Your Ultimate Guide to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in 2022
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High school students interested in art and writing should consider submitting their work to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, along with other prestigious essay writing competitions for high school students. Here’s everything you need to know before you apply for the awards. 

What are the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?

Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards boast the distinction of being the nation’s longest-running scholarship and recognition program for teenagers. The Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization “whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world,” according to their website.

Notable alumni of the program include famous artists and writers like Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Stephen King, Ken Burns, Lena Dunham, and Amanda Gorman, among many others. 

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards - books
Image Credit: Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

There are 28 different categories in which students can submit their art and writing for consideration. Review the list of submission categories below: 

Art Categories

  • Architecture & Industrial Design
  • Ceramics & Glass
  • Comic Art
  • Design
  • Digital Art
  • Drawing & Illustration
  • Editorial Cartoon
  • Expanded Projects
  • Fashion
  • Film & Animation
  • Jewelry
  • Mixed Media
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Art Portfolio (graduating seniors only)
Scholastic Art and Writing Awards - paintbrushes

Writing Categories

  • Critical Essay
  • Dramatic Script
  • Flash Fiction
  • Journalism
  • Humor
  • Novel Writing
  • Personal Essay & Memoir
  • Poetry
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Short Story
  • Writing Portfolio (graduating seniors only)
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Who can enter the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?

Any student in grades 7-12 can enter, as long as they are a minimum of 13 years old. Students must live in the United States, U.S. territories or military bases, or Canada in order to apply. 

What is the deadline to enter the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?

The deadlines vary depending on where you live, but all deadlines are sometime between December and January each year. We recommend that you get started early, as submissions are typically allowed as soon as mid-September. Check their website to learn what the deadline is for your region. 

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Why should I enter the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?

There are a plethora of reasons to enter the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. We’ll outline some of the best ones here. 

1. Hone your writing skills. 

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are competitive, which can sometimes discourage students from even applying. Whether you win an award or not, entering the contest will allow you to focus on honing your writing (or artistic) skills. Entering the contest will give you the opportunity to work with an educator (or Knovva Academy’s writing staff) to perfect your submission and gain valuable experience along the way.

2. Boost your college applications. 

Winning a prestigious national award is a surefire way to stand out to college admissions teams. There are various levels of recognition, so even if you don’t win a National Award, you could win a Regional Award, an Honorable Mention, or have your work published or showcased in a traveling exhibition. 

3. Win scholarship money, cash prizes, and national recognition for your work. 

The most exciting part about entering your creative work for consideration in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the chance that you just might win. Keep reading to learn what the prizes are for winners and runners-up in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. 

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards - winner

What are the prizes of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition?

There are a wide range of scholarships, awards, and recognition given to students who submit their work for consideration. Some of the best prizes are highlighted below.

  • Have your work published on the Alliance’s website and in regional, national, and traveling exhibitions across the country.
  • Have your work featured in publications like Best Teen Art and Best Teen Writing
  • Get invited to an exciting event in New York City, where previous special guests have included Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Schumer, and more stars
  • 46 winners of the Portfolio Awards will win either $1,000 (30 students for the Silver Medal) or $10,000 (16 students for the Gold Medal)
  • 6 winners of the New York Life Award will win $1,000 for works exploring grief and loss
  • 4 winners of the One Earth Award will win $1,000 for works exploring climate change
  • 6 winners of the Civic Expression Award will win $1,000 for works exploring political and social issues
  • 24 winners of the Best in Grade Award will win $500 (2 artists and 2 writers per grades 7-12)
  • Various other scholarships and awards; details can be found here.
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What are the entry fees for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?

It costs $7.00 to enter an individual category, and $25 to enter a portfolio for consideration. If you are unable to pay the fee due to financial hardship, you can apply for a fee waiver.

Can international students apply?

Unfortunately, at this time, only students residing in the United States, U.S. territories, and Canada can apply. If you are attending a boarding school within the U.S., you are eligible to submit work. 

Essay Contests - Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

How can I win the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?

Students’ work is judged on the basis of three core values: originality, technical skill, and emergence of a personal voice or vision. Judges are looking for students to break from convention in their work, or to submit work that “challenges notions of how a particular concept or emotion can be expressed,” according to the Alliance’s website. 

Technical skill is important as well, which is where writing prep and art classes come in handy. Finally, a personal voice or vision should be present. In other words, your work should be unique and genuine to who you are as an individual.

An important note is that students are judged ‘blind,’ meaning that jurors read and rate their work without any knowledge of their gender, age, ethnicity, hometown, or any other personal information. This is to ensure that everyone is judged fairly and receives an equal shot. 

Former judges include leaders and influencers in the visual and literary arts. According to the Alliance, several past alumni have served on the panel, along with other visionary artists, like Judy Blume, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, David Sedaris, and more.

Can I see the work of previous winners?

On the gallery page of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards’ website, you can see examples of previous winning work in all genres and categories. While this is a good baseline to judge the quality of award winning work submitted to the Alliance, remember that both originality and personal voice are considered. Taking inspiration from previous winners is okay, but copying others won’t help you win. 

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards - writing with pencil

How to Prepare for Writing Competitions

In 2021, the Alliance received almost 230,000 entries for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. We mention this not to scare anyone off from applying, but to underline the importance of creating and submitting your absolute best work if you want a chance at winning the contest. 

Knovva Academy offers a wide variety of writing courses to help students refine their skills. Whether you’re submitting a persuasive essay, critical essay, dramatic script, creative writing piece, poetry, or any other form of writing, Knovva’s online courses can help you take your writing submission to the next level. 

Our faculty have degrees from prestigious schools like Harvard Graduate School of Education, and they have mentored students who have won essay contests and gone on to attend Oxford, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, New York University, Boston University, and more of the most elite colleges in the world. Be sure to check out our roster of writing courses before you submit your final draft to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards so you can work with our faculty to perfect it. 

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