Master the Art of Writing: Top Essay Writing Contests of 2024 for Students

May 20, 2024 | Education

Showcasing Your Talent: Essay Writing Contests of 2024 for Students

Writing competitions for college students provide an engaging platform for writers to explore topics that excite them. They accomplish several goals. First, contests encourage careful thought organization and provide detailed research and unrestricted creativity. Second, they let participants be a part of a lively writing community. Engaging in such activity offers the captivating prospect of receiving acknowledgment for one’s abilities and the chance to earn travel costs, cash prizes, and scholarships.

Writing is one of those extracurricular hobbies that you can do whenever it’s convenient for you, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. If during the summer break you can easily write essays with the thought “I want to write my paper even better”, then it’s definitely something you enjoy. Moreover, the benefits of involvement don’t stop after taking home the coveted top spot. Many contests offer various awards in different categories, and the judges’ insightful commentary may help you identify areas for growth and advance your writing career. Unquestionably, winning one of these competitions adds prestige to your college application. Want to take part and show your skills? We’ve listed the top contests this year.

Types of Writing Competitions for High School Students

You may discover a writing competition is possible regardless of your skills and academic background. The following are the most well-known categories:

  • Contests for creative writing provide an opportunity to display your skills. Reviewing committees carefully select entries with vivid descriptions and original storylines that grab readers’ attention.
  • Short story competitions, a subgenre of creative writing, offer an engaging challenge: expressing your originality within a word count. This is when your editing and organizing abilities shine.
  • Essay contests for students are common, especially in disciplines like physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. These writing competitions sharpen your critical thinking abilities by making you create a strong thesis statement and thoroughly investigate the subject you have selected.
  • Should you find great satisfaction in rhythm, imagery, and the vivid portrayal of feelings, you have all the necessary elements to excel in a poetry contest.
  • Fiction and nonfiction essay contests for long-form writing provide a special challenge: creating engaging narratives using storytelling devices. Fiction prompts might explore a variety of genres, such as science fiction, fantasy, or historical fiction.

Remember that every submission you make is an invaluable learning opportunity that will help you advance in your writing career, even if you are not successful in every competition.

How Essay Writing Contests Benefit You

Essay writing contests draw authors because of the promise of grand prizes and publication, but participation is valuable regardless of the outcome. These contests provide a unique training ground that enables writers to grow and reach new heights:

  • Essay competitions usually center on specific subjects or prompts. They encourage you to explore new intellectual horizons and try various writing techniques. This constant practice helps you become more adept at crafting compelling stories and improving your writing style.
  • Feedback from judges on submitted entries is a feature of many essay contests. This priceless resource of insightful critique provides an unbiased assessment of your writing abilities and shortcomings.
  • Competitions often come with deadlines, which can be a solid motivator to cultivate a consistent writing routine. Meeting deadlines necessitates discipline and effective time management — essential qualities for any writer.
  • Entering a contest is a low-risk way to get a taste of the publishing world. They enable you to evaluate reader interest in your writing and your level of competition in a particular genre or specialty.
  • Every writing contest entry you enter helps to expand your portfolio. This might be crucial information when contacting editors and literary agencies or applying to writing schools.

Essay competitions offer a gateway to publishing your work — and 2024 presents several promising contests. These competitions aid in establishing a writing portfolio that can support future publication endeavors, grant applications, and even MFA program admissions. Additionally, most competitions offer monetary awards.

Top Contests

Now, let’s look at the most promising contests you can participate in.

The Reedsy Prompts Contest by Reedsy

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Fiction and short story authors will find The Reedsy Prompts Contest an enticing prospect. Reedsy publishes five writing prompts every Friday that push writers to create gripping stories in only one week. A sizable $250 reward is due to the winning submission. Moreover, writers may include their writing in an upcoming edition of Reedsy’s renowned literary journal, “Prompted.” This is a big first step for those who want to create fiction.

  • Top Prize: $250
  • Additional prizes: $25 credit toward Reedsy editorial services
  • Entry fee: $5
  • Deadline: December 31, 2024

The Reedsy Prompts Contest offers a potent combination of financial reward, professional validation, and a chance to jumpstart your writing career. So, hone your craft, free your creativity, and see if your story can win the day.

ABC Poetry Contest by FanStory

Genres: Poetry

Take the ABC Poetry Contest to see how good you are at poetry. You must write a poem following the alphabet to win this playful competition. Never undervalue the power of wordplay — a well-written and captivating poem may win you $100.

  • Top Prize: $100
  • Entry fee: $10
  • Deadline: July 25, 2024

This contest is perfect for a fun, low-stakes dip into the world of poetry competitions. So why not put your ABCs to the test and see if your poem strikes gold?

Black Orchid Novella Award by Wolfe Pack & Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Genres: Crime, Mystery, and Novella

Fans of crime and mystery novels can benefit from this contest. Write a gripping tale that pays homage to Nero Wolfe’s heritage by channeling your inner Agatha Christie. If the judges find your composition captivating, you might win a $1,000 prize and have your story published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. It’s a dream opportunity for any writer who loves the mystery genre.

  • Top Prize: $1,000
  • Additional prizes: Publication in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
  • Deadline: May 31, 2024

This prestigious award offers a chance to win a substantial prize and have your work reach a dedicated audience of mystery lovers.

Flash Fiction Contest by Writer Advice

Genres: Flash Fiction

Are you skilled at creating engaging stories in a limited number of words? The Writer Advice Flash Fiction Contest is the only place to look. This prestigious competition seeks outstanding flash fiction submissions of no longer than 750 words. If your brilliant prose wins over the judges, you may be among the five to seven winners who split the $300 prize fund. Additionally, publishing your work might lead to priceless exposure and the growth of your writing career.

  • Additional prizes: Publication
  • Entry fee: $5
  • Deadline: June 02, 2024

With a low entry fee and the chance to be published alongside a $300 prize pool, Writer Advice’s Flash Fiction Contest is a fantastic opportunity to hone your skills and gain recognition for your bite-sized brilliance.

Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry by Lynx House Press

Genres: Poetry

The renowned Lynx House Press is the driving force behind the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry. It grants a whopping $2,000 reward in addition to the much sought-after chance to have a full-length poetry book published. This competition is open to both established poets and up-and-coming writers, and it may be the beginning of something quite special.

  • Top Prize: $2,000
  • Additional prizes: Publication
  • Entry fee: $28
  • Deadline: June 16, 2024

With a chance to win $2,000 and see your poetry collection published by the esteemed Lynx House Press, the Blue Lynx Prize is a dream come true for any poet.

Maximize Your Contest Experience

It’s crucial to remember that the competitions are only a tiny portion of the fantastic essay writing opportunities out there. If you do the necessary research, you’ll find various options carefully crafted to fit your unique writing style and areas of interest.

The advice that follows will be constructive in making the most of your contest experience:

  • Examine the Guidelines. Each tournament has unique rules and participation requirements. Before submitting your work, make sure that it complies with these standards.
  • Keeping deadlines is crucial. Procrastination can hinder your chances of winning a contest. Make reