Good colleges for writers

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JuRat

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I'm curious of what some good colleges for writers are.
 

charlotte49ers

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I think at the University of Colorado, you can major in Creative Writing.
 

Momento Mori

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What are you looking for specifically, i.e. are you looking for colleges with good undergraduate courses in creative writing or are you looking for colleges with renowned graduate writing courses? Are you looking to specialise in screen writing, poetry, short stories, novels (and if novels, are you looking to work in a particular genre or general literary fiction?)

Where are you looking to study? British universities operate differently to US colleges (and both will operate differently to colleges/universities in other parts of the world).

Are you looking to relocate to a country/state to go to college or would you prefer a university/college that offered on-line tutorials?

MM
 

Phaeal

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For BFA or MFA programs? That I don't know. However, my opinion of a good writer's education follows:

You don't need a degree in writing to write, though it's probably necessary if you want to teach. Pursue instead a degree that will get you a steady day job, one that doesn't sap your creative juices. Meanwhile, teach yourself to write by:

-- Writing, writing, writing, writing.

-- Reading the kinds of books you want to write. Then studying the hell out of those books, as a writer would, not as a critic or scholar would. How does the author create character, setting? How does she write dialogue? How do the pieces of her story come together? Why did she use that word, not another? Why that punctuation? Yes, get that minute.

-- Reading books about the writing craft. Thousands of these are readily available.

-- Writing. Writing. Writing.

-- Finding other writers. Taking a formal course or two might help. Might hurt, too, if you fall into the wrong one, where your type of writing is not the accepted norm. Look for writer's groups. Learn to crit and be critted, with grace.

-- Learning about the publishing world. Start right here at AW. Branch out to the dozens of agent and editor blogs and to the pro publications, like Publishers Weekly.

-- Writing, writing, writing.

-- Submitting FINISHED (polished, well-edited and vetted) stories for publication.

-- Writing.

If you still want to get a BFA or MFA, check out an issue of Poets and Writers. In fact, the Nov/Dec issue features the top 50 MFA programs, looks like. At any time, PW is chock full of ads for such programs. You might also look at this magazine's guide to writing programs, which it advertises on its website:

http://www.pw.org/

That should get you started.
 
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JuRat

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actually looking for undergrad schools. Forgot to mention that, sorry!
 

Jamesaritchie

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Strictly for writing? It isn't so much the college as it is who the college brings in as a writing teacher. Look for colleges that have well-known, well-published professional writers as the primary teachers.
 

johnnysannie

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Strictly for writing? It isn't so much the college as it is who the college brings in as a writing teacher. Look for colleges that have well-known, well-published professional writers as the primary teachers.

I agree.

Also, if you have some skill and talent as a writer, it's not going to matter much where you went to school.

I went to a state university but I was encouraged by one of my professors who liked my work and thought I had promise. His exact words were something like - "You have the talent to become a working, self-supporting writer but whether or not you WILL is up to you."

And it has been.
 

DeleyanLee

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The advice I always got was to major in some subject other than writing that you are interested in and you feel will enrich your life (not necessarily monetarily) and, thus, the breathe and scope of what you choose to write about.

It also depends on what kind of writing you want to do. IIRC, most universities are focused on teaching literary writing. If you're interested in writing genre fiction, the options are slimmer, but expanding. A friend of mine took several genre writing classes in his Chicago college (sorry, don't remember the name, it's been 5 years) for his minor.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
 

Richard White

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Personally, I find that my Bachelors degree in History (emphasis on Medieval/Rennaissance eras) has helped me with my fantasy writing immeasurably.

My military experience is helping out with my Military SF story I'm working on. (It's a lot easier to imagine a hover tank if you've ever ridden around in an M1A1 with the governor removed. 60+ mph in a tank on a tank trail will definitely rock your teeth.)

My criminal justice minor and listening to my brother's stories of being a deputy sherrif and then a Highway Patrolman help out a lot with writing a crime noir story (along with being a huge Humphrey Bogart/James Cagney movie//Sam Spade/Boston Blackie radio show fan).

Everyone's experience is going to be different, but that's how I applied my education and life experiences into my writing.
 

JuRat

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I'm just interested what colleges are famous for producing many writers or where many writers go to.
 

misslissy

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I think if you have the potential in you to be a good writer, any writing program you go to will help nourish your skill. I personally like the school I'm at now, even though it isn't very well known outside of my state, but all the professors know me and they are able to give me personal feedback on my writing and I've found that it really improves my writing a lot.

Also, point two - look for one that has workshops - I feel that my peers reviewing my work has been an invaluable help.
 

Sevvy

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I did my undergrad at the University of Utah, and my teachers there really inspired me to continue on and apply for my MFA. I hear Sarah Lawrence college is pretty good as well, but I don't have any first hand experience of that one.
 

Lady Ice

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I'm just interested what colleges are famous for producing many writers or where many writers go to.

I think you should clarify whether you're looking for a US college or UK.

If you want UK, University of East Anglia's supposed to have a very good Creative Writing course (though they ask for three As)
 

blacbird

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I'm just interested what colleges are famous for producing many writers or where many writers go to.

You probably won't find any more impressive on this score than the U. of Iowa. A quick list of people I know either taught or studied there:

Kurt Vonnegut
John Irving
John Cheever
Angus Wilson
Raymond Carver
Anthony Burgess
Joe Haldeman
Tracy Kidder
Flannery O'Connor
Stanley Elkin
. . . it's a much longer list


Although famed for their M.F.A. program, they have also recently established an undergraduate workshop program as well.

caw
 

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I'd pick U. of Iowa, hands down. Good faculty, good program, good support. You graduate with genuine skills in writing, employable skills, not just the ability to wear a beret and sound bored.
 

AryaT92

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How much does having a book published help you get into top colleges? Could it take you anywhere?
 

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How much does having a book published help you get into top colleges? Could it take you anywhere?

Not a lot; mostly they look at test scores, GPA, letters and your personal statement/essay.

It doesn't hurt mind, but in general, it's like other creative endeavors.
 

MissKris

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How much does having a book published help you get into top colleges? Could it take you anywhere?

Actually, that's the sort of thing that could potentially put you into the college of your choice. Having worked in admissions in a large state university I can tell you that there are any number of prospective students with high GPAs, good test scores and statements that *yawn* follow all the rules of essaying. But when we came across a prospective who had a particular experience - was a parent, spent more than a year in a foreign country for their own reasons not just because they had to go with mom and dad, had started their own company, was a professional level athlete, etc. - we were less likely to worry about GPAs and test scores. You might be surprised at how many "typical well-rounded" students there are, but how few really, truly show an inclination to be great, to take a risk. A student with a book published (by a reputable publisher, mind) would catch our eye.
 

AryaT92

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Not a lot; mostly they look at test scores, GPA, letters and your personal statement/essay.

It doesn't hurt mind, but in general, it's like other creative endeavors.

Have you worked in admissions or are you just stating what you think? Just wondering.

Logically, if athletes can get scholarships to the best colleges regardless of grades / SAT scores I don't see why a published author would have any trouble.. There are tons of student athletes, how many really have books published by reputable publishers?

MissKris: Thanks for the info:)
 

~*Kate*~

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