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Student Essay Contests

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Are you a writer? You may be able to win cash, scholarships, trips, and other awards with your essay-writing abilities. There are many contests out there that address a wide variety of topics. Why not enter a competition today?

Contest rules will vary significantly, and some may contain important information about possible restrictions, so be sure to read all individual rules carefully. Please note that most of these competitions require that participants be citizens of the United States.

1. Alliance for Young Artists and Writers: Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

This competition offers young scholars the opportunity to earn national recognition, publication opportunities, and scholarship awards. Students who reside in the U.S. and Canada and attend school grades from 7-12 are eligible to participate in this highly regarded competition.

2. Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Competition

Signet Classics awards $1,000 scholarships to juniors and seniors in the U.S. To enter this competition students must write an essay that answers one of four questions about the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You will need the help of a teacher to enter this competition.

3. AWM Biographies Contest

In order to “increase awareness of women's ongoing contributions to the mathematical sciences,” the Association for Women in Mathematics is holding a contest that requests biographical essays of “contemporary women mathematicians and statisticians in academic, industrial, and government careers.” Submission deadline is in February.

4. Engineer Girl!

The National Academy of Engineering is holding an essay contest for aspiring young engineers. Entrants are required to evaluate one of their own engineering designs in a short essay. The contest is open to individual girls and boys and the submission deadline is March.

5. EPIC New Voices

The goal of this competition is to improve student literacy through traditional modes as well as through new technology. You can win cash or an e-book reader by submitting an original essay or short story. Students from around the world are eligible.

6. NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund: The Second Amendment to the Constitution

The NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund(NRACRDF) is holding an essay competition to encourage students to recognize the Second Amendment as an integral part of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The theme for the essay is “The Second Amendment to the Constitution: Why it is important to our nation.” Students can win up to $1000 in savings bonds.

7. The Impact of New Media on Peacebuilding and Conflict Management

The United States Institute of Peace offers a contest on “confronting crimes against humanity.” Those interested are prompted to discuss “how international actors (the UN, regional organizations, governments, and/or non-governmental organizations) can improve their capacity to implement the responsibility to protect civilians from crimes against humanity during conflict.”

8. Holocaust Remembrance Project

The Holocaust Remembrance Project invites high school students to write an essay to “analyze why it is vital that the remembrance, history and lessons of the Holocaust be passed to new generations; and suggest what you, as students, can do to combat and prevent prejudice, discrimination and violence in our world today.” Students can win scholarship money up to $10,000 and a trip to visit the new Illinois Holocaust Memorial Museum.

9. JASNA Essay Contest

Fans of Jane Austen may be delighted to learn about the contest offered by The Jane Austen Society of North America. The topic of this essay contest is “siblings” and students are encouraged to write about the significance of sibling relationships in novels and in real life.

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