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Writing Competitions For High School Students


Do you want to join a high school essay competition? But you’re struggling to find the right one for you? This list of 20 high school essay competitions is a wonderful way to boost your academic confidence.  

Essays exercise your communication and critical thinking skills, and a student’s essay reveals much about their confidence, brain power, social skills, and commitment. There’s a reason why universities require personal statements.

Suppose you want to sharpen your writing skills to outstanding university levels and get a chance to win academic scholarships to renowned institutions, cash prizes and recognition. Then, you need to join high school essay competitions!

Not convinced yet? Here are more reasons why entering (and potentially winning) essay competitions will make your university application more attractive. Universities will see that:

  • You learned more about your chosen subject beyond what your teachers taught you in your high school curriculum.
  • You’re committed and proactive because you went the extra mile.
  • Since you have had to juggle researching and writing for this essay with your other academic and extracurricular commitments, you have superb time management skills.
  • Research and writing are your strengths.
  • You have the confidence to try even if you’re not sure you’ll win!

Afraid you won’t win the competition? Don’t worry! 

Even just entering the competition signals all the good qualities just mentioned. Remember, the effort of applying itself shows how proactive and confident you are. So including your essay writing competition experience in your personal statement and talking about it in your interviews will make you stand out. Your teachers can also write about it on your college application essay or, if you’re going to a UK university, in your UCAS reference. 

Now that you know why you should join high school essay competitions, check out the Top 20 Essay Competitions for high school students. 

1. Immerse Education Essay Competition

In 2012, Immerse Education was founded to provide 13-18-year-old students exceptional educational experiences at the University of Oxford, Cambridge University, University of Sydney, and University College London.

What does “exceptional educational experiences” mean exactly? It means you’ll have the opportunity to learn from world-leading Oxbridge, Cambridge, and Ivy League Tutors. Are you planning to take Architecture at the university? Then taking the Architecture Residential Programme or Online Insights course at Immerse Education will introduce you to topics such as Foundations of Architecture and Architectural Styles through Time. You’ll then present your work on Theoretical Design.

Not only will you have the much-needed exposure to understand university-level architecture, but you’ll also gain like-minded friends for life.

You can choose from over 20 subjects. From architecture and engineering to medicine and law!

Participating in Immerse Education courses will give you a tremendous advantage over your competition. Listing Immerse in your personal essay application will instantly make you stand out. Not to mention the high-level academic writing skills you will have developed at this point.

Now that you know what Immerse is about, why should you apply for the Immerse Education essay competition? 

Because winning will give you a 100% scholarship! 

Over 10 winners will be chosen to receive such a fantastic prize. Runners-up will receive partial scholarships up to 70%.

Who are eligible to join? 13-18-year-old students of all nationalities! You’ve got nothing to lose and lots to gain from joining this essay competition. So don’t let the opportunity pass you by!

Website: https://www.immerse.education/essay-competition/ 

Open For Entries: March 16, 2022

Essay Competition Deadline: August 31, 2022

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount: 10x 100% scholarships and up to 70% scholarships for runner ups

2. Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Essay Competition

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers has been supporting the future of creativity for 99 years through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. So what is the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers? It’s a nonprofit organisation aiming to present the creative work of exceptional young talents. In doing so, they give talented students in grades 7-12 opportunities to earn scholarships, exhibitions, and publications.

They have various scholarship awards to offer. For instance, National Medalists are entitled to scholarships amounting to $10,000. For those who wish to explore personal grief and loss through writing, six students can win the National New York Life Award and receive $1,000 scholarships. Then there is the Civic Expression Award offering $1,000 scholarships to six winners whose works spread awareness on social or political issues. 

What about the Exhibitions? Writings from each year’s National Medalists will be displayed in several institutions. Including the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Arnot Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. 

Winners also enjoy being featured in several publications, such as Best Teen Writing, Healing Through Creativity, and the yearbook. 

