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Finding a dedicated creative writing program at a school you're excited about can be a real challenge, and that's even before you start worrying about getting in. Nonetheless, there are some great options. In order to help you find the best school for you, this list rounds up some of the best colleges for creative writing in the United States .

The Best Creative Writing Programs: Ranking Criteria

You should never take college rankings as absolute truth —not even the very official-seeming US News ones. Instead, use these kinds of lists as a jumping-off place for your own exploration of colleges. Pay attention not just to what the rankings are but to how the rankings are determined.

To help with that, I'll explain how I came up with this highly unscientific list of great creative writing colleges. I started by narrowing my search down to schools that offered a specific creative writing major. (If you don't see a school you were expecting, it's likely because they only have a minor.)

In ranking the schools, I considered five major criteria:

  • #1: MFA Ranking —If a school has a great graduate creative writing program, it means you'll be taught by those same professors and the excellent graduate students they attract. Schools with strong MFA programs are also more likely to have solid alumni networks and internship opportunities. However, many schools with great undergrad programs do not offer MFAs, in which case I simply focused on the other four options.
  • #2: General School Reputation —The vast majority of your classes won't be in creative writing, so it's important that other parts of the school, especially the English department, are great as well.
  • #3: Extracurricular Opportunities —One of the key advantages of majoring in creative writing is that it can provide access to writing opportunities outside the classroom, so I took what kind of internship programs, author readings, and literary magazines the school offers into consideration.
  • #4: Diversity of Class Options —I gave extra points to schools with a variety of genre options and specific, interesting classes.
  • #5: Alumni/Prestige —This last criterion is a bit more subjective: is the school known for turning out good writers? Certainly it's less important than what kind of education you'll actually get, but having a brand-name degree (so to speak) can be helpful.

The Best Creative Writing Schools

Now, let's get to the good stuff: the list of schools! The exact numbering is always arguable, so look at it as a general trend from absolutely amazing to still super great, rather than fixating on why one school is ranked #3 and another is ranked #4.

#1: Northwestern University

Northwestern's undergrad creative writing program boasts acclaimed professors and an unparalleled track record of turning out successful writers (including Divergent author Veronica Roth and short-story writer Karen Russell).

Outside the classroom, you can work on the student-run literary journal, intern at a publication in nearby Chicago, or submit to the Department of English's yearly writing competition . The university is also home to a top journalism program , so if you want to try your hand at nonfiction as well, you'll have plenty of opportunities to do so.

#2: Columbia University

Like Northwestern, Columbia is home to both a world-class creative writing program and a top journalism school (plus one of the best English departments in the country), so you have a wide range of writing-related course options. Columbia also benefits from its location in New York City, which is bursting at the seams with publishing houses, literary journals, and talented authors.


#3: University of Iowa

The University of Iowa's big draw is the infrastructure of its graduate Writers' Workshop, which is often considered the best MFA program in the country.

As an English and Creative Writing major here, you'll take classes from great young writers and established professors alike, and get to choose from a wide range of topics. This major provides transferable skills important for a liberal arts major with a creative focus. You'll also have access to the university's impressive literary community, including frequent readings, writing prizes and scholarships, and the acclaimed literary journal The Iowa Review .

#4: Emory University

Emory is renowned for its dedicated undergrad creative writing program , which draws the very best visiting scholars and writers. Students here have the chance to attend intimate question-and-answer sessions with award-winning authors, study a range of genres, compete for writing awards and scholarships, and work closely with an adviser to complete an honors project.

#5: Oberlin College

A small liberal arts school in Ohio, Oberlin offers very different advantages than the schools above do. You'll have fewer opportunities to pursue writing in the surrounding city, but the quality of the teachers and the range of courses might make up for that. Moreover, it boasts just as impressive alumni, including actress and writer Lena Dunham.

#6: Hamilton College

Hamilton is another small college, located in upstate New York. It's known for giving students the freedom to pursue their interests and the support to help them explore topics in real depth, both inside and outside the classroom. Hamilton's creative writing program takes full advantage with small classes and lots of opportunities to intern and publish; it also has one of the best writing centers in the country.

#7: Brown University

Brown's Literary Arts program offers one of the top MFAs in the US as well as an undergraduate major . For the major, you must take four creative writing workshops and six reading-intensive courses, which span an array of departments and topics, from music and literature to Middle East studies and Egyptology.


#8: Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University has an excellent creative writing MFA program, lots of super specific class options, and a number of scholarships specifically earmarked for creative writing students. This school’s undergraduate English program also offers a concentration in creative writing that allows students to specialize in a specific genre: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. If you’re interested in exploring your potential in a specific writing genre, Washington University could be a great pick for you.

#9: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT might not be a school you generally associate with writing, but it actually has an excellent program that offers courses in digital media and science writing, as well as creative writing, and provides plenty of guidance on how graduates can navigate the tricky job market.

Not to mention the school is located in Cambridge, a haven for book lovers and writers of all kinds. Though it probably isn’t a good fit for students who hate science, MIT is a great place for aspiring writers who want to build writing skills that are marketable in a wide range of industries.

#10: University of Michigan

University of Michigan is one of the best state universities in the country and has a top-notch MFA program. This school’s undergrad creative writing sub-concentration requires students to submit applications for admittance to advanced creative writing courses. These applications give students crucial practice in both building a writing portfolio and articulating their interest in creative writing to an audience who will evaluate their work. If you're looking to attend a big school with a great creative writing major, this is a fantastic choice.

#11: Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins is another school that's known more for engineering than it is for writing, but, like MIT, it has a dedicated writing program. As a major here, you must take not only courses in prose, poetry, and literature, but also classes on topics such as philosophy and history.

#12: Colorado College

Colorado College is a small liberal arts school known for its block plan , which allows students to focus on one class per three-and-a-half-week block. The creative writing track of the English major includes a sequence of four writing workshops and also requires students to attend every reading of the Visiting Writers Series.

Bonus School: New York University

I didn't include NYU in the main list because it doesn't have a dedicated creative writing major, but it's a great school for aspiring writers nonetheless, offering one of the most impressive creative writing faculties in the country and all the benefits of a Manhattan location.


How To Pick the Best Creative Writing School for You

Just because Northwestern is a great school for creative writing doesn't mean you should set your heart on going there. (The football fans are completely terrifying, for one thing.) So where should you go then?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking at creative writing programs to help you determine the best school for you:

Does It Have Courses You're Interested In?

Look at the course offerings and see whether they interest you. While you can't predict exactly what classes you'll love, you want to avoid a mismatch where what you want to study and what the program offers are completely different. For example, if you want to write sonnets but the school focuses more on teaching fiction, it probably won't be a great fit for you.

Also, don't forget to look at the English courses and creative writing workshops! In most programs, you'll be taking a lot of these, too.

What Opportunities Are There To Pursue Writing Outside of Class?

I touched on this idea in the criteria section, but it's important enough that I want to reiterate it here. Some of the best writing experience you can get is found outside the classroom, so see what kind of writing-related extracurriculars a school has before committing to it.

Great options include getting involved with the campus newspaper, working on the school's literary journal, or interning at the university press.

Who Will Be Teaching You?

Who are the professors? What kind of work have they published? Check teacher ratings on Rate My Professors (but make sure to read the actual reviews—and always take them with a grain of salt).

If you're looking at a big school, there's a good chance that a lot of your teachers will be graduate students. But that's not necessarily a bad thing: a lot of the best teachers I had in college were graduate students. Just take into consideration what kind of graduate program the school has. If there's a great creative writing MFA program, then the graduate students are likely to be better writers and more engaged teachers.

What Are the Alumni Doing Now?

If you have a sense of what you want to do after you graduate, see if any alumni of the program are pursuing that type of career. The stronger the alumni network is, the more connections you'll have when it comes time to get a job.

What About the Rest of the School?

Don't pick a school for which you like the creative writing program but dread everything else about it. Most of your time will be spent doing other things, whether hanging out in the dorms, exploring off campus, or fulfilling general education requirements.

Many schools require you to apply to the creative writing major, so make doubly sure you'll be happy with your choice even if you aren't accepted to the program.

What's Next?

Are you sure a creative writing major is the right fit for you? Read our post on the pros and cons of the major to help you decide what path to take in college.

For more general advice about choosing a college, check out our complete guide to finding the right school for you. Some major factors to consider include deciding whether you're interested in a small college or a big university , an in-state or out-of-state institution , and a public or private school .

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Alex is an experienced tutor and writer. Over the past five years, she has worked with almost a hundred students and written about pop culture for a wide range of publications. She graduated with honors from University of Chicago, receiving a BA in English and Anthropology, and then went on to earn an MA at NYU in Cultural Reporting and Criticism. In high school, she was a National Merit Scholar, took 12 AP tests and scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and ACT.

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Here's how our contest works: every Friday, we send out a newsletter containing five creative writing prompts. Each week, the story ideas center around a different theme. Authors then have one week — until the following Friday — to submit a short story based on one of our prompts. A winner is picked each week to win $250 and is highlighted on our Reedsy Prompts page.

Interested in participating in our short story contest? Sign up here for more information! Or you can check out our full Terms of Use and our FAQ page .

Why we love creative writing prompts

If you've ever sat in front of a computer or notebook and felt the urge to start creating worlds, characters, and storylines — all the while finding yourself unable to do so — then you've met the author's age-old foe: writer's block. There's nothing more frustrating than finding the time but not the words to be creative. Enter our directory! If you're ready to kick writer's block to the curb and finally get started on your short story or novel, these unique story ideas might just be your ticket.

This list of 1800+ creative writing prompts has been created by the Reedsy team to help you develop a rock-solid writing routine. As all aspiring authors know, this is the #1 challenge — and solution! — for reaching your literary goals. Feel free to filter through different genres, which include...

Dramatic — If you want to make people laugh and cry within the same story, this might be your genre.

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Beyond creative writing prompts: how to build a writing routine

While writing prompts are a great tactic to spark your creative sessions, a writer generally needs a couple more tools in their toolbelt when it comes to developing a rock-solid writing routine . To that end, here are a few more additional tips for incorporating your craft into your everyday life.

  • NNWT. Or, as book coach Kevin Johns calls it , “Non-Negotiable Writing Time.” This time should be scheduled into your routine, whether that’s once a day or once a week. Treat it as a serious commitment, and don’t schedule anything else during your NNWT unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Set word count goals. And make them realistic! Don’t start out with lofty goals you’re unlikely to achieve. Give some thought to how many words you think you can write a week, and start there. If you find you’re hitting your weekly or daily goals easily, keep upping the stakes as your craft time becomes more ingrained in your routine.
  • Talk to friends and family about the project you’re working on. Doing so means that those close to you are likely to check in about the status of your piece — which in turn keeps you more accountable.

Arm yourself against writer’s block. Writer’s block will inevitably come, no matter how much story ideas initially inspire you. So it’s best to be prepared with tips and tricks you can use to keep yourself on track before the block hits. You can find 20 solid tips here — including how to establish a relationship with your inner critic and apps that can help you defeat procrastination or lack of motivation.


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The best writing exercises bring out our latent creativity. Especially if you ever feel stuck or blocked, making creative writing exercises part of your daily writing practice can be a great way to both hone your skills and explore new frontiers in your writing. Whether you’re a poet, essayist, storyteller, or genre-bending author, these free writing exercises will jumpstart your creative juices and improve your writing abilities.

24 of the Best Free Writing Exercises to Try Out Today

The best creative writing exercises will push you out of your comfort zone and get you to experiment with words. Language is your sandbox, so let’s build some sand castles with these exercises and writing prompts.

Write With Limitations

The English language is huge, complicated, and — quite frankly — chaotic. Writing with self-imposed limitations can help you create novel and inventive pieces.

What does “limitations” mean in this context? Basically, force yourself not to use certain words, descriptions, or figures of speech. Some writing exercises using limitations include the following:

  • Write without using adverbs or adjectives.
  • Write without using the passive voice – no “being verbs” whatsoever. (Also called “E-Prime” writing.)
  • Write a story without using a common letter –  just like Ernest Vincent Wright did .
  • Write a poem where each line has six words.
  • Write without using any pronouns.

Among exercises to improve writing skills, writing with limitations has the clearest benefits. This practice challenges your brain to think about language productively. Additionally, these limitations force you to use unconventional language – which, in turn, makes you write with lucidity, avidity, and invention.

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Freewriting & Stream of Consciousness

What do you do when the words just don’t come out? How can you write better if you can’t seem to write at all? One of the best poetry exercises, as well as writing exercises in general, is to start your day by freewriting.

Freewriting, also known as “stream of consciousness writing,” involves writing your thoughts down the moment they come. There’s no filtering what you write, and no controlling what you think: topicality, style, and continuity are wholly unnecessary in the freewriting process. While the idea of freewriting seems easy, it’s much harder than you think – examining your thoughts without controlling them takes a while to master, and the impulse to control what you write isn’t easy to tame. Try these exercises to master the skill:

  • Do a timed freewrite. Start with five minutes.
  • Freewrite until you fill up the entirety of something – an envelope, a receipt, a postcard, etc.
  • Freewrite after meditating.
  • Freewrite off of the first word of today’s newspaper.

Among daily writing exercises, freewriting is one of the best writing exercises. Poets can use freewritten material as inspiration for their poetry. Prose writers can also find inspiration for future stories from the depths of their consciousnesses. Start your writing day with freewriting, and watch your creativity blossom.

Copy What You Read

Plagiarism is still off the table; however, you can learn a lot by paying attention to how other people write. This is what we call “reading like a writer.”

