Thirteen Colleges Every High School Creative Writer Should Consider [Updated for 2019!]

The process of selecting a college for four years—four significant years—of one’s life is never easy. What further complicates this process is the fact that more applications are flying into pretty much every school than ever before. What contradicts this idea, however, is the reality: that there are multiple schools that present terrific opportunities for each type of student. There are multiple ‘best creative writing colleges’. So creative writers, fear not! If you don’t believe me, check out some pretty awesome programs below.

Since its inception in 2010, The Adroit Journal has been committed to helping high school writers unlock their potentials while finding the undergraduate writing community for them. High school writers should check out our free, annual online Summer Mentorship Program, which will open to applications on March 15th, as well as our Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose, which recognize spectacular high school and college writers each year. You may wish to additionally check out our summer workshop, camp, and program guide for high school creative writers, as well as our tips for high school teen writers.

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No matter where you choose to spend your college years, be sure to spend them with us! By signing up below, you’ll receive updates each time we open a submission period or release an issue, and you’ll receive our 2019 Guide to Colleges Every Creative Writer Should Consider. (Note: If you are already subscribed to our mailing list, you will already receive this guide.)

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1 | Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia
Acceptance Rate: 26.8%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,829
US News & World Rank: 21
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 1, 2019

Where to begin? Beautiful campus, beautiful weather, and some of the best creative writing resources a college can hope to have. Emory University is the home of previous U.S. Poet Laureate (and Queen) Natasha Trethewey, as well as a sterling set of core faculty, visiting lecturers, and fellows.

English & Creative Writing Major
Creative Writing Minor
Honors Program in Creative Writing
Creative Writing Faculty Page
Creative Writing Fellows Page
Raymond Danowski Poetry Library

2 | University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia
Acceptance Rate: 29.0%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 16,483
US News & World Rank: 25
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 1, 2019

Boasting another beautiful campus, the University of Virginia may be of particular interest to writers interested in concentrating in either poetry or prose writing for their undergraduate years. Specifically, the school hosts two specific two-year Area Programs dedicated to these areas—unlike any institution I’ve come across—with a terrific faculty (Lisa Russ Spaar, all hail) to boot.

English Major
Distinguished Majors Program
Creative Writing for Undergraduates
Area Program in Poetry Writing
Area Program in Literary Prose

3 | University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Acceptance Rate: 10.4%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,746
US News & World Rank: 8
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 5, 2019

Of course, I may happen to be biased—I’m a happy alum of Penn, and studied English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Consumer Psychology—but this means I can confidently say that through a refined liberal arts focus at the University of Pennsylvania, you will learn to write while also finding another interest—any interest—to write about. Penn also has an unrivaled internship program called RealArts@Penn, which provides students with approximately thirty diverse, meaningful internships open to the Penn community, and gives each $4,000 to ensure they can afford to do them. You can be sure that your creative writing portfolio will be read—in fact, Penn seeks to recruit the nation’s top young writers and provide them with admissions advocacy through the Kelly Writers House, a non-residential haven for writers and creative types of all kinds that hosts more than 300 events per year. The Writers House is also home to an incredibly tight-knit community of passionate writers and readers that is always pulling another chair up to the table. To find out more information about these opportunities, click on the “Kelly Writers House” and “Writing Recruitment Opportunity” links below. If interested in the recruitment opportunity, please contact Associate Director of Writing Recruitment Jamie-Lee Josselyn, whose contact information is available on the Kelly Writers House website. (By the way, it’s not at all restricted to Early Decision, it’s not at all restricted to prospective English Majors, and it’s not at all restricted to those who can afford full tuition.) No, you aren’t dreaming.

Department of English
English Major with a Concentration in Creative Writing
Kelly Writers House
Writing Recruitment Opportunity
RealArts @ Penn Internship Program
Department of Creative Writing
Creative Writing Faculty

4 | Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey
Acceptance Rate: 7.4%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,391
US News & World Rank: 1
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 1, 2019

The faculty at Princeton University is undeniably stacked: Jeffrey Eugenides, Paul Muldoon, Joyce Carol Oates, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith… the list goes on. No doubt it will be an intense four years, but Princeton is a tough one to say “no” to.

