Writing Competitions for High School Students

27 Writing Competitions for High School Students in 2024-2025

As a writer, you have the freedom to express your feelings, your perspective, and your opinions on various matters. How about bringing that freedom of expression into a writing contest for a chance to win cash prizes and scholarships? Below is the list of 27 writing competitions for High School students.

Feel free to save the infographic at the end of the article to keep track of all writing competitions for high school students happening 2024-2025. Please keep in mind that the infographic provides a deadline for competitions; however, each competition’s actual preparation time can vary, from 2 weeks to several months.  

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Competition Introduction: The Ocean Awareness Competition provides a platform for young people to understand environmental issues through artistic creation and creative thoughts, explore their relationship with the changing world, and become advocates of positive change

Eligibility: International competition. Any student aged 11-18 who is/was enrolled in middle or high school (secondary school) while the contest is open. Proof of age, identity, or eligibility may be required. Students who have started college or university are not eligible to participate in the Contest.

  • Junior Division: 11-14 years old 
  • Senior Division: 15-18 years old 

Competition theme: The theme of the 2024 Ocean Awareness Competition is “Tell Your Climate Story.”

Competition time: The deadline for submission is June 10, 2024. 

Complete Guide to Ocean Awareness Contest.

Competition Introduction: Since 2010, the New York Times has held a summer reading competition for middle school students worldwide every summer. So far, more than 50,000 middle school students have participated. 

The Summer Reading Contest invites students to choose something in The Times that has sparked their interest and then tell us why. At the end of every week, judges from the Times newsroom pick their favorite responses, and the winner’s work will be published in the NY Times.  

Competition schedule: Before the end of the competition (August), participants can choose any article, essay, video, interaction, podcast, or photo published in the New York Times to analyze, write about, and submit to the competition.

Every Tuesday after the start of the competition, the previous week’s winners will be announced, and their writing pieces will be published. 

Competition time: Beginning of June  – Mid-August 2024 (based on last year’s deadline) 

Suitable for students: 13-19-year-old students from all over the world; 

  • Students aged 13-15 can submit via the form in the link to the weekly article, subject to parent or guardian consent; 
  • Students aged 16-19 can directly submit in the comments of the weekly articles.

The official website of the competition

Competition Introduction: Write the World is an online community and writing competition for young writers. It is open to writers ages 13-18 and provides a platform for them to share their writing, receive feedback from their peers, and participate in writing challenges and contests. The website offers a range of resources and tools for writers, including writing prompts, writing tips, and the opportunity to join online writing groups and workshops. Write the World also hosts a number of writing contests throughout the year, with prizes ranging from publication and mentorship opportunities to cash awards.

Competition time: Varies

Suitable for students: 13-18-year-old students from all over the world 

The official website of the competition

Competition Introduction:  The John Locke Essay Competition is organized by the John Locke Institute, an independent education organization located in Oxford, UK. The John Locke Institute encourages young people to cultivate the characteristics that turn good students into great writers: independent thought, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis, and persuasive style. Senior academics judge all of their essay prizes from the University of Oxford. The judges will choose their favorite essay from each subject category and an overall ‘best essay’ across seven subjects. Read more about the complete guide to the John Locke Competition

Competition deadline:  June 30, 2024 (Late Submission Deadline: July 10, 2024)

Suitable for students: 2 Levels – High school students 18 years old or younger and Middle School students 14 years old or younger at the submission deadline. 

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the longest-running, oldest, and most prestigious literary and art competition in the United States, aiming to find creative works and original technical skills by students in grades 7-12. Since 1923, the Academic Art and Writing Award has recognized young people’s vision, originality, and talent, and has provided opportunities and academic awards for creative young people to express their talent. The high school award is a symbol of the pursuit of excellence and will help students stand out in university and scholarship applications.

Competition time:  Deadlines vary by region and can be as early as December 1

Suitable for students:  Teens in grades 7–12 (ages 13 and up) can apply in 28 categories of art and writing.

