5 Colleges for Aspiring Writers
Do you dream of writing a book or spend hours crafting poetic verses? Even if you have a natural talent for the written word, it never hurts to expand your knowledge and skills through a creative writing program in college. Here’s a look at some programs that will help aspiring writers improve their craft.
University of Iowa: Iowa City, IA
Iowa City was named the first UNESCO City of Literature in the U.S. So, if you’re an aspiring writer, the University of Iowa might just be the place for you. The English and creative writing major allows students to study literary movements and genres, channeling what they learn into their own creative works.
However, what really makes Iowa a great place for writers is the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Founded in 1936, the Writers’ Workshop is one of the most famous in the country, with 17 Pulitzer Prize winners and six U.S. Poets laureate among its alumni. The Writers’ Workshop offered the first creative writing degree program in the U.S. — undergraduates of any major can enroll in courses.
Oberlin College: Oberlin, OH
If you want another strong creative writing program to add to your list, look no further than Oberlin College — a private liberal arts school in northeast Ohio. The creative writing major is a rigorous program offering curriculum in various genres and a collaborative workshop environment. Students are encouraged to engage in cross-disciplinary work and close reading to enhance their writing practice.
The program offers opportunities for students to engage with visiting writers at public readings, workshops, master classes, and individual consultations. The Writers in the Schools program allows serious writing students to share their passion with local middle school students. Creative writing is also offered as a minor at Oberlin.
Northwestern University: Evanston, IL
Aside from its prestigious reputation, Northwestern University is a good choice for aspiring writers due to its proximity to Chicago and all its cultural riches. Students who wish to study creative writing at Northwestern University can choose it as a major or minor. The program emphasizes the connection between careful reading and inventive writing — students can study fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and other genres with award-winning authors.
Additionally, students can participate in the English Department’s annual spring writers festival, where three authors come to campus for a week of public readings, classes, and individual consultations with advanced creative writing students. The English Department offers additional creative writing events throughout the year. Learn how to get into Northwestern.
Columbia University: New York, NY
New York City has a rich literary history due to the famous writers who have studied, worked, and lived there. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, Carson McCullers, and Eudora Welty — just to name a few — consider the writing program at Columbia, which is offered through the School of the Arts. Students in the program participate in rigorous workshops, receiving feedback on their work from students and faculty.
Cross-disciplinary study is encouraged to complement and inspire each student’s writing practice. Outside of the creative writing major, students can take advantage of many cultural and arts events both on and off campus. Learn how to get into Columbia.
Colorado College: Colorado Springs, CO
As a small liberal arts school, Colorado College provides a wealth of opportunities for aspiring writers. Students can pursue a creative writing track as part of the English major — a minor in creative writing is also available. The English Department’s programs and activities, such as the Visiting Writers Series, literary magazine, writing contests, and Literary Publishing Practicum, help students make connections and grow their writing practice.
In addition to focusing on the craft of writing, students in the program study literature and literary theory to develop critical reading and thinking skills. The program culminates in a senior thesis, which can be a collection of poetry, essays, short stories, a novella, or a novel.
This list is a great place to start for aspiring writers. Other schools that are home to exceptional English and creative writing programs include Knox College, Emory University, New York University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Do your own research based on courses and instructors you find compelling and, who knows, you may be on the New York Times Best Seller list one day!