Who are the eligible high school students? Those who live in the US and Canada. Public, private, and home-schooled high schoolers are qualified. How about international students? Those who attend American schools in other countries are also allowed to join. You may want to know that the qualifications may differ per region. So it’s best to check in with your specific address. 

What are the categories for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Essay Competition? The categories include humour, dramatic scripts, flash fiction, novel writing, and poetry.

Website: https://www.artandwriting.org/

Scope: US and Canada

Open For Entries: September

Essay Competition Deadline: Deadlines vary between December and January, depending on your region

Entry Fee: $7 per individual entry and $25 per portfolio.

Award Amount:  $1,000 to $10,000 scholarships

3. National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Essay Competition

What is the purpose of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Essay Competition? To inspire high school juniors to express themselves through writing. As well as to openly recognise the best student writing. 

How can students join the NCTE essay competition? Via nomination by English Teachers in Canada, the United States, the Virgin Islands, and American Schools abroad. Chosen participants will have to submit two types of essays: best writing and themed writing. 

The NCTE shows the themed writing prompts on their website to encourage discussions among teachers and students. The contestants can write their theme write-up in any genre, such as Science & Technical, History, and Social Studies. Any writing format is also acceptable. Think personal essay, scientific report, news article, graphic novel, and more. All entries are submitted electronically in a PDF format. 

Your writing needs to reflect independent thinking to increase your chances of winning. Respond to the prompt with a sense of purpose and completeness. Ensure each sentence builds upon the other to cumulate in a thought-provoking piece. 

Website: https://ncte.org/awards/achievement-awards-in-writing/ 

Scope: US, Canada, Virgin Islands, American Schools abroad

Open For Entries: Until November 15

Essay Competition Deadline: February 15

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  None. Instead, the winner will receive the Superior Writing certificate. All nominated contestants will receive a Recognition certificate. 

4. The Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose Essay Competition

High school students worldwide are eligible to compete in The Adroit Prizes. The two genres you can write in are Poetry and Prose. Do you want to submit your writing in prose? You can give up to 3 writings at a time, with a 9,000 word limit across the pieces. For poetry, you can submit 6 at a time, with no word count limit. 

Winning entries will be featured in the Adroit Journal. And their authors will receive a cash prize of $200. So what is the Adroit Journal all about? Founded by poet Peter LaBerge in November 2010, it strives to showcase the future of prose, poetry, and art. 

The Adroit Journal has been featured in notable publications such as The Paris Review, New York Times, Teen Vogue, and Best American Poetry. Do you know it has been the #1 Poetry Market for the past two years? It has had the Most Submission Responses Reported within that period. 

It has heralded brilliant voices through the years, including Rita Dove, Ned Vizzini, Ocean Vuong, and Terrance Hayes. Yours could be next!

Website: https://theadroitjournal.org/adroit-prizes/ 

Scope: Worldwide

Open For Entries: Yet to be announced (must subscribe to the email list to stay updated)

Essay Competition Deadline: Yet to be announced (must subscribe to the email list to keep updated)

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount: $200

5. National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) Creative Writing Scholarship Essay Competition

One of the co-founders of National Society of High School Scholars came from the family who instituted the Nobel Prizes. His name? Claes Nobel. Together with James Lewis, Claes established the NSHSS in 2022. To honour academic excellence in top-calibre high school students. 

How? By providing them with the network and resources they need to become the leaders of tomorrow. Of course, that means helping them succeed in college and in their future careers. What are these resources, you ask? College fairs, scholarships, partner discounts, career opportunities and more. NSHSS has a vast network. Connecting promising students with valuable partnerships is key to their future. 

A great example of NSHSS’ initiative is the ​​NSHSS Creative Writing Scholarship. Aspiring high school students who are set to graduate between 2022-2025 are eligible to join. They can submit entries in two categories: Poetry and Fiction. 

If you want to try out Poetry, you’re free to write it according to your personal preference. Whether it be formal verse, free verse, or experimental. Please format it according to how you want it to appear in the publication.

