Opportunities for High School Students: Writing Contests

Arrowhead students, like all high school students across the country, are offered the chance to win money and or college scholarships in writing contests.  


Carol Whitehaus, AP Language and Composition teacher, says “I think it’s so awesome that students enter more competitions in Creative Writing and Composition classes.” 


Although some students are prompted to enter contests through classes at Arrowhead, other students enter contests even if they are in unrelated classes. 


Here is a look at some of the contests:


  1.  John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students, asks those participating to write an essay about an act of political courage by a US official who served after 1917. The deadline is January 14th, 2022. First place winner will receive $10,000


  1. Wonder of Plastics Engineers Essay, asks students to write an essay about plastic and the relationship it has in our world. The deadline is February 28th, 2022. The winner will receive $250. 


  1. Pulitzer Center Fall 2021 Student Writing Contest, asks students to write a letter to an elected official about a global issue. The deadline is November 13th, 2021. The winning student will receive $100 to go towards a global issue of their choice. 


Whitehaus also said, “Several of my students have won Honorable Mentions for a New York Times writing competition in spring.” 


The New York Times Coming of Age Essay Contest, asks it’s applicants to reflect on the year 2020, through something personal. The dates of entry were from September 10th through November 12th, 2020. 


Oliver Lee, senior, entered the New York Times competition. He says, “It was really fun, I was super nervous at first…it was a really validating experience about my writing.” 


Oliver was a finalist in the New York Times Coming of Age Essay Competition. 


McCann, English teacher, said, “I think it gives students a relevant purpose and audience which is something we like to reinforce in the writing classes because it not just writing for the teacher it’s writing for the people that really value what you’re putting out their and then it is a good way to see how your work stacks up against others and a good measure of the quality of your writing.”


Creative Writing can be expressed better through these Writing contests as opposed to the structural writing classes such as AP Language and Composition teaches. 


McCann says “Putting it on your resume certainly sets you apart from other applicants in any setting, from job applications to college applications I’d say is probably the biggest thing.”


McCann says “I would recommend that they do, kind of what I recommend in Composition, to give themselves plenty of time to draft, to think through their ideas, to revise, to get as much feedback as they possibly can from others. I think the typical things I usually suggest and then I guess maybe the last thing especially when publishing work is to don’t be afraid to put themselves out there and don’t be afraid to take a risk because that can set you apart anyway.”