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90+ Writing Competitions That Are Open to High School Students



In a world where creativity and expression are increasingly valued, writing competitions offer a unique platform for writers of all ages and genres to showcase their talent, share their perspectives, and gain recognition. From aspiring young poets to seasoned essayists, all writers can find in these competitions an array of opportunities to challenge themselves, refine their skills, and potentially earn significant awards and scholarships.


This comprehensive guide covers a wide range of writing competitions, each with its own set of rules, genres, and prizes. Whether you are a student looking to explore your creative side, a young adult with a passion for storytelling, or someone who simply enjoys the art of writing, these contests offer something for everyone.


Spanning genres such as poetry, prose, essays, and even civics projects, these competitions cater to a diverse array of interests and skills. With eligible ages ranging from elementary school children to young adults, each contest provides a platform for different age groups to express their creativity and vie for attractive prizes ranging from cash awards to prestigious scholarships.


Among these competitions, you’ll find the Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose, National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and many more, each with its unique focus and rewards. The prizes offered range from monetary awards to scholarships and publication opportunities, providing both motivation and recognition for young writers.


Dive into this guide to explore the wide range of available writing competitions, find the ones that resonate with your interests and talents, and seize the opportunity to showcase your writing prowess.


Genre(s): Themed Writing

Eligible ages: 16–18

Prize(s): Recognition


Genre(s): Poetry and Prose

Eligible ages: All ages

Prize(s): $200


Genre(s): Nonfiction/Fiction Essay and Poetry

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s):  

Creative Nonfiction/Long Essay:

First place ($150), second place ($75), third place ($50)

Creative Nonfiction/Short Essay:

Up to 3 awards of $50 each

Fiction:

First place ($150), second place ($75), third place ($50)

Poetry:

First place ($150), second place ($75), third place ($50)


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): First prize is $1,000, second prize is $600, third prize is $400, and honorable mention is $100.


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): Winner receives an electronic copy of the anthology and is invited to read their poem at the Youth Anthology Launch during the festival.


Genre(s): Essays

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): Anthem prize is $2,000, and The Fountainhead prize is $5,000.


Genre(s): TBD

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): Each year, up to six plays are chosen to receive a professional  production produced by Baltimore Center Stage.


Genre(s): Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction

Eligible ages: All ages

Prize(s): First-place winners in each category are awarded a prize of $1,000, second-place winners receive $500, and third-place winners receive $250.


Genre(s): Poetry and Prose 

Eligible ages: All ages

Prize(s): Book publication, a $500 cash award, and ten copies of the book


Genre(s): All genres

Eligible ages: 19 or younger

Prize(s): Winning plays will be mentored, directed, and performed by professional artists.


Genre(s): Poetry and Prose 

Eligible ages: 11–18

Prize(s): Winners in poetry and prose will receive the new Ned Vizzini Teen Writing Prize with a cash award and have their pieces published in the Teen Writing Journal distributed by the library.


Genre(s): Poetry (all forms)

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): Winners receive $100 gift cards to an art supply store or bookstore.


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 19 or younger

Prize(s): Winners will have their plays produced live as part of our annual festival of Plays by Young Writers in 2025.


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 13–19

Prize(s): Public reading of play, series of workshops led by professionals in the field, and professional production of plays


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 11–18

Prize(s): For students, first prize is $400, and second prize is $200; for educators, first prize is $200, and second prize is $100.


Genre(s): Poetry and Prose 

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): First prize is $250, second prize is $150, third prize is $100, and fourth prize is $50.


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 12–18

Prize(s): Play produced


Genre(s): Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Cash prizes and recognition


Genre(s): Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Expository Essay, Playwriting, and Screenwriting

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): $300 for first place in each of those categories, $200 for second place, and $100 for third place.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 8–18

Prize(s): First-place winner receives $1,000, second-place winner receives $750, and third-place winner receives $500.


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 12–18

Prize(s): Students whose plays are selected for the festival get to work with a creative team composed of National Theater Institute alumni—a director, dramaturg, designer, and actors—to develop and stage their scripts.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 12–18

Prize(s): Grand national prize is $1,500, first place is $1,000, second place is $750, and third place is $500


Genre(s): Creative Writing (Short Story)

Eligible ages: 9–18

Prize(s): Winners are eligible to compete in the Scenario Writing Competition at the annual International Conference.


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Winners will receive a monetary award, a book, and publication in the Gannon Writing Awards program.


Genre(s): Poetry (Haiku and Senryu)

Eligible ages: 12–18

Prize(s): Winners will be awarded a cash prize of $100 and be featured on the Haiku Society of America’s website and in its journal Frogpond.