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The Young Authors Writing Competition is sponsored by the English and Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. The competition has grown into a yearly international contest of high school writers. You may enter up to two works (in separate files) in each Creative Nonfiction and Fiction category. You may enter up to two files in the Poetry category, but each can have 1-5 poems. You can submit up to six files (two in each category). You cannot upload three or more files in the same category.

Competition time: N/A

Suitable for students: Open to students in grades 9-12 worldwide

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: River of Words Poetry and Art Contest is a free, international youth poetry and art contest — the largest in the world — that inspires children ages 5 to 19 to translate their observations into creative expression. River of Words® (ROW) is a program of The Center for Environmental Literacy and a part of the Kalmanovitz School of Education, at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Competition deadline: January 31, 2024

Suitable for students: K through 12th-grade students, ages 5-20. Students must be enrolled in school to be eligible. All entries must be submitted by a parent, guardian, educator, or facilitator unless the student is 18 years old or older.

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association (HUEA) is organizing its flagship Harvard International Economics Essay Contest in collaboration with the Harvard College Economics Review. HIEEC allows students to demonstrate an accomplished level of writing and understanding of economic theory. Students hone their academic and professional skills through the contest and exhibit their knowledge.

Competition deadline: January 5th, 2024

Suitable for students: Students in grades 9 to 12 

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The annual DNA Day Essay Contest is hosted by the American Society of Human Genetics, supporting National DNA Day. DNA Day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003 and the discovery of the double helix of DNA in 1953. In celebration of DNA Day, the American Society of Human Genetics hosts the Annual DNA Day Essay Contest.

Competition deadline: March 1, 2024

Suitable for students: Open to students in grades 9-12 worldwide. Parents may submit essays if the student is home-schooled.

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: What does the future hold for young people around the world? With daily news of climate change, inequality and injustice, it can seem overwhelming. But when we tell new stories about the future, they inspire us to act in ways that can change everything. The Earth4All Stories of the Future challenge invites young people to imagine a world where we have taken bold collective action on global challenges. The judging panel includes Owen Gaffney from the Nobel Prize organization. 

Submission Requirements: Written entries should be no longer than 800 words. Videos should be under 1.5 minutes.

Competition Date: Submissions are open until June 30th in the following categories: 15 and under, 16-18, 19-21

Prizes: include 50 EUR in book vouchers, a book, and publication in a digital magazine.

Official website of the competition.

85% of Aralia Students Place in Top Writing Competitions

Our students consistently place in top competitions, achieving outstanding results. In 2024 alone, Aralia students earned 106 awards in the Scholastic Writing Awards, including 41 Gold Key Awards. Additionally, our students received 10 awards from the Ocean Awareness Contest.

Competition Introduction: The Princeton Ten-minute Play Contest is hosted by the Lewis Art Center of Princeton University. The annual competition’s judging committee comprises faculty and staff from the Program in Theater of Princeton University. They are all members of Princeton University.

Competition date: April 1, 2024

Suitable for students: U.S. domestic or international students studying in the eleventh grade. International students in the equivalent of eleventh grade in the US

Official website of the competition.

Competition Introduction: The World Historian Student Essay Competition is an international competition for students who are enrolled in grades K-12. Winners will receive a $500 prize and a one-year WHA membership. Participants will submit an essay addressing one of the following topics and discuss how it relates to you personally and to World History: Your view of a family story related to a historical event or your personal family cultural background, or an issue of personal relevance or specific regional history/knowledge, such as “My ancestor walked with Abraham Lincoln from Illinois to fight in the Black Hawk War of 1832.” 

Competition date: May 1, 2024

Suitable for students: Young writers in grades K-12. 

More information on the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contests are created by the Ayn Rand organization in memory of this great novelist. The contests motivate students to engage deeply with Rand’s ideas by reflecting on her novels’ profound and influential themes. Students who participate in the contest must read their chosen book meticulously, tackle its intricate concepts, and extend the limits of their writing abilities. The aim is to foster in students a profound admiration for Rand’s literary works and pique their curiosity about the underlying philosophy.

