7 Creative Writing Scholarships to Apply for in Early 2020

Thursday, January 09, 2020
Nshss Academic Paper 2018

Calling all creative writers! 

Scholarships that help to offset the cost of college are plentiful if you’re willing to do the research and fill out the applications. Students can even find scholarships to suit their particular interests and talents. 

For example, students particularly interested or talented in creative writing can find particular scholarships geared toward their abilities. In fact, here are seven options for creative writing scholarships to apply for in 2020.


1. We the Students Essay Contest

This creative writing scholarship is open to US students grades 8-12. Students must complete the online application and submit an essay of no more than 800 words on the topic cited on the website. Eight students who receive an honorable mention will receive $500, six runners-up will receive $1,250, and the student to win first prize will receive $5,000.

Deadline: TBA, but likely sometime in mid-February 2020


2. Optimist International Essay Contest

For this creative writing scholarship, US students under the age of 19 are invited to submit an essay answering the question, “When All the World’s Problems are Solved, is Optimism Still Necessary?” 

Students who win the club contest advance to the District contest to compete for a $2,500 scholarship.

Club winner deadline: February 28, 2020

Deadline to submit district winner’s: April 15, 2020


3. NSHSS Creative Writing Scholarship 2020 

Enrolled high school students are eligible for this NSHSS creative writing scholarship in two categories: poetry and fiction. 

Poetry: Students are asked to submit their original poetry in any style, from formal verse to free verse or experimental. Students should format the poem the way they wish it to appear in publication.

Fiction: Students are asked to submit a piece of short fiction, no more than 5,000 words (not single-spaced). This entry can be in any genre of the student’s choice, including graphic novel or story.

The scholarship opens March 15, 2020.

Deadline: May 15, 2020


4. Visionary Scholarship Program

This scholarship is open to any student currently enrolled in high school in the US. Applicants are asked to submit a completed application, along with a copy of their most recent (unofficial) high school transcript, along with a 500-word essay responding to the topic, “Why College is Important to Me.” Students who win a scholarship could receive a prize ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Deadline to submit: May 1, 2010


5. Profile in Courage Essay Contest

This creative writing scholarship is open to students in grades 9-12. Those who apply are asked to submit an essay of 700-1000 words about “an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during of after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born.” Students must include five sources.

Eight semifinalists will receive $100, five finalists will receive $1,000, a second place winner will receive $3,000, and a first place winner will receive $10,000.

Deadline: January 17, 2020


6. The Morton Marr Poetry Prize

This creative writing scholarship is open to any writer who has not yet published a book of poetry. Applicants may submit up to six poems of any unpublished, formal form: sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, rhymed stanzas, blank verse, et al. 

The second place winner will receive $500, and the first place winner will receive $1,000. Both winning poems will also be published in Southwest Review.

Deadline: September 30, 2020


7. Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship

This creative writing scholarship specifically celebrates the talents of up-and-coming mystery writers. All permanent residents or US citizens are eligible to apply. Applicants cannot have received any monetary compensation for novels, short stories, non-fiction, screenplays, or play scripts in the crime-writing genre. 

This specific scholarship is meant to be used to offset tuition and fees for furthering writing education, including university- and college-level writing programs. 

Two winners will receive up to $500.

Deadline: February 28, 2019


As you fill out the application for any scholarship, follow important tips and advice for writing scholarship essays. 

Remember to bring yourself to the application, and have fun! These scholarships are for creative writing, after all.