Want to submit Fiction instead? Great! The word limit is 5,000 words in any genre and not single-spaced. You can pass submissions for both entries if you like. Just limit to one per category. If you win, you get $2,000 scholarships, and your work will be published on the NSHSS website!

Website: https://www.nshss.org/scholarships/s/nshss-creative-writing-scholarship/

Scope: Worldwide 

Open For Entries: May 13, 2022

Essay Competition Deadline: October 31, 2022

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount: $2,000 

6. Young Writers Awards Essay Competition

Bennington College created the Young Writers Awards to celebrate its outstanding literary legacy. It raised 3 U.S. poet laureates, 12 Pulitzer Prize winners, and countless New York Times bestsellers throughout its teaching. 

What better way to continue the legacy than by promoting writing excellence at the high school level? Bennington encourages 9th-12th grade students (US and International) to submit their best work in one of the three categories. Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. 

If you choose to go for Poetry, you’ll need to provide a group of three poems. Going for Fiction instead? You can submit a short story not longer than 1,500 words. A one-act play that runs less than 30 minutes is also welcome. But what if you prefer to write Nonfiction? Awesome! Give an academic or personal essay amounting to 1,500 words or less. 

Bennington will choose 3 winners in each category to fill the positions of first, second, and third place. First-place winners garner a prize of $1,000. For second-place winners? $500. While third-place winners secure $250. 

That’s not all. Should finalists and winners study at Bennington, they’ll have the pleasure of undergraduate scholarship assistance! Finalists gain a $10,000 scholarship yearly, for a total of $40,000 for 4 years of study. What about the winners? They’ll gain a yearly $15,000 scholarship for four years. Adding up to $60,000. 

Website: https://www.bennington.edu/events/young-writers-awards 

Scope: US and International

Open For Entries: September 1

Essay Competition Deadline: November 1

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  $1,000 for First-place winners, $500 for second-place winners, $250 for third-place winners; Plus $40,000 worth of scholarships at Bennington for finalists and $60,000 for winners

7. Young Arts Essay Competition

Pursuing arts can be a long, difficult road for young artists without financial and social support. That’s what YoungArts aim to relieve. It’s one of the few US organisations that support artists in all 10 disciplines, including dance, classical music, theatre, and writing. 

Who are eligible to apply? US citizens, permanent residents, or green card holders in high school grades 10-12. Six genres are open to aspiring young writers: Creative Nonfiction, Novel, Poetry, Play or Script, Short Story, and Spoken Word. If you make it to the Finals, you’ll be invited to the National YoungArts Week. Here you’ll meet with the judges and compete with fellow finalists. 

What are the perks of winning in YoungArts? For starters, award winners can receive cash prizes anywhere from $100 to $10,000. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Because once you win YoungArts, they’ll take you under their wing and help you navigate and succeed in your career as an artist. You’ll be part of a robust community of distinguished artists. With mentors who will give you the guidance you’ll need to excel in your field. 

Plus, you’ll have a lifetime of creative opportunities and professional support at every stage of your artistic development. And do you know that you’ll have the chance of getting nominated for the US Presidential Scholar in the Arts? It’s one of the highest honours any high school student can achieve. Exemplifying what it means to be academically and artistically excellent. 

Website: https://youngarts.org 

Scope: US

Open For Entries: June 7, 2022

Essay Competition Deadline: October 14, 2022

Entry Fee: $35

Award Amount: $100 to $10,000

8. Ocean Awareness Essay Competition

Linda Cabot launched Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs in 2011. It’s a nonprofit organisation established in Massachusetts, USA. Do you know where the name “Bow Seat” came from? It’s from a documentary entitled From the Bow Seat that Linda and her daughters filmed. 

The documentary discusses the environmental issues wrecking the Gulf of Maine. It was in this undertaking that Linda discovered the undeniable power of art. How it can move hearts in a way that textbooks and lectures by themselves could not. And so, Bow Seat hopes to inspire the younger generation to use their artistic talent in calling attention and awareness to care for the world’s oceans. 

Who are qualified to join this international contest? Middle and high school students who are 11-18 years old. You can submit pieces in Creative Writing or Poetry. 

For Creative Writing, you can submit both fiction and nonfiction. Short stories are perfect for fiction. For nonfiction? You can write blog posts, journal articles, or personal narratives. 

Do you want to try out Poetry? Spoken word, free, or formal verse are all accepted. Your writing should reflect the theme for the given year (since they change it yearly.) 

Winners receive cash prizes ranging from $100-$1,500 depending on your division (junior or senior) and position (gold, silver, bronze, pearl, or honourable mention).

Website: https://bowseat.org/programs/ocean-awareness-contest/contest-overview/ 

Scope: US

Open For Entries: September 2022

Essay Competition Deadline: June 2023

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount: $100-$1,500

For The Junior Division

  • Gold Award – $1,000
  • Silver Award – $750
  • Bronze Award – $250
  • Pearl Award – $150
  • Honourable Mention – $100

For The Senior Division

  • Gold Award – $1,500
  • Silver Award – $1,000
  • Bronze Award – $500
  • Pearl Award – $300
  • Honourable Mention – $250

9. Ayn Rand Essay Competition

The Ayn Rand Essay Competition increases awareness of Ayn Rand’s philosophy and novels. She has over 37 million books sold; among her most notable works are Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged

Her death in 1982 only increased her presence. You can see her in a US postage stamp, university courses, and an Oscar-nominated documentary. What keeps her voice prevalent? Her philosophy. 

You see, Ayn Rand believes that philosophy is what drives men to shape their individual lives and, ultimately, human history. She calls her particular brand of philosophy “Objectivism.” Or less formally, “a philosophy for living on earth.”

Two categories for the global Essay Competition are available for high school students: Anthem and The Fountainhead. In addition, contestants must discuss specific essay topics in their 600-1,200 word essays. It changes each year, and you can check what they are when the competition begins. 

Cash prizes are available for 5 positions: 1st place (1 winner), 2nd place (3 winners), 3rd place (5 winners), finalist (25 winners), and semi-finalist (50 winners.) 

Who can join the Anthem category? 8th-12th graders. What are the cash prizes for the winners? It ranges from $25 to $2,000. 

What about The Fountainhead? For this category, 11-12th graders can join. The cash prizes for winners range from $25 to $5,000. 

How do the judges choose the winning essays? Depending on how well the student justifies their point of view regarding Anthem’s/The Fountainhead’s philosophy. It doesn’t matter whether the Institute agrees with it or not. What’s essential is how clear, logical, and persuasive the writing is. 

Website: https://aynrand.org/students/essay-contests/#tab-3-anthem-overview 

Scope: Worldwide

Open For Entries: Yet to be announced

Essay Competition Deadline: Yet to be announced

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  $25 – $5,000


  • 1st Place – $2,000
  • 2nd Place – $500
  • 3rd Place – $100
  • Finalist – $50
  • Semi-Finalist – $25

The Fountainhead

  • 1st Place – $5,000
  • 2nd Place – $1,250
  • 3rd Place – $250
  • Finalist – $100
  • Semi-Finalist -$25

10. River of Words® (ROW) Essay Competition

Saint Mary’s College of California’s Center for Environmental Literacy organised the international River of Words® contest. For what purpose? To inspire students to express their environmental observation through art. ROW has been encouraging students and teachers alike to savour watersheds. 

“Wait, what? Watersheds?” You may ask in wonder. Yes! The theme of the River of Words contest is all about watersheds. What are watersheds, and why are they so important?

A watershed is a land area that receives water via precipitation (rainfall and snowmelt.) The water then drains into the same body of water. Hence, every living and nonliving thing you see is part of your watershed! 

It’s vital to care for watersheds because wherever it is located, the water eventually drains somewhere. And they all create an interconnected system where each affects the other. So a problem in one watershed can have a massive effect on another! Do you want to care for the environment? Start with your own watershed. 

