7 Great Essay Contests

top-essay-contestsEssay contests are a great way for students to gain cash to use towards college or scholarship money. Nothing can be lost by entering these contests because they don’t have an entry fee. It is simply a matter of time and effort. Students who like to write or who like to read the creative writings of others have a fair shot at these contests. In addition, writing something that isn’t directly for a class at school can add to a student’s ability to perform well on important exams like the SAT and ACT.

1. The Bluefire

Bluefire, part of the Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation offers a $1,000 scholarship annually to students who are judged to be the best in their grade. This contest is for creative writers in grades 6-12. They also offer a cash prize.

2. Online Non-Fiction Contests

Many essay scholarships in the non-fiction genre can be found online. These awards range from about $500 to about $10,000. One really well written essay could potentially pay for an entire year of college! Of course, if there is more money being awarded their will be more students entering the contest. Some of these contests are for students going into a particular field or who have a particular interest but there are plenty to choose from (READ: “Ask a Nerd! ‘Writer’s Block’“).

3. Society of Professional Journalists

This contest asks students to discuss why it’s important to seek and report the news. Winners receive $300-$1,000 and the deadline is in February of 2015. Any student interested in studying journalism or a similar subject would certainly have a shot.

4. National Peace Essay Contest

The United States Institute for Peace offers scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Students who are interested in studying foreign policy are encouraged to think about considering this contest. Some of the winners may even get a chance to go to Washington, D.C. in order to receive their award.

5. Write It- Short Fiction

Students who are passionate about art and writing can utilize their skills from the following fiction writing opportunities. High achieving students can have a chance to earn $1,000 to $10,000 in scholarship money.

6. More Creative Writing and Essay Contests

So many additional creative writing contests can be found online. Some of these offer smaller cash prizes but it is essentially fee money to put towards college. $100 can pay for supplies and $500 can certainly pay for a semester worth of books. Students who work at minimum wage would have to spend at least 10 hours on the job to earn the amount of one of these prizes. That is valuable time that could be spent with friends or studying for a particularly difficult exam.

Writing Competitions

Essay Competitions

7. Poet & Writers

Students with an extra creative flare and a love of poetry should look into Poets & Writers. Some of these contests do have entry fees but many are free to enter. Prizes are around $1000 and most of them include publication in an online magazine or journal. That would look pretty impressive on a resume!

Read: “End of Grading Period Crunch Time

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