Reading like a writer means paying attention to the craft elements that make an excellent piece of literature work. Good writing requires different writing styles, figurative language, story structures, and/or poetry forms, as well as key word choice.

When you notice these craft elements, you can go ahead and emulate them in your own work. As a fiction writer , you might be drawn to the way Haruki Murakami weaves folklore into his stories, and decide to write a story like that yourself. Or, as a poet, you might be inspired by Terrance Hayes’ Golden Shovel form — enough so that you write a Golden Shovel yourself.

  • Read a favorite poem, and write your own poem in the same poetic form.
  • Blackout poetry: take another poem, cross out words you don’t want to use, circle words you do, and write a poem based on the circled words.
  • Copy a single sentence from a favorite novel, and write a short-short story with it.

Among free writing exercises, this is a great way to learn from the best. The best kinds of exercises to improve writing skills involve building upon the current canon of works — as Isaac Newton said, you achieve something great by “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Write From Different Perspectives

The conventional advice given to writers is to “write what you know.” We couldn’t disagree with that statement more. The best creative works force both the writer and the reader to consider new perspectives and learn something new; writing from a new point-of-view makes for a great exercise in expanding your creative limits.

Try these ideas as daily writing exercises:

  • Write a story with the same plot, but with two or more perspectives. For example, you could write a lover’s quarrel from two different view points.
  • Write from the point-of-view of a famous historical figure.
  • Write a story or poem from the perspective of an object: a statue, a doll, a roomba, etc.
  • Write from the perspective of a person you dislike.

While playing with perspective makes for a great fiction writing exercise , poets and essayists can do this too. Patricia Smith’s poem “Skinhead,” for example, is a persona piece written from the perspective of a white nationalist, but the poem clearly condemns the speaker’s beliefs.

Thus, perspective writing also works as a poetry exercise and an essay writing practice exercise . If you’re stuck in your own head, try writing in someone else’s!

Write Metaphor Lists

All creative writers need figurative language. While metaphors, similes, and synecdoches are more prominent in poetry , prose writers need the power of metaphor to truly engross their reader. Among both exercises to improve writing skills and fun writing exercises for adults, writing metaphor lists is one of the best writing exercises out there.

A metaphor list is simple. On a notebook, create two columns. In one column, write down only concrete nouns. Things like a pillow, a tree, a cat, a cloud, and anything that can be perceived with one of the five senses.

In the other list, write down only abstract ideas. Things like love, hate, war, peace, justice, closure, and reconciliation — anything that is conceptual and cannot be directly perceived.

Now, choose a random noun and a random concept, and create a metaphor or simile with them. Delve into the metaphor and explain the comparison. For example, you might say “Love is like a pillow — it can comfort, or it can smother.”

Once you’ve mastered the metaphor list, you can try the following ideas to challenge yourself:

  • Create a coherent poem out of your metaphor list.
  • Turn your metaphor list into a short story.
  • Try making lists with a different figurative language device, such as personification, pathetic fallacy, or metonymy.

Any free creative writing exercise that focuses on figurative language can aid your writing immensely, as it helps writers add insight and emotionality to their work. This is an especially great creative writing exercise for beginners as they learn the elements of style and language.

Daily Journaling

Of course, the best way to improve your creative writing skills is simply to write every day. Keeping a daily journal is a great way to exercise your writing mind. By sitting down with your personal observations and writing without an agenda or audience, a daily writing practice  remains one of the best writing exercises , regardless of your genre or level of expertise.

Consider these ideas for your daily journal:

  • Track your mood and emotions throughout the day. Write those emotions in metaphor — avoid commonplace adjectives and nouns.
  • Write about your day from the second- or third-person.
  • Journal your day in verse. Use stanzas, line breaks, and figurative language.
  • Write about your day backwards.
  • Write about your day using Freytag’s pyramid . Build up to a meaningful climax, even if nothing significant seemed to happen today.

Learn more about keeping a journal here:

How to Start Journaling: Practical Advice on How to Journal Daily

Writing Exercises: Have Fun with Them!

Many of these writing exercises might feel challenging at first—and that’s a good thing! You will unlock new ideas and writing strengths by struggling through these creative challenges. The main point is to have fun with them and use them to explore within your writing, without indulging too many monologues from your inner critic.

Are you looking for more exercises to improve your writing skills? Our instructors can offer prompts, illuminating lectures, one-to-one feedback, and more to help you improve your craft. Check out our upcoming creative writing courses , and let’s put these skills to practice.

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Sean Glatch

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Thank you for this. I’ve been stuck for months—more than that, actually, and you’d think that a pandemic stay-at-home would be the perfect time to do some writing. But no. I’m as stuck as ever. In fact, the only time I seem able to write consistently and well is when I’m taking one of your classes! I’m still saving my pennies, but these exercises will hopefully get me writing in the meantime. Thanks again!

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Hi Kathy, I’m glad to hear some of these tips might spark your creativity 🙂 I feel the same way, I was hoping the stay-at-home order might spark some creativity, but we shouldn’t push ourselves too hard – especially in the midst of a crisis.

The best part about writing: all you have to do is try, and you’ve already succeeded. Good luck on your writing endeavors!

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Bravo….!What a great piece! Honestly I learnt a lot here!

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I picked interest in poetry just a week ago after reading a beautiful piece which captivated my mind into the world of writing. I’d love to write great poems but I don’t know anything about poetry, I need a coach, a motivator and an inspiration to be able to do this. This piece really helped me but I will appreciate some more tips and help from you or anyone else willing to help, I am really fervid about this.

Hi Anthony,

Thanks for your comment! I’m so excited for you to start your journey with poetry. We have more advice for poetry writing at the articles under this link:

Additionally, you might be interested in two of our upcoming poetry courses: Poetry Workshop and How to Craft a Poem .

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected] . Many thanks, and happy writing!

[…] 24 Best Writing Exercises to Become a Better Writer |  […]

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Hi, kinsey there. Thanks for giving information. it is a very informative blog and i appreciate your effort to write a blog I am also a writer and i like these type of blogs everyone takes more knowledge to check out my essay writing website

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As a writer, I often struggle to break free from the chains of writer’s block, but this blog has gifted me with a map of inspiration to navigate through those creative storms. It’s like being handed a box of enchanted writing exercises

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35 Best Colleges for Creative Writing – 2024

April 12, 2024

best colleges for creative writing

Bookworms and aspiring writers can pursue an undergraduate degree in creative writing where they will tackle coursework covering the reading and writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as the theory and history of the craft. While becoming the next J.K Rowling, Stephen King, or Margaret Atwood may be the goal, holders of creative writing degrees end up on a variety of career paths. This can include: publishing, editing, journalism, web content management, advertising, or for those who “make it” as writers—the next generation of literary superstars. Our list of Best Colleges for Creative Writing goes beyond the most famous writer factories like the University of Iowa and Columbia University, providing you with 35 institutions known for their stellar programs in this field.

Finally, note that although some of the colleges featured below do not offer a formal major in creative writing, their undergraduate offerings in this subject area are so strong that they warrant inclusion on our list.


Click here to read our methodology for the Best Colleges for creative writing.

Best Creative Writing Colleges

Here’s a quick preview of the first ten creative writing institutions that made our list. Detailed profiles and stats can be found when you scroll below.

1) Columbia University

2) Brown University

3) Johns Hopkins University

4) University of Chicago

5) Washington University in St Louis

6) Emory University

7) Stanford University

8) Northwestern University

9) Duke University

10) Yale University

All of the schools profiled below have stellar reputations in the field of creative writing and commit substantial resources to undergraduate education. For each of the best colleges for creative writing, College Transitions will provide you with—when available—each school’s:

  • Cost of Attendance
  • Acceptance Rate
  • Median  SAT
  • Median  ACT
  • Retention Rate
  • Graduation Rate

We will also include a longer write-up of each college’s:

  • Academic Highlights – Includes facts like student-to-faculty ratio, average class size, number of majors offered, and most popular majors.
  • Professional Outcomes – Includes info on the rate of positive outcomes, companies employing alumni, and graduate school acceptances.

Columbia University

Columbia University

  • New York, NY

Academic Highlights: Columbia offers 100+ unique areas of undergraduate study as well as a number of pre-professional and accelerated graduate programs.  Class sizes at Columbia are reasonably small and the student-to-faculty ratio is favorable; however, in 2022, it was revealed that the university had been submitting faulty data in this area. It is presently believed that 58% of undergraduate courses enroll 19 or fewer students. The greatest number of degrees are conferred in the social sciences (22%), computer science (15%), engineering (14%), and biology (7%).

Professional Outcomes: Examining the most recent graduates from Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science, 73% had found employment within six months, and 20% had entered graduate school. The median starting salary for graduates of Columbia College/Columbia Engineering is above $80,000. Many graduates get hired by the likes of Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Google, Citi, McKinsey, and Microsoft.

  • Enrollment: 8,832
  • Cost of Attendance: $89,587
  • Median SAT: 1540
  • Median ACT: 35
  • Acceptance Rate: 4%
  • Retention Rate: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 95%

Brown University

Brown University

  • Providence, RI

Academic Highlights: Students must choose one of 80+ “concentration programs,” but there are no required courses. Class sizes tend to be small—68% have fewer than twenty students—and 35% are comprised of nine or fewer students. Biology, economics, computer science, mathematics, and engineering are among the most popular areas of concentration at Brown; however, it is hard to distinguish any one program, because Brown possesses outstanding offerings across so many disciplines.

Professional Outcomes: Soon after receiving their Brown diplomas, 69% of graduates enter the world of employment. Companies employing the greatest number of Brown alums include Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Amazon, Morgan Stanley, Apple, McKinsey & Company, and Bain & Company. The Class of 2022 saw 27% of graduates go directly into graduate/professional school. Right out of undergrad, Brown students boasted an exceptional 81% admission rate to med school and an 81% admission rate to law school.

  • Enrollment: 7,639
  • Cost of Attendance: $84,828
  • Median SAT: 1530
  • Acceptance Rate: 5%
  • Retention Rate: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 96%

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, MD

Academic Highlights: With 53 majors as well as 51 minors, JHU excels in everything from its bread-and-butter medical-related majors to international relations and dance. Boasting an enviable 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio and with 78% of course sections possessing an enrollment under 20, face time with professors is a reality. Many departments carry a high level of clout, including biomedical engineering, chemistry, English, and international studies. Biology, neuroscience, and computer science, which happen to be the three most popular majors, can also be found at the top of the national rankings.

Professional Outcomes: The Class of 2022 saw 94% of graduates successfully land at their next destination within six months of exiting the university; 66% of graduates entered the world of employment and a robust 19% went directly to graduate/professional school. The median starting salary across all majors was $80,000 for the Class of 2022. JHU itself is the most popular choice for graduate school. The next most frequently attended institutions included Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and MIT.

  • Enrollment: 6,044
  • Cost of Attendance: $86,065
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Retention Rate: 97%

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

  • Chicago, IL

Academic Highlights: There are 53 majors at UChicago, but close to half of all degrees conferred are in four majors: economics, biology, mathematics, and political science, all of which have particularly sterling reputations. Economics alone is the selection of roughly one-fifth of the undergraduate population. Over 75% of undergrad sections have an enrollment of nineteen or fewer students, and undergraduate research opportunities are ubiquitous as 80% of students end up working in a research capacity alongside a faculty member.

Professional Outcomes: On commencement day, 99% of the Class of 2023 were employed or continuing their education. Business and financial services (30%) and STEM (12%) were the two sectors that scooped up the most graduates, but public policy and consulting were also well-represented. The most popular employers of recent grads include Google, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Company, Bank of America, Citi, and Accenture. For those heading to grad school, the top seven destinations are Yale, Columbia, Penn, MIT, Stanford, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins.

  • Enrollment: 7,653 (undergraduate); 10,870 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $89,040

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis

  • St. Louis, MO

Academic Highlights : WashU admits students into five schools, many of which offer nationally recognized programs: Arts & Sciences, the Olin School of Business, the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and the Art of Architecture programs housed within the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. The most commonly conferred degrees are in engineering (13%), social sciences (13%), business (13%), biology (11%), and psychology (10%). 66% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and over one-quarter have single-digit enrollments. 65% double major or pursue a minor.

Professional Outcomes: The Class of 2022 sent 52% of grads into the workforce and 28% into graduate and professional schools. Companies employing the highest number of WashU grads feature sought-after employers such as Amazon, Bain, Boeing, Deloitte, Google, IBM, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft. Of the employed members of the Class of 2022 who reported their starting salaries, 79% made more than $60k. The universities welcoming the largest number of Bears included the prestigious institutions of Caltech, Columbia, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Stanford.

  • Enrollment: 8,132 (undergraduate); 8,880 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $83,760
  • Median ACT: 34
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Retention Rate: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 93%

Emory University

Emory University

  • Atlanta, GA

Academic Highlights: This midsize university offers a diverse array of majors (80+) and minors (60+), and 30% of Emory students pursue more than one area of study. Over half of Emory’s student body works directly with a faculty member on academic research and 58% of courses have class sizes of under twenty students. Ultimately, the greatest number of students go on to earn degrees in the social sciences (15%), biology (14%), business (14%), health professions (12%), and mathematics (9%).

Professional Outcomes: Shortly after graduation, 66% of 2022 grads were already employed, and 96% had arrived at their next destination. The top employers of recent Emory grads include Deloitte, Epic, ScribeAmerica, Meta, Morgan Stanley, and Cloudmed. Graduates of the Goizueta Business School found strong starting salaries with an average of $81k.  In the last few years, multiple Emory grads/alums received acceptance letters from the following top law schools like Columbia, Berkeley, and Georgetown. Med school acceptances included Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Vanderbilt.