Lewis Center for the Arts
Princeton Poetry Festival
Creative Writing Faculty Page
Creative Writing Program
Reading Series

5 | Washington University in St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri
Acceptance Rate: 17.1%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,401
US News & World Rank: 19
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 15, 2019

It’s no secret that Washington University in St. Louis is a great place to write—it’s got one of the top Master of Fine Arts programs in the world for creative writing. With a number of certifiably awesome opportunities, it’s also a great place for undergrads… and the fact that they have a specific scholarship dedicated to enabling the best writers to come to WashU is pretty cool, too. P.S.—Mary Jo Bang, Carl Phillips, francine harris. I rest my case.

Undergraduate English Program
Concentration in Creative Writing
Creative Writing Faculty
English and/or Writing Minor
Howard Nemerov Writing Scholarship

6 | Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut
Acceptance Rate: 6.3%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,477
US News & World Rank: 3
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 1, 2019

From what I’ve heard, being on Yale University‘s campus is kind of like being in a never-ending creative paradise. Especially if you know where to look. The programs are fantastic (duh—it’s Yale), and Yale students can write—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and plays. And the school is near New York City, and home to the fabulous Yale University Press. Also, the students do cool things like this (shoutout to previous Adroit prose reader Roger Pellegrini!) and this (shoutout to previous Adroit Managing Editor Alexa Derman!).

Undergraduate English Major
Creative Writing at Yale
Creative Writing Faculty
Writing Concentration

7 | Bucknell University

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Acceptance Rate: 30.7%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,565
US News & World Rank: 36 (Colleges)
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 15, 2019

Although perhaps not known as as the most creative of schools, Bucknell University buzzes with excitement on the poetry front. Other than being home to Bucky the Bison, Bucknell is home to the stunning Stadler Center for Poetry, which brings a number of mix of iconic literary figures and fresh emerging perspectives to Bucknell through an active reading series and two Stadler Fellow seats. Furthermore, Bucknell students (and, actually, all undergraduate students) have enhanced access to the opportunity of studying poetry as part of the annual Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, which brings two inspiring poets to town and awards full-tuition fellowships to ten undergraduate poets finishing their sophomore, junior, or senior years. (Disclaimer: I was a Younger Poet Fellow last summer, so I may be a biased. But: Apply, even if you aren’t a Bucknell student. Trust me.) The 32nd annual Seminar will take place in June 2016.

Bucknell University English Major
Creative Writing Concentration
English & Creative Writing Faculty
Stadler Center for Poetry

8 | New York University

New York, New York
Acceptance Rate: 35.5%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 24,985
US News & World Rank: 30
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 1, 2019

Another undeniably exciting place to study creative writing (of pretty much any genre) is New York University. NYU has not only a fabulous core faculty, but also a talented pool of graduate students working towards their Masters of Fine Arts. This will provide you with a terrific mix of perspectives throughout your four years. And similar to Yale (perhaps a result of the aforementioned faculty), NYU has a fantastically creative student body (with the possible exception of the Stern kids), and the students can write. And New York City.

Creative Writing Program
Creative Writing Faculty
Creative Writing Undergraduate Program
Literary Publications
Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House

9 | Kenyon College

Gambier, Ohio
Acceptance Rate: 25.1%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,662
US News & World Rank: 30 (Colleges)
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 15, 2019

It seems almost ironic that Kenyon College follows in the list after New York University, seeing as the two are almost opposites: Kenyon is a small rural school, while New York is gigantic and, well, in New York. I say almost opposites because both hold terrific opportunities for student writers. Kenyon is a well-known strong program for creative writers, perhaps because of its world-class Kenyon Review and the annual Kenyon Young Writers Workshop. Whatever the reason, it deserves the acclaim—with  an incredible faculty and a strong student body (including an unbelievably large amount of students recognized in the Adroit Prizes!).

