check-in and morning roll call are mandatory.

-Students must be on their hall by 10:30 p.m.

-Lights out is at midnight.

Who teaches the classes? Workshop leaders are professional writers; many have published work in national publications. We require our instructors to hold a Masters degree in Fine Arts, which is the degree required to teach creative writing at the collegiate level. They are also experienced teachers, both at the high school and college level, and are selected by the Studio for their knowledge, teaching ability, and enthusiasm.

What can my young writer expect to learn? The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is a program devoted to the art and process of creative writing. And while the Studio does not teach academic essay or college essay classes, the technical problems involved in those types of writing are identical to the ones that occur in a short story or a poem. Creative writing promotes a positive feedback process: the more one writes, the better one writes, and so on.

Do students receive college credit? The Studio does not offer college credit for any of its classes.

Where will my young writer stay? Studio participants live in Burge Hall on the University of Iowa’s campus. Burge Hall is a large, comfortable dormitory located on a tree-lined street near the heart of the University’s campus, and features a sprawling main lobby with a café. There are also vending machines and laundry facilities. The residence hall and its surroundings are well lit. Burge’s doors are locked each night and University security officers make regular rounds of each floor. Each student room can be locked from the inside. A Residence Hall Manager is available 24 hours a day. Since the rooms in Burge are doubles, participants are assigned roommates. Students fill out a questionnaire to help the Studio in choosing compatible roommates.

Who supervises the residence hall? The Studio hires its own counselors, who undergo training by the Studio and by the University of Iowa. There will be at least one counselor on each hall for every 12 students. The counselor’s job is to help students develop a safe, creative community. In addition, they act as a liaison between the students and the Studio Director. Counselors are in charge of supervising evening activities just as teachers supervise daytime activities. Counselors are there to listen to students’ concerns, solve problems that may arise, and help provide for the safety of every student in the program. They are also professional writers themselves, and are willing to mentor individual students, providing a valuable supplement or counterpoint to the perspective of the student’s teacher.

What are the security provisions in the residence hall? Burge Hall is located on a main street in the heart of the University of Iowa campus. The residence hall and its surroundings are well lit and well staffed. Nightly room checks and morning roll calls are performed daily. Students are required to be on their hall by 10:30 p.m. Lights out is at midnight.

Where will my young writer eat? Burge Market Place, located in Burge Hall, is one of the largest University of Iowa dining halls, and offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, including continental and hot breakfast, specialty grilled burgers and sandwiches, soups, salads, pizza, breads, and ethnic cuisine. Burge Market Place is also experienced in accommodating special dietary needs (celiac/gluten-free, allergies, vegetarian, etc).

What health provisions are made? We expect each student to have medical insurance. In the event of an emergency, care is provided by University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. The UI Student Health Clinic handles routine matters. All health care costs are the responsibility of parents or students. All health information given to the Studio is confidential.

What grade must a student finish before he or she attends the Studio? The Studio is open to students who will have completed 10th, 11th, or 12th grade by the time the program begins. In rare cases we will admit an exceptionally talented and mature 9th grader.

Is there financial aid available? Yes. There is aid available for applicants who meet our need-based requirements. Every year we are able to grant several full tuition grants and several partial tuition grants. We encourage all interested students to apply. Accepted students will be asked to fill out a financial aid application and awards will be made in the spring. Some preference in financial aid decisions is given to minority students and/or Iowa residents. If you have questions about the availability of financial aid or about your ability to afford the Studio please e-mail us at or call 319 335 4209. We’re happy to answer your questions.

What if I have to cancel my registration? If a student cancels before June 1, the Studio will refund all but $50 of the deposit. If a student cancels after June 1 the Studio will refund all but the deposit. There will be no refund of any kind after the arrival date and no refund in the event of early dismissal.

Can a student commute? The Young Writers’ Studio is a residential program. Local students must live in the residence hall for the entire program. Classes and other scheduled activities are only part of the Studio; living with other writers is integral to the learning that goes on here.

Can a student have a car on campus? If you choose to drive to the Studio you will have to make arrangements to store your car for the duration of the Studio. Getting into a motor vehicle with anyone other than Studio staff or instructors can be grounds for expulsion.

What if I’m jealous and want to attend a summer writing program myself? The Iowa Summer Writing Festival offers adults more than a hundred and thirty classes in a broad range of creative writing genres. Weekend and week long sessions are offered throughout June and July.