  • Enrollment: 7,101
  • Cost of Attendance: $83,702
  • Median SAT: 1500
  • Median ACT: 33
  • Retention Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 90%

Stanford University

Stanford University

  • Palo Alto, CA

Academic Highlights: Stanford has three undergraduate schools: the School of Humanities & Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences. 69% of classes have fewer than twenty students, and 34% have a single-digit enrollment. Programs in engineering, computer science, physics, mathematics, international relations, and economics are arguably the best anywhere. In terms of sheer volume, the greatest number of degrees are conferred in the social sciences (17%), computer science (16%), engineering (15%), and interdisciplinary studies (13%).

Professional Outcomes: Stanford grads entering the working world flock to three major industries in equal distribution: business/finance/consulting/retail (19%); computer, IT (19%); and public policy and service, international affairs (19%). Among the companies employing the largest number of recent grads are Accenture, Apple, Bain, Cisco, Meta, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, Microsoft, and SpaceX. Other companies that employ hundreds of Cardinal alums include LinkedIn, Salesforce, and Airbnb. Starting salaries for Stanford grads are among the highest in the country.

  • Enrollment: 8,049 (undergraduate); 10,236 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $87,833

Northwestern University

Northwestern University

  • Evanston, IL

Academic Highlights : Northwestern is home to six undergraduate schools, including Medill, which is widely regarded as one of the country’s best journalism schools. The McCormick School of Engineering also achieves top rankings, along with programs in economics, social policy, and theatre. The social sciences account for the greatest number of degrees conferred (19%), followed by communications/journalism (13%), and engineering (11%). 45% of classes have nine or fewer students enrolled; 78% have fewer than twenty enrollees. 57% of recent grads had the chance to conduct undergraduate research.

Professional Outcomes: Six months after graduating, 69% of the Class of 2022 had found employment and 27% were in graduate school. The four most popular professional fields were consulting (18%), engineering (18%), business/finance (16%), and communications/marketing/media (13%). Employers included the BBC, NBC News, The Washington Post , NPR, Boeing, Google, IBM, Deloitte, PepsiCo, Northrop Grumman, and Goldman Sachs. Across all majors, the average starting salary was $73k. Of those headed straight to graduate school, engineering, medicine, and business were the three most popular areas of concentration.

  • Enrollment: 8,659 (undergraduate); 14,073 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $91,290
  • Graduation Rate: 97%

Duke University

Duke University

Academic Highlights: The academic offerings at Duke include 53 majors, 52 minors, and 23 interdisciplinary certificates. Class sizes are on the small side—71% are nineteen or fewer, and almost one-quarter are less than ten. A stellar 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio helps keep classes so reasonable even while catering to five figures worth of graduate students. Computer Science is the most popular area of concentration (11%), followed by economics (10%), public policy (9%), biology (8%), and computer engineering (7%).

Professional Outcomes: At graduation, approximately 70% of Duke diploma-earners enter the world of work, 20% continue into graduate schools, and 2% start their own businesses. The industries that attract the largest percentage of Blue Devils are tech (21%), finance (15%), business (15%), healthcare (9%), and science/research (6%). Of the 20% headed into graduate school, a hefty 22% are attending medical school, 18% are in PhD programs, and 12% are entering law school. The med school acceptance rate is 85%, more than twice the national average.

  • Enrollment: 6,640
  • Cost of Attendance: $85,238
  • SAT Range: 1490-1570
  • ACT Range: 34-35
  • Acceptance Rate: 6%

Yale University

Yale University

  • New Haven, CT

Academic Highlights: Yale offers 80 majors, most of which require a one- to two-semester senior capstone experience. Undergraduate research is a staple, and over 70% of classes—of which there are over 2,000 to choose from—have an enrollment of fewer than 20 students, making Yale a perfect environment for teaching and learning. Among the top departments are biology, economics, global affairs, engineering, history, and computer science. The social sciences (26%), biology (11%), mathematics (8%), and computer science (8%) are the most popular areas of concentration.

Professional Outcomes: Shortly after graduating, 73% of the Yale Class of 2022 had entered the world of employment and 18% matriculated into graduate programs. Hundreds of Yale alums can be found at each of the world’s top companies including Google, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Company, Morgan Stanley, and Microsoft. The most common industries entered by the newly hired were finance (20%), research/education (16%), technology (14%), and consulting (12%). The mean starting salary for last year’s grads was $81,769 ($120k for CS majors). Nearly one-fifth of students immediately pursue graduate school.

  • Enrollment: 6,590 (undergraduate); 5,344 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $87,705
  • Graduation Rate: 98%

Hamilton College

Hamilton College

  • Clinton, NY

Academic Highlights: The student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1, and without any pesky graduate students to get in the way, face time with professors is a regular occurrence. In fact, 28% of all classes have nine or fewer students; 72% have nineteen or fewer. Economics, government, and biology are among the strongest and most popular majors; other standout programs include public policy, mathematics, and environmental studies. Thirty percent of students earn social science degrees, with biology (13%), visual and performing arts (9%), physical science (7%), and foreign languages (7%) next in line.

Professional Outcomes: Examining the 491 graduates in Hamilton’s Class of 2022, an enviable 97% wasted no time landing jobs, graduate school acceptances, or fellowships. The most commonly entered industries were finance (17%), education (13%), business (12%), and science/tech (11%). Only 17% of 2022 graduates went directly into an advanced degree program. In one recent year, 33% of Hamilton grads were studying a STEM field, 22% were in the social sciences, 17% pursued a health care degree, and 5% went to law school.

  • Enrollment: 2,075
  • Cost of Attendance: $82,430
  • Median SAT: 1490
  • Acceptance Rate: 12%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

Princeton University

Princeton University

  • Princeton, NJ

Academic Highlights: 39 majors are available at Princeton. Just under three-quarters of class sections have an enrollment of 19 or fewer students, and 31% have fewer than ten students. Princeton is known for its commitment to undergraduate teaching, and students consistently rate professors as accessible and helpful. The Engineering Department is widely recognized as one of the country’s best, as is the School of Public and International Affairs.

Professional Highlights: Over 95% of a typical Tiger class finds their next destination within six months of graduating. Large numbers of recent grads flock to the fields of business and engineering, health/science, & tech. Companies presently employing hundreds of Tiger alumni include Google, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, Morgan Stanley, IBM, and Meta. The average salary ranges from $40k (education, health care, or social services) to $100k (computer/mathematical positions). Between 15-20% of graduating Tigers head directly to graduate/professional school.

  • Enrollment: 5,604 (undergraduate); 3,238 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $86,700

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

  • Pittsburgh, PA

Academic Highlights: There are a combined 80+ undergraduate majors and 90 minors available across the six schools. Impressively, particularly for a school with more graduate students than undergrads, CMU boasts a 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes, with 36% containing single digits. In a given school year, 800+ undergraduates conduct research through the University Research Office. The most commonly conferred degrees are in engineering (21%), computer science (16%), mathematics (12%), business (10%), and visual and performing arts (9%).

Professional Outcomes: By the end of the calendar year in which they received their diplomas, 66% of 2022 grads were employed, and 28% were continuing to graduate school. The companies that have routinely scooped up CMU grads include Google, Meta, Microsoft, Apple, Accenture, McKinsey, and Deloitte. With an average starting salary of $105,194, CMU grads outpace the average starting salary for a college grad nationally. Of those pursuing graduate education, around 20% typically enroll immediately in PhD programs.

  • Enrollment: 7,509
  • Cost of Attendance: $84,412

University of Iowa

University of Iowa

  • Iowa City, IA

Academic Highlights: 200+ undergraduate majors, minors, and certificate programs are available across eight colleges, including the Tippie College of Business, which has a very strong reputation. The most commonly conferred degree is business (24%), with parks and recreation (10%), social sciences (8%), health professions (8%), engineering (7%), and communication & journalism (5%) next in popularity. Over half of its undergraduate sections enroll 19 or fewer students, and 30% of undergrads conduct or assist research.

Professional Outcomes: 96% of Class of 2022 grads found their first job or advanced degree program within six months of receiving their diploma. The most commonly entered industries were healthcare (23%), entertainment/the arts (14%), finance and insurance (11%), and marketing/PR (10%). Companies that employ hundreds of alumni include Wells Fargo, Collins Aerospace, Principal Financial Group, Amazon, Accenture, and Microsoft. The median salary for 2022 grads was $50,000. 28% of recent graduates went directly into graduate school; 76% remained at the University of Iowa.

  • Enrollment: 22,130 (undergraduate); 7,912 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $28,846-$32,259 (in-state); $50,809-$54,822 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1240
  • Median ACT: 25
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

Emerson College

Emerson College

Academic Highlights: All 26 majors offered by the school have some element of performance or artistry and include highly unique academic concentrations such as comedic arts, sports communication, and musical theater. Emerson has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio and 69% of courses seat fewer than 20 students. The Journalism and Communications Studies programs rank among the top in the country. By sheer popularity, the top majors are film/video production, journalism, marketing, theater arts, and creative writing.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of leaving Emerson, 61% of recent grads were employed, 4% were enrolled in graduate school, and 35% were still seeking their next landing spot. Top employers include the Walt Disney Company, Warner Media, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and CNN. The average full-time salary for employed grads is $40,255. Of those entering a master’s program, the bulk stay put, pursuing a master’s at Emerson in an area like writing for film and television, creative writing, or journalism.

  • Enrollment: 4,149
  • Cost of Attendance: $73,000
  • Median SAT: 1360
  • Median ACT: 31
  • Acceptance Rate: 43%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 77%

University of Southern California

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA

Academic Highlights : There are 140 undergraduate majors and minors within the Dornsife College of Arts & Sciences alone, the university’s oldest and largest school. The Marshall School of Business, Viterbi School of Engineering, and programs in communication, the cinematic arts, and the performing arts are highly acclaimed. Popular areas of study are business (22%), social sciences (11%), visual and performing arts (11%), communications/journalism (9%), and engineering (8%). Most courses enroll 10-19 students, and USC does an excellent job facilitating undergraduate research opportunities.

Professional Outcomes: 96% of undergrads experience positive postgraduation outcomes within six months of earning their degree. The top five industries entered were finance, consulting, advertising, software development, and engineering; the median salary across all majors is an astounding $79k. Presently, between 300 and 1,500 alumni are employed at each of Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, KPMG, Goldman Sachs, and Meta. Graduate/professional schools enrolling the greatest number of 2022 USC grads include NYU, Georgetown, Harvard, Stanford, Pepperdine, and UCLA.

  • Enrollment: 20,699 (undergraduate); 28,246 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $90,921
  • Median SAT: 1510

Cornell University

Cornell University

Academic Highlights: A diverse array of academic programs includes 80 majors and 120 minors spread across the university’s seven schools/colleges. Classes are a bit larger at Cornell than at many other elite institutions. Still, 55% of sections have fewer than 20 students. Most degrees conferred in 2022 were in computer science (17%), engineering (13%), business (13%), and biology (13%). The SC Johnson College of Business houses two undergraduate schools, both of which have phenomenal reputations.

Professional Outcomes: Breaking down the graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, the largest school at Cornell, 68% entered the workforce, 28% entered graduate school, 1% pursued other endeavors such as travel or volunteer work, and the remaining 3% were still seeking employment six months after receiving their diplomas. The top sectors attracting campus-wide graduateswere financial services (18%), technology (17%), consulting (15%), and education (10%). Of the students from A&S going on to graduate school, 15% were pursuing JDs, 5% MDs, and 22% PhDs.

  • Enrollment: 15,735
  • Cost of Attendance: $88,150
  • Median SAT: 1520

Oberlin College

Oberlin College

  • Oberlin, OH

Academic Highlights: Over 40 majors are available at Oberlin, which is an extremely strong provider of a liberal arts education. 79% of classes had 19 or fewer students enrolled. The greatest number of degrees conferred are typically in music, political science, biology, psychology, and history. The Conservatory of Music has a worldwide reputation, and programs in the natural sciences are similarly strong, leading to remarkable medical school acceptance rates and a high number of future PhD scientists and researchers.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months, 74% of recent grads found employment, 17% enrolled in graduate school, and just 5% were still seeking employment. Multiple recent grads were hired by Google, Netflix, and Sony Pictures. Over the last few years, multiple students have gone on to pursue advanced degrees at Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Brown, Columbia, Princeton, and the University of Michigan. Oberlin also has a reputation for churning out future PhDs and, is among the top 20 schools (per capita) across all disciplines in producing graduates who go on to earn their doctoral degrees.

  • Enrollment: 2,986
  • Cost of Attendance: $85,496
  • Median SAT: 1400-1540
  • Median ACT: 32-34
  • Acceptance Rate: 33%
  • Retention Rate: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 83%

University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh

Academic Highlights: Pitt admits freshmen to the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences, the College of Business Administration, the Swanson School of Engineering, and the School of Nursing. Pitt’s engineering and business schools are top-rated and among the most commonly chosen fields of study. Premed offerings are also top-notch, with majors in the health professions (12%), biology (11%), psychology (9%), and computer science (9%) rounding out the list of most popular majors. Pitt has a strong 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio; 42% of sections have an enrollment of under twenty students.