Who are qualified to join the ROW contest? Students who aren’t in college yet. Basically 5-19-year-old children. Raise the banner, high schoolers! 

What types of writing does ROW accept? Poetry not longer than 32 lines. There are several recognitions given to worthy poems. There’s the Monkey’s Raincoat Prize for outstanding haiku poems. And the One Square Block prize for poems that discusses the interaction between the natural world and manmade creations. 

All winning entries will be showcased in the River of Words anthology.

Website: https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/center-for-environmental-literacy/river-of-words 

Scope: US

Open For Entries: Yet to be announced

Essay Competition Deadline: December 1 (except Georgia and Arizona)

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  None

11. American Foreign Services Association (AFSA) Essay Competition

The American Foreign Services Association (AFSA) is the sole representative of the US Foreign Service, established in 1924. It serves to protect the well-being and interests of AFSA members. One of the ways to achieve this is to increase awareness among the American populace about AFSA’s vital role in supporting American leadership worldwide.

And so, it established the yearly High School Essay Contest. To help the younger generation become more acquainted with AFSA and its mission for America.

Who are eligible to participate? Students in grades 9-12 in any of the 50 states, US territories, the District of Columbia, and US citizens studying abroad. The winner will receive $2,500 and a scholarship to participate in Semester at Sea. Plus, an all-expense paid trip to Washington DC from anywhere in the US. For the winner and their parents.

The runner-up will get $1,250 and a scholarship for the National Student Leadership Conference’s International Diplomacy Program.

Here’s a glimpse of what the essay looks like. It has to be between 1,000 to 1,250 words. Each year, the AFSA hands out prompts in three questions about national security and US foreign policy.

Website: https://afsa.org/rules-and-guidelines  

Scope: US

Open For Entries: September 2022

Essay Competition Deadline: April (Usually)

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  $2,500

12. John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Contest Essay Competition

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Contest is an initiative of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The library and museum pay tribute to John Kennedy by keeping his memory alive. Scholars and students go here when they need to research the service and political life of the late president. In touring the place, you’ll witness his life, leadership and legacy through historical materials. 

The contest inspires the younger generation to get to know more about the political figures who demonstrated acts of courage and service. Who can join the essay competition? United States high school students grades 9-12.

The theme for the essay is political courage. Choose an elected official who served when John F. Kennedy was born (1917) or after. What service did they do to merit the honour of being described as “courageous?”

Talk about the issue they faced, whether it be of local, state, or national significance, in a 700-1,000 word essay. The winners will receive cash prizes ranging from $100 to $10,000.

Website: https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/education/profile-in-courage-essay-contest/eligibility-and-requirements 

Scope: US

Open For Entries: September 1, 2022

Essay Competition Deadline: January 13, 2023

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  First-place: $10,000 , Second-place: $3,000 , 5 Finalists: $1,000 each, 8 Semi-finalists: $100 each

13. Lewis Center for the Arts Essay Competition

Princeton University offers several programs in the Arts, such as Creative Writing, Visual Arts, and Theater, through its Lewis Center for the Arts. It’s an initiative to expand creative opportunities at Princeton.

Why is it named “Lewis,” you asked? To honour Mr Lewis, who donated an extraordinary $101 million gift to herald in a new age of the arts. What better way to cultivate participation and enrichment for the arts than by sponsoring scholarships and contests?

One such contest is the writing competition. Princeton hosts two contests for 11th-grade high school students: Ten-Minute Play and Poetry. For the Ten-Minute play, participants can only submit one entry with a maximum of 10 pages. That is, one page is equal to 1 minute.

Website: https://arts.princeton.edu/about/opportunities/high-school-contests/ 

Scope: US and International 

Open For Entries: Yet to be announced

Essay Competition Deadline: Yet to be announced

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  $500 for First-place, $250 for Second-place, and $100 for Third-place

14. SPJ/JEA (Journalism Education Association) High School Essay Competition

The Journalism Education Association (JEA) is a nonprofit, scholastic journalism organisation. It serves to educate teachers and advisers on how best to educate students. To achieve this goal, they organise workshops and provide online resources.

