Current essay contests for high school students

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Essay Contests

Essay Scholarships offer students an opportunity to stand out based on their writing. You are evaluated by how you put your thoughts on paper and not on your GPA or community service. The essay competition represents an opportunity for creative students, those with good ideas and those capable of in depth research to stand out.

Deadlines change, please check the sponsor’s website for specific dates.

Cancer Survivor Scholarship — This program is no longer being offered.
Deadlines varies by state
The American Cancer Society has many local divisions that ask cancer survivors to write essays about their experiences.

AES Engineering Solutions Scholarship
Deadline is in early October
AES Engineering offers scholarships to students to help them pay for their education.
Students will be judged on their essay.

Williams-Mystic Essay Contest in Honor of Joseph Conrad
Deadline is in mid October
Create an essay about the ocean or any major body of water (fiction or nonfiction) using 1000 to 5000 words and submit it for consideration. The essay can be a great story or it can deal with the environment, political activism, history or nature.

Bennington Young Writers Competition
Deadline is in early November
High school students in grades 10 through 12 can submit their writing to the Bennington Young Writers Competition. Over 2000 students have submitted poetry, fiction and nonfiction in past years to be eligible for the $500 first place prize and the $250 second place awards.

Voice of Democracy Audio Essay
Deadline is in early November
Can you write? Do you have strong opinions about certain subjects? The Voice of Democracy Program is an audio essay contest for students in grades 9 through 12. If you are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories you are eligible to participate.

First Freedom Student Competition
Deadline is in mid November
The First Freedom Student Competition is open to 9th to 12th grade high school students. You are required to submit an essay or video commenting on the history and current-day relevance of religious freedom in our country.

Americanism Essay Contest
Deadline is in early December
The Fleet Reserve Association Essay Contest asks 7th through 12th grade students to write an essay up to 350 words on a different topic every year. The best essay will get a prize of a $10,000 U. S. Savings Bond, with $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 Savings Bonds awarded to the first, second and third place winners in each grade category. All regional winners are judged at the national level and receive a certificate of recognition.

Being an American Essay — This program is no longer being offered.
Deadline is in mid December
In 1000 words or less, you need to answer the question: How does the Constitution establish and maintain a culture of liberty?

Foot Locker Scholar Athletes
Deadline is in mid December
The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes program honors high school athletes who engaged in leadership activities in their communities.

To compete you need to answer three essay questions (between 200 and 350 words each) and obtain two non-family recommendations.

George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest
Deadline is in late December
To participate in the George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest you must do research and write an essay that deals with: an event, person, philosophy, or ideal associated with the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution.

Apprentice Ecologist Initiative
Deadline is in late December
An $850 educational scholarship will be awarded annually to the authors of the top Apprentice Ecologist essay in the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative™. This tax-free and merit-based scholarship is available to any full or part-time student (aged 13 to 21) who is a candidate for a degree/diploma at a primary, secondary, or accredited post-secondary educational institution from any country around the world.

Profile in Courage Essay Contest
Deadline is in early January
Students are asked to write a Profile in Courage, an essay of no more than 1,000 words about an act of political courage by a U. S. elected official that occurred during or after 1956, the publication date of Profiles in Courage. The official may have addressed an issue at the local, state, or national level.

GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program
Deadline is in early January
GE has created a scholarship program to award 20 students a year a $10,000 renewal scholarship (the maximum scholarship is $40,000).

Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship Awards
Deadline is in mid January
In order to compete in the Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship Awards, students are asked to write a one-page essay indicating why they are interested in a career in government service. Include in the essay any inspiration to be derived from the leadership of George Washington in his famous crossing of the Delaware.

National MS Society Scholarship Program
Deadline is in mid January
The National MS Society Scholarship Program was established to help highly qualified students who have been diagnosed with MS or who have a parent with MS achieve their dreams of going to college.

American Mensa Educational & Research Foundation Scholarship
Deadline is in mid January
If you’re looking for a college scholarship that is based solely on your ability to write here it is. The American Mensa Education & Research Foundation college scholarship program is based on essays written by you, no grades, academic programs or financial need issues are considered.

Union Plus Scholarship
Deadline is in late January
The Union Plus Scholarship Program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation. To be eligible you must the child of a union member or a union member.

DuPont Challenge Science Essay
Deadline is in late January
The DuPont Challenge© Science Essay Competition encourages students in grades 7 through 12 to express their enthusiasm for science by writing an essay. The essay must be at least 700 words and no more than 1000 words and it must be submitted online.

National Peace Essay Contest
Deadline is in early February
The Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding runs the National Peace Essay Contest. They believe that questions about peace, justice, freedom, and security are vital to civic education. Over 1,100 students submit entries to the essay contest annually.

