The University of Massachusetts Amherst

How to Apply

COVID-19 Update: As of 3/13/20 we we anticipate running the Juniper Institute in July 2020.

If we are advised that operating our program poses a public health risk, or the University deems that our program needs to be cancelled, any payments made will be refunded in full. This refund will include returning the deposit, which is ordinarily non-refundable.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at UMass Amherst. For information regarding COVID-19 at UMASS Amherst at large, please visit

Important Dates:

October through April: Applications are open October 1, 2019 through April 1, 2020 or until the program fills

Average response time for applications: 2 to 6 weeks

Ready to Apply? Head to our Submittable application.


The Juniper Institute for Young Writers welcomes high school students who will have completed grades 9, 10, or 11 at the time of the program.

Adult writers: please apply to the Juniper Summer Writing Institute

Juniper seeks creative students who are dedicated to exploring the writing process and developing their skills in a collaborative environment. We encourage writers from diverse backgrounds, life experiences, and writing styles to apply.

Scholarships for the 2020 Institute have already been awarded.

    Tuition and Enrollment:

    Tuition of $2,100 includes all Institute activities (workshops, craft sessions, studio sessions, field trips, etc.), housing in a shared room in our residence hall, and three daily meals.

    Once your application is accepted, enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. A $200 nonrefundable tuition deposit guarantees your space. Remaining tuition is due in full by May 1.

    Academic credit is available; read more on our Curriculum page.

    Please see Policies and Forms for cancellation and refund policies.

    Application Process:

    Applications are accepted online, and admission is on a rolling basis.

    Application materials include:

    • Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor
    • Writing Sample document
    • Writer's Statement 
    • Scholarship Essay document (if applying for funding)

    Teacher Recommendation

    During the online application process, you will be asked to enter the email address and name of your recommending teacher or guidance counselor. From there, the recommender will receive email instructions for how to submit their letter of recommendation. Please obtain permission from your recommender before submitting their contact information in your application! Teacher recommendations are required for all applicants and must reflect on an applicant’s maturity and ability to succeed in a residential college setting. If applying for a scholarship, letters are due by December 1; letters for students not applying for scholarships are due within one week of the student’s date of application.

    Recommendation for Homeschoolers:

    We encourage homeschooled students to apply to the Institute. A recommendation should come from someone who knows the young writer’s work, their level of interest in discussion, and how they could add to a writing community like Juniper. In your recommendation letter, please speak to the following qualities in your young writer: maturity, interpersonal and collaborative skills, ability to participate in the classroom, ability to adapt to a residential learning environment, and enthusiasm for creative writing. We are interested to hear about how they might learn from and contribute to a diverse, engaged community of young writers living together and gaining a preview of college life

    Application Documents

    The following three elements should be saved as separate documents (doc, docx, pdf, rtf, or txt). Please include your name and email address as a header or footer of each document:

    Writing Sample

    The strength and promise of the writing sample is the most important aspect of your application. The writing sample should be 5-7 pages of fiction (double-spaced) or poetry (one poem per page). Samples should be saved in one document (doc, docx, pdf, rtf, or txt). Please include your name & email address as a header or footer in the writing sample.

    Writer's Statement

    This statement (written by the applicant!) of no more than 300 words should describe your interest in the Juniper Institute for Young Writers. Please explain why this would be a meaningful opportunity for you and what you think you can contribute to the Institute. Tell us what you write and why you write it! 

    Scholarship Essay (include only if applying for funding)

    Scholarship support is intended for those participants whose families cannot afford the full cost of the program. Please write a brief statement (no more than 300 words) addressing how receiving a scholarship would affect your ability to attend the Juniper Institute for Young Writers.


    We do our best to contact applicants with our admission decision within 2-6 weeks of receiving their applications. Please note that notification can take longer after the scholarship and scholarship application deadline (November 26), as the number of applications received around that time increases exponentially.

    Scholarship awards will be made by late spring, and notification will come by phone and email.

    Enrollment Cancellation Policy:

    If you cancel your enrollment before May 1, you will forfeit your initial $200 tuition deposit. If you cancel after May 1, we will keep the initial deposit and an additional $500 cancellation fee, but return the remaining balance paid. There will be no tuition refunds after June 1 and no refunds in the event of early departure.

    Please note that program details and personnel are subject to change as necessary.

    Apply Now on our Submittable application page.


    The Institute offers several scholarships ranging from full tuition to one-quarter tuition. Competition for these awards is strong. We especially encourage scholarship applications from students of diverse life experiences and those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage or discrimination.

    To apply for a scholarship, please make sure you have:

    • Uploaded the general application materials (listed below) to our online application system.
    • Checked the box indicating, “Yes I am applying for a scholarship ”
    • Uploaded your Scholarship Essay

    Scholarships available:

    • Juniper sponsors several scholarships of full, half and quarter tuition remission: all scholarship applicants are considered for these awards.
    • One scholarship from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts covers full tuition, housing and a book allowance for residents of Hampden County. Indicate your affiliation on your application to the Institute by checking the appropriate box.
    • UMass affiliates (children of faculty, staff or alumni) are eligible for a special $200 scholarship. Indicate your affiliation on your application to the Institute by checking the appropriate box.