Kenyon College English Department
Creative Writing at Kenyon
Kenyon College English Faculty
Kenyon College Literary Fellows
The Kenyon Review KR Online
Kenyon Review Associates Program
Kenyon Young Writers Workshop

10 | Stanford University

Stanford, California
Acceptance Rate: 5.1%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,019
US News & World Rank: 7
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 3, 2019

Stanford University is strong across multiple areas of undergraduate study, clearly, but in the past has not been known by the mainstream for its creative writing resources. Having said that, the school prides itself on holding one of the premier fellowships for rising poets and fiction writers in the entire world—the Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program. This program trickles down into the undergraduate realm through instruction, and (obviously) through the establishment of a talented writing community. Also, the presence of strong minds on the core faculty is undeniable—looking at you, Adam Johnson, Eavan Boland, and Tobias Wolff. Also, Stanford probably has the most gorgeous campus in the history of the earth, and rumor has it they are looking for more writers…

Stanford University English Department
Stanford University Undergraduate Creative Writing Program
Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program
Stanford University Core Creative Writing Professors
Stanford University Visiting Creative Writing Professors
Stanford University Lecturers in Creative Writing

11 | Emerson College

Boston, Massachusetts
Acceptance Rate: 49.2%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,765
US News & World Rank: Unlisted
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 15, 2019

Emerson College is home to an incredible Writing, Literature & Publishing program, as well as to the nationally-renowned literary publications Ploughshares and Redivider. It’s also located in central Boston, and loaded with a strong faculty. What more could you want?

Writing, Literature & Publishing Program
Undergraduate Programs
W, L & P Faculty
Literary Publications
Careers & Internships in W, L & P

12 | Middlebury College

Middlebury, Vermont
Acceptance Rate: 17.2%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,526
US News & World Rank: 5 (Colleges)
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 1, 2019

Middlebury College is another clear choice. Set in scenic Vermont, the school is home to the prestigious literary publication New England Review and a host of significant creative writing resources and faculty members. For example, rising undergraduate seniors have the opportunity to apply to attend the world-renowned Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Department of English and American Literature
Creative Writing Offerings
Creative Writing Faculty
Undergraduates at Bread Loaf
Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
New England Review

13 | Davidson College

Davidson, North Carolina
Acceptance Rate: 21.7%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,770
US News & World Rank: 10 (Colleges)
2019 Admissions Deadline: January 2, 2019

Davidson College is another one you might overlook in your college search—after all, it’s quite small and nestled in a small town in North Carolina—but don’t let yourself miss it! Aside from having a department with resources, Davidson has a strong faculty and a $30,000 annual scholarship for a creative writer to study (any subject) at Davidson. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

English Department
Creative Writing Offerings
English/Creative Writing Faculty & Staff
Honors Program
Patricia Cornwall Creative Writing Scholarship

Even more undergraduate Colleges & Universities you should consider

Barnard College
Bennington College
Bryn Mawr College
Carnegie Mellon University
Columbia University
Harvard University
Hollins University
Johns Hopkins University
Knox College
Oberlin College
Sewanee: The University of the South
Skidmore College
University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
University of Iowa
University of Miami
University of Michigan

These lists comprise only a few of the many schools with excellent programs. Many more perhaps belong on this list but, due to space constraints, were not added. Look at this list as a start, and good luck, seniors!


Sign Up for Updates!

No matter where you choose to spend your college years, be sure to spend them with us! By signing up below, you’ll receive updates each time we open a submission period or release an issue, and you’ll receive our 2019 Guide to Colleges Every Creative Writer Should Consider. (Note: If you are already subscribed to our mailing list, you will already receive this guide.)

If you are based internationally and not in the U.S., please select "International".
Please enter your unabbreviated country here (Ex: United States, Canada, India, etc.).


Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge founded The Adroit Journal in 2010, as a high school sophomore. His work appears in Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. He is the recipient of a 2020 Pushcart Prize.

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