Writing Scholarships

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How Do You Win a Writing Scholarship?

Writing scholarships are unique since they ask you to use your words to win one. If you are an aspiring novelist, journalist or enjoy writing poems as a hobby, you may qualify.

Creative writing scholarships are about how you craft a story and develop characters. Essay contest scholarships often ask you to answer a question in a very original and clear way.

As such, each scholarship will have its own set of guidelines to follow. You may need to write a story for a specific topic and meet the word count limit. To apply for a writing scholarship, you’re going to have to write something original.

In some scholarships for writers, applicants must be literature or creative writing majors. Judges of these programs may want to see your transcripts and know about your academic goals along with a completed form.

For other essay scholarships, you might not have to be an English major at all. These can be sweepstakes where there is no essay required. Most of the time, anyone is eligible to enter these sweepstakes.

10 Writing Scholarships You Can Apply For Now

  1. Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship
  2. Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
  3. Profile in Courage Essay Contest
  4. Ayn Rand Fountainhead Essay Contest
  5. Optimist International Essay Contest
  6. Visionary Scholarship
  7. L. Rn Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest
  8. Ayn Rand Anthem Essay Contest
  9. Morton Marr Poetry Prize
  10. National Society of High School Scholars Foundation Scholarships

What Writing Scholarships Can Students Apply for?

There are writing scholarships for eligible students at all levels of education. As long as you meet the terms the provider sets, you may apply.

Writing Scholarships for High School Students

The Profile in Courage Essay Contest is open to eligible students in grades 9 to 12. This year’s topic is about political courage. To apply, you will write an essay of up to 1,000 words that has at least 5 sources. You can submit your essay online or by mail. Just make sure to follow the guidelines.

There are 15 awards in all. One first place winner receives $10,000 and one second place winner receives $3,000. Five finalists each receive $1,000 and eight semi finalists each receive $100.

Writing Scholarships for College Students

A writing scholarship for eligible college students is the Bobette Bibo Gugliotta Memorial Scholarship.

It is available from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). It was named to honor the author who created the idea for Mickey Mouse. There are up to two winners. Each winner receives a sum of up to $1,000.

DACA students, US citizens and legal permanent residents may be eligible. Applicants must live in Santa Clara or San Mateo County. To apply, you must send two writing samples. The other required documents are transcripts and grades, personal essay, letters of reference and proof of financial need.

What Creative Writing Scholarships Are Available to Students?

Creative writing scholarships are for eligible English majors and students who like to write a poem, script, fiction or play. You need to be very creative, imaginative and think outside of the box with the provider’s essay question.

Scholarships for Fiction Writers

Writer’s Digest offers Popular Fiction Awards. It is one of their oldest and most popular competitions. One grand prize winner receives $5,000 in cash. 10 other winners receive awards ranging from $25 to $1,000.

To apply, you need to be a US citizen or legal permanent resident and submit an entry fee. You also have to select a creative category. You can choose between spiritual, memoir, rhyming poetry, TV script, children’s fiction and more.

Scholarships for Creative Writing Majors

The Mystery Writers of America (MWA) offers the Helen McCloy Scholarship. It aims to nurture talent in mystery writing of all kinds. Writing topics may include fiction, nonfiction, play writing, and screenwriting.

Although you don’t need to be an MWA member, you do need to be a serious aspiring mystery writer. Applicants must also be a US citizen or legal permanent resident.

MWA will award $500 each to two winning writers. You may use the money to offset tuition and fees for writing workshops, seminars or college level writing programs.

How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay?

To write a scholarship essay, you want to be creative and follow the essay instructions. Here are five helpful tips to write your next winning scholarship essay.

1. Understand the essay question

You can only write a solid essay answer if you understand the question. When the question is direct, be direct when you answer it. If not, judges will spot the confusion no matter how good your writing is. Here’s an example: What are you planning to study in college and why? “In college, I plan to major in writing because…”

2. Reel the audience in

Open your essay with a hook or clear beginning. This captivates the reader’s attention. It may help judges who have to read many essays remember yours better. Of course, once you have reeled your reader in, keep up the good work.

Don’t stray off topic. Use the rest of your essay for more in depth details and examples. Then, conclude your essay to tie up all of your points. This shows the judges you used an outline and organized your thoughts well.

3. Follow the scholarship guidelines

Judges often have hundreds of essays to score. So, most essay scholarships have guidelines to help them reach a decision. Word count is the most common guideline to meet. So, even very creative essays may get points deducted if they are too wordy.

4. Spell check and proofread your essay

Make sure to proofread a few times and spell check your entire essay before submitting it. Also, proofread for any grammatical errors.  If it helps, you may print out your essay and read it off screen. Spell check software does not pick up mistakes related to context. For instance, you may spell “their” correctly but intended to write “there”. Try to avoid these mistakes along with slang.  

5. Don’t copy anyone

Many scholarship providers do not tolerate plagiarism which is unethical. You should tell a story that resonates with your personal goals and experiences. Be original and write from the heart so that your essay stands out.

Why You Should Apply for a Scholarship?

Writing scholarships may be useful if you want to pay for college. The money can offset tuition, fees, books and other expenses. You may be able to use a scholarship along with federal grant money too. And, unlike loans, you don’t repay these funds.

According to the NCES, cost varies by type of school. Also, a four year degree in creative writing is on the rise. If you choose an in state public college, tuition is about $7,368. If you study at a private college for out of state students, tution costs $35,878. 

Many writing and essay scholarships are easy to apply for. They may also be less competitive than ones that assess your grades. A final point, if you win, you get to add it to your resume and list of accomplishments.

List of Writing Scholarships

Check out our list of writing scholarships below. We have 59,130 awards worth $262M.

Vittoria Periord Memorial HCC Scholarship

This scholarship is available for high school seniors in Hillsborough County who have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Applicants must plan to major in writing, archeology, or music at Hillsborough Community College.

Total: $1400

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 31, 2021

Josephine De Karman Fellowship

This award is for college seniors who will receive a bachelor’s degree by June and candidates for a Ph.D. who will defend their dissertation by June.

Total: $200000

Awards: 8

Deadline: January 31, 2021

M.F.K. Fisher Scholarship

Students applying as freshmen to the Culinary Institute of America in New York who have a demonstrated interest in food writing are eligible for this award.

Total: $8000

Awards: 4

Deadline: February 01, 2021

Charline E. McCue Memorial Scholarship

This award is available for U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate students who are majoring in culinary arts, dance, music, fashion design, theater, or writing. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $500

Awards: 1

Deadline: February 01, 2021

Intercollegiate Studies Institute Graduate Fellowship

This fellowship is available for U.S. graduate students who plan to teach at the college/university level. Students must be enrolled full time in a non-professional program of study.

Total: $15000

Awards: 1

Deadline: February 01, 2021

Arts for Life! Scholarship

Each year Arts for Life! awards $1,000 scholarships to 25 graduating high school seniors in Florida. This award is available for U.S. and international high school seniors in Florida. Students must demonstrate artistic merit and academic excellence in creative writing, dance, music, theatre or visual arts.

Total: $50000

Awards: 25

Deadline: February 03, 2021

The R.L. Gillette, Gladys C. Anderson, and Karen D. Carsel Memorial Scholarship

U.S. female undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree in music are eligible for this award. Students must be legally blind (i.e., have best corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, and/or a visual field of less than 20 degrees in the better eye).

Total: $7500

Awards: 1

Deadline: February 15, 2021

Oak Ridge Rotary Club Brad Sturm Memorial Scholarship

This essay contest is open to students enrolled at Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, TN. Interested students must contact the school guidance office or economics teacher for an application.

Total: $3000

Awards: 1

Deadline: February 15, 2021

Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship

This award is available for current high school seniors who are U.S. citizens and residents of Delaware. Applicant must plan to enroll full time at the University of Delaware or Delaware State University and plan to major in the humanities or social sciences.

Total: $71412

Awards: 2

Deadline: February 26, 2021

Sweet and Simple Scholarship

This award is open to all U.S. students who are 14 and older and who are currently enrolled (or enroll no later than fall of 2026) in an accredited postsecondary institution of higher education. One scholarship winner will receive a $1,500 scholarship.

Total: $1500

Awards: 1

Deadline: February 28, 2021

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