Essay Contests For High School Students

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Essay contests for high school students

As you prepare to head off to college you may benefit academically and financially by participating in a contest. Private organizations will often run such contests as a way to encourage students to pursue a certain area of study or help them become good citizens.

Generous financial awards can be put to personal use or set aside for college. Importantly, winning an essay, photography, or poetry contest can be worth including on your college application, perhaps proving to be the deciding factor when the review committee considers your own.

We located seven contests worth exploring; please the respective websites for more information. To our knowledge none of the ones we have listed require an entry fee. Some contests recently ended, therefore bookmark their website and be prepared to enter later this year.

The Ayn Rand Institute

Essays based on themes articulated by authoress Ayn Rand as outlines in her novelette, Anthem, and her novel, Fountainhead, are offered to students of high school age. Top prizes are $2000 and $10,000 respectively with numerous runner-up awards granted. Details: http://www.aynrand.org/contests/

The Christophers

High school students with a flair for the artistic can enter the annual poster contest sponsored by The Christophers. Your poster must be based on a theme such as “One Person Can Make a Difference.” Details: http://www.christophers.org/Page.aspx?pid=274

John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

The library named for our 35th president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, runs an annual Profiles in Courage essay contest for high school students in grades nine through twelve. The winner receives a $5000 cash award plus $5000 deposited to a college savings plan account. Details: http://www.jfklibrary.org

First Freedom Center

Students are asked to write an essay based on a theme supporting religious freedom. The first place winner is awarded a $3000 cash award with second ($1500) and third place ($750) awards also given. Details: http://www.firstfreedom.org/education/students.html

AFSA National High School Essay Contest

The American Foreign Service Association invites high school students to enter write an essay based on foreign relations and foreign policy. In 2010 the theme was “Challenges Facing the American Foreign Service in the 21st Century.” The essay winner takes home a $2500 cash prize. Details: http://www.afsa.org/essaycontest/

The Bill of Rights Institute

The “Being an American” essay contest is open to students and teachers with the first place winner taking home a $5000 cash prize. The top 27 winners also receive an all expense paid trip to Washington, DC. Details: http://www.beinganamerican.org/about_the_contest/prizes.html

Keep the Drive Journalism Awards

Texting and driving do not mix and has been proven to be the number one killer of children. Both a print and broadcast category are offered with students invited to submit articles they’ve printed in high school newspapers or broadcast segments disseminated through in-school announcements. Grand prize is $3000 with second through fifth place winners receiving awards ranging from $2000 to $500. Details: http://www.keepthedrive.com

Photo Credit: Zsuzsanna Kilian

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