One of the excellent ways to promote journalism is by conducting High School Essay competitions. It’s open to US 9th-12th graders.

Each year, JEA gives a writing prompt. The spring 2022 topic revolves around using social media for free speech within ethical bounds. The word limit for the essay is between 300 and 500 words.

What are the prizes for the winners? Scholarships ranging from $300 to $1,000 – funded by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. 

Website: http://jea.org/wp/home/awards-honors/high-school-essay-contest/ 

Scope: US

Open For Entries: Yet to be announced

Essay Competition Deadline: Yet to be announced

Entry Fee: $5

Award Amount: $1,000 scholarship for First-place, $500 scholarship for Second-place, and $300 for Third-place

15. Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) Essay Competition

What is the Jane Austen Society of North America? It’s a non-profit organisation dedicated to garnering as many readers as possible who will appreciate and study Jane Austen’s works and her life. Joan Austen-Leigh, Henry G. Burke, and J. David Grey founded JASNA in 1979. It has grown to become the largest society dedicated to Jane Austen, with over 5,000 members.

JASNA believes that literature is powerful in changing and enriching lives. Especially the writings of great authors, such as Jane Austen herself. To cultivate the new generations’ study and appreciation of Jane Austen’s works, JASNA arranges a Student Essay Contest every year.

Who are qualified to join? High school students from anywhere in the world! College and Graduate students are also invited.

What rewards will the winners enjoy? Scholarships ranging from $250-$1,000. The winners will also receive Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen’s novels. Plus, one-year JASNA memberships.

Will the winning essays enjoy exposure on the JASNA website? Yes!

Website: https://jasna.org/programs/essay-contest/ 

Scope: Worldwide

Open For Entries: February 2023

Essay Competition Deadline: date

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  $1,000 scholarship for First-place, $500 scholarship for Second-place, and $250 scholarship for Third-place

16. World Historian Student Essay Competition

The primary mission of the World History Association (WHA) is to promote world history. How? By encouraging its publication, research, and teaching. And so, the association engages with teachers, students, and scholars of world history all over the globe. Keeping the conversation and enthusiasm for world history alive. 

To further encourage appreciation of world history, it carries out the World Historian Student Essay Competition. What is it? It’s an international writing competition open to grades K-12 students (take home the bacon high schoolers!) The issue you need to address in the essay is: “In what way has the study of world history affected my understanding of the world in which I live?”

What will the winner receive? $500! Plus a 1-year WHA membership. 

Website: https://www.thewha.org/awards/student-essay-competition/ 

Scope: International 

Open For Entries: Before May 1

Essay Competition Deadline: May 1

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount: $500

17. Nancy Thorp Essay Competition

For young sophomore and junior women in high school or preparatory school, the Nancy Thorp Essay Competition is created just for you by Hollins University. Nancy Thorp has been providing prizes, scholarships, and recognition to the best women poets for almost 60 years.

Who is Nancy Thorp? She was a young poet and a part of the 1960 Hollins class. Her family instituted the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest after her death in 1962. To motivate and recognise promising young poets.

What will the winners receive? The first-place winner will receive a $350 cash prize and a renewable $5,000 scholarship at Hollins University if they choose to enrol. For the second-place winner? A renewable $1,000 scholarship at Hollins University.

Website: https://www.hollins.edu/academics/majors-minors/english-creative-writing-major/nancy-thorp-poetry-contest/ 

Scope: US

Open For Entries: Yet to be announced

Essay Competition Deadline: Yet to be announced

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  First-place: $350 cash prize and renewable $5,000 scholarship at Hollins University; Second Place: renewable $1,000 scholarship at Hollins University

18. We The Students Essay Competition

We The Students Scholarship Essay Contest is run by the Bill of Rights Institute (BRI.) Do you know that the BRI is a massive network of over 50,000 civics and history educators? It’s a nonprofit organisation focused on educating civics, teachers, and students on how to live the ideals of a just and free society.

