A degree in creative writing can sharpen your writing skills and improve your chances of becoming a successful writer. However, the rising cost of the already expensive higher education system in the US is a major hurdle in many students’ career goals. Luckily, many creative writing scholarships are available for talented students.
In this article, we’ve put together a list of ten creative writing scholarships for high school students, undergraduate students, and graduate students, their eligibility criteria and deadline for the academic session 2022 to 2023. We’ve also listed some tips on how to get a creative writing scholarship and lower the weight of your student loans.
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What Is a Creative Writing Scholarship?
A creative writing scholarship is a form of financial aid offered to students who demonstrate exceptional writing skills and academic prowess. Creative writing scholarships ease the financial burden taken on by talented students by providing them with financial support to pay for the creative writing classes they take in university.
An aspiring creative writer can apply for many different scholarships. Some colleges award scholarships in the form of monthly stipends while a very select few even offer fully-funded scholarships covering tuition fees, monthly expenses, and sometimes even airfare.
Common Creative Writing Scholarship Requirements
- GPA. Students must have a good grade point average (GPA) and an excellent academic background to be eligible for most creative writing scholarships. Many scholarships require a GPA of 3.0 or higher. An incoming student seeking scholarships should work hard to improve their grades before applying.
- Academic Excellence. Students who plan on qualifying for scholarships must have an excellent educational background. While creative writing scholarships usually don’t have degree requirements, taking AP courses throughout 11th and 12th grade can be beneficial.
- Creative Writing Sample. While filling out scholarship applications, students must showcase their artistic excellence through a selection of writing samples. A writing sample can come from the student’s published work or any other writing experience they are proud of. Although published work isn’t a mandatory requirement, especially for incoming undergraduates, it significantly improves the chances of being selected.
- US Citizenship. Many colleges award creative writing scholarships exclusively to US citizens or permanent residents. You might need to submit a valid identity card to confirm your citizenship before the selection process can begin.
- Letter of Recommendation. When applying to scholarship programs, students will be asked to submit two or three letters of recommendation. These letters of recommendation can be written by school professors or mentors. Letters of recommendation are mandatory for just about all scholarships.
- Personal Essay. Eligible students will have to write a 500-word essay about their personal experiences and thoughts in relation to writing. Students should ask for feedback on personal essays from professors, fellow students, and family members to improve their chances.
How to Find Creative Writing Scholarships
There are multiple ways creative writing students can find scholarships. Whether you are a graduate or undergraduate student, you can contact your school’s financial aid office for help. You can also look online using dedicated scholarship search engines. Regardless of whether you want to focus on creative nonfiction, original poetry, or journalism, there are plenty of creative writing scholarships.
Contact Your School’s Financial Aid Office
You can start researching scholarship programs by reaching out to the financial aid office of your school. The financial aid office can help you by providing you with a list of all the scholarships that the school offers and helping you figure out if you could be one of the qualified recipients based on your technical merit.
Sign Up for Scholarship Finder
Another way to find out about scholarships is by using an online scholarship search engine. You can sign up for the US Department of Labor’s free Scholarship Finder tool. Alternatively, you can search Google to find thousands of scholarships, grants, and fellowship opportunities. You can even filter your search based on the deadline for submissions, acceptable majors of applicants, and academic requirements.
Check Ethnicity-based organizations
Most states in the US have several ethnicity-based organizations that offer a wide range of scholarships to promote diversity and inclusivity in higher education. Some scholarships they offer might be specific to a particular region. Consider reaching out to local organizations near you.
Tips to Find Creative Writing Scholarships for High School Students
Reach Out To Your School Counselor
An excellent way to find scholarship programs is by reaching out to your high school counselor. Counselors will help you find scholarships that fit your goals, academic standing, and other qualifications. They might also suggest other financial support opportunities.
Start As Early As Possible
Creative writing scholarships are highly competitive, so you should start planning your applications to scholarship programs as early as possible. The first thing you should do is choose which college you want to attend. Then, you can visit the school’s official website to find out more about the financial aid they offer.
Explore a Broad Range of Scholarships
Students who are seeking creative writing scholarships should also explore other scholarships. There are scholarships for creative writing majors that are offered with specific stipulations. Sometimes these stipulations make you eligible for a broader range of scholarships such as scholarships for women, racial minorities, people with exceptional hardships, or community volunteers.
10 Best Creative Writing Scholarships in 2022: Overview
|Scholarship Name||Who Is Eligible||Amount Covered|
|Patricia Cornwell Creative Writing Scholarship||High School Students applying to Davidson College||$35,000|
|University of Michigan-Dearborn Writing Awards||Students enlisted in an undergraduate degree||$7,500|
|NSHSS Creative Writing Scholarship||Undergraduate or High School Student||$2,000|
|The Reedsy National Creative Writing Scholarship||Students enrolled in an accredited college||$2,000|
|Bobette Bibo Gugliotta Memorial Scholarships for Creative Writing||Graduating high school senior in Santa Mateo or Santa Clara County||$1,000|
|Writing the Future Scholarship||Senior high school students||$1,000|
|Ray Bradbury Award for Science Fiction & Fantasy||All students who are US citizens||$1,000|
|$1,500 Video Contest Scholarship for Students Who Enjoy Writing||High school, university, or college students||$1,500|
|Dever Award for Freshman Writing||First-year students at Boston College||Not Specified|
|Eleanor M. Wolfson Memorial Scholarship Fund||Montoursville Area High School seniors planning to attend Yale||Not specified|
Top 10 Creative Writing Scholarships: In Detail
1. Patricia Cornwell Creative Writing Scholarship
- Awarded by: Davidson College
- Deadline: January 2023
Davidson College offers a $35,000 scholarship to young writers who demonstrate an exceptional passion for writing. It is an annual scholarship awarded to one first-year student. The scholarship can be renewed every year as long as the scholarship recipients maintain good grade point averages.
