Student Writing

Writing for Fun & Money: Spring 2018 Essay Contests

As 2018 gets underway, students may be looking to bolster their resumes or earn some extra cash. For students who enjoy writing, essay contests offer the perfect opportunity to hone those writing chops, get work published and even win prize money.

Although sorting through the many online writing contests and determining your eligibility can be challenging, we’ve got you covered. Below, find a handy-dandy list of essay contests you can enter this spring, complete with deadlines, eligibility guidelines and information about prizes.

*This is not an endorsement for any specific event. Details of the events are subject to change, therefore please check with each event’s individual website for further information. Thanks!

When you do write your essay, don’t forget to use BibMe as a MLA formatter, resource for citation guides, bibliography maker, APA in text citation creator, or tool with thousands of citations styles.

Jane Austen Society of North America (JANSA) Essay Contest

Deadline: May 20
Age Range: High school through graduate school students
http://www.jasna.org/programs/essay-contest?
Students are to submit essays addressing Jane Austen’s novel, “Persuasion.” First prize is a $1,000 scholarship, while the second-place winner gets $500 and the third-place winner gets $250. Winners (and their mentors, if named) earn a year-long submission to JANSA, and the winner receives a set of Norton Critical Editions of Austen’s novels.

New York Times Student Editorial Contest

Deadline: April 5 (opens Feb. 28)
Age Range: 13 to 19 year-olds
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/31/learning/announcing-our-2017-18-student-contest-calendar.html
Students are tasked with writing a 450-word editorial and submitting it to the New York Times for judging by the paper’s editorial staff. Individual and team entries are both acceptable. Winners have their work published to the New York Times’ website.

AFSA High School Essay Contest

Deadline: March 15
Age Range: 9th-12th graders
http://www.afsa.org/essay-contest
In a 1,000-1,250 word essay, students are to address questions posed by the AFSA on important international issues. The first-place winner will earn $2,500, a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet the Secretary of State and a semester’s paid tuition for Semester at Sea. The runner-up gets $1,250 and full tuition for the NSLC International Diplomacy Summer Program.

American Society of Human Genetics Essay Contest

Deadline: March 9
Age Range: 9th-12th graders
http://www.ashg.org/education/dnaday.shtml
In honor of National DNA Day, which will be celebrated on April 25 this year, the Society of Human Genetics will announce the winners of its essay-writing contest. Entries must answer the question of whether consumers should have direct access to predictive genetic testing. The first-place winner will receive $2,000, while second place comes with a $1,200 prize and third place comes with $800.

The Norton Writer’s Prize

Deadline: June 15
Age Range: College students
http://books.wwnorton.com/books/norton-writers-prize/?mid=145
Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit 1,000 to 3,000 word essays to this contest. Essays must come with a letter from a nominating instructor. Students can write their essays on a wide range of topics and in several different styles. First place comes with a $1,500 cash award, while the runner-up gets $1,000.


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