Genre(s): Creative, Persuasive, or Journalistic Essay

Eligible ages: 13–18

Prize(s): Winners receive prizes such as internships with The Harvard Crimson and having their work featured on the official Harvard Crimson Global Essay Competition (HCGEC) website.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Winning essays will be published in the Harvard Economics Review, and the top three winners will be published online, with a further 20 receiving the honor of “Highly Commended.”


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: All ages

Prize(s): First prize is $1,500, second prize is $750, and third prize is $500.


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 14–17

Prize(s): First prize is a $350 cash prize, publication in Cargoes, ten copies of Cargoes, and a scholarship up to $5,000; second prize is publication in Cargoes, two copies of Cargoes, and a scholarship up to $1,000.


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 24 or younger

Prize(s): Play produced


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): $500


Genre(s): Poetry, Fiction, Essay, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Hybrid, Experimental/Unclassifiable Writing, and Comics

Eligible ages: 13–17

Prize(s): Full-tuition scholarship to study creative writing at Interlochen Arts Academy


Genre(s): Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry 

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Full-tuition scholarship to attend Interlochen Arts Academy as a creative writing major


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: All ages

Prize(s): First prize is a $1,000 scholarship, second prize is a $500 scholarship, and third prize is a $250 scholarship.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 19 or younger

Prize(s): $2,000–$10,000 scholarship


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 14–17

Prize(s): Winner receives a full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop, and the winning poem and the poems of the two runners-up will be published in The Kenyon Review.


Genre(s): Illustrated Story, Graphic Novel, Poetry, and Short Story

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): First place receives a $100 gift card, second place receives a $50 gift card, and third place receives a $25 gift card. Winning works will also be published online.


Genre(s): Fiction 

Eligible ages: 11–18

Prize(s): Two $1,000 cash grand prizes will be awarded, one for Grades 6–8 and one for Grades 9–12. Seven $100 cash prizes will also be awarded for winning entries, one per grade level.


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): $500


Genre(s): Civics Project

Eligible ages: 13–19

Prize(s): $40,000 in prizes


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 8–18

Prize(s): Nine winners will receive cash prizes totaling $3,000 and the publication of their essays on the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) website.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 11–18

Prize(s): Junior prize is $250, and senior prize is $500.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: All ages

Prize(s): $2,500


Genre(s): Literature

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): Cash prize, certificate of merit, and a scholarship


Genre(s): Essay, Drama, Flash Fiction, Journalism, Humor, Novel Writing, Poetry, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Short Story

Eligible ages: 13–18

Prize(s): Scholarships of up to $12,500


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Prizes range from $6,000 for first place to $500 for fifth place. The winning essay will be published in the SAR Magazine and on the SAR or State Knight Essay Contest webpage.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Each winner receives a $200 cash prize.


Genre(s): Plays

Eligible ages: 19 or younger

Prize(s): Recognition


Genre(s): Fiction and Poetry

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Three (3) $2,000 awards for the Fiction category and three (3) $2,000 awards for the Poetry category


Genre(s): Poetry & Spoken Word, Creative Writing

Eligible ages: 11–18

Prize(s): Up to $1,000


Genre(s): Fiction

Eligible ages: 13–19

Prize(s): Winners will receive $500 upon publication and 25 copies of the magazine featuring their work. They will also have the opportunity to work with a One Teen Story editor prior to publication.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 11–18

Prize(s): There are separate prizes for middle- and high-school categories, and grand prize finalists will receive $1,500 scholarships.


Genre(s): Poetry, Essay, Fiction/Drama, and Spoken Word

Eligible ages: 17–18

Prize(s): College scholarships of up to $10,000 each to five public U.S. high school seniors


Genre(s): Playwriting/Screenwriting

Eligible ages: 15–18

Prize(s): Access to participate in virtual professional development activities provided by the Kennedy Center


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): The top four playwrights receive a professionally staged reading of their play at the PlayGround Festival of New Works at Potrero Stage.


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 11–17

Prize(s): All 100 winners will be invited to a prestigious awards ceremony in London and receive a Youth Membership to the Poetry Society. The top 15 winners will have their poems printed in the winners’ print anthology. All 100 winners benefit from ongoing support and encouragement from the Poetry Society via publication.


Genre(s): Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Winners receive the following: (1) the Polyphony Lit Writing Award (no cash value); (2) publication in the journal; (3) full scholarships for Polyphony’s editor training course; and (4) eligibility for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards ($200).


