How to Find English Scholarships

By Jason Marshall , last updated October 20, 2011

Students who plan to or are majoring in English have many scholarship opportunities from which to choose. School is always costly and English majors have the added burden of having to buy lots of books. Maybe they aren’t as costly as biology textbooks, but with seven or eight per class per term, it can add up. Luckily scholarships for English majors seek to highlight a skill anyone planning on studying English literature should have been honing for years: writing. That means scholarship seekers will have to spend more time crafting essays than students in other fields, but the potential benefits are enormous. There are literally hundreds of scholarships for English students out there, so where does one start looking for the ones that are right for him or her?

Online Search

One would suspect that if you are reading this article you are probably already in the process of conducting an online search for English scholarships. If you haven’t already come across it, has a long list of scholarships especially for English majors. You can find scholarships dependent on your race, religion, where you are from, what you are studying, or what school you go to. They do not, however, divide the undergraduate and graduate awards so it may take some time to go through and identify the ones to which it would be worth applying.

Contact Your Financial Aid Office

If your online search comes up fruitless, or just less fruitful than you imagined, a great option is to call, email, or visit in person the financial aid office of the school you attend or plan on attending. Their job is to help students fund their educations, so they should be more than happy to go over your situation and help you find the scholarships that are right for you. They can also direct you to little known awards that might be exclusive for students of your school.

Creative Writing Awards

For those who have a talent for creative writing, there will be many more scholarship opportunities for you. There are dozens of scholarships that are awarded based on an applicant’s short story, play, novella, essay, or poem. The New York City School Playwriting Contest awards a prize to New York high school students who pen a winning play. The Matters of Life and Death essay-writing contest is open to all California 11th and 12th grade students who write an essay about the aid in dying movement. Or if reading poetry is more your style, the Poetry Out Loud sponsors a National Recitation Competition. The national winner wins a scholarship of $20,000 and the runner up is able to apply $10,000 to his or her college fund. It is, however, a long process and students need to make sure their high school participates in the program if they want to participate.

The search for college financial aid can be a burden, but English majors have the advantage of having many opportunities. Those opportunities, though, often translate into more writing and more work. But with the right attitude and diligent effort, the work should pay off.

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