Competition date: April 25, 2024, for Anthem and The Fountainhead; and November 6, 2024, for Atlas Shrugged

Suitable for students: Students from grades 8 to 12 from around the world are welcome to apply.

Official website of the competition.

Competition Introduction: Young Reporters for the Environment Competition is operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education. YRE gives young people aged 11-25 a platform to research environmental issues and promote solutions through investigative reporting, photography, and video journalism. Competition Structure: There are three ways to participate in the YRE International Competition: General YRE International Competition, Litter Less Campaign Competition, and International Collaboration

Competition date: April 19, 2024 (students from international schools) and May 10, 2024 

Suitable for students: Three age categories in the International Competition: 11-14, 15-18, and 19-25

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The New York Times invited students to write public-facing letters to people or groups about issues that matter to them. The letter should focus on a topic that matters to students, address a specific audience relevant to the issue, and call for action.

Competition date: March 13 to May 1, 2024

Suitable for students: You must be a student ages 13 to 19 in middle or high school to participate. All students must have permission from their parents or guardians to enter.

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen’s works in new generations of readers.

Competition date: June 1, 2024

Suitable for students: Students and home-schooled students enrolled at the high school level during the contest year

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest is created by Winning Writers, the organization finding and creating quality resources for poets and writers. Winning Writers is among the “101 Best Websites for Writers” (Writer’s Digest, 2015-2019). The judges are Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, the winner of CutBank’s 2018 contest, released in 2019, and Michal Jones, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, and parent in Oakland, California.

Competition date: April 15 – October 1, 2024

Suitable for students: No restriction on the age of the author. All countries eligible except Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Crimea (due to US government restrictions)

Official website of the competition.

Competition Introduction: Established in 1927, the Marshall Society is the Economics Society of the University of Cambridge. The competition invites pre-university students to write a convincing and well-structured essay related to economic theories.

Competition date: TBD

Suitable for students: Preuniversity students around the world

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: Bennington College Young Writers Awards are created by Bennington College to promote excellence in writing at the high school level and to recognize outstanding writing achievement by high school students. The competition runs annually from September 1 to November 1. Over 5,000 students submitted poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to the Young Writers Awards competition each year. Each year, students in the 9th-12th grades are invited to enter one of the following categories with the following submission:

Poetry: A group of three poems
Fiction: A short story (1,500 words or fewer) or one-act play (run no more than 30 minutes of playing time)
Nonfiction: A personal or academic essay (1,500 words or fewer)

Competition date: September 1 to November 1

Suitable for students: 9th-12th grades, welcome submissions from both US and international students.

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The Leonard Milberg High School Poetry Prize recognizes outstanding work by student writers in the 11th grade in the U.S. or abroad. Contest judges are poets on the Princeton University Creative Writing faculty, which includes Michael Dickman, Paul Muldoon, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Susan Wheeler, Jenny Xie, and Monica Youn.

Competition date: November 26, 2023

Suitable for students: Students in the 11th grade in the U.S or around the world

Official website of the competition.

Competition Introduction: The New York Times Personal Narrative Writing Contest invites middle and high school students ages 11-19 to tell a short story in 100 words or less. Your work will be read by New York Times journalists, Learning Network staff members, and educators from around the United States.

Competition date: October – November

Suitable for students: Students ages 13 to 19 are in middle or high school worldwide.

Official website of the competition.

Competition Introduction: The NY Times invites students to play critic and write an original review for their New York Times Student Review Contest. Students can review anything that fits into a category of creative expression that The New York Times covers — from architecture to music.

Competition date: November 1 – December 6

Suitable for students: Students ages 11-19 anywhere in the world attending middle or high school can participate.

Official website of the competition.

Competition Introduction: In Profile in Courage, John F. Kennedy tells the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to do the right thing for their country. These leaders demonstrated political courage by standing up for the public good despite pressure from interest groups, political parties, and even constituents. The JFK Courage Essay Contest asks students to write an original and creative essay demonstrating an understanding of the political courage described in John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage.

Competition date: January 12, 2024

Suitable for students: High school students in the United States and its territories in grades 9-12

Official website of the competition. 

