The Seven Best Writing Contests for High School Students Seven Best Writing Contests for High School Students
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Author: Marci Darling

Writing contests and competitions are an exciting way to develop stories for students who love to write. Just like running a marathon, writing contests are not about whether you win, but about the experience of getting your story (and writing skills) into tip top shape. Strong writing skills will support every other developmental domain throughout school, college, careers, and life. 

Of course, we all love to win, so give it your best shot and who knows, you might be the next J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan. And with that, here are some of the best short story, poetry, and playwriting contests available to young students, according to our online learning academy:

Princeton University Ten-Minute Play Contest

Eminent professors and lecturers of the Princeton University Ten Minute Play Contest assess the works. Permissibility for this yearly writing competition is limited to learners in Grade 11. The sums given to the top three works are $100, $250, and $500. Knovva Academy offers online courses to help students win the ultimate prize!

Bennington Young Writers Awards

Students in grades 9 to 12 worldwide are encouraged to write original compositions in three types:

  • fiction (a brief narrative story)
  • poetry (three best poems)
  • nonfiction (an individual essay)

The leaders in each classification receive a prize of $1,000, and the other top writers are awarded $500 and $250. Visit Bennington Young Writer Awards to learn more!

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is a popular contest that has the widest selection of prospects for resourceful self-expression. There are 28 categories in an impressive range of writing and art. Via the contest, students in Grade 7 and above can receive awards, great publication opportunities, scholarships, and the inclusion in exhibits.

Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest

The Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest is for novice women writers who are currently sophomores or juniors in any high school. It affords prizes, scholarships, and countrywide recognition for their best poems. Rewards range from a cash prize of $350 to scholarships up to $5,000. The entries are judged by participants of Hollins University’s inventive writing project and qualified specialists and experienced lecturers.

New York Times Writing Contests

There are many unusual and creative writing contests hosted by The New York Times. Students can write a personal narrative essay, an essay about a STEM topic, a review on a book or movie, or even a music review. Check the contest calendar for information on the next round’s deadlines and make sure to enroll in our online class that focuses on the annual New York Time Editorial Contest.

YoungArts Awards

YoungArts recognizes the most accomplished young artists, whether they’re  in the visual, literary, or performing arts, and offers them a chance to grow with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers. This is great for students who are looking to showcase their skills!

What If You Don’t Win a High School Writing Contest?

Do not give up and do not be discouraged. Remember, according to Lit Rejections:

  • After five years of continual rejection, noted mystery writer Agatha Christie finally lands a publishing deal. Her book sales are now in excess of $2 billion. Only William Shakespeare has sold more.
  • The Christopher Little Literary Agency receives 12 publishing rejections in a row for their new client, until the 8-year-old daughter of a Bloomsbury editor demands to read the rest of the book. The editor agrees to publish but advises the writer to get a day job since she has little chance of making money in children’s books. Yet Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling spawns a series where the last four novels consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, on both sides of the Atlantic, with combined sales of 450 million.
  • “Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” A rejection letter sent to Dr. Seuss; 300 million sales and the ninth-best-selling fiction author of all time.
  • Louis L’Amour received 200 rejections before Bantam took a chance on him. He is now their best-ever-selling author with 330 million sales.
  • The years of rejection do not break his spirit. He only becomes more determined to succeed. When he eventually lands a publishing deal, such is the demand for his fiction that it is translated into over 47 languages, as The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis goes on to sell over 100 million copies.
  • “It is so badly written.” The author tries Doubleday instead, and his little book makes an impression. The Da Vinci Code sells 80 million.
  • Five publishers reject L.M. Montgomery’s debut novel. Two years after this rejection, she removes it from a hat box and resubmits. L.C. Page & Company agree to publish Anne of Green Gables, and it goes on to sell 50 million copies.
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was rejected so many times she decided to self-publish 250 copies. It has now sold 45 million.
  • “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.” Perhaps the most misguided literary critique in history. With a further 15 rejections, there remained little hope her personal thoughts would see the light of day. Eventually, Doubleday brings the translation to the world, and The Diary of Anne Frank sells 25 million.
  • Despite 14 consecutive agency rejections, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight goes on to sell 17 million copies and spends 91 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
  • Three years of rejection letters are kept in a bag under her bed. The bag becomes so heavy that she is unable to lift it. But Meg Cabot does not dwell on the failure. Instead, she keeps sending her manuscript out. It gets taken on, and The Princess Diaries sells 15 million copies.
  • “Too radical of a departure from traditional juvenile literature.” L. Frank Baum persists, and The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz sells 15 million.
  • Twenty-six publishers reject A Wrinkle in Time. It wins the 1963 Newbery Medal and becomes an international best-seller with 8 million sales and counting.
  • “Stick to teaching.” Louisa May Alcott refuses to give up on her dream. Little Women sells millions, and is still in print 140 years later. Unlike the name of the publisher who told her to give up.

Online Courses for High School Writing Competitions

Are you feeling inspired? Or do you want to feel inspired? Either way, Knovva Academy has the perfect writing competition prep course for you! 

The courses designed with the goal of teaching students the necessary writing skills to develop original pieces and ideas so young authors can confidently submit their best work to any contest or competition.A high GPA and excellent standardized test scores can only take students so far. Partaking in immersive extracurricular activities, such as writing contests, makes students stand out to admissions officers in addition to providing top-tier writing skills to prepare them to succeed in college.

Knovva Academy’s online education programs and writing competition prep courses prepare students for writing, business, STEM, and arts competitions, propelling them forward as leaders and differentiatingtheir college applications from the “no” pile to the “YES!” pile.

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