And, to others, none
It’s difficult — if not impossible — to find an affordable academic program that will benefit you as a writer. But the good news is that you don’t necessarily need formal coursework in the first place. Instead, look for a program, class, seminar, or workshop that suits your goals as a writer.
Of course, the first step is actually figuring out what those goals are. This involves asking yourself what interests you and what you want to learn or improve upon. Is it narrative nonfiction? Essay writing? Research? Crafting short stories? Remember, writing is a huge, wide-open discipline. Find your niche and go from there.
Narrowing down your choices might take a while, but once you have a clear idea of where you see yourself in a few months or years, you’ll be able to work toward meeting your goals. (These goals don’t need to be huge, by the way. They can be as small as studying the elements of short stories or learning to craft a winning pitch. Whatever motivates you is what you should aim for.)
When I wanted to enroll in writing classes, I couldn’t decide which aspects I wanted to concentrate most on. Fiction, especially various genres, appealed to me. However, I also liked nonfiction and script writing. So, I tried to find a program that would focus on all of these types of writing. This was no simple task. There seemed to be more information about some subjects than others. Still, I managed to learn a little about everything I wanted to write in the future.
I think the best thing to do is educate yourself as much as possible. There’s so much to learn, and more ways than ever of learning it. You don’t need to take classes in order to succeed as a writer, but the experience gained in workshops or other courses could very well help you improve your craft. And if we didn’t want to improve, we would’ve stopped writing a long time ago.