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Columbia Writing Academy: Fall

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays

Columbia Writing Academy: Writing the College Admissions Essay

As many colleges place less emphasis on standardized test scores, the admissions essay has taken a larger role in the application process. The Columbia Writing Academy is a two-week online course created and designed by Dr. Nancy Sommers to help students develop their own personal voice and style, and use those skills to craft a unique and impressive college admissions essay. 

Students will explore each stage in the essay-writing process—brainstorming, drafting, revising—and will receive in-depth feedback from the teaching team throughout the process. Due to the importance of small-group workshops and 1:1 tutorials, this course is intended for students highly motivated to perfect their personal statement. 

This course gave me the space, constructive feedback, and tools I needed to start and learn how to write a powerful admissions essay."
– Chanel M.

Course Dates

October 16–26, 2023

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays
7:00 p.m.–8:15 p.m.

Format and Expected Workload

The Columbia Writing Academy will be a lively, stimulating two-week online course that requires six to eight hours of work each week, including reading, writing, 1:1 tutorials, and participating in three weekly Zoom workshops. Tutorials and workshops will be led by Seminar Leaders following Dr. Sommers' course design and syllabus. Sessions will be held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 7:00 p.m.–8:15 p.m. ET.

Student Experience and College Preparation

By the end of the two-week course, students will have written an essay that personalizes their college application, captivates readers, and shows colleges why they should accept them. Students are also encouraged to join the following online co-curricular activities, workshops, and events to further prepare themselves for the college application process: 

  • Finding the Right College for You
  • Putting Your Best Foot Forward on a College Application
  • Insider Tips for the Common App


Dr. Nancy Sommers is a prize-winning writer and teacher who created the Columbia Writing Academy specifically to empower high school students to craft impressive admissions essays. 

Dr. Sommers assembled a select group of talented, experienced writers and writing instructors to lead the program with an unwavering commitment to their students’ success.

Read Dr. Sommers' Bio

Registration Details

The Columbia Writing Academy is offered as a course within the Academic Year Weekend program; be sure to select this program when applying. Due to the importance of focused time with individual students, the admissions committee looks for exceptional students eager to contribute original ideas and a spirit of intellectual curiosity to a community of enthusiastic learners.

Program Costs

Program costs are subject to Board of Trustee approval and may change. 

Program Cost: $2,810 per session (single course registration)

The amount above includes the fee for the program itself along with activity, health services, and technology fees. The Columbia Writing Academy is offered through the Academic Year Weekend program. Please visit the Academic Enrichment Cost and Fees page for cost details; costs align with the costs listed under "Academic Year Weekend (10-Weeks)" program.  

The non-refundable $500 deposit, due upon notification of acceptance to the program, is credited toward this cost. Not included are the application fee ($80). Students are advised to budget at least $50 toward course materials, such as textbooks and supplies.

View Cost Details



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If you would like to be part of the Columbia Writing Academy, be sure to select the course when applying for the Online Academic Year Program.

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