We are always on the lookout for terrific (and new) high school essay contests for our students. There is a section within the Common App where students can list up to 5 awards and 10 activities, don’t leave these blank.
December marks a busy time with finals for high school students, but we urge you to utilize your holiday break to review past papers you’ve written in school (and outside of school), as well as academic areas that are of interest to you. Perhaps an assignment you completed for a fall course could be flipped into a submission for an essay contest, for example. In that spirit…
Our Top 7 High School Essay Contests to Prep Submissions for This Holiday Break
What aligns with your main academic interest? Mathematical theory? Playwriting? Media Studies? Sustainability? Religion and civil rights? We’ve found it for you! These are in order by deadline:
1.) Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Contest (FIRE): Open to high school juniors and seniors, US and international students. Due 12-31-17. Prompt: “Explain in 800-1000 words why free speech is so important to higher education, and why censorship undermines the ideals of liberal education and a free society.”
2.) Association for Women in Mathematics Essay Contest: For female U.S. students in grades 6-12 and college students as well. 500-100 words total. Prompt: “Your essay should be based primarily on an interview with a woman currently working in a mathematical career.” The submission must be in essay form, not just a transcript of your interview. Due 1-31-18.
3.) National Agricultural Day 2018 Essay Contest and Video Contest: Open to U.S. students in grades 9-12. Due 1-31-18. Prompt: “Topics relating to global population growth, agricultural needs, and the influence of technology and biotechnology on food production.”
4.) Society of Professional Journalists 2018 High School Essay Contest: For US students in grades 9-12. 300-50 words total. Due 2-23-18. Topic: “Why do we — as consumers of media — need to obtain news from multiple feeds and not just one or two outlets?” $1,000 prize.
5.) Federal Bar Association’s 1st Ever Civics Essay or Video Contest: Open to students in grades 9-12, US students only. Due 2-28-18. Prompt: “What does equal protection mean to students?”
6.) Princeton University Ten Minute Play Contest: Open to U.S. and international high school juniors. 3 prizes with 1st prize being $500. Must submit a play of up to 10 pages. Due 4-2-18.
7.) Annual Signet Classics Student Essay Contest: U.S. juniors and seniors only. Due 4-14-18. Topic: “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” 5 $1,000 prizes plus an award for your school.
Get writing and best of luck. We can’t wait to hear about your work!
Kaylah PantaleÃ³n, a Dominican-American native of Yonkers, New York has had a passion for writing from an early age. She developed a true love for the written word at the tender age of four, when she began to devotedly write letters to her imprisoned father. As a child of divorce and an incarcerated father, she has used her first-hand experiences to pen rich, authentic award-winning tales. Her writing acknowledgements include the 2006 Sarah Lawrence Fulbright Summer Scholarship for Writing Award; the 2007 Harvard Radcliffe Book Award; the 2007 Latino Caucus Scholarship Award for Best Essay; the 2007 American Association of University Women Writers Award; the 2008 New Yorkâs Most Influential Latina Award; and the most notable being the 2006 Oprahâs National High School Essay Contest Finalist awarded by media titan, Oprah Winfrey. Now a graduate of Emerson College and a resident of Sherman Oaks, California, Kaylah, a budding actress and author, invites readers into her world to share her trials and triumphs since appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah Girl is Kaylahâs debut book.