CW is a wonderful career but you may need to plan for your apprenticeship period. Graduating with a CW degree is great but because you will need to practice your craft, and everyone needds to practice their craft in order to develop VOICE, you may need 5-10 years more time before you publish well enough to support yourself. In a nutshell, you may want to “plan for your apprenticeship job” – more on that is linked below. I answered at length to other parents and students interested in CW.
VOICE is what subject ignites your passion, and the sound of your writing on the page, the individual voices of your characters, and the genre you write in, all of those things. Gore Vidal said “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.” That’s voice. The only way to get VOICE is to keep writing, every day, for at least an hour. Starting today, strongly suggested. Because the earlier you plant the tree, the sooner it will bear fruit.
To my mind what to look for for CW in a school is whether they offer screenwriting as one of their classes. Screenwriting craft helps novelists while novel-writing craft tends to help screenwriters far less. Screenwriting is all about structure, whereas novel-writing classes as taught in academia tend to be free-form and offer little info about structure. Why? Because most fiction writing in academia is biased towards literary writing. In contrast, most published work and most sold work is genre–children’s, horror, romance, mystery–and all of the sub-genres. Academic programs, with rare exception, ignore genre. I do not know why. Screenwriting will teach you: 1) structure, 2) dialogue and how not to “write on the nose”; 3) genre as virtually all films are in some genre or another; 4) and how to write in images. All of those lessons are vital for CW. But few of those things are taught in other CW classes. So at least pick up a screenwriting course at college or outside of college, someplace. Or do it at home with books and videos.
Don’t trust the lists of “best creative writing programs” as the people compiling the lists have no idea what CW skills are required. CW is an apprenticeship so best to look at the faculty and what they are writing. Do yo love Neil Gaiman? Then go to Bard because he teaches there. That’s the basic idea.
There’s more in the following thread. Also that thread has another link with additional info.
Best of luck to you.