Some of the most prestigious and fulfilling scholarships require applicants to showcase their writing skills through personal essays, poems, or other written works.
Are you passionate about a specific genre, such as science fiction or young adult literature? You’ll be thrilled to know that there are scholarships tailored for aspiring writers in those genres!
Do you have a remarkable portfolio of written pieces from your high school journey? Numerous scholarships value extensive portfolios focusing on a specific subject area. Consider revising your portfolio and submitting your materials to a scholarship evaluation committee for a chance to stand out.
We have curated a list of ten exceptional writing scholarships for high school students and undergraduates. These scholarships offer prizes ranging from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Some even provide publishing-related benefits and opportunities for professional development that will be covered financially.
List of Writing Scholarships for High Schoolers
|YoungArts National Arts Competition for Writing
|Grades 10-12 or ages 15-18
|Submissions in categories: creative nonfiction, novel, play/script, poetry, short story, spoken word
|Prizes range from $1,000 to $10,000
|The National Press Club Scholarships
|High school seniors
|Various journalism scholarships with GPA requirements
|Scholarships up to $20,000
|Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest
|High school seniors, college students
|Submit essay or video honoring inspiring Black Americans
|$5,000 scholarships for 30 seniors, $3,500 scholarships for 30 college students
|Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
|Over 25 writing categories; seniors can submit portfolios
|Gold Medal Portfolio: $10,000; Silver Medal Portfolio: $1,000 scholarships
|The Davidson Writers Scholarship
|Ages 18 and under
|Literature category with a 60-75 page portfolio and additional requirements
|Scholarships of $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000
|The Leroy F. Aarons Media Scholarship
|LGBTQ undergraduate students
|Application, resume, work samples, and GPA requirements
|Up to $5,000 in tuition support
|Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards
|High school students
|Submit a short story (up to 4,000 words) in one of six genres
|Grand prize of $2,500, publication, conference trip, and more
|The Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship
|Submit CV and poetry sample (up to 40 pages)
|Support for travel expenses
|The Horror Writers Association Scholarships
|Aspiring horror writers
|Focus on academic record and impact on the genre
|Two $2,500 awards
|Ayn Rand Scholarships (Anthem, Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged)
|Varies by novel
|Write essays based on Ayn Rand’s novels; multiple prizes available
|Prizes range from $25 to $40,000
- YoungArts National Arts Competition for Writing
- The National Press Club Scholarships
- Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest
- Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
- The Davidson Writers Scholarship
- The Leroy F. Aarons Media Scholarship
- Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards
- The Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship
- The Horror Writers Association Scholarships
- Ayn Rand Scholarships
1. YoungArts National Arts Competition for Writing
YoungArts’ National Arts Competition for Writing is an extraordinary opportunity exclusively available to students in grades 10 or 12 (or ages 15-18). This competition assesses submissions across five distinct categories: creative nonfiction, novel, play or script, poetry, and short story and spoken word.
According to the organization, previous winners stood out for their creativity, thought-provoking content, and intentionality. Each category has its specific requirements.
For novels, candidates are required to submit the first 20 pages of their novel, accompanied by a 200-word synopsis.
Spoken word artists can submit two to three written poems totaling no more than ten pages. Additionally, they have the option of including a video performance for each poetry submission.
The competition awards five different levels of prizes to candidates who exhibit innovative and outstanding technique, depth, and perspective.
The prizes are as follows: Level 1 ($3,000), Level 2 ($1,500), Level 3 ($1,000), Silver ($5,000), and Gold ($10,000).
2. The National Press Club Scholarships
The National Press Club Journalism Institute provides four scholarship awards to aspiring journalists who are committed to civic discourse and transparency.
One of these awards, the Richard G. Zimmerman Scholarship, is dedicated to high school seniors pursuing a career in journalism. Eligible candidates must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.
The Scholarship for Journalism Diversity Honoring Julie Schoo is another year-long award, amounting to $5,000. It is renewable for up to three years, offering a total scholarship fund of up to $20,000 to support college expenses. Applicants for this scholarship have the same requirements as those for the Richard G. Zimmerman Scholarship.
Many past scholarship awardees have been fortunate enough to pursue their studies at esteemed universities such as UC-Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, and Brown.
This uniqueness sets YoungArts’ National Arts Competition for Writing and The National Press Club Scholarships apart, offering exceptional opportunities for young writers and journalists alike.
3. Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest
The Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest aims to celebrate the extraordinary stories of inspiring Black Americans. Regardless of whether they are renowned national figures, local heroes, or regional superstars, all stories are valuable and worth sharing. Regions is eager to hear these stories.
Applicants are required to submit a written essay of 500 words or less, or a video essay of 3 minutes or less, highlighting a Black American who has been a source of inspiration.
In total, Regions is committed to awarding $5,000 scholarships to 30 high school seniors, and $3,500 scholarships to 30 college students in their first, second, or third year!
The evaluation committee will select 15 outstanding written essays and 15 remarkable video submissions from each application cohort.
To be considered, applicants should have an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher and maintain good academic standing in their current educational institution.
4. Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is an esteemed program in the United States that has been promoting the creativity of teenagers for years.
Students in grades 7-12 can showcase their talent across more than 25 categories in writing and art. Writing categories include critical essays, memoirs, and flash fiction.
For instance, the critical essay aims to inform and persuade the reader on a specific topic. It can take the form of reviews or editorials.
Graduating high school seniors have the opportunity to submit an entire writing portfolio consisting of six distinct works, demonstrating their versatility in style and technique.
Gold Medal Portfolio winners will receive a remarkable prize of $10,000, while Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio winners will be awarded $1,000 scholarships.