Optimist International Essay Contest
Deadline: Varies by district
The Optimist International Essay Contest is sponsored by Optimist International. You must enter the contest through your local Optimist Club (each club has their own deadlines, however, all club contest are done by early February).

National Co-op Scholarship Program
Deadline is in mid February
Several colleges that provide cooperative education for their students are participating in the National CO-OP Scholarship . They are offering over 100 scholarships ranging up to $30,000 ($6,000 per year up to 5 years).

AFA Teens College Scholarship
Deadline is in mid February
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), a national nonprofit organization, has established a college scholarship to encourage teens to express their thoughts about Alzheimer’s disease and to engage the younger generation in this cause.

Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship
Deadline is in mid February
The $5,000 Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship is awarded to two high school seniors who have promoted vegetarianism in their schools and/or communities.

Spirit of Anne Frank Awards
Deadline is in early March
The Anne Frank Center is looking for high school seniors that have played a leadership role in their community. The Spirit of Anne Frank Award will go to a student who has exhibited some of the principles and ideals of Anne Frank.

EngineerGirl! Food Engineering Essay
Deadline is in early March
Every year the EngineerGirl Essay Contest asks boys and girls to write an essay about a different subject.
The competition is run by the National Academy of Engineering.

Kaplun Essay Contest
Deadline is in early March
The Kaplun Essay Contest is broken up into two levels. Level 1 is for 7th through 9th graders, they get one essay. Level 2 — Is for 10th through 12th graders, they get another essay.

Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of the Press High School Essay Contest
Deadline is in late February
The Society of Professional Journalists believes that the American people need to understand and be informed about the issues in order to make decisions that impact their lives. Journalists provide this information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely and understandable manner.

Young Naturalist Awards
Deadline is in early March
The Young Naturalist Award is a research-based science competition for students in grades 7-12 to promote participation and communication in science. The student needs to plan and conduct a scientific investigation, one that will include observations, questions, predictions, trips into the field to gather data, and analysis.

DNA Day Essay Contest
Deadline is in mid March
The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) sponsors Annual DNA Day Essay Contest. Students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate. The contest asks students to think about the important concepts of genetics.

Sylvia K. Burack Writing Award Competition — This program is no longer being offered.
Deadline is in mid March
The Sylvia K. Burack Writing Award is a writing contest for juniors and seniors made in memory of Sylvia K. Burack, an editor and publisher of The Writer magazine.

PFLAG National Scholarship Program
Deadline is in mid March
The PFLAG National Scholarship Program is sponsored by Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) a national non-profit organization. In addition to the National Scholarship Program, there are many local programs, see below for more information.

Ayn Rand Institute «Anthem» Essay Contest
Deadline is in mid March
Anthem is a short novel written by Ayn Rand. It takes place in the future when the world has entered a dark age. Written in pre-war (1937) England, it talks about a period of time when the concept of individuality no longer exists and the word «I» has disappeared from the language.

Youth Scholarship Program
Deadline is in late March
The Electronic Security Association maintains the Youth Scholarship Program, which will award scholarships to two children of active-duty police officers and firefighters. The first place winner will receive $7,500 to put toward their college education and the second place winner will receive $2,500. Awards are based on a combination of academic achievement, national test scores, extracurricular participation and an essay titled, “What it means to me to have my parent or guardian involved in securing our community.”

American Foreign Service Association — National High School Essay Contest
Deadline is in mid April
The American Foreign Service Association has an essay competition open to 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders who are required to write an essay of 1000 to 1250 words.

Signet Classics Student Essay Contest
Deadline is in mid April
Read a Signet Classic and write an essay. Each English teacher can only submit one junior and one senior essay. See the Penguin Books Website for more details about how the essays must be submitted. Students must be between the ages of 16-18.

Holocaust Remembrance Project Essay Contest
Deadline is in mid April
The Holocaust Remembrance Project is a writing contest about the Holocaust. Participants should study the holocaust and then, in an essay of no more than 1,200 words: (a) analyze why it is so vital that the remembrance, history and lessons of the Holocaust be passed to a new generation; and (b) suggest what they, as students, can do to combat and prevent prejudice, discrimination and violence in our world today.

Toby Nussbaum Contest Jewish Heritage — Writing Contest
Deadline is in early May
To celebrate Jewish Heritage Week the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York is sponsoring The Toby Nussbaum Jewish Heritage Writing Contest for students in the New York City school system. To enter you must write 250 to 300 words about the current year’s theme.

NPG Essay Scholarship Contest
Deadline is in mid April
Negative Population Growth (NPG) is a national membership organization whose goal is to educate the American public and political leaders about the detrimental effects of overpopulation on our environment, resources and quality of life. One of the ways they do this is with their Annual Scholarship Contest.

Ayn Rand Institute «Fountainhead» Essay Contest
Deadline is in late April
The Fountainhead is a novel written in 1943 by Ayn Rand. It was an early literary success for her. Over 6.5 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide.

