Scholarship Contests

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Are Essay Contests Worth Entering for?

An essay contest is a writing contest that often pays a cash prize. As a rule, you have to write on a specified topic or answer writing prompts paying attention to style, clarity and word count. Winning writers often have their work published and prize money that helps to pay for college. Plus, entrants don’t typically need to fill out a long application or pay an entry fee which makes these contests pretty easy to apply for. 

According to a Sallie Mae study, only 21% of students have applied for scholarships in 2019 to 2020. Essay contests could be worth it for college students. It depends on your goals, the competition, and how well you may handle rejection. Writing contests could be fun to get your creative juices flowing. Also, you may win extra funds to help pay for textbooks, tuition, and other fees.

Different Types of Essay Contests

There are writing competitions of all kinds due to the many genres and platforms including social media. Here are a few you should write for:

  • Novella or Short story contest
  • Creative writing / creative nonfiction
  • Poetry contest
  • Short fiction
  • One act play 
  • Science fiction
  • Flash fiction 
  • Personal essay 

Another type of essay competition is all about the work of a specific author. Ayn Rand Institute’s essay writing contests ask students for an 800 to 1,600 word essay discussing a book such as ‘Atlas Shrugged‘. Current high school seniors and undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply. 

Scholarship essay contests are the same but the prize winner may have to verify enrollment for college at an accredited university. This is true for the Race Entry Student Scholarship. It’s an annual $500 scholarship writing contest where you write about why you enjoy running a race.

If you prefer to write what’s on your mind, check out the Think For Yourself College Scholarship Essay Contest. There are four awards (one first place top prize and three runners up). The contest is only for high school students. It asks you to consider the value of free speech, curiosity, and open mindedness in your everyday lives and write on the topic.

You might also pick up your pen to kickstart a writing career. Writer’s Digest helps up and coming writers in all genres with their annual competition. Winning stories (articles, memoirs, poetry etc.) may catch the eye of editors and literary agents alike. One grand prize winner takes away $5,000 in cash, first place is $1,000, second place $500 and another 8 writers also win money. The literary magazine also publishes the names of honorable mentions. 

10 Essay Contests You Should Write for in 2021

Eligibility for many essay contests vary but there are ones for seasoned and new writers. If you live and study in the United States, see if you qualify for the scholarship essay awards below and apply soon!

  1. Cafe Bustelo® El Cafe Del Futuro Scholarship Essay Contest
  2. 2021 Think For Yourself College Scholarship Contest
  3. Americans United Essay Contest 
  4. Americanism Education Leaders Essay Contest
  5. Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC Essay Contest 
  6. Nicholas Braswell Strong Roots Scholarship
  7. Eyre Writing Center Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
  8. Race to Inspire Essay Contest 
  9. Ayn Rand – Fountainhead Essay Contest
  10. Ayn Rand – Anthem Essay Contest 

How Do You Write a Winning Scholarship Essay?

Expressing yourself in a unique way that addresses the topic at hand is one aspect of writing a winning scholarship essay contest. When you’re writing a winning essay, consider the following tips.

1.  Identify the question or idea to write a clear and personal answer. Is it about leadership, community service, family, etc.? Then find examples of how you led, helped out or interact.

2. Dig into the theme a bit more. Maybe you did not lead a group but you babysat or tutored. Take part in the discussion in the best way for you.

3. Use any key words that the essay asks so that the team looking over your statement knows you read the question.

4. Engage your audience. Some people add quotes or pull in inspiration from others. If it stays on topic, try to show you have a broad experience in some way.

5. If you are applying for a named scholarship, find out about the person’s legacy. Try to show how they inspire or motivate you.

6. Know what criteria the committee is using to evaluate your essay. Try to check them all without it sounding rote. 

7. A essay contest is an award and also an investment in your education and future. Make sure to explain how you plan to use your degree and leader skills once you graduate.

8. Many full ride scholarships look beyond grades. If this is the case, you may have to show how you helped others. Apart from stating your experience, relate it to what you learned through giving back. 

How Should a Scholarship Essay be Structured?

Many scholarship essays come with prompts to help you format your writing. These guides are useful and necessary to stick to. Read them carefully and follow instructions because this is part of the exercise. 

Format

This includes style (e.g. AP, Chicago), double or single spaced, Word or PDF Document, margins and so on. 

Word Count

This is the number of words you have to stick to while answering every question. The judges want to see you understand the questions and answer them in a clear way so don’t attempt to write a full length book. 

