A good way to practice your writing and be recognized by professionals and scholars is to enter writing contests. There are a variety of different writing contests open to teens who enjoy writing essays, fictional stories, poems and other written pieces. These contests award cash prizes as well as sometimes publishing the winning works online, in books or magazines.
Creative Communication Essay Contest
The Creative Communication Essay Contest is sponsored by Creative Communication, an organization which promotes and encourages creative writing in students. The contest is open to students in grades four to 12 in the United States and Canada. To enter, submit an original, nonfiction essay of 100 to 300 words on a topic of your choice. The contest is held three times a year with a fall deadline in October, a spring deadline in February and a summer deadline in July. Three winners are chosen each time, one in each of the three divisions -- grades 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. Winners receive a $25 check, special recognition in the organization's yearly anthology and a copy of the book.
American Library of Poetry Student Poetry Contest
The American Library of Poetry's contest is open to students in grades three to 12 in the United States and Canada. To enter, submit an original poem of 20 lines or less. Poems are judged on originality, creativity and artistic quality, and submissions are accepted throughout the year, with the winners being announced in September. First-, second- and third-place winners are chosen within each of the four categories, being grades 3-5, 6-7, 8-9 and 10-12. The grand prize for each grade category is $500. Additional prizes for runners-up include laptops, gift cards and iPods.
YCteen Essay Contest
The YCteen Essay Contest is hosted by YCteen, a lifestyle magazine for teens. The contest is open to American teens, ages 14 to 19, and is held twice a year with the first deadline being in October and the second in December. To enter, submit an original, nonfiction essay of 800 words answering a given essay question. Past questions have focused on issues such as climate change and activism. First-place winner receives $150, second-place winner receives $75 and third place receives $50. All winning entries also will be published on the YCteen website and in the print version of the magazine.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is an art and creative writing contest hosted and sponsored by a group of more than 100 visual and literary art organizations across the United States. The contest is open to teens in grades seven to 12 going to school in the United States, Canada and American schools abroad. Pieces can be submitted to any of 28 available categories, including humor, poetry, critical essays, journalism and more. Submissions are accepted starting in September, and the deadline ranges from December to January depending on your region. Contestants have the chance to win on both the regional and national levels, with scholarships up to $10,000 being awarded to winners.
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