How does it achieve its mission? By developing teaching programmes and educational resources on American government and history. Also, by sponsoring the student essay contest.

Who are eligible to join the We The Students writing competition?14-19-year-old students enrolled in any US school, including any of its territories and districts.

What will the essay be about? Every time the competition opens for new entries, they’ll display an essay prompt on their website. The 2022 essay prompt, for instance, centred on the importance of understanding one’s natural rights to building a free society. Essays should have between 500-800 words.

What will the winners receive? Cash prizes ranging from $500 to $7,500. The First-place winner will receive an additional reward – a scholarship to the Constitutional Academy.

Website: https://billofrightsinstitute.org/we-the-students-essay-contest 

Scope: US

Open For Entries: December 15

Essay Competition Deadline: April 15

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  One First-Place Winner – $7,500; 5 Runners Up – $1,500 each; 10 Honourable Mentions – $500 each

19. Voice of Democracy Essay Competition

The US Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFA) established the Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition in 1947. Over 25,000 high school students from all over the country participate in the competition. A total of $2 million worth of educational scholarships and prizes will be divided among the winners.

Who are the VFA? The VFA is a US nonprofit organisation committed to serving veterans. How? By ensuring that the veterans receive the respect and entitlement that they deserve. The members of the VFA are mostly military service members and veterans.

VFA’s Voice of Democracy essay competition furthers this end by helping raise patriotism and appreciation of veterans among the new generations. There’s a different theme for each year. What was the theme for the 2022-2023 entries? It’s about “Why is the Veteran Important?”

Who are eligible to join? American middle school and high school students from grades 9-12. What will the high school winner earn? A $30,000 college scholarship!

Since it’s an audio-essay competition, the participant must submit an audio recording of their essay. The delivery has the same points as the content (35 points.) So speaking in a clear and authoritative voice is paramount!

Website: https://www.vfw.org/PatriotsPen/ 

Scope: US

Open For Entries: Before October 31

Essay Competition Deadline: October 31

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount: $30,000 college scholarship

20. John Locke Essay Competition

Who is behind the John Locke essay competition? The John Locke Institute. What does it hope to achieve? To embolden the young to nurture within them the characteristics that transform good students into brilliant writers! These characteristics include critical analysis, independent thinking, a love of knowledge, and clear reasoning.

To fully appreciate this mission, you’ll need to know who John Locke is. John Locke was an Oxford Philosopher in the 17th century. His philosophy of education zeroed in on raising a student to love and esteem knowledge. Not so much with teaching all that is knowable.

And so, entering the John Locke Essay competition is one way of building upon one’s love of knowledge and refining one’s argumentation skills. There are seven categories open for essay writers: History, Economics, Theology, Psychology, Philosophy, Politics, and Law.  

Who are eligible to join? Global students younger than 18 years old (e.g. high school students). There are several questions listed under each category. However, the candidate must answer only one question from their chosen subject.

A category winner will gain a $2,000 scholarship for any John Locke programme. How about the overall best essay winner? They’ll receive a $10,000 scholarship for any of the John Locke gap year courses and/or summer schools.

Website: https://www.johnlockeinstitute.com/essay-competition 

Scope: Global

Open For Entries: Yet to be announced

Essay Competition Deadline: Yet to be announced

Entry Fee: None

Award Amount:  $2,000-$10,000 scholarship for John Locke programmes

There you have it! Did you enjoy the round-up of the Top 20 Essay Competitions for high school students? We sure hope you did! 

If you’re unsure what competition to try, you may want to get your feet wet with our essay competition. Thousands of students apply every year to attend our life-changing summer course and Immerse’s essay contest is free to enter. You’ve got nothing to lose and a potential 100% scholarship to gain!

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