Crafting the Essay
- Grades 7-11
- Language Arts
This immersive and collaborative course will introduce you to great essayists including Annie Dillard, Charles Simic, and Richard Rodriguez, and help you find your own distinctive narrative voice. You and your classmates will read, analyze, and discuss works of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, and then experiment with tone and mood, imagery, prose, and a variety of structures and narrative devices while learning how to effectively use figurative language to create your own moving and engaging personal stories. Through daily readings, informal writing assignments, editing workshops, and major writing projects, you will gain an understanding of the patterns and techniques of successful authors, and develop your own strengths as a writer. You will leave the course with strong critical reading and writing skills that you will continue to use through high school, college, and beyond.
Typical Class Size: 16-18
- Analyze key elements and structure of notable works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in classroom discussion as led by the instructor
- Draft, revise, and undertake other important elements of the writing process in order to produce four to six essays of creative work
- Employ literary elements, narrative techniques, and figurative language in both formal and informal writing assignments
- Participate in multiple writing workshops that offer constructive criticism on your work in a safe, growth-oriented space
Summer Dates & Locations
Testing and Prerequisites
|Required Level||Not required||CTY-Level|
Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.Sign up for Testing Learn More
Cost and Financial Aid
- Nonrefundable Application Fee - $50 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
- Nonrefundable International Fee - $250 (outside US only)
Financial Aid is available
We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.
Please acquire all course materials by the course start date, unless noted as perishable. Items marked as “perishable” should not be acquired until the student needs them in the course. If you have questions about these materials or difficulty locating them, please contact [email protected].
These titles have been featured in past sessions of the course, and may be included this summer. CTY provides students with all texts; no purchase is required.
- Back to the Lake: A Reader for Writers, Thomas Cooley
Students must bring a tablet with a keyboard, laptop computer, or Chromebook for use during the session. A smartphone will not be sufficient.
About Language Arts at CTY
Want to have fun reading popular stories and writing your own tales of adventure? Pen your hero’s journey and explore a diverse range of books in Behind the Mask: Superheroes Revealed, or have fun shaping your prose and experimenting with different formats and styles in Fiction and Poetry.
Find your voice
Take your writing to the next level! In Writing and Imagination, you can build your vocabulary and gain the tools to write your own creative fiction. You’ll learn to craft compelling narratives about your own experiences at the college level in Crafting the Essay, and have fun learning new literary devices and figurative language in Writing Your World.