5. The Davidson Writers Scholarship
Renowned by both U.S. News and World Report and Forbes Magazine, the Davidson Writers Scholarship stands as one of the most prestigious academic honors in the country. In a recent twist, applicants were encouraged to team up and apply as duos!
Recognizing exceptional talent in literature, the committee awards scholarships of $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000 to extraordinary students who have completed significant literary works.
Eligibility for the Davidson Writers Scholarship demands applicants to be 18 years old or younger, and they must provide evidence of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
For the Literature category, candidates should assemble a 60-75 page portfolio, encompassing three pieces from the following genres: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and drama or screenplay. A literacy narrative serves as an additional requirement.
Moreover, applicants must submit a process essay, a video detailing their artistic journey, and two letters of glowing recommendation from individuals familiar with their work.
Past grand prize recipients have presented captivating portfolios that focus on various subjects, such as preventing atrocities, championing marginalized identities, and preserving family legacies.
6. The Leroy F. Aarons Media Scholarship
Dedicated to portraying LGBTQ individuals and their lives through accurate representation in the media, the Leroy F. Aarons Media Scholarship offers up to $5,000 in tuition support to LGBTQ students aiming to excel in journalism careers.
Prospective candidates include current or incoming undergraduate students pursuing degrees in journalism or communications. Alongside a meticulously filled application, contenders are expected to present a concise one-page resume, proof of enrollment in an undergraduate program, and a captivating collection of five work samples.
Potential topics for consideration encompass writing about a senior LGBTQ activist in the applicant’s community or discussing a local legislative initiative. Should students choose to showcase their skills through video content, the timeframe can range from two to five minutes, while image galleries may contain anywhere between ten and thirty captivating images. In addition, students have the option to submit infographics.
Winners, upon acceptance of the scholarship, pledge to honor the Excellence Contract, which obliges them to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.2 throughout the academic year. Consequently, should a recipient’s GPA fall below 3.0, a probationary status may be imposed.
The selection committee meticulously vets applicants based on their demonstrated understanding of the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community and their unwavering commitment to delivering accurate and unbiased news coverage.
7. Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards
Hey there! If you’re a high school student, you’ve got a fantastic chance to showcase your talent by submitting a captivating short story. You’ve got to keep it within 4,000 words, and you can choose from six exciting genres: romance, mystery/crime, horror, thriller/suspense, sci-fi/fantasy, or young adult.
Now, the mystery/crime genre involves intriguing plot structures, crime-solving police work, thrilling forensics, and legal dramas. On the other hand, the thriller/suspense genre takes a deep dive into motives, backstories of criminals, and aims to get our hearts racing with adrenaline.
If you clinch the grand prize, get ready for some pretty cool rewards! You’ll pocket a sweet $2,500, snag an interview in an issue of Writer’s Digest, have your winning story published on writersdigest.com, enjoy a paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York City, and even receive a $100 gift certificate to writersdigestshop.com. Talk about perks!
8. The Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship
Let me tell you about the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, which celebrates the legacy of an amazing American poet who left us in 1925. This scholarship omits any college-specific requirements, as it focuses on supporting travel expenses for talented American poets like yourself. Fancy studying abroad? This could be your ticket!
In the most recent cycle, over 200 applicants like you vied for this scholarship, and guess what? Two winners were selected. To apply, you’ll need to submit an application along with your curriculum vitae and a poetry sample no longer than 40 typed pages. Interestingly, there’s no minimum age requirement to submit your works, and publishing experience is not mandatory.
9. The Horror Writers Association Scholarships
Calling all aspiring horror writers! The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has got something special for you: two awesome $2,500 scholar awards. One is the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship, available to talented female applicants, and the other is the HWA Scholarship, open to applicants of any gender.
When the review committees assess applications, they’ll primarily focus on your academic record, your plans, and the potential impact you could have on the genre. Take note, though: the scholarship funds aren’t intended for college tuition expenses. But don’t dismay! If you’re a recipient, you’ll have two years to make the most of your reward, which must be used to further your horror writing career or professional development. So, unleash your creativity and take this opportunity to pursue online writing courses, attend writing and publishing presentations, or fund subscription fees for your literary needs!
10. Ayn Rand Scholarships
Ayn Rand, a renowned author, crafted three timeless novels, and with each comes an exclusive scholarship opportunity: Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged.
Pioneering over $2 million in scholarship grants, The Ayn Rand Institute recently recognized hundreds of brilliant students worldwide by awarding them an impressive $40,000.
Feel inspired? The Anthem Scholarship awaits all 8th through 12th graders, presenting a chance to seize the $2,000 grand prize. Additionally, there are 83 other prizes ranging from $25 to $500, designed for outstanding performances.
Ready to dive deeper? High school juniors and seniors can participate in The Fountainhead Scholarship, which honors the best 800-1600 word essay encapsulating the novel’s profound philosophy. The first prize? A remarkable $5,000. Moreover, 83 additional prizes ranging from $25 to $1,250 are waiting to be claimed.
Are you up for the ultimate challenge? The Atlas Shrugged Scholarship welcomes high school seniors, undergraduates, and even graduate-level students to demonstrate their intellectual prowess. With a grand prize of $10,000 up for grabs, together with prizes ranging from $50 to $2,500, this scholarship is truly extraordinary. Delve into topics that delve into the economic and moral forces that drive the novel and explore the disappearance of specific goods.
Don’t worry if you haven’t had the chance to read any of the novels. The ARI endeavors to keep the flame of knowledge alive and will gladly send you a free copy of any novel of your choosing. At the very least, applicants will receive a treasured book as a token of appreciation.