Updated on Wednesday 27 February 2013
With creative writing emerging as its own major, programs for it are cropping up all over the United States. For international students, it can be hard to even narrow down where to study creative writing. This article will examine some of the best places in the U.S. to study creative writing, considering the quality of writing programs in the area and the career prospects for after education.
Creative writing is a major that doesn't really depend on geographical location for its quality — the top creative writing schools aren't necessarily dependent on high-tech technology, dense population, or anything else typical of a big city. So for international students, deciding where to study creative writing in the U.S. can be a daunting task. Thankfully, even if top creative writing schools can be found anywhere, there are certain areas of the country that stand out for prospective creating writing students because of both their high number of quality programs and the heavy concentration of career opportunities in the area. Read on to find out where to study creative writing!
As the biggest city in the country, New York City may seem like a no brainer as a great place to study creative writing. But its prestige goes beyond just its large size. Within the boundaries of the Big Apple lie some top creative writing schools, like New York University and Columbia University. Both schools have fine creative writing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Add in New York City's heap of other, flexible school options, and it becomes a great place to study creative writing. Plus, the city's energy and picturesque parks and landmarks have made it a source of inspiration for many writer.
When it comes to the options for international students post-college, New York is far and away one of the best options for anyone trying to break into the published types of creative writing — magazines, novels, etc. New York City has a massive amount of publishing houses and magazines, from the most massive on down to the independently run. And while you certainly don't have to be near a publisher to submit your work and try to catch your big break, the networking opportunities afforded by the proximity to publishers in New York City can only help you.
Like New York, Los Angeles is a hotbed of creative writing schools and work opportunities, but in a different kind of creative writing. As many international students will know, Los Angeles is the center of the United States' (and arguably the world's) film and television industry, meaning that almost anyone looking to get into screenwriting for film or television will want to end up there eventually. Elite film schools like the University of Southern California, University of California — Los Angeles, and American Film Institute all call Los Angeles home and offer prestigious coursework in screenwriting. The area even has top creative writing schools for more traditional creative writing aficionados, with schools like UC Riverside and UC Irvine presenting great options for fiction writing and more.
As mentioned above, Los Angeles will also be the ultimate destination for many an aspiring screenwriter after college thanks to its place at the heart of the film and television business. In screenwriting more than in authoring novels or poetry, it is highly recommended to put yourself at the center of the action. Merely submitting your material from long distance will rarely work; success in screenwriting requires some rigorous face-to-face networking, meetings, and pitching.
New York and Los Angeles stand out as creative writing cities thanks to their dominance in publishing and film (respectively) both in school and work opportunities. But make sure to stay open to creative writing schools elsewhere; after all, you can always move to one of these cities after graduation if necessary. There are great schools in some beautifully scenic areas that can inspire creativity: Full Sail University if you want to study writing for entertainment in Florida, Colorado College up in the mountains, and the University of Iowa in the sprawling Midwest. When deciding where to study creative writing, think about the type of place you'd like to live, if there is an area within creative writing you want to pursue, and get ready to have a great creative writing education!