Win Prizes and Scholarships with High School Writing Contests





Athan, Hudson and Bailey learning to love literature during a living Beatrix Potter Interdisciplinary day

My first year homeschooling I was at a homeschool conference where Susan Wise Bauer was speaking. She said during one of her talks that over her years teaching freshman english at a university she has noticed many incoming freshman do not have the skills required to write well.

Her comment made me think... I never learned to write well… How am I going to teach my children to be confident and proficient at communicating their thoughts on paper?


We were new on our homeschooling journey and while most of you know that we now embrace the Unschool Homeschool Method, we started out being Classical Homeschoolers. We did a lot of reading and listening to literature, and I saw that this was the best way to introduce my kids to writing... ignite their love of storytelling!!


In the Classical Homeschool manner we started doing copywork and dictation. I could see that Athan needed to learn the mechanics of writing without being burdened by also getting his own thoughts out onto the paper. We would read fun and interesting stories and he would then pick his favorite passage to copy. We would then write together, we really enjoyed talking things out, taking turns with me writing a thought, then letting him dictate to me as he watched me write his thoughts. We would go back and forth sharing in the writing experience. I can say for fact that our kids like to do things they see we enjoy doing!


Now Athan is in high school and while I am no writing expert, I think he writes pretty well, but it is not something that he enjoys doing unless he has to. So now that he is older I am still always looking for ways to get him interested in writing and what better way to get a teenager excited about writing than giving them a chance to win something?


We have compiled a list of High School Writing Contests that we hope will spark a story in your teen!





Ten Minute Play Contest


Eligibility for this annual playwriting contest is limited to students in the eleventh grade.



Applicants may submit only one play – 10 pages maximum/1 page equals 1 minute.

Online submissions open January 1, 2019, with a deadline of March 31, 2019.

Prizes: First Prize – $500, Second Prize – $250, Third Prize – $100



Signet Essay Contest Student Essay Contest


Five high school juniors or seniors (or home-schooled students aged 16-18) can each win a $1,000 scholarship award to be used toward their higher education plus a Signet Classics library for their school or public library!


The Contest begins at 12:01 AM (EST) on July 1, 2018, and ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on April 15, 2019. All entries must be postmarked by April 15, 2019, and received on or by April 22, 2019.


Essays must be submitted by a high school English teacher (or a parent/legal guardian for home-schooled students) on behalf of students who write an essay on one of five topics for this year’s competition book, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.



The Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest


JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen's work. Several hundred students compete for scholarship awards each year.


The contest is open to students and home-schooled students enrolled at the high school

during the contest year. The deadline for 2019 Essay Contest submissions is June 3, 2019.


First Place: $1,000 scholarship and free registration and two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s upcoming Annual General Meeting (Transportation to the conference is not provided.)

Second Place: $500 scholarship

Third Place: $250 scholarship


Winners and their mentors each receive a one-year JASNA membership. In addition, each winner receives a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen's novels and the winning essays are published on this website.



The American Foreign Services Association Essay Contest


The National High School Essay Contest focuses on an important aspect of operating in countries affected by or vulnerable to violent conflict: effective coordination of the many different foreign policy tools the United States has at its disposal.


Whether you are addressing the prompt for a second year or are new to the contest, this contest will challenge you to expand your understanding of the role of the Foreign Service and other actors in foreign policy, identify case studies, and provide a sophisticated analysis in a concise manner.


Entries must be from US students in grade 9 through 12, including students in the District of Columbia, US territories, or US citizens attending school abroad, including home-schooled students. Must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 15, 2019.


$2,500 to the writer of the winning essay, in addition to an all-expense paid trip to the nation’s capital from anywhere in the U.S. for the winner and his or her parents, and an all-expense paid educational voyage courtesy of Semester at Sea. Runner-up receives $1,250 and full tuition to attend a summer session of National Student Leadership Conference’s International Diplomacy program.



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