2. University of Michigan-Dearborn Writing Awards
- Awarded by: Outdoor Writers Association of America
- Deadline: May 2022
The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers $7,500 in scholarships to students enlisted in undergraduate degree programs. The awards are granted in the Poetry, Bill Linn Fiction Prize, Researched Writing, Creative Nonfiction, Writing Through Image and Sound, Writing in the Public Sphere, First-Year Writing, Honors Writing, and Scientific/Technical Writing categories.
3. NSHSS Creative Writing Scholarship
- Awarded by: National Society of High School Scholars
- Deadline: October 2022
Every year, the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) offers three scholarships worth $2,000 for fiction and three scholarships worth $2,000 for poetry. Applications open in July and close in October. All high school students graduating in 2023, 2024, or 2025, as well as recently graduated students, are eligible. Students are required to submit an original writing piece in both categories.
4. The Reedsy National Creative Writing Scholarship
- Awarded by: Reedsy
- Deadline: April 2022
The Reedsy Creative Writing Scholarship is a biannual scholarship that rewards aspiring novel writers with a $1,000 cash incentive which is directly transferred to the recipient’s educational institute. Reedsy also considers these recipients for further sponsorship as they become novel writers. Applicants must be studying at an accredited college or university and must submit a 1,500-word to 7,500-word original chapter of an unpublished novel.
5. Bobette Bibo Gugliotta Memorial Scholarships for Creative Writing
- Awarded by: Silicon Valley Community Foundation
- Deadline: February 2023
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation offers $1,000 in scholarships to aspiring creative writing students. Only US citizens or A.B 540 students are allowed to apply. Applicants must be current graduating seniors or graduates of a high school in San Mateo or Santa Clara County. Moreover, they must be admitted to a four-year degree program as a full-time student. The application closes in February.
6. Writing the Future Scholarship
- Awarded by: DiBella Law Offices PC
- Deadline: May 2022
DiBella Law Offices PC offers a $1,000 one-time, non-renewable scholarship for post-secondary education. Any graduate or college student enrolled in a four-year university can apply. Moreover, students admitted to a two-year college or who have earned a high school diploma can also apply.
7. Ray Bradbury Award for Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Awarded by: Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
- Deadline: December 2022
If you love writing about supernatural, magical, futuristic, scientific, and technological themes, you should consider applying for the Ray Bradbury Award. It’s open to residents of the United States and the selected qualified applicant will receive a $1,000 cash award. The deadline to apply for this scholarship is December 1.
8. $1,500 Video Contest Scholarship for Students Who Enjoy Writing
- Awarded by: Cool Club
- Deadline: October 2022
If you like writing stories or making videos, you should consider this scholarship by Cool Club. This scholarship offers a $1,000 scholarship prize to the winner and $500 to the runner-up. Applicants must be high school, university, or community college students. IvyPanda also offers a similar scholarship.
9. Dever Award for Freshman Writing
- Awarded by: Boston College
- Deadline: December 1, 2022
Boston College is one of the few colleges to offer essay scholarships to first-year students in writing. The Department of English at Boston College awards two students with a cash prize for possessing incredible essay writing skills. Boston College also has other scholarships like the Doherty Honors Project Award and English Language Learner Essay Award, which are open to all first-year students.
10. Eleanor M Wolfson Memorial Scholarship
- Awarded by: First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania
- Deadline: Not specified
This scholarship is designed for Montoursville Area High School seniors who want to study creative writing at Yale University. Applications need a Student Aid Report (SAR) from FAFSA and an acceptance letter from the university. They also need to submit an essay, a resume, a letter of recommendation, and their school transcripts.
Should I Apply for a Creative Writing Scholarship?
Yes, you should apply for a creative writing scholarship. A creative writing scholarship can immensely impact your career by letting you finish your studies with less student debt. The creative writing field is projected to grow by nine percent by 2030 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reports that writers and authors have an annual median wage of $67,120.
Creative Writing Scholarships FAQ
The most common types of scholarships include merit-based scholarships, community-service scholarships, academic scholarships, and need-based scholarships.
You can start by creating an outline where you list all the points you want to include in it, then expand upon each point. You can take inspiration from examples on the Internet, but remember that your essay should be original. Once you finish your essay, you can show it to your friends, parents, or teacher for review. Feedback can significantly improve your essay.
If you are thinking of applying for a scholarship, make sure you reach out to the program coordinator. Also, remember that you don’t have to pay anything to qualify for a scholarship. Scholarships are financial aid designed to support talented students.
An excellent way to establish a career in creative writing is to practice every day. You can earn a degree in creative writing or you can enroll in online creative writing courses to hone your skills. Online courses are extremely flexible, meaning you can do while studying other subjects.
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