Top 5 Scholarship Opportunities for Creative Writing

By Stacy Zeiger , last updated December 22, 2011
Gifted writers may earn scholarships simply by using their writing skills. In addition to competitions targeted specifically towards creative writers, many scholarship competitions require students to write essays, giving a creative writer an edge in the competition. Even if an essay seems boring at first, use your creative writing skills to spice up the most mundane essay topics.

Sponsored by Scholastic and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards provide an opportunity to creative teens to show their skills through creative writing, artwork and video. Students in grades 7 through 12, who enjoy creative writing, may apply for awards in the competition’s writing categories which include dramatic script, flash fiction, short story, poetry, personal essay/memoir, novel writing, humor and science fiction/fantasy. Graduating seniors may also submit a writing portfolio for a chance at initial awards. At the beginning of the competition, students apply to win a regional award. Regional award winners go on to compete at the national level. Graduating seniors who win at the national level have the opportunity to compete for scholarships of up to $10,000 through portfolio awards, creative concept awards and scholarships presented by individual sponsors.

Each year, the Ayn Rand Institute sponsors an essay writing competition for students in grades eight through twelve and college students. Students read and answer questions related to one of Ayn Rand’s novels. Students may earn up to $10,000 in cash prizes, which may be used to help pay for college for graduating seniors. Competitions are available for four different novels with between 75 and 300 prizes awarded in each contest. To apply students, students may submit an essay through an online submission form or by mailing it directly to the Ayn Rand Foundation.

The Penguin Group, a national publisher, sponsors an annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest. Each year, the contest creators select a novel for the contest. Students are provided with five essay topics related to the novel and must choose one to respond to. High school juniors and seniors are eligible to enter the contest for a chance to win a $1,000 college scholarship and a library of Signet Classics for their high school. Previously chosen novels include Emma by Jane Austen, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

Through the Oh, The Places You’ll Go Scholarship competition, high school seniors complete a writing prompt based on the popular Dr. Seuss book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” The 2011 prompt was to apply the themes of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” to write a letter to someone who needs inspiration. One winner is chosen each year to receive a $10,000 college scholarship.

Student poets may apply for a scholarship from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards. Youth ages 13 through 18 may win up to $200 for a winning poem and adults, including those of whom are currently in college, may win up to $1,000. Poems should be original works of no more than 30 lines that explore the concept of peace and the human spirit. Winning poems are published and distributed by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

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