Professional Outcomes: Within a few months of graduating, 94% of 2022 grads entered full-time employment or full-time graduate or professional school. Engineering, nursing, business, and information sciences majors had 73-86% employment rates while other majors tended to flock to graduate school in large numbers. Employers scooping up the highest number of grads in one recent year included the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (170), PNC (57), BNY Mellon (36), and Deloitte (19). Median starting salaries fluctuated between $37k-65k depending on major.

  • Enrollment: 20,220 (undergraduate); 9,268 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $38,034-$43,254 (in-state); $56,400-$66,840 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College

  • Swarthmore, PA

Academic Highlights: Swarthmore offers forty undergraduate programs and runs 600+ courses each academic year. Small, seminar-style courses are the norm—an outstanding 33% of sections enroll fewer than ten students, and 70% contain a maximum of nineteen students. Social science degrees are the most commonly conferred, accounting for 24% of all 2022 graduates. Future businessmen/women, engineers, and techies are also well-positioned, given Swat’s incredibly strong offerings in economics, engineering, and computer science.

Professional Outcomes: 68% of Class of 2022 grads entered the workforce shortly after graduation. Popular industries included education (17%), consulting (16%), and financial services (13%); the median starting salary was $60,000. Google is a leading employer of Swarthmore grads followed by Amazon, Goldman Sachs, IBM, and a number of the top universities.  18% of 2022 grads pursued advanced degrees, with 35% pursuing a PhD, 35% entering master’s programs, 10% heading to law school, and 7% matriculating into medical school.

  • Enrollment: 1,625
  • Cost of Attendance: $81,376
  • Graduation Rate: 94%

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr College

  • Bryn Mawr, PA

Academic Highlights: On the home campus, undergraduates can choose from 35 majors and 50 minors. Roughly 35% of the student body earns degrees in the natural sciences or mathematics, a figure four times the national average for women. By volume, the most popular majors are mathematics, psychology, biology, English, and computer science. An 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio leads to small class sizes with 74% of sections having fewer than twenty students, and 24% of sections enrolling nine students or fewer.

Professional Outcomes: One year after receiving their diplomas, 57% of Bryn Mawr graduates had found employment and a robust 28% had already entered graduate school. Most of the organizations employing the greatest number of alumni are universities and hospital systems, although Google, Accenture, JPMorgan Chase, and Vanguard do employ a fair number of Bryn Mawr graduates. Among recent grads pursuing further education, 63% were in master’s programs, 13% were already working on their PhD, and 10% were in medical school.

  • Enrollment: 1,409
  • Cost of Attendance: $79,880
  • Median SAT: 1400
  • Acceptance Rate: 31%
  • Retention Rate: 90%

Wellesley College

Wellesley College

  • Wellesley, MA

Academic Highlights: There are 50+ departmental and interdisciplinary majors. Thirty-six percent of course sections have single-digit enrollments while 77% have 19 or fewer students. In addition, opportunities for participation in research with faculty members abound. Most programs possess sterling reputations, including chemistry, computer science, neuroscience, and political science, but the Department of Economics shines most brightly, leading many into PhD programs and high-profile careers. Economics, biology, and computer science are the most frequently conferred degrees.

Professional Outcomes : Six months after graduating, 97% of the Class of 2022 had achieved positive outcomes. Of the 76% of grads who were employed, 24% were working in the finance/consulting/business fields, 17% in education, 17% in internet and technology & engineering, and 15% in healthcare/life sciences. Top employers included JPMorgan Chase, Google, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Goldman Sachs. The average starting salary for one recent cohort was a solid $63k. Of the 20% of 2022 grads who directly entered an advanced degree program, common schools attended included Harvard, Columbia, Brown, Stanford, MIT, and Emory.

  • Enrollment: 2,447
  • Cost of Attendance: $84,240
  • Acceptance Rate: 14%

Colby College

  • Waterville, ME

Academic Highlights: Offering 56 majors and 35 minors, Colby provides a classic liberal arts education with a high degree of flexibility and room for independent intellectual pursuits. A 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio is put to good instructional use as roughly two-thirds of courses have fewer than 19 students. Being a true liberal arts school, Colby has strengths across many disciplines, but biology, economics, and global studies draw especially high praise. These programs along with government and environmental science attract the highest number of students.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduation, 93% of the Class of 2022 had either obtained jobs or were enrolled full-time in a graduate program. Eighteen percent of graduates enter the financial industry and large numbers also start careers in education, with government/nonprofit, STEM, and healthcare next in popularity. The Medical school acceptance rate over the past five years is 68%, nearly double the national average.

  • Enrollment: 2,299
  • Cost of Attendance: $86,720
  • Average SAT: 1485
  • Average ACT: 33
  • Acceptance Rate: 8%
  • Retention Rate: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 87%

University of Michigan

University of Michigan

  • Ann Arbor, MI

Academic Highlights: There are 280+ undergraduate degree programs across fourteen schools and colleges, and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) enrolls the majority of students. The Ross School of Business offers highly rated programs in entrepreneurship, management, accounting, and finance. The College of Engineering is also one of the best in the country. By degrees conferred, engineering (15%), computer science (14%), and the social sciences (11%) are most popular. A solid 56% of classes have fewer than 20 students.

Professional Outcomes: Within three months of graduating, 89% of LSA grads are employed full-time or in graduate school, with healthcare, education, law, banking, research, nonprofit work, and consulting being the most popular sectors. Within three months, 99% of Ross grads are employed with a median salary of $90k. Top employers include Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, EY, Morgan Stanley, PwC, Deloitte, and Amazon.  Within six months, 96% of engineering grads are employed (average salary of $84k) or in grad school. General Motors, Ford, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Meta employ the greatest number of alumni.

  • Enrollment: 32,695 (undergraduate); 18,530 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $35,450 (in-state); $76,294 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1470
  • Acceptance Rate: 18%

Bucknell University

Bucknell University

  • Lewisburg, PA

Academic Highlights: Over 60 majors and 70 minors are on tap across three undergraduate schools: the College of Arts & Sciences, Freeman College of Management, and the College of Engineering. Getting well-acquainted with your professors is easy with a 9:1 student-faculty ratio, and class sizes are reasonably small. The greatest number of degrees are conferred in the areas of the social sciences (26%), engineering (14%), business (14%), biology (11%), and psychology (9%).

Professional Outcomes: Nine months after graduation, 94% of the Class of 2022 had launched their careers or entered graduate school. Financial services is the most common sector for Bucknell grads to enter, attracting 24% of alumni. Across all disciplines, the average salary for a Class of 2022 grad was $69,540. Bucknell saw 18% of 2022 grads go directly into an advanced degree program. Bison alumni heading to graduate school predominantly pursue degrees in the medical field, social sciences, business, or engineering.

  • Enrollment: 3,747
  • Cost of Attendance: $80,890
  • Median SAT: 1380
  • Median ACT: 32
  • Retention Rate: 91%

Haverford College

Haverford College

  • Haverford, PA

Academic Highlights: Haverford offers 31 majors, 32 minors, 12 concentrations, and eleven consortium programs—areas of study that can be pursued at partner campuses. The school’s 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio and exclusive emphasis on undergraduate education lead to exceptionally intimate classes, 33% of which have fewer than 10 students, and 72% have fewer than 20. The most popular areas of study at Haverford include the social sciences (24%), biology (14%), psychology (11%), physical sciences (10%), computer science (9%), and mathematics (7%).

Professional Outcomes: Six months after leaving Haverford, 63% of the Class of 2022 had found employment, 19% had enrolled in graduate school, and 9% were still job hunting. Employers hiring multiple recent Haverford grads include Epic, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Boston Consulting Group, Goldman Sachs, the National Institutes of Health, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Of the 19% of 2022 grads who elected to continue their education, the most commonly entered fields of study were STEM (51%) and medicine/health (15%).

  • Enrollment: 1,421
  • Cost of Attendance: $87,180
  • Graduation Rate: 91%

Colorado College

Colorado College

  • Colorado Springs, CO

Academic Highlights: Rather than the typical semester schedule, Colorado College operates on the “block plan,” a series of eight three-and-half-week periods during which students take only one course. You won’t find a more intimate liberal arts college than CC. Classes have a cap of 25 students, and no more than a handful of courses exceed that figure. The average class consists of 16 students. In terms of sheer volume, most degrees are conferred in the social sciences (28%), biology (17%), natural resources and conservation (8%), and physical science (6%).

Professional Outcomes: Among the Class of 2022, an impressive 99% arrived successfully at their next destination within six months of earning their diploma. The largest number of graduates who pursue employment end up in the fields of education, technology, health care, the arts, and government.  The bachelor’s degree earned at Colorado College is unlikely to be the last degree a graduate will earn. Five years after graduation, the typical cohort sees 70-90% of its members having either completed or finishing an advanced degree.

  • Enrollment: 2,180
  • Cost of Attendance: $87,128
  • Acceptance Rate: 16%
  • Graduation Rate: 86%

Brandeis University

Brandeis University

  • Waltham, MA

Academic Highlights: Brandeis offers 43 majors, the most popular of which are in the social sciences (18%), biology (17%), business (10%), psychology (8%), public administration (8%), and computer science (7%). The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 60% of courses contain nineteen or fewer students. Departments with a particularly strong national reputation include economics, international studies, and sociology as well as all of the traditional premed pathways including biology, and chemistry.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduation, 98% of the Class of 2022 had found their way to employment (59%), graduate school (35%), or another full-time activity like travel or volunteer work (4%). Members of the Class of 2022 were hired by Red Hat, Deloitte, Nasdaq, NPR, and McKinsey & Company. The average starting salary for recent grads is $61k. A large contingent of grads elects to continue at Brandeis for graduate school. Many others go to BU, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, and Yale.

  • Enrollment: 3,687
  • Cost of Attendance: $86,242
  • Median SAT: 1440
  • Acceptance Rate: 39%

Macalester College

Macalester College

  • St. Paul, MN

Academic Highlights: Students can choose from roughly 40 majors and over 800 courses that are offered each academic year . Being an undergraduate-only institution, Macalester students enjoy the full benefits of the school’s 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The average class size is only 17 students, and 14% of class sections have single-digit enrollments. Macalester possesses strong offerings across many different disciplines. Programs in economics, international studies, and mathematics are among the best anywhere.

Professional Outcomes: Six months after graduating, 95% of the Macalester Class of 2022 had found employment, graduate school, or a fellowship. Employers of recent grads include ABC News, Google, Goldman Sachs, Dow Chemical Company, McKinsey & Company, the ACLU, the National Cancer Institute, and National Geographic . Across all sectors, the average starting salary for recent grads was above $62k. Sixty percent of Mac grads pursue an advanced degree within six years of earning their bachelor’s.

  • Enrollment: 2,175
  • Cost of Attendance: $79,890
  • Median SAT: 1430
  • Acceptance Rate: 28%
  • Retention Rate: 88%

Barnard College

Barnard College

Academic Highlights: Barnard has a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, and a sensational 71% of courses are capped at nineteen or fewer students; 18% have fewer than ten. Many get the chance to engage in research alongside a professor as 240+ undergraduates are granted such an opportunity through the Summer Research Institute each year. Barnard’s most popular majors, by number of degrees conferred, include economics, English, political science, history, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, and art history.

Professional Outcomes: Six months after graduation, 91% of 2022 Barnard grads had found employment or were enrolled in a graduate program. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Blackrock, Citibank, and Morgan Stanley all appear on the list of the top fifteen employers of Barnard alumni. Within ten years of graduation, over 80% of Barnard alums eventually enroll in graduate school. Those entering graduate school flock in large numbers to Columbia, with 112 heading there over the last three years.

  • Enrollment: 3,442
  • Cost of Attendance: $90,928
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%

Georgetown University

Georgetown University

  • Washington, D.C.

Academic Highlights: The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 60% of classes enroll fewer than 20 students. While some classes are a bit larger, only 7% cross the 50-student threshold. Those desiring to join the world of politics or diplomacy are in the right place. The Government and International Affairs programs are among the best in the country. The greatest number of degrees are conferred in the social sciences (38%) followed by business (20%), interdisciplinary studies (8%), and biology (7%).

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduating, 75% of members of the Class of 2022 entered the workforce, 19% went directly into a graduate or professional program of study, and 3% were still seeking employment. The Class of 2022 sent massive numbers of graduates to a number of major corporations including JPMorgan Chase (22), Citi (21), BOA (18), Morgan Stanley (16), and EY (10). Those attending grad school stay at Georgetown or flock to other elite schools like Columbia and Harvard.

  • Enrollment: 7,900
  • Cost of Attendance: $85,000

Elon University

Elon University

Academic Highlights: Students choose from 70 majors and can add a number of interesting minors like adventure-based learning, coaching, and multimedia authoring. Elon’s 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio leads to an average class size of 20 students; 51% of sections contain fewer than 20 students. The areas in which the greatest number of degrees are conferred are business (29%), journalism/communication (20%), social sciences (8%), the visual and performing arts (6%), and psychology (6%).

Professional Outcomes: Results of a survey administered nine months after graduation found that 96% of the Class of 2022 had found employment, a graduate school, or an internship. Top employers of recent Elon graduates include Bloomberg, Deloitte, EY, Google, Goldman Sachs, Red Ventures, and Wells Fargo. Recent business grads enjoyed a median salary of $61k while communications majors earned $47k. Just under one-quarter of recent grads gained acceptance into graduate/professional school and many remain at Elon.

