Essay Writing Contests: Organizing and Judging for Middle School Students

Nov 24, 2023 | Education, Family

Essay writing contests are a fantastic way for middle school students to hone their writing skills and express their creativity. These contests can challenge students to think critically and articulate their thoughts coherently, fostering a love for writing at an early age. For educators and organizers, the challenge lies in creating a contest that is both encouraging and fair, helping young writers develop their skills in a supportive environment.

While some students might be tempted to seek an essay writing service to write me a paper, essay contests offer a more enriching experience. They provide an opportunity for students to engage in creative and analytical thinking, develop their writing style, and gain confidence in their abilities.

Organizing the Contest

Planning and Preparation

Theme Selection: It’s crucial to select a theme that resonates with middle schoolers, sparking their imagination and creativity. The theme should be broad enough to allow various interpretations yet specific enough to provide some direction.

Inclusivity in Themes: Consider themes that cater to a wide range of interests and backgrounds, ensuring every participant feels included and excited to write.

Rules and Guidelines: Rules should be clear but not overly restrictive. Balance between providing enough structure for quality submissions and allowing creative freedom is key. Accessibility of these guidelines is crucial. Consider multiple platforms for dissemination.

Promotion and Participation

School Involvement: Actively engage with school administrators and teachers. This could include informational sessions in classrooms, distributing flyers, and digital announcements via school platforms.

Incorporating into Curriculum: Teachers can weave the essay contest into their teaching plans, perhaps aligning it with relevant topics being covered in class.

Diverse Participation: Reach out to various student groups and clubs to ensure broad participation. Encourage students from different backgrounds to bring their unique perspectives.

Preparatory Workshops: Organize workshops focusing on essay writing skills, idea generation, and research methods to help students prepare.

Judging the Essays

Setting Criteria

Comprehensive Criteria: Along with creativity and structure, include criteria like relevance to the theme, use of language, and persuasive power of the argument. This helps students understand different facets of good writing.

Transparency in Judging Process: Communicate the judging process to participants to ensure transparency and build trust in the contest’s integrity.

Diverse Judging Panel

Expert Inclusion: Include experts in children’s literature or education to bring a professional perspective to the judging process.

Student Judges: Involve older students as junior judges to provide a peer perspective, which can be particularly encouraging for participants.

Feedback and Evaluation

Constructive Feedback: Detailed feedback helps students understand not just what needs improvement but also what they did well.

Individualized Attention: Try to ensure feedback is personalized, reflecting an understanding of each student’s writing style and effort.

Promoting Learning and Growth

Skill-Building Sessions: Prior to the contest, conduct workshops focused on enhancing writing skills, research methods, and creative thinking. This provides all participants with a level playing field and equips them with essential writing tools.

Guest Speakers: Invite authors, educators, or journalists to share insights and tips on effective writing, storytelling, and research techniques.

Post-Contest Workshops: After the contest, offer workshops based on the common areas of improvement noticed in the submissions. This can be an ongoing educational initiative to continuously nurture writing skills.

Leveraging Technology

Online Forums: Create online platforms where students can discuss their ideas, seek peer reviews, and share resources. This fosters a collaborative and interactive learning environment.

Utilizing Writing Software: Introduce students to writing software and online tools that can aid in drafting, editing, and refining their essays. This helps them become more self-sufficient and technologically adept writers.

Online Readings and Discussions: Host virtual events where students can present their essays and participate in discussions. This not only showcases their work but also builds public speaking and presentation skills.

Engaging the Community

Involving Parents and Guardians

Workshops for Parents: Conduct sessions for parents on how they can assist their children in the writing process without taking over their work.

Regular Updates: Keep parents informed about contest progress and their children’s involvement, fostering a sense of community investment.

Community Events

Showcase Events: Along with reading events, consider exhibitions or publications (like a booklet or a school magazine) featuring the best essays.

Celebrating All Participants: Acknowledge every participant’s effort, not just the winners, to foster a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

Collaboration with Local Organizations

Partnerships for Resources: Collaborate with organizations for resources like writing guides, access to libraries, and expert talks.

Broader Community Involvement: Engage the broader community in the contest, perhaps through public readings or local media coverage, to celebrate young talent.


Essay writing contests for middle school students are more than just a competition. They are a platform for growth, learning, and self-expression. By organizing these contests thoughtfully and judging them fairly, educators and organizers can make a significant impact on the development of young writers. Remember, the goal is to nurture a generation of thinkers, creators, and communicators who are confident in their ability to express themselves through the written word and do not rely on the best paper writing service platforms.

Such contests equip students with vital skills that will serve them well throughout their academic journey and beyond, laying the foundation for effective communication and creative expression.

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