Genre(s): Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry 

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Polyphony Lit Writing Award and a full scholarship for Polyphony’s editor training course


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): First prize is $10,000, second prize is $3,000, five finalists receive $1,000 each, and ten semi-finalists receive $100 each.


Genre(s): Poetry (all written forms)

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): First place is $300, second place is $200, and third place is $100. Finalists will receive $75 each. All poems will be published on the Pulitzer Center website.


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): $15,000


Genre(s): Poetry, Essay, and Short Story

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): $100 prize for each category. All finalists will receive a certificate of honorable mention and will be considered for publication in Venture, Rider’s literary magazine.


Genre(s): Genre Stories, Literary Stories, and Nonfiction

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): First prize is $500, a 1:1 consultation about your writing with a literary agent or editor, an iPad for each winner’s high school writing teacher, and a Ringling College creative writing T-shirt; second prize is $100 and a Ringling College creative writing T-shirt; and third prize is $50 and a Ringling College creative writing T-shirt.


Genre(s): Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): $100


Genre(s): Poetry

Eligible ages: 5–19

Prize(s): Recognition


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 24 or younger

Prize(s): Up to $100


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 14–17 (females)

Prize(s): $500


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 19 or younger

Prize(s): $200 and publication on the Society’s website and in The Society of Classical Poets Journal


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): First prize is a $1,000 scholarship, second prize is a $500 scholarship, and third prize is a $300 scholarship.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 9–18

Prize(s): Each winner receives a two-year Florida College Plan scholarship and a $100 gift card for school supplies.


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 10–18

Prize(s): Prizes range from $50–$2,500


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Semifinalists attend a workshop where their plays are read and critiqued, and finalists have their plays performed as staged readings by Syracuse University drama students.


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 13–19

Prize(s): $25 gift card


Genre(s): Poetry, Prose, Fiction, Nonfiction, Screenwriting, Playwriting, and Songwriting

Eligible ages: 6–8

Prize(s): Grand prize winner will receive a $250 award and will be published in our spring anthology. Each county winner will receive a $50 award.


Genre(s): Fictional Short Story, Prose, and Poetry

Eligible ages: 17–18

Prize(s): Scholarship


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Up to eight plays will be selected for production, and the best play and runner-up will receive cash scholarships of $1,000 and $500, respectively.


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): Staged reading of play by professional actors, a scholarship, and 20 free tickets to a Project Discovery student matinee


Genre(s): Essay 

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): $35,000 scholarship


Genre(s): All genres

Eligible ages: 14–19

Prize(s): Winners will receive access to participate in professional-development activities provided by the Kennedy Center. Winners will work with industry professionals in further development of their own script as well as participating in networking opportunities.


Genre(s): Spoken Word, Visual Arts, Media Arts, and Creative Writing

Eligible ages: 13–18

Prize(s): First place receives $2,000, second place receives $1,750, and third place receives $1,500.


Genre(s): Essay 

Eligible ages: 14–19

Prize(s): $7,500 and a scholarship


Genre(s): Literature, Composition, and Creative Writing 

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): First prize is $150, second prize is $100, and third prize is $50.


Genre(s): Playwriting

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): $200 cash award and production of play


Genre(s): Short Story

Eligible ages: 14–18

Prize(s): First prize is $250, second prize is $150, and third prize is $100.


Genre(s): Essay 

Eligible ages: 18 or younger

Prize(s): $500


Genre(s): Poetry, Fantasy, Sports Journalism, and Flash Fiction

Eligible ages: 13–18

Prize(s): The winning entrant receives $100, and the runner-up and best peer reviewer receive $50 each.


Genre(s): Plays

Eligible ages: 6–18

Prize(s): Play produced


Genre(s): Nonfiction, Novel, Play or Script, Poetry, Short Story, and Spoken Word

Eligible ages: 15–18

Prize(s): $50,000 scholarship


Genre(s): Novel and Short Stories

Eligible ages: 35 or younger

Prize(s): $10,000


Genre(s): Essay

Eligible ages: 14–19

Prize(s): Each contest awards three winners with prizes of $150 (first prize), $75 (second prize), and $50 (third prize), and winning letters are published on the contest’s website.


Genre(s): Poetry 

Eligible ages: 13–19

Prize(s): Winners will be named as finalists for the National Youth Poet Laureate title. Regional youth poet laureates will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to perform at the National Youth Poet Laureate commencement; an artwork/poster featuring their likeness and poetry; an all-expenses-paid writing retreat; and numerous workshops, trainings, and professional development opportunities.

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