  • Enrollment: 6,337
  • Cost of Attendance: $66,657
  • Median SAT: 1260
  • Median ACT: 28
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%

DePauw University

DePauw University

  • Greencastle, IN

Academic Highlights: No matter which of the 40+ majors you pursue at DePauw, you will enjoy the benefits of small class sizes and face time with faculty. A 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio and the fact that only four class sections in the whole university enroll more than 29 students assures that. The greatest number of DePauw undergrads earn degrees in the social sciences (17%), biology (10%), the visual/performing arts (9%), communication/journalism (8%), and computer science (6%).

Professional Outcomes: The university’s “Gold Commitment” guarantees that all grads will land at their next destination within six months, or they will be provided with an entry-level professional opportunity or an additional tuition-free semester. Top employers of DePauw grads include Eli Lilly and Company, IBM, Northern Trust Corporation, AT&T, and Procter & Gamble. Tigers applying to graduate and professional schools experience high levels of success. Of medical school applicants who earned a 3.6 GPA and scored in the 80th percentile on the MCAT, 90% are accepted to at least one institution.

  • Enrollment: 1,752
  • Cost of Attendance: $74,400
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Graduation Rate: 79%

University of Washington – Seattle

University of Washington – Seattle

  • Seattle, WA

Academic Highlights: 180+ undergraduate majors are offered across thirteen colleges/schools. Personal connections with professors abound as 55% of grads complete a faculty-mentored research project. The College of Engineering, which includes the College of Computer Science & Engineering, is one of the best in the nation; UW also boasts strong programs in everything from business to social work to environmental science. The most popular degrees are the social sciences (13%), biology (12%), computer science (11%), and business (8%).

Professional Outcomes: Within months of graduation, 73% of Class of 2022 grads were employed and 17% were continuing their education. The most popular employers of the Class of 2022 included Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and KPMG. Across all living alumni, 6,000+ work for Microsoft, and 4000+ work for each of Boeing and Amazon. Of those headed to graduate/professional school, just over half remain in state, mostly at UW itself. Large numbers of 2022 grads also headed to Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and USC.

  • Enrollment: 36,872 (undergraduate); 16,211 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $34,554 (in-state); $63,906 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1420
  • Acceptance Rate: 48%
  • Retention Rate: 94%

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Andrew Belasco

A licensed counselor and published researcher, Andrew's experience in the field of college admissions and transition spans two decades. He has previously served as a high school counselor, consultant and author for Kaplan Test Prep, and advisor to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admissions and financial aid.

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What Are the Best Places to Write? 15 Tips to Create the Perfect Writing Space

best lace for creative writing

Of course, it doesn’t really work that way. Even though I’m a neatnik sort of person who enjoys interior decorating, my office experiences never quite look like the Pinterest version. There’s dust, there’s crumbs. Even worse, there are distractions. There’s, you know, the  Internet . And no matter where I write or how I design my writing space, there’s always the reality that writing isn’t actually all that glamorous.

But that’s good news, actually. The very fact that writing does not require a high-maintenance setting means we can, in fact, do it anywhere. As nice as a study lined with bookcases of leather-bound first editions might be, or a little desk on a porch overlooking a beach—these aren’t necessarily the best places to write for most of us. After all, the best  place to write is any place we actually  do write.

So how can you optimize  your writing space to help you get in the zone and stay in the zone? Colleen F. Janik brought this up recently:

I would love to hear a discussion of what the perfect writing area looks like, one that draws you there every single day. I have an office with a desk near the window, which I thought was perfect. But it’s not. I’ve made a very crafty, pretty memo board to put all my notes. That didn’t do it. I collected some great black and white World War I photos and had them framed and matted and put on my wall. That was good for a while.

I guess what it comes down to is that my characters become strangers to me and I am barred from entering the land where they dwell. How can I maintain that close relationship with these humans I so lovingly created?

Now, first of all, I’ll admit we can sometimes blame our external settings for writing blocks that are the result of other problems—whether personal issues like exhaustion or burnout , lack of motivation, or just good old plot block . But certainly our space can play a role.

Because I’ve experimented quite a bit with different writing spaces over the years, this topic immediately tickled my fancy. Today, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in optimizing my own space.

TLDR: Honestly, my single biggest takeaway is going to be that what’s best on one day may not be best on the next day. Although it’s nice to have a dedicated writing space set up just how you like it, using your imagination to create flexible options might be the best solution.

5 Ingredients to Create Your Optimal Writing Space

Some writers can write anywhere. Some are particular. Some prefer silence. Others prefer background noise. There is no one perfect formula that suits all of us. But there are some common factors we can each consider in tweaking our available spaces to support us in our writing goals. Here are my top five.

(Please note that some of the links to recommended products are Amazon affiliate links.)

1. Optimal Lighting

Lighting is a powerhouse contributor to ambiance and mood. Consider whether you feel more inspired on bright, sunny days or gray, rainy days. Although you can’t do anything about the weather, you  can  recreate lighting patterns within your space by choosing bulb wattage and tone (warm or cool) to help you get into the right mood.

You need to be able to see what you’re doing and to protect your eye health. (At the same time, you might consider blue-light glasses or a blue-light filter for your computer to help with the glare.) The right desk lamp can make a huge difference in controlling writing spaces that otherwise offer limited options for change. Even just adding candles (preferably soy or beeswax to avoid air pollutants) can raise the vibe of your room and signal to your brain that it is now entering “writing space.”

If you can, you’ll also want to consider your proximity to a window. For a while, I had a desk that faced a gallery of windows. On the one hand, I loved it. But aside from the distracting squirrel that liked to dive-bomb off the roof, I also dealt with major glare for a few months in the early winter when the sun hit the windows just the wrong way. Depending on the orientation of the room, putting a window at your back can also be problematic, since the sun may then glare directly off your computer screen.

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Lighting is crucial for creating the best places to write, but facing your desk to a window offers pros and cons to consider.

Desired degree of privacy is subjective. Some writers do their best work in crowded spaces, such as trains or restaurants. But if you get distracted easily or lose your train of thought when interrupted, you’ll probably do best in a closed-door environment where you can filter out visitors—or at least slow them down.

3. Visual and Auditory Control

Being able to control noise—both visual and auditory—can be important. Some writers prefer silence; some prefer music; some like the TV on in the background; some like people talking around them. Whatever the case, you want to be able to “turn it on” when you’re ready to write. Music has always been key for me. My brain is so used to hearing certain types of music when writing that I have a hard time dropping in without it.

Visual noise can also be important. Some writers thrive in cluttered spaces; others prefer clean minimalism. Either way, you’re looking for efficacy, not aesthetics. Although a Pinterest-worthy office can be gratifying, if it interferes with grounding in and writing , then it’s not worth it.

4. Comfort and Ergonomics

By the same token, value comfort over style. Make sure your desk, your chair, and your computer are the right size for your body and ergonomically placed. If your writing space looks great, but you hurt when you spend time there, you’ll end up writing in the living room or the kitchen instead—or, worse, not writing at all.

5. Availability of Tools and Resources

Finally, you’ll want a space that keeps all your most-used tools and resources at your fingertips. This might mean bookshelves or files. But it can also mean having all your files available on your computer or in the cloud, so you can access them easily without having to break your train of thought.

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Set your writing space, so you have what you need within easy reach.

5 Ideas for Awesome Alternative Writing Spaces

The above ideas cover the standard writing space, the sort that usually comes to mind when we think of a writer’s office. But what if the “standard writing space” just isn’t working for you? What if, like Colleen (and me, on many an occasion), you show up at your optimized desk—and you just can’t settle in?

As much as I love a functional office, the following five alternative ideas are actually some of my favorite places to write. For me, they’re not feasible or even preferable all the time, but whenever they’re right, they’re  right . I’ve done some of my best writing by leaving behind my designated writing space.

1. Writing Outside

This is my all-time fave. When the weather isn’t too cold or too muggy, I like to take my writing into the wild. I’ll set up a little bistro tale outside, maybe on my front porch or maybe in a little nook in some trees, put my coffee in an insulated mug, and head out. I’ve written outside as late as November (with the help of gloves and a down vest), until my fingers got too cold to hold the pen.

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One of the best places to write is… outside! I take my iPad with Scrivener notes, insulated coffee mug, outline notebook, and ergonomic pen —and I’m ready to go!

Being outside is both grounding and refreshing. I love being surrounded by trees and critters while I write, even if I’m not paying much attention. More than that, isolating myself from my normal life inside the house, including my office desk where I do “business stuff” and Internet connectivity in general, almost always sends me straight into story headspace.

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland

Outlining Your Novel (Amazon affiliate link)

One thing I will note is that taking my writing outside has always worked best when outlining , since I do that in a notebook. When it’s time to work on the first draft, I’ve tried typing on various tools (see #4 below), but none of them are ergonomic enough to stave off back and neck pain.

2. Writing in the “Dark”

When the autumn nights get cold and long and I can’t sensibly take my writing outside any longer, my next best choice is to make my indoor writing space as dark as possible. I will often put on just a single light spotlighting my desk (or fairy lights) to create  a small cozy space. The sense that it’s just me and my writing existing in this little island of warmth helps me zoom in and focus.

3. Writing at a Dedicated Desk

This is one I haven’t yet been able to try, but it’s on my bucket list. Sooner or later, I need my computer in to be able write, whether it’s because I need an ergonomic setup for my keyboard or because I need access to all my notes. But because the computer also happens to be connected to the Internet, not to mention connected to all my other  notes (about business or personal stuff), it’s also the single greatest distraction to my writing.

This is why, at some point, I plan to create a second writing space with a smaller desk that is ergonomically favorable for writing by hand and a second computer that contains only writing programs and notes. The idea is not only to remove myself from all the other distractions at my work desk, but also to train my brain to recognize this dedicated space as  writing space (rather than a space for also checking email or blog comments, or browsing YouTube or Pinterest, or shopping for socks or toothpaste…).

4. Writing With Tools Other Than Your Regular Computer

Even when you don’t have the choice to create a writing space that is separate from the rest of your digital life, you can still distance yourself from all the distractions of your computer by utilizing other tools. This is one of the main reasons I enjoy writing my outlines longhand in a notebook. Even if my computer is within reach, the act of writing rather than typing puts a degree of separation between my mind and all the other things I could be doing on the computer.

I’ve also played around with digital typewriters, including the old AlphaSmart and the FreeWrite . The big drawback to both is that they aren’t particularly ergonomic. Even if you position the keyboard at an ideal height for your wrists, you still have to bend your neck to look down at the little screen. These tools can also be annoying when you’re trying to reread or edit what you wrote. I don’t use them frequently, but I’m glad to have them for those occasions when I either need a break from my computer and/or want to take my typing on the go.

5. Writing in Public

Finally, you may want to try taking your writing on the road with you. Writing in cafes and other public spaces is part of a long literary tradition. This isn’t my favorite approach, but I’ve tried it with success on several occasions when writing at home just wasn’t working for me and I needed a change of scenery. Earphones and the same tools I use when writing outside are all I need.

5 Tools to Help in Less Than Optimal Writing Settings

Not all of us get to write in those swoony offices/libraries on Pinterest. Even if we do have the chance to create a writing space that is exactly how we want it, we can sometimes find that, in fact, it isn’t as ideal as we imagined. So in the interest of #reallife, let’s round out the discussion with four simple tools that can help us block out distractions and zone in on our writing even in situations that are not the best places to write.

1. Sound-Proof Headphones

Can’t beat this one. Whether or not you’re into listening to music while writing, sound-proof headphones can be a WIP-saver. They’re also great for when you take your writing out in public because you want the company but not the noise.

2. Do-Not-Disturb Apps

If you find your greatest distraction when working on the computer is… the computer, any one of a host of do-not-disturb apps can help you create a writing-safe space  on  your computer. When writing, I always turn my phone to airplane mode and will often disable my Internet connectivity altogether (it’s off right now). I have previously used the app Freedom to schedule Internet blockages at certain times and from certain websites. Lately, I’ve been looking into Forest , which helps you track your progress, as well as giving you the incentive of real-life planted trees.

>>Click here to read  Creativity vs. Distraction: 13 Tips for Writers in the Age of the Internet

If your space is particularly limited and you’re unable to access privacy, you can always do it the old-fashioned way and find a corner. For me, putting myself in a small space is helpful in itself. Facing into the corner will also help block out visual disturbances (as well as cluing in others to the fact that you really don’t want to talk to them right now). Add in sound-proof headphones, and you may not even know you’re not alone.

Don’t have a corner handy? Grab your hoodie and blinker yourself from distractions. This isn’t foolproof, but it does give off those “leave me alone” vibes that come in handy for all writers sooner or later.

5. Flamethrower and Machete

Okay, just kidding (mostly). But my metaphorical flamethrower and machete (plus liberal threats) have always worked wonders for me.

Creating the best place to write will be an entirely subjective experience for each one of us. We each have to get real with ourselves about which elements help us write and which ones don’t . From there, we must work with what’s available to us in our personal spaces and immediate vicinity. The perfect writing space may vary day to day depending on your mood. What’s important is coming up with a suite of one to three feasible options you can easily slide into without much thought or preparation whenever it’s time to start writing.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What are your best places to write? Tell me in the comments!

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K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel , Structuring Your Novel , and Creating Character Arcs . A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

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Great post! I definitely like my privacy when writing… I feel like it’s for my eyes only until I’m ready to let people read it. But the other day, I was stuck in a waiting room for a couple of hours, and I actually enjoyed writing there.

I also like to grab my notebook and curl up somewhere, whether on my bed or even on top of my desk (yes, I probably looked crazy, but there’s something about a different vantage point that gets the creative juices going). I’m not sure how much longer it’ll take before that desktop starts to feel awfully uncomfortable (I’m 17 so it’s not a problem right now).