24. New York Times 100-Word Tiny Memoir Contest

Competition Introduction: The New York Times invites all junior and senior high school students to write a memoir in less than 100 words that is very meaningful to each person. This can be a special situation, a scene, or a meaningful event. New York Times hopes to hear unique stories from the “young writers” in their own words. The judges hope to see how the “young authors” solve a problem in this short story and see the larger meaning behind the story.

Competition date: October 12

Suitable for students: Writers of all ages and levels of experience

Official website of the competition.

Competition Introduction: The SPJ/JEA High School Essay Contest is a joint initiative of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Journalism Education Association (JEA). The contest is open to high school students in the United States and is designed to promote the importance of journalism and the free press.

The contest is held annually, and students can submit essays responding to specific prompts. The essays are judged by a panel of journalists, media educators, and other media professionals, who evaluate them based on their clarity, organization, and adherence to the contest theme.

Competition date: Feb 19, 2024, 11:59 p.m. Central time

Suitable for students: All students enrolled in grades 9-12 in U.S. public, private, and home schools within the United States

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: The Concord Review (TCR) is an academic journal dedicated to publishing historical research papers of high school students in English. With the spring issue, the quarterly journal has published 1,362 research papers from authors in 46 states and 41 countries. Many of the authors of TCR have gone to prestigious universities and colleges across the US and around the world.

Competition date: Summer: February 1. Fall: May 1. Winter: August 1. Spring issue: November 1.

Suitable for students: Students must complete the paper before finishing secondary school, and you have not yet enrolled in a college or university.

Official website of the competition. 

Competition Introduction: Founded in 1998, the Foyle Young Poets Competition is a highly regarded global contest that attracts thousands of entries annually from aspiring poets around the globe. The competition is free to enter and allows young writers to showcase their work, gain recognition for their talents, and receive support and guidance from established poets. Many previous winners have succeeded in the literary world, becoming published authors and receiving numerous accolades for their work.

Competition date: July 31, 2024

Suitable for students: Everyone aged between 11-17.

Official website of the competition.

Competition Introduction: F(r)iction is a triannual publication that boasts work from both industry legends and emerging writers. Each issue is carefully curated to evaluate an important cultural topic from vastly different perspectives. They accept short fiction, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, comics, and poetry submissions all year round, and also host contests featuring celebrity guest judges and cash prizes twice a year (each spring and fall). Every piece published in F(r)iction is also accompanied by custom artwork.

Deadline:  April 30, 2024

Suitable for students: Everyone aged between 11-17 on 31st July 2023.

Submission length: Short Story: 1,001 – 7,500 words; Flash fiction: up to 1,000 words per piece; Poetry: up to three pages per poem, Creative Nonfiction: up to 6,500 words

Prizes: $300 (poetry, flash fiction), $500 (creative nonfiction), and $1,000 (short story)

Entry fee: $10 – $15

Judges: Wole Talabi (short story), C. S. E. Cooney (poetry), Sherrie Flick (flash fiction), Marin Sardy (creative nonfiction)

Official website of the competition.

In 2022, the nation’s art and writing contest (Scholastic Art & Writing Awards) announced their winners. Excitingly, Aralia students received a total of 81 awards, which consisted of 25 Golden Key Awards, 26 Silver Key Awards, and 30 Honorable Mentions! More information about the awards can be found here

Golden Key Award Silver Key Award Honorable Mentions

In order to achieve these great results, most of the award-winning students have participated in the writing competition preparation program with the instruction and leadership of Aralia’s famous writing teachers. Aralia’s tutors are inspired teachers and professors who are committed to student success. They are recognized in their field or are currently teaching at top high schools and colleges/universities in the US. 

Further your writing skills with Aralia
What's next?

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How can I stand out in writing competitions? The only 5 tips you need to know are here: 5 Tips to Stand Out in a Writing Competition

Heard about John Locke Essay Competition but not sure where to start? Read this Complete Guide to John Locke Essay Competition

Finished your writing work but not sure where to submit it? Where to Submit Your Writing Works: 5 Main Platforms will answer your questions


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