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Applications for Alpha 2024 are closed (as of 10th March 2024).

Workshop Dates – July 24 – Aug 4, 2024

If you’re unclear about whether you’re eligible to apply to Alpha due to past digital Alpha attendance, please contact the staff at

To apply to Alpha, you need to be aged between 14 & 19yrs; will need to submit an original short story as outlined below.

The tuition for the in-person workshop is $1,500, and will only be collected upon acceptance (see Point 3 below).

Scholarships and financial aid are available for accepted students.

The application form and additional details on applying are below. You will find more information about the workshop generally here.

1. Fill out our online application form.

If someone other than you will be paying your Alpha tuition, please let them know that you are applying to Alpha at the time of application and not when the tuition has come due.

A limited pool of financial assistance is available to applicants who cannot otherwise attend Alpha. If tuition aid would make the difference between your being able to attend Alpha and not attending, please indicate accordingly on the application form.

Two full scholarships are also available. All applicants may apply for the Tamora Pierce Scholarship, which will cover the full tuition cost of the recipient, and eligible applicants may apply for the BIPOC student scholarship, which also covers full tuition cost. More information on these two scholarships is in the “Financial Aid” portion of the application.

In addition, we have resources available for students with technological limitations (for example, if you will not have a personal computer). We are also committed to meeting all accessibility needs. If you have any concerns (for example, if you require an ASL interpreter), please contact us at any time during the application or acceptance process.

Requesting accommodations and/or applying for aid or scholarships will have no effect on your chances of admission.

Admission is based solely on your age, your submitted short story, and the number of times you have attended Alpha.

2. Submit one original sci-fi, fantasy or horror short story between 2000 and 6000 words.

Please don’t send fan fiction, or any story using existing characters or worlds (such as Star Trek). Additionally, you must submit a short story, not an excerpt from a longer work.

Beyond your age and attendance record, you will be considered for admission to the workshop based on your application story alone — in fact, our judges read the stories without applicants’ names attached. However, your submitted work does not have to be perfect. What we look for in the stories is promise, not experience. Send us what you feel is your best work.

We encourage every young writer who is interested to apply.

All submitted stories must be:

  • In proper manuscript format (external link), WITHOUT YOUR NAME anywhere in the file. (ie NOT in the footer, nor in the title).
  • Submitted electronically by Sunday, March 10th (as long as it’s March 10 somewhere in the world.)
  • Attached in the form below as a document in RTF, TXT or MS Word format
  • File name ALPHA2024-[your story title WITHOUT your name].[file extension]

3. NO Application Fee - Tuition fee on acceptance.

Due to inflation, and the rising cost of operations, Alpha has made the difficult decision to raise our tuition for the first time in over (X) years. In 2024, tuition for the workshop will be $1,500, and in subsequent years tuition will rise to keep pace with the cost of running the workshop.

Raising tuition for students who can pay will let us offer more generous financial aid to a greater number of students who can’t afford full tuition. If you are a returning alumnus concerned about the tuition raise, remember that Alpha offers scholarships and financial aid, and has never turned away an accepted student who couldn’t afford the workshop.

Additional Scholarship resource:

Starting this year we will also be abolishing our application fee – all applications will be free of charge.

How do I know whether my [fill in the blank] arrived safely?

If something arrives over a weekend, or a holiday, you may not receive an immediate reply, but you will receive a timely confirmation of the receipt of each item that you submit during the application process, including the application form, application fee, story submission, etc.

All confirmations are sent via email.   Therefore, it is critical that you enter your email address correctly and that you can reliably receive email at the supplied address. We strongly suggest that the email account used is not one that is shared between friends or family members. We’ve had problems more than once with email addresses that are shared by more than one person where mail never made it to the intended recipient. If you sent something in and more than a day or two has gone by without a response (excluding weekends and holidays), please feel free to contact us. ALSO – check your spam folder, or whitelist our domain to ensure our emails are delivered to your inbox.

We typically notify people of their acceptance around April 19 (by email, unless otherwise specified).

Questions? Contact us.