Being an introvert, I think the parts about being in a corner and wearing a hoodie applies to more of my life than writing, so it’s safe to say I’m well versed in the art of looking non-approachable. (I also like corners at social gatherings because I can observe all the people and interactions while totally not looking like a creep.)

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Yes, there’s nothing more distracting than knowing someone can read what you’re writing over your shoulder!

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I agree that the place to write is most important, it must promote the right vibe. I’m a keen gardener so I love to write overlooking my garden and flowers provide the ambiance of peace for me, I relax and am capable of allowing my thoughts to come naturally without trying. I also have the dining table space for my laptop during evenings where the light over the table is the best place to be and for some reason I don’t want to be in isolation, alone in a small room, having the television quietly in the background, comfort is so important to be able to focus.

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Hi K With a lap tray you can create a ‘desk’ for a laptop or tablet on any bed.

Oh, yes, this is a great addition!

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A good, practical post for writers. I have tried many of these ideas. I have tried a variety of writing places, but always come back to my desk, my computer, and my (ergonomic) chair. I spent extra on the chair to get something highly adjustable so I could get it just right for my (aging) body.

I find warm light helpful especially helpful. I have a small lamp on one of the shelves on the wall the desk backs against.

Of course, I listen to music when writing. I choose upbeat music (e.g., Two Steps From Hell or Hidden Citizens) for extra energy or when writing an action scene, and quieter, ambient music (e.g., Ludovico Einaudi) for slower scenes. I have never tried soundproof headphones, but now that you’ve brought it up, I think I will.

Thanks for the post. Do good; be kind.

Totally second you on all three points. I spent a good deal of money on an ergonomic chair from Hermann Miller. So far it’s lasted me about a decade (and followed me through two moves and counting) and has been worth every penny.

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When I write scenes, which take place in an airport, funeral home, diner, etc., I go to those places with notebook in hand. I spend time listening, sniffing for particular odors, studing people’s expressions, their tone, their clothing style, their moods, and any distracting sounds. Once I get the feeling, I jot notes. I may even pick out the attributes of one or two people to fashion my character around.

That’s a great idea. Of course, most of my stories are set in worlds that are not our own… But when I wrote my dieselpunk Storming , which is set in my Nebraska hometown in the 1920s, I had lots of fun rambling around and visiting settings in person.

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One place to write is in “the prow of the house, where light breaks and the windows are tossed with linden,” (Richard Wilbur, The Writer). But that would probably be too distracting for me. My most productive time for writing was a four year period about ten years ago, when I was getting up at ten to five everyday to work on a bachelor degree in literature followed by a creative writing masters course. From 5am to around 8am, the world is quiet, the desk illuminated by one lamp, and I was never disturbed – I had strong black out curtains. It felt like the moment writing should be done, not doing the actions of living but meditating on living. Imaginatively, that moment after waking up sitting at the desk was like staring into a tranquil pond, everything slightly magnified and distorted but crystal clear, before my thoughts and mood became silted up by the currents of the day. Due to a back problem, I had a kneeling down chair, and this enabled me to lean over the desk more and use more of the desk space without actually having to reach forward. This allowed me to sustain the work for a longer. If I relaxed and leaned back I fell off, so I was always leaning slightly forward applied to the work. After the first three creative hours, I then went to work at my part-time job in admin, or did work on the computer typing up notes. It was tiring starting that early, but it was very satisfying. I cannot replicate this feeling of “writing in the dark” before I go to bed. In the morning my dreams are still lurking and although feeling sleepy, my energy levels are high after a night of sleep – in the evening I am just tired. Importantly it was a completely separate, relatively small, cheap sturdy desk in an alcove, with cork boards all around on the three enclosing walls, and a large piece of thick blotting paper, about A2 size, covering the desk and pinned with thumb tacks in the corners (yes pinned into the wood) – so I could scribble on it doodles and thoughts. When the sheet was full, I rolled it up and put a new one down. I could spill coffee on it and it didn’t matter. The whole space was brown and undecorated except by the yellow light of the desk lamp and the different colour doodles and post-it notes. When I put my pen down, it did not matter if I did not come back for two days. When I did, the pen was still there where I left it, nothing changed, I could pick up exactly where I left off. Since moving house, I have tried to maintain that, but the current house is quite small and although I have tried to create a dedicated writing space in the shed, I have not been able to establish a routine so am using my work desk in the house for writing. At the moment I take notes anywhere and enjoy sitting in the garden when warm enough, or in hotels on vacation, making notes, sometimes just making word paintings on what is happening, mostly notes on theme and plot, characters, dialogue, or ideas for poems that are inspired by what is happening – this is on small notebooks or my iphone or ipad mini (on the train) – I cannot seem to fix on one medium. For the “proper” sustained writing I have to be sitting at a desk in an isolated quiet space preferably without a view. The only music I can write to is instrumental Jazz, in hotel bars… anything with words or with a distinguishable rhythm throws me completely.

You raise a good point, in that timing is often as important as setting. As I mentioned in the post, I like writing in the “dark.” But timings are tricky, since I’m not a morning person and am usually too mentally spent to write by evening.

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I have the desk, actually several desks. I have two rooms dedicated to writing and/or hobbies. Where do I get most of my writing done? Corner of the couch in the living room, laptop on lap. If it’s just a short scene, I’ll grab a cushion and plop the laptop on it. If it’s going to be any length of time, I use the lap desk. My “little voice” tells me that’s not the best for my back or neck. Never have all the tools I need…but it is still where I have my best writing sessions.

Hey, wherever the words flow, I say! 🙂

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I’m still figuring out my best writing space, so these insights are giving me a wonderful way to work on that. Thanks for posting!

Hope you find the perfect spot!

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Thanks for this post today. For me, the proverbial cafe is hands down the most productive place I write. Every time I sit in a Starbucks or similar coffee shop words tumble out. (Funny thing, I don’t drink coffee). The train is a close second. And the noise-canceling headphones are a must. Like you, music helps me zone-in. But I cannot write with a TV set playing. But you’ve inspired me to try the woods.

No, I hate the modern trend of TVs in restaurants and cafes. It’s so hard to look at anything else…

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The Machete is the best. Works every time.

Hear, hear.

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I quite enjoyed this post! It’s always fun for me to hear what other people have tried. The hoodie tip is wonderfully relatable.

I live (and work my 9-5) in a small space, so finding ways to make distinctions between the daily grind and writing has been a puzzle to work through.

Currently, I don’t use my work desk for writing, unless I’m reviewing edits. Aside from the discomfort of continuing to sit in the same spot where I have already spent most of the day, I have a hugely difficult time staying focused with a bright screen in front of me, to say nothing of the internet. Someday I hope I can have a dedicated writing space, but for now, I take my chunky little AlphaSmart to my couch, sit in a different spot than usual, and light a candle. Edits happen on paper first (though I’m looking into a dedicated e-ink tablet for this, so I don’t have to use so much paper), which helps minimize the time I’m obliged to spend on the computer.

My writing “office-in-bag” has been an effective exercise in making do with what I have, as well as choosing my tools very carefully, while still creating mental distinctions for writing.

Yes, since my “job” is maintaining this site and other related tasks, I work from home with basically no boundaries between “work” and “writing.” It has always been a challenge to carve out spaces and times that are specific to the fiction.

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I once visited Dylan Thomas’s house in Wales. He had a little writing shed by the sea front where he could look out to the sea for inspiration. I would love to have something like that but I can only dream.

Sounds wonderful. Hope it had heat though!

I don’t think it did.

Ah well, time to crack out the gloves and coffee mug. 😀

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My writing space is so perfect, a corner of my bedroom. I have a large window to my left facing east, filled with towering mountains, snow capped a good deal of the year. Another smaller window wraps around the corner and is on the wall my desk faces, but off to the left side of the desk so I’m not facing the glare. The windows are low, the bottom the same height of my desk, a beautiful view from both. They have shades to help when we have blue skies and blinding sunshine reflecting off a foot of snow like today. The mountains are always right there and in summer green grass and a rail fence. It’s a peaceful spot.

That sounds… perfect. 🙂

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My personal experience is that obsessing over my writing space is a way to avoid the actual writing. If my writing space is good enough (even if far from perfect), and I’m motivated, I’ll write.

I’ve also tried disconnecting the internet during my writing time… funny thing is, it doesn’t make me write, if I’m looking for distraction to avoid the hard work of writing, I’ll distract myself without the internet. What I have found somewhat helpful is having a computer background just for writing. When I have that background on, I only allow myself to write, not do anything else on the computer.

Totally hear you on obsessing about the space being a procrastination technique. One thing I learned was that if I had a problem with my space, I needed to set aside time that was *not* writing time in order to address it.

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Thank you for this inspiring, helpful post! It was so helpful to hear that you don’t always work in the same spot. That’s not necessary. I think I’m going to experiment more with lighting, like candles. Also, someone said mornings are best for him, and I tend to agree that I’m most inspired/productive early in the day. I have to admit that I do tend to use my writing space decorating as an excuse for not digging in and getting the book done. I tend to be creative in other areas, and the decorating part is so fun. I can see that you have found the ‘magic’ of creating the mood that transports you to that other world. I love this subject and think you could write an entire book on the subject—complete with great photos. You include some of these great comments that were shared here today. That would be so amazing.

Thank *you* for inspiring the post! 🙂

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Privacy is definitely a must when it’s time to write. I have a lovely window, a small desk lamp, and whiteboard I scribble my ‘to do’ list on. It’s all great. However, the biggest distraction has got to be the Internet. Alas, its alluring glow has pulled me away from many important missions I tasked myself with, only to find I’ve wasted the whole hour. So, I use a timer. I set it to 15 min for ‘goof off’ time, and when the timer is done, its done–then it’s time to go to work.

Yes, the Internet–bless it–is a whole beehive of problems unto itself.

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I have a Freewrite Traveler. I love it, but I do touch-type, so I don’t need to crane my neck to be able to look down at the screen. 🙂

I touch type as well, but I make a mess if I can’t correct as I go. :p

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I love writing a first draft long hand, outdoors among nature, not caring how many mistakes I make. Later indoors I can do any editing on computer. For me the two don’t mix very well. For a while I tried working by laptop outdoors but it’s hard to concentrate on revision when you’re being bothered by flies and mosquitoes! Then you have to worry about battery power/ screen lighting and unexpected error: your file’s gone – computers ruin the experience of being outdoors, for me anyway.

Yes, there is definitely the potential of way more distractions outdoors. It doesn’t work year-round for me, for sure.

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Re computer light: Make sure you set your screen resolution to 1280×720. I was getting headaches all the time before I did that and couldn’t work for more than a couple hours at a time.

If you live in a household where you can afford it, having a second computer for writing that you don’t hook up to the internet helps a lot too. It also makes me feel safer knowing there’s no risk of losing anything to viruses or hacking.

My favorite thing to do for working in public is go to a library. College libraries are the best because they’re filled with people working on assignments or studying, which can be motivating and help keep you on task. And their research materials are usually dryer so they aren’t as much of a temptation. (Bonus points if they use the Library Of Congress system, which is so impossible to navigate when you’re used to a public library that you can restrain yourself from going to your favorite sections!)

Ah, yes, that reminds me that I have actually written in libraries as well. And I agree, it’s a great atmosphere.

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I have decamped to the living room for winter, though it’s not ideal it is warm. Much better when the man is out at work. I am new to the writing game 4 years, though have been writing poetry most of my life – work always got in the way and I never thought of myself as a writer. I have an atalier (studio) and have been painting also most of my life, but I cannot paint at the moment – carpal tunnel sydrome – recent op., though I can still type of a fashion.. I tend to hand write when I’m stuck – I can touch type faster than I can write – so handwrting tends to slow me down to think things through. I have not yet mastered the ‘outline’ and tend to have my characters lead me, they too develop when I throw something at them, though I normally have some idea of their morals lifestyle etc.. I suppose I’m lucky in that I can write almost anywhere at home. I cannot write in bars or cafes, but I can observe and squirrel away little affectations at the back of my mind and note it down either there or when I get home. I did a writing course about 4 years ago and someone gave me your site address – I have learned so much from you (and still am learning). and would just like to say a big thank you.

Warm is always ideal, IMO. 😉 Great to hear you’re enjoying the site!

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We just bought a house in Germany and I am fortunate to have my own office now. I have space enough for my computer desk on one side, and I have a smaller writing desk under the window. I still like to write with pen and paper and I find that is sometimes easier for me when working on my character’s background and details.

I used to struggle with internet distractions when writing on my Mac. I allow myself three hours in the morning to take care of anything online. I use Apple’s focus modes in macOS to turn off distractions when I launch Scrivener, Omni Outliner, and EndNote. I do the same on my iPhone. I find that helps and still gives me the option to research online if I need to.

Congrats on the move! And, yes, I love options that let me distract myself from distractions. The trouble is I can always turn things back on. 😉

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Using a fountain pen and paper releases my creative instincts like yours. No batteries, no cords, no distractions. Just keep a stack of blank writing paper handy, number and date every page, and not the book to which it belongs.

I do not live in Germany, but in the foothills of Colorado, where I look at the mountains all of every day—a good alternative.

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What a wonderful post and I love all the comments too. I am going to have to try to write in scene places for inspiration next! My preferred places to write are either: the recliner at home perched with legs crossed, or in the corner of a Starbucks with breaks to people watch.

I get too distracted people watching. I have to do that in its own time!

