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Scholarship Poetry Contests

There are many scholarships available to those enjoy poetry, and depending on your writing style, there may be specific awards out there based on the kind of poems you like to write. Some of the awards will ask you to provide a sample of your craft, while others will only ask that you show that you have an interest in poetry or creative writing in general. Some will require that you write essays based on your love of poetry, or to critique poetry samples from a known poet. Be aware that some poetry contests will ask you to pay a fee to participate in the competition. More importantly, take advantage of your creative talents and share them with the world, or at least your financial aid administrator, because they could help you land some funding for college.

If you’re going to a college for creative writing, your intended school could have scholarships and award endowments set up by alumni from that school that had pursued writing in the past. Michigan State University, for example, has the Ambrose D. Pattullo Endowed Scholarship for English undergraduate and graduate majors interested in poetry who want to work in the study, writing, and teaching of poetry. You won’t need to write a poem to land the award, but you will be asked to submit a writing sample of a critical essay on a poem or poetry. Make sure your school knows of your interests, because you find that you’re eligible for awards you never even knew existed.

The following are examples of poetry scholarships that you may eligible for. Don't forget to conduct a free scholarship search to find awards based on these and other criteria. If you’re a good poet, you’re probably also a good writer. As many scholarships are essay-based, don’t rule out general writing scholarships as an additional way to fund your college education.

Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships
Application Deadlines: April 30, Annually
Five Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships in the amount of $15,000 will be awarded to young poets through a national competition sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry. Established in 1989 by the Indianapolis philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the fellowships are intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and at least 21 years of age but [...] More

The Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry
Application Deadlines: September 18, Annually
The Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry is offered once annually to a poet starting the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program during the winter residency/spring semester. Fellowship recipients will receive a $1,000 award toward their first semester’s tuition.

Fellowships are awarded based on the quality of the applicant’s writing sample; see general application guidelines on our [...] More

Last Edited: February 2016

Scholarships by Type

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