Title

You may need a title for a short story competition but not always for a scholarship essay contest. 

Introduction

This is where you draw your audience in with opening remarks in 1 to 2 paragraphs. It should include the main points but should not go into detail. 

Main Body

After you introduce your main points, expand on each of them. If you made 3 points (e.g. first generation to go to college, faced a challenge, excited to reach my potential) make each point its own paragraph.

Conclusion

This is where you show how the essay contest could make a difference to your goals and future. 

Edit and Proofread

You read and followed directions now go back and double check yourself. Make sure to check your spelling and that you answered each prompt. Proofread to catch mistakes like grammatical errors, run on sentences, and others.

List of Essay Contests

Check out our list of 1,702 essay contests worth $7M.

Scholly’s 2022 Relief Fund

It only takes a few minutes. With everything our community has been through over the past two years, we’re giving away cash to be used on day-to-day necessities, tuition, debt, or anything else you need

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 08, 2022

Scholly Financial Wellness Fund

With everything our community has been through over the past two years, we’re giving away cash to be used on day-to-day necessities, tuition, debt, or anything else you need. Plus, in our effort to encourage smarter financial habits and especially more savings, we’re helping applicants open easy spare change investing accounts with our friends at Acorns. After submitting your application, you will be prompted to open your account for your chance to receive $1,000 from Scholly. Every eligible person who starts an Acorns subscription will receive an additional $20 to invest from Acorns, regardless of whether you receive $1,000 in cash.

Total: $5000

Awards: 5

Deadline: July 08, 2022

$500 Emergency Fund Sweeps

In these uncertain times it is important to have an emergency fund. Unigo is giving away cash so you can do just that. One lucky winner will each receive a $500 Visa Gift Card. PLUS, every person who opens an Atmos account will receive $15 in their account – regardless of whether you win the $500 Gift Card. Simply fill out the form below and then join Atmos to complete your application.

Total: $500

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 15, 2022

Spirit of Giving

Each year Wine Country Gift Baskets awards annual scholarships to three well-deserving students displaying the spirit of giving. The Wine Country Gift Baskets Spirit of Giving Scholarship is our way of encouraging acts of kindness, service and giving so they remain an important part of our future. We are happy to award a scholarship of $1,000 to three winners.

Total: $3000

Awards: 3

Deadline: August 02, 2022

Jameela Jamil x I Weigh Scholarship

You have a story that deserves to be told and a voice that needs to be heard. We want to hear you, and we want to help you be heard by the world! I Weigh is all about radical inclusivity and allyship, creating a community where no one feels alone. Our mission is to amplify, advocate, and pass the mic, while inspiring everyone around us to continue learning and growing as individuals, which in turn will result in growth collectively as a society.

Total: $15000

Awards: 3

Deadline: August 17, 2022

$1,000 CollegeXpress Last-Chance Summer Scholarship

Collegexpress are able to provide this free service due to the willingness of our users to be contacted by colleges and our other marketing partners. Collegexpress will keep you informed of the latest scholarship opportunities, plus, you could receive FREE information about colleges and promotions from top companies.

Total: $10000

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 31, 2022

The CoinIQ Future of Cryptocurrency Scholarship

Sponsored by Admark Technologies Ltd./ CoinIQ.com. Carefully review the requirements to be sure you qualify for this source of financial aid and confirm information with the program before applying. Sponsoring organizations may have changed policies, awards, or requirements since supplying their information.

Total: $1750

Awards: 3

Deadline: August 31, 2022

Fulbright Scholarship

The Fulbright Scholar Program supports activities and projects that recognize and promote the critical relationship between educational exchange and international understanding, in addition to the intellectual merit of the proposals. Applications with broad multiplier effects are particularly welcome, as are projects that are conducive to candidates sharing their experiences and knowledge with colleagues, students and, ideally, with the general public in their host country and, upon return, in the United States. To learn more, view a short video about the Review and Selection Process.

Total: $4000

Awards: 4

Deadline: September 15, 2022

“We The Future” Contest

The core mission of Constituting America is to educate Americans about the Constitution and the rights and liberties it provides and protects for all of us. They accomplish that mission through several programs, including keystone program — the national We The Future Contest for kids.

Total: $20000

Awards: 12

Deadline: September 17, 2022

$2,000 CollegeXpress Rule the School Scholarship

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. To enter, register for a free account on www.collegexpress.com and answer the short question in the space provided. Must enter during the Sweepstakes Period identified in the promotion announcement

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline: September 22, 2022