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Mrs Weiland, You mentioned that what on one day is a great place to write, might not be the best place tomorrow. Myself (my opinion), I like routine. To write in an unfamiliar place is very distracting to me and I have a problem concentrating. Different atmosphere, sounds, aesthetics, table and placement, and etc. I write in a favorite coffee shop across the freeway in Albany, Oregon. It is Allanns Coffee. They have a quaint little shop in front called the Beanery. I love it there and go there every day. The shop is huge and not many people go there. (Why, I have no idea.) I find that if there are too many differences in the environment, I spend more time daydreaming those differences than writing. Does that make any sense. Of course, that’s just me. There are probably a thousand people who disagree, and that’s OK. I enjoy your blogs and knowledge. Keep writing.

I’m totally a routine person, and generally speaking I do best when I’m in the same environment every day. But in struggling with massive writer’s block these last few years, in addition to moving twice and having to create new routines in new spaces, I found that what always used to work wasn’t working anymore. I had to get creative there for a while.

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Lighting is a must, kind of. My best space during the day is a small room with windows facing north and west. I need a desk lamp to focus on the page. Being on the north side in Colorado, an electric heater is comfortable on cold days.

Privacy is plus and minus. I like to write uninterrupted and arise at four o’clock in the morning before my wife and dog. The fresh mind and results of subconscious development over night flow creatively in a gush. If I am in a location near a TV, my mind is shattered. The demanding programming and sound modifications to grab our attention is destructive in the extreme. I can write well in a restaurant with activity as long as I do not need to interact with people. I worked in an office in a cubicle too long.

I can handle clutter but when there are no distractions, visual or auditory, my mind eventually throws off the shackles and ventures into creative, unexplored spaces. I find Indian drums and flutes playing in the background are compelling but not attention stealing. Quiet good music helps at times, but I have been a musician and anything too gripping pulls me away like the internet does.

Case in point—this post.

Comfort helps. Resources available help, although most of my historical fiction research is Internet-based. Paper drafts, diagrams, and other hard copies are organized into labeled white notebooks.

Places. Many are good, but I usually need more time writing that I can allow outside. I write notes in the dark with a lighted pen that does not disturb my wife. I built a small desk just like Kate’s. I put nothing on it except pen and paper, and reluctantly a laptop occasionally. The surface proclaims “Write on Me”.

Other tools are first, a portable digital voice recorder. I dictate on hikes, in the car, at the gym, and in a comfy chair at home. I use Dragon 15.6 to transcribe the recordings into text. I sometimes dictate directly to the computer or correct manuscripts as well.

No other tools.

Too long a post, I am sure. Thanks to any one reading this far.

I know some people who write best with background noise, like a TV. But I’m like you: I can’t concentrate if there is too much going on around me.

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I use Cold Turkey as an internet blocker I have the premium which is a one time expense and enables me to set a sophisticated schedule. I tie a scarf around the door handle when I’m not to be disturbed and I hog the living room in my apartment. My desk is there. I don’t write in the bedroom because my partner needs to use the bedroom, but he doesn’t need to use the living room in the day time. In the past going to resorts out of season (like in ‘the Shining’ mwah ha ha!) has proved to be a good way to write on the cheap. Although I usually choose the mediterranean not ski resorts. A little bit of boredom can be a help when writing. So resorts should be beautiful but boring. Neil Gaiman’s advice is gold. you can write, you can stare but you can’t do anything else.

Haven’t heard of Cold Turkey before. I will have to check it out.

I prefer ambient sounds to music. for some reason the best thing for me is thunderstorms (ocean sounds have a tendency to make me start thinking about what the ideal beach cabin would be- no good at all).

Ah, rainstorms are the best!

I’m thinking of experimenting with dictation onto a windows tablet running Word software which has a speech to text function. there are some walking paths near my home that might be suitable for this, isolated enough to be able to dictate for reasonable spells without being overheard, as I’m self conscious. I’ve got good headphones for it. I might try to jig up something so that I can hang the tablet so that it will sit comfortably 90 degrees to my chest so that I can check that it is doing the speech to text translation sufficiently well. It works holding the tablet in my hands.

I’ve played around with dictation, but never felt comfortable enough that the thoughts just flowed.

Here is what is working for me. I dictate on hikes, in the car, restaurants (a little but it can bother other people). I transcribe to LibreOffice Writer or MS Word. Sony digital voice recorder – ICD-PX470 Sony microphone for recorder – ECMCS3 Lavalier Dragon Dictation Software – (expensive but works well.) Individual Professional is what you want because it transcribes recordings. The Home edition does not transcribe wav or MP3 recordings.

Thanks for including specific tools. I know lots of people find that helpful.

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Great Post. I’m already prescribed to you so how do I get the free ebook ? I thoroughly enjoyed reading the post and the comments were the icing on the cake.

Tanya, you can email me here, and I’ll make sure you get it:

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Parking lot of a grocery store or shopping mall. You still have privacy but also the theatrics of human life. Not ideal for long periods of writing, but if you just want a weird space for a short period, parking lots. For me, they spawn a lot of goofy ideas, then I can do my shopping.

Multi-tasking–I like it! 😀

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I have two different types of writing desks ten feet apart. The smaller one is dedicated to reading and scrawling; the larger one, with the roll top, is for typing, using an ergonomic keyboard.

My late father wrote thousands of missives on each of these desks, often by hand, using his trademark blue paper. He never published the novels he once envisioned, nor even his memoirs. But he left his desks to me.

Troy Thompson

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I have written in many spaces. Sometimes on late shift at work when the only thing you hear is the fans blowing. A white noise takes over and can put you to sleep if you are not careful. I have taken my laptop to the park but it has to be quite there for me to get anything done. In my house at my desk with head phones playing music that suites the book I am working on. I fall into a state where I am alone. The noise around me disappears into that white noise and the world I live in folds up and my fantasy world unwraps itself.

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Top 5 Best Creative Writing Courses

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best creative writing course for most people is Masterclass : Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing or Coursera : Creative Writing Specialization.

Creative writing courses help develop your writing skills, build conscious writing habits, and teach you how to build a professional portfolio for your writing career. Most creative writing courses offer educational and practical assignments that help you advance your creative writing abilities. 

Whether you’re a complete beginner or just want to sharpen your creative writing tools, the courses below have you covered.

The Top 5 Best Creative Writing Courses 

  • Masterclass : Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing – Best for writing development
  • Coursera : Creative Writing Specialization – Best for experiential learning
  • Udemy : Complete Creative Writing Course – Best for portfolio creation
  • Gotham Writers : Creative Writing 101 – Best for building a writing habit
  • Reedsy Learning : Understanding Point of View – Best for beginners 

Continue reading for our in-depth reviews on the five best creative writing courses to help you become a better writer today. 

Masterclass: Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing – Best for Writing Development 

MasterClass logo

If you’re an experienced writer looking to develop your writing abilities, the Masterclass course Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing is an excellent option for you. 

This course compiles advanced material that Atwood simplifies with 23 slow-paced video lessons that span across about four hours. 

Author of The Handmaid’s Tale and instructor of this creative writing course, Atwood takes you on a journey of the creative writing process from getting started to getting published. Her first-ever online class will teach you to develop your writing with advanced material and personal advice. 

Masterclass: Margaret Atwood teaches creative writing signup page.

Whether you already have a first draft or a half-written book, this in-depth course teaches all about core writing elements. Atwood discusses how to write a compelling story, create structure, develop nuanced characters, keep your readers interested, and how to stay motivated while writing—helping you turn your work into a masterpiece. 

The best part about this specific creative writing course is how participatory it is. You get access to a class workbook that includes additional writing assignments you can complete after each lesson, as well as helpful resources for writers. 

The course also comes with a community hub for all students to interact with each other. The community page gives you a place to discuss lessons, share your work, get feedback, and network—creating a sense of classroom-like community. 

The structure of the Masterclass course is easy to navigate, with all 23 lessons being split into three to five sections and are around 10 minutes long each. 

Lessons one through 16 are about the general elements of writing, like story and plot, structure, characters, and point of view. Lessons 17 through 23 discuss the business side of writing, including getting published and working within different genres. 

Masterclass offers one membership fee to receive access to every class on its website. The fee is $10 per month, billed at $120 per year.

A Masterclass membership gives you access to more than 180 classes, audio-only lessons, offline viewing, downloadable instructor guides, and new classes added every month. 

Masterclass also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all subscriptions.

Coursera: Creative Writing Specialization – Best for Experiential Learning 

Coursera logo

Not every creative writing course offers practical and interactive assessments, but the Creative Writing Specialization courses offered by Wesleyan University for Coursera stands out because of its experiential learning experience. This is a set of five courses within one larger specialization, all leading to a capstone project.

As a creative writing course with extensive hands-on projects, each specialization will teach you how to master a different writing technique that successful writers use in the three major writing genres. 

There are more than 113,000 students already enrolled in this set of courses, and for a good reason. The course structure has helped many people understand the short story, narrative essay, and memoir genre. 

Coursera: creative writing specialization signup page.

What makes this course so experiential is during the last lesson, where you have the chance to write and edit your own original story. 

Using the elements and techniques you learn throughout the five courses taught by different instructors, you will draft a short story, narrative essay, or memoir. With the help of your peer readers and instructors, you will revise, rewrite, and complete the story in whichever genre you choose. 

Each course within the overall Specialization focuses on a different element for each genre. During this course, you will learn the craft of plot (course one), crafting characters (course two), settings and descriptions (course three), and style (course four) before you put these skills to the test and write your story in course five. 

Even though this Specialization is more in-depth, it’s still flexible, as you can take each of the first four courses in any order (ending with the course five capstone). It’s also 100% online, so you don’t need to show up to a classroom, and you can access all course material via a desktop or mobile device. 

The Creative Writing Specialization currently takes one month to complete at 10 hours a week, which you should keep in mind. However, Coursera lets you set and maintain flexible deadlines, even though you cannot change the course duration to be any shorter than it already is. 

Currently, Write-Bros, Scrivener, and Scribophile are sponsors of the Creative Writing Specialization course and are offering discounts for all students who complete their assessments.

Upon completing your first assignment, you receive an 80% discount from Write-Bros, a 30% discount on your first purchase from Scrivener, and a 30% off membership pricing for Scribophile’s online writing community. 

You can enroll in the course for free to read and view the course content. However, if you want access to all courses in the Specialization and receive a certificate upon completion, you need to sign up for Coursera Plus. Coursera Plus offers both monthly and annual subscriptions. The cost is $59 per month or $399 per year with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

With each Specialization course, you get access to shareable course certificates, course videos and readings, practice quizzes, graded assignments with feedback, graded quizzes with feedback, and graded programming assignments. 

Coursera also offers financial aid and a seven-day free trial of Coursera Plus.

Udemy: Complete Creative Writing – Best for Portfolio Creation 

Udemy logo

If you want to learn about the four writing genres and create a strong portfolio with your writing samples, the Complete Creative Writing course by Udemy is an excellent option. 

Creating an outstanding portfolio can be difficult for many writers, especially beginners, but this course will help you create a digital portfolio in just five concise sections. 

Instructed by teacher and author Trace Crawford, this course delves deep into the world of fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction. In the fifth and final section, you’ll learn how to create a digital portfolio.

Udemy: Complete creative writing signup page.

Including the introduction, the course has 162 lectures and a running time of about 12 hours. By the end of this course, you will understand the ins and outs of all things creative writing. 

Crawford breaks down the course into four subsections: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Creative Non-Fiction. You will receive a writing journal prompt for every lesson, 145 downloadable resources, and a certificate of completion. Each subsection offers between 20-50 lectures that range between one and four hours in length in total.

The final course section focuses only on the digital portfolio. Many creative writing courses don’t touch on portfolio creation, even though it’s an essential aspect of a writer’s career. These lectures will leave you feeling ready to pursue a career in writing. 

This course is also flexible, as you can complete it at your own pace and receive lifetime access for one price. If you have the time, you can complete this course within a day or two, which is helpful to retain as much information as possible. 

The course comes with 37 online quizzes, 145 downloadable resources, and journal prompts. You also receive a daily writing assignment, a lesson covering the course content, and a practical application project. 

Crawford aims to further develop and perfect your voice by teaching you about the four genres. You will also learn about writing techniques, writing concepts, how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your writing projects, and of course, you will build a portfolio. 

The regular price is $109.99 for the Complete Creative Writing course, and Udemy often has discounts throughout the year. This specific course usually goes on sale each month, so look out for this. 

Udemy also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Gotham Writers: Creative Writing 101 – Best for Building a Writing Habit 

Gotham Writers logo

Are you struggling to build a writing habit and don’t know where to start? The Creative Writing 101 six-week course by Gotham Writers is an excellent place to start. 

This level one online six-week class focuses on slowly building a writing habit while teaching you about the show and tell of writing, individuality, fiction, nonfiction, and how to get better at the craft. 

This course is unique because each class size is limited for students to get enough personal attention from the instructor. There are a maximum of 16 students in each Creative Writing 101 class, which is 100% online. 

Gotham writers: creative writing 101 homepage.

Creative Writing 101 helps you slowly build a writing habit by encouraging you to complete daily observation exercises and free writing. These writing activities help stimulate the brain and create a way to write freely without the burden of writer’s block. 

The course also offers weekly writing assignments that the instructor grades and provides feedback for, which will help you feel more confident about your writing abilities as you progress through the course. 

Because this course is online, Gotham Writers provides the Lounge feature for all students to meet weekly for a one-hour live chat. The Lounge is open 24/7 for all students to chat and get to know each other, network, and discuss feedback. 

You also get access to a weekly planner, class roster, guidelines, and syllabus. The notebook, booth, library, and blackboard are other essential features that store lectures, assignments, resources, and student feedback.  

The course layout is the most similar to an online classroom, especially for collaboration purposes, making it easy to navigate and complete tasks. Each class session lasts for a week, and you have the flexibility to complete tasks at any time of day during the week. 

Gotham Writers offers this course online, on Zoom, or one-on-one (either in NYC or long distance) for different prices. 

  • Online: $319 
  • Zoom: $319 
  • One-on-One: $1,195

There is also a $25 registration fee that you pay once per term. All course dates are listed on the website and are subject to availability.

Reedsy Learning: Understanding Point of View – Best for Beginners 

Reedsy logo

Beginners need to start somewhere, and there’s no better place to start than enrolling in the free Reedsy Learning course, Understanding Point of View. 

Taught by TEDx speaker and author Gabriela Pereira, this course focuses on the technical element of point of view, which challenges many writers in the beginning stage. If this sounds like you, you will be delighted to hear that this course is free and gets delivered to your inbox every morning for 10 days. 

This is a quick and easy 10-day course. Each lesson is just five minutes, and Pereira takes you on an immersive journey through the challenges of establishing the correct point of view in your creative writing. 

Reedsy Learning: understanding point of view signup page.

This course will familiarize you with each primary POV, including first, second, and third person. With the help of practical writing exercises, you will complete the course understanding how to master each point of view within your writing. 

During this course, you will also learn: 

  • The differences between third-person limited and third-person omniscient 
  • The strengths and weaknesses of second person 
  • How to work with multiple points of view
  • Epistolary and Journal forms 

To enroll, include your name, email address, and time zone so that Pereira can deliver each lecture to your inbox on time. You can start each morning on the right foot by completing a quick five-minute lesson and go about your day, making it a simple course for the complete beginner to follow and get used to writing each day. 

Reedsy Learning offers this and many other free online courses to help you establish your career and transform your writing skills. 

How to Find The Best Creative Writing Course For You 

There are a few factors that go into finding the best creative writing course for you. Sometimes it can be challenging to choose the right course, especially since there are many different goals you may want to achieve. So we put together this methodology of the three most essential elements to consider before investing in a creative writing course. 

Schedule and Flexibility

The first thing to consider before investing in a creative writing course is the flexibility of your schedule. Consider the duration of each writing course, as some can go for days, weeks, or even months. 

The Complete Creative Writing Course by Udemy is a flexible option, as it allows you to go at your own pace and offers 12 hours of content you can complete in as little as a day or two.

However, some courses aren’t as flexible with timing, such as the Creative Writing Specialization by Coursera and Wesleyan University—which takes one month to complete. 

Make sure you check whether the timing is flexible, or you might need to change your schedule to fit in with your studies. 

Payment Method

Each course offers different prices depending on the duration, topic, and how in-depth the content is. Some writing courses have a subscription-based payment method, while others are one-off payments for lifetime access. 

It’s crucial to look for lifetime access, as you don’t want to invest in a course that will expire, and you lose all access to the materials. The course Understanding Point of View by Reedsy Learning is a free course perfect for beginners or anyone who isn’t sure where to start. 

You can enroll in a free course to learn the ropes of online studying, or you can choose one that offers a one-off payment, as most of the courses on this list. We wouldn’t recommend paying for a subscription unless you are dedicating a few months to learning or are interested in multiple courses from the same company. 

Learning Community 

A learning hub or community page can help you reinforce the learning materials, network, and build on your overall learning experience. Courses like Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing by Masterclass and Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers offer community hubs or lounges for students to interact and connect. 

Although not required, a central hub is essential for building a community and connecting with other writers. It can make your learning experience feel more like a classroom, even when it’s online. 

You might even complete the course with a few fellow writer friends along with the knowledge you obtained from the writing course. 

The Top Creative Writing Courses in Summary 

Overall, the Masterclass and Coursera courses are our top two recommendations for the best creative writing courses on the market today. 

With workbooks, learning hubs, video content, and downloadable resources, you can learn how to become a successful and confident writer using the courses reviewed in this guide.

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9 Best Places to Study Abroad for Creative Writing

by Alayna O'Keefe - Last updated on September 5, 2021

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Are you having writer’s block in your classes, or do you feel like you’re lacking the motivation to propel your writing career? Channel your energy and ideas elsewhere and study creative writing abroad! By changing your scenery, you will surely be inspired and are almost guaranteed to get those creative juices flowing again. But where are the best places to study abroad for creative writing?

study creative writing abroad

You can count on travel to get the creative juices flowing.

The opportunity to study creative writing abroad could take you around the world—and definitely out of your comfort zone. It’ll provide you with new experiences to draw ideas from, and will bring you new perspectives on things. What’s better writing inspo than sipping coffee outside a cafe, writing materials in hand, while people-watching?

Or maybe you prefer sitting at a beach, the smell of saltwater in the air. Or maybe you like being all bundled up with a view of majestic mountains through your window? Whatever your preference, there are a bunch of international creative writing programs to choose from!

Sign up for GoAbroad’s 20 Days of Travel Inspo for your daily dose of wanderlust! 

Why study creative writing abroad.

Now that we have your brilliant writer’s mind at attention, you may be wondering why traveling overseas can be more beneficial than remaining at your home campus. However, this may be obvious; writers need something to write about, and there are few things that can provide more real-world experience and inspiration than travel.

In general, studying creative writing abroad will provide you with incomparable experiences and skills. What’s even better is that you will be able to create your own custom experience and tailor classes to your own interests, all while getting to live in a cool new place!

Getting out of your comfort zone by studying abroad will push you to grow in so many ways. Living in a new place with different ways of life, and a different culture than your own, will force you to learn how to be adaptable and flexible. You will also gain new perspectives on things, and maybe it will inspire you to push your writing in a new, creative direction.

Studying creative writing abroad will provide the experience of a lifetime. So now that you know the why , let’s talk about where to study creative writing.

9 best places to study abroad for creative writing

best places to study abroad for creative writing

French cafes are basically *made* for writers.

  • Why? There are so many reasons to say oui to studying creative writing abroad in France! France offers a wide range of different programs and universities for you to choose from. From a more tactical standpoint, because there are so many options to choose from, you’re bound to find a program that’s perfect for you!
  • A country full of enchanting cities and towns (Paris is the city of love of course!), France is arguably one of the best places to stimulate your mind and your creative writing skills. From your strolls through the romantic city of Paris, to the lavender fields in Provence, rolling hills of wine country Bordeaux, and the relaxing ocean front on the French Riviera, we dare you to not feel inspired to pick up that pen and paper.
  • When? Anytime! Most universities and courses allow you to choose when is best for you: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall terms. Typically Fall and Spring semesters are most popular for semester study abroad trips.
  • Try this program: Study or Earn Your Degree in Aix-en-Provence, France

READ MORE: Why Study Abroad in France?

2. thailand.

  • Why? Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is a beautiful country full of hospitable people, great culture, and beautiful landscapes. Take a leap of faith and travel to Thailand to study abroad, where you’ll experience new foods and amazing scenery. You may even get to learn more about Buddhism and develop a whole new type of lifestyle to instill in your everyday routine.
  • You will definitely find your creative writing inspiration in this tropical paradise. From the rainforests to the beaches, and everything in between, you will have plenty of time to roam and discover new lands in Thailand’s gorgeous outdoors. You’ll also see the world through new perspectives, which means new writing inspiration.
  • When? There are a few programs offered for creative writers, but most are offered in Fall or Spring semesters. Some are also offered on a monthly basis. We recommend going at any time that is best for you!
  • Try this program: Carpe Diem Education: Southeast Asia Semester

3. Argentina

where to study creative writing

Perk up with yerba mate every morning and get to work.

  • Why? Pack your writing utensils and consider heading to Argentina to study abroad for creative writing! Argentina is known for having a combination of European and South American flare, making it a unique place rich in culture. While living abroad in Argentina, you will be able to taste all of the amazing food and experience Argentina’s love for art, all while not breaking the bank!
  • You will be able to pick between programs that are offered at both large and small universities and will have no problem in finding a program that’s right for you. Better yet, Argentina is the best place for writers and book lovers as its capital, Buenos Aires, is known to have more book shops than any other country in the world. Sounds like the perfect place to get your creative writing skills up to par!
  • When? Most universities and programs have year-round availability, so you can’t go wrong.
  • Try this program: IFSA: Future-Focused Study Abroad

4. Australia

  • Why? Boasting (mostly) warm temperatures and sun year-round, Australia is a great place to further your creative writing studies. Australia is also home to a variety of different animal species and varying landscapes (from deserts to beaches). You’ll be rushing to write all about your adventures hanging ten in the ocean, or hanging in the Outback with kangaroos.
  • Australia also welcomes thousands of international students every year where you will be able to meet individuals from all over the world, and further your professional skills and connections! There shouldn’t be much of a language barrier for most, as English is primarily spoken in Australia. As a result, you’ll assimilate to your new day-to-day more easily.
  • When? Most universities offer year-round and semester programs. However, keep in mind that seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Try this program: IES Abroad: University of New South Wales

READ MORE: Why Study Abroad in Australia?

best places to study abroad for creative writing

Clear your mind in the English countryside.

  • Why? England is famous for birthing the careers of a plethora of famous authors across decades. We can’t think of a better place to study abroad for creative writing! But if you need more convincing, we got you. England houses thousands of international students every year and its capital, London, is one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
  • When studying abroad in England, you will be exposed to plenty of historical museums, castles, towns, and monuments where you’ll never be short of a history lesson. From the peaceful and ethereal English countryside, to the bustling and diverse cities, you will be able to find inspiration anywhere.
  • When? With so many quality universities and programs to choose from, you can essentially choose a program and go at any time that works for you! Just don’t forget to pack yourself an umbrella no matter when you go!
  • Try this program: ISA: Study Abroad in London, England
  • Why? There may not be a lot we have to do to convince you to study abroad in Italy—the food, gelato, history, landscapes, people... need we go on ? When studying creative writing abroad in Italy, you will never be short of inspiration and resources to help improve and grow your career.
  • Walking around Italy, no matter where you are, is like being transported back in time in one of your old history books. It’s easy to get lost in the beautiful art, history, and culture that Italy has to offer. As a creative writer in Italy, you will find yourself excited to write and learn from the moment you wake up!
  • When? You will be able to go during an academic year, or during any of the four season terms.
  • Try this program: CEA: Study Abroad in Rome, Italy

7. South Africa

where to study creative writing

If you’re inspired by incredible views, you’re in the right place!

  • Why? In South Africa, you won’t be short of good food, beautiful scenery, and hospitable people. Over the years, students from all around the world have chosen South Africa as their study abroad destination and it has become one of the top places for an international education experience.
  • For a creative writer, South Africa is an attractive study abroad location for many reasons. The wildlife, scenery, food, history, and lifestyle may differ on some levels from how you’re used to living. But, that’s what will make it a pivotal educational experience for you! South Africa is also one of so many different and diverse countries throughout the African continent.
  • When? Weather-wise, South Africa is hot to temperate year-round and there is no wrong time to go. You’ll be able to choose from a full academic year or semester program.
  • Try this program: AIFS: Study Abroad in South Africa Semester or Year
  • Why? In a country where the old mixes with the new, you will be able to draw upon some of Israel’s greatest historical lands and nuances, as well as its new, modern cities and technology. With world-renowned and high-quality educational systems, you will already know before you start your first class that you will be receiving a great education.
  • If you intend on going abroad to study creative writing, Israel has some great programs and schools to choose from. Even though it’s a small country, Israel is a place rich in history , political significance, and one that attracts people of many different backgrounds.
  • When? You can find study abroad programs in Israel during the academic year and all seasons! You can’t go wrong with any time you choose.
  • Try this program: Masa Israel Journey: Study Abroad in Israel

best places to study abroad for creative writing

Earn your degree by day and explore a new city by night.

  • Why? A country known for its rich history, and developments in the arts and mathematics (among many other things), Greece is the perfect place to study abroad where you’ll never get bored! When many think of Greece, their minds go to tall those gorgeous islands. But, there is more to Greece than its idyllic islands.
  • From the ancient ruins scattered around the country, to the mountainous region in the north, and bustling metropolis of Athens, you will find yourself always busy. As a writer, you will love Greece and find inspiration everywhere you go. With some great universities and study abroad programs, your education will be in good hands while studying in Greece.
  • When? Greece offers plenty of programs throughout the year, no matter if you prefer a semester or a whole year.
  • Try this program: College Year in Athens: Study Abroad in Greece Semester/Academic Year

Sign up for a FREE MyGoAbroad account and compare creative writing programs side-by-side!

See the world and enhance your writing skills.

Now that you may have a better understanding of where to study creative writing abroad, it’s time to start planning ! As a writer, nothing enhances and revamps your writing skills more than drawing on new experiences. And what’s better than traveling the world and living among different cultures and people to help inspire you?

No matter where you’ll go, there is a program for you where you will be able to get out of your comfort zone and grow. Although you’ll be abroad for your academics, you will also be learning how to interact with different cultures, you’ll become more adaptable, and you’ll learn so many new things about yourself and the world.

  • Talk to our FREE Online Advisor and get personalized study abroad recommendations
  • Find, compare, and save programs with a free MyGoAbroad account
  • Explore ALL creative writing study abroad programs on
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