It is the story of Howard Roark, is a young architect who acts on principal and works in obscurity rather than changing his artistic and personal vision. His fight is to practice modern architecture as opposed to more traditional work. More information about the essay contest can be found on the Ayn Rand Institute Website. Submitted essays must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words.

Young Native Writers Essay Contest
Deadline is in late April
The Young Native Writers Essay Contest is open to Native American high school students with a relationship with a Native American tribal community.

Skandalaris Family Foundation Scholarship
Deadline is in early May
The Skandalaris Family Foundation is an independent, non-profit foundation that awards scholarships to students characterized by their special talents, leadership skills, unselfish ways, strong values, and commitment to excellence. The majority of their scholarships will be granted to residents of the State of Michigan, but the scholarship is not limited to Michigan residents.

We the Living Essay Contest — This program is no longer being offered.
Deadline is in early May
The essay contest asks high school students in the 10th through 12th grade to write about the book in an essay of 700 to 1500 words.

BP Community Scholarship Program
Deadline is in mid May
The BP Scholarship Program is sponsored by BP employees and dealers in the New York and New Jersey area.

James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program
Deadline is in mid May
Whether you’re interested in baking, pastry, culinary arts or some other aspect of food or hospitality management, the James Beard Foundation School Scholarships may be for you. Fourteen US and international schools are participating in this culinary scholarship and each program is somewhat different in both the amount of tuition waiver and what programs of study are eligible.

JASNA Essay Contest
Deadline is in mid May
The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) Essay Contest celebrates the life and work of the author. Students at the high school, college and even graduate level are encouraged to enter. This essay contest is open to students worldwide.

Dream Deferred Essay Contest
Deadline is in late May
The Dream Deferred Essay Contest was inspired by a 1951 Langston Hughes poem, What happens to a dream deferred? Just as the Langston Hughes poem helped inspire the civil rights movement, the contest sponsors feel that essay contest will also be regarded as an opportunity for American and Middle Eastern youth to unite over the issue of advancing civil liberties in the Middle East.

Samsung Techwin America Scholarship — This program is no longer being offered.
Deadline is in mid May
The Samsung Techwin America Scholarship is for high school students. To enter applicants must submit a 300 word essay on: How will technology enable the collaboration process in the future?

Big Dig Scholarship — This program is no longer being offered.
Deadline is in early June
Make your grandchildren rich, at least in theory. This essay scholarship asks you imagine that you could bury something in your backyard that would make your heirs wealthy.

Automotive Hall of Fame Scholarship
Deadline is in late June
The Automotive Hall of Fame Scholarship is for high school seniors and college students with an interest in the automotive field and financial need. In addition to the eligibility requirements listed below, you need to write an essay describing your career goals and objectives for the next five years.

Super High School Scholarships

These awards would certainly start off your college career with a bang!

High school is filled with some of life’s greatest moments, but also can be very stressful.

You get to attend prom but, then again, there are college applications. Graduation is near but, unfortunately, you also had to take your SATs and ACTs.

Wouldn’t a scholarship to help pay for your college career help dim the not-so-savory memories? We think so. At the very least, it would start college off with a bang!

The following awards fall under this category, rewarding high school students, like you, for a job well job, sending you off to college without a care in the world.

Apply for these and many more on Fastweb today!

Note: To help you better organize your scholarship search, please note that the following awards for high school students are listed according to deadline, with the earliest deadline appearing at the top of the page. Deadlines that vary will appear at the bottom of the list.

Student Transportation Video Contest

Deadline: 8/31/18
Available to: High School Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: 4 Awards of $500

The Student Transportation Video Contest is open to all students. To enter, you must submit a two — to four-minute video that examines transportation impacts, trends or safety in the United States.

Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship

Deadline: 9/30/18
Available to: High School Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: 4 Awards of $1,000

The Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship is available to high school, undergraduate or graduate students. You must be U. S. citizen or legal resident and complete a short statement on why you pledge not to text and drive in order to qualify for this award.

O Captain, My Captain Scholarship Slam

Deadline: 10/25/18
Available to: Ages 13-25
Award Amount: $1,000

You’ve definitely had a mentor — someone or something that has affected your personal development. Mentors aren’t just limited to people — there are abstract concepts and ideas that shape you every day. Now we’re giving you the chance to say thank you and let this person or thing know how much they’ve impacted your life. Who or what has had the greatest influence/impact on your life? We can learn from anything, anywhere at any time. People, objects, and experiences — like coaches, parents, close friends, comics, movies, or favorite books — can seriously impact us. But so can concepts and ideas like love, fear, acceptance, depression, anger, and guilt. A mentor can also be something that you’re passionate about, that’s taught you more about yourself and/or the world around you. What does your mentor mean to you? How have these people or topics shaped you into the person you are today? Write a poem thanking the greatest influencer in your life for your chance to win.

MyProjectorLamps. com Scholarship

Deadline: 10/31/18
Available to: High School Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: 2 Awards of $500

The MyProjectorLamps. com Scholarship is available to students currently attending an accredited a high school, college or university. You must be a minimum 14 years of age, minimum GPA of 3.0, follow or ‘LIKE’ the MyProjectorLamps Facebook page and create a one page essay detailing your ideas about the use of multimedia and data visualization in K-12 classrooms to be eligible for this award.

Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship

Deadline: 2/28/19
Available to: High School Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship is available to high school seniors. To be considered, you must submit a 500 – to 1000 – word essay describing the impact you have made in the life of a rescue animal or animal welfare cause in general. You must also submit two to three photos of your volunteer efforts

Blades of Grass Green Scholarship Fund

Deadline: 3/15/19
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,000

The Blades of Green Scholarship Fund is open to undergraduate and graduate students. You must be pursuing education in environmental studies or related fields and submit a 350 to 500 word letter of intent describing your career path, passion for your intended field and what inspired your pursuit of your field in order to be considered for this award.

American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest

Deadline: Varies
Amount: $18,000
Ages: High School Freshmen through High School Seniors

The National High School Oratorical Contest is open to junior high and high school students who are under the age of 20 and citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States.

You must prepare an oration on some aspect of the U. S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government.

A complete list of topics are available on the Legion’s Web site. Each individual state winner certified into and participating in the first round of the national contest receives an additional $1,500 scholarship.

Prom Pics Contest

Deadline: Varies
Available to: High School Juniors through High School Seniors
Award Amount: $250

The Prom Pics Contest is open to high school students. To be eligible, you must submit a high resolution photo from your prom event. Prizes will be awarded in each of the following categories: promposal, pre-prom, prom dance, and post-prom.

Get more information on the Prom Pics Contest.

Optimist International Oratorical Contest

Deadline: Varies
Available To: Maximum Age 18 Years
Award Amount: $2,500

The Optimist International Oratorical Contest is open to students under the age of 19.

To be considered for this award, you must prepare a 4 to 5 minute speech on the topic, “How My Passions Impact the World” to be presented at your local Optimist Club’s contest.

Dizzy Feet Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: Varies
Amount: $10,000
Ages: Ages 15 and Older

The Dizzy Feet Foundation Scholarship is open to students who are at least 15 years of age who are studying at an accredited dance school, studio, university or other institution.

You must be a U. S. citizen and demonstrate talent, technical skill and dance expression to be considered for this award.

You must be nominated by your school in order to qualify for this award.

Fastweb Invite a Friend Sweepstakes

Deadline: Last day of every month; refreshes monthly
Available to: All Fastweb members (minimum age 13 years)
Award Amount: $500

The Fastweb Invite a Friend Sweepstakes is open to registered Fastweb members who are legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and who are at least thirteen (13) years of age.

You must log into your Fastweb account to obtain your personal referral link.

For each person who registers for Fastweb via your personal referral link during the Promotion Period, you and your referral will entered as a pair into the monthly drawing. Get more information on the Fastweb Invite a Friend Sweepstakes.

Need Money to Pay for College?

Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants, and internships, for which they actually qualify. You’ll find high value scholarships like VIP Voice’s $5,000 Scholarship, and easy to enter scholarships like Niche $2,000 No Essay Scholarship, and internships with companies like Apple, Google, Dreamworks, and even NASA!

Student Essay Contest

Showcase your ideas on public policy and the role of markets by entering our essay competition. $9,000 in cash prizes will be awarded with $3,000 of this is designated just for high school students! Winning essays may be published in Fraser Institute journals and authors will have the opportunity to experience the peer review process.

Categories and Prizes:

2018 Essay ContestIncreasing the Minimum Wage: Good Intentions, Bad Policy?

The idea of raising the minimum wage in Canada and in some jurisdictions in the United States is a contentious topic. Proponents of a higher minimum wage tout that such increase will be an effective tool for helping those in poverty. But a recent study by the Fraser Institute found that 88% of minimum wage earners in Canada do not actually live in low-income households. In fact, nearly 60% of these earners are young adults aged 15-24, most of whom are living with their parents or other relatives. Additionally, research has found that about 70% of the benefits from a higher wage go to non-poor households in Canada.

Beyond the misperception that the majority of the benefits from an increase in the minimum wage would go to low-income earners and the most vulnerable, raising the minimum wage has been shown to lead to reductions in employment, particularly for young people and immigrants.

Things to consider:

  • Should provincial governments increase the minimum wage?
  • What impact would such an increase have on the Canadian economy?
  • Is raising the minimum wage an effective way to provide assistance to vulnerable Canadians?
  • Is there an alternative to raising the minimum wage that targets low-income earners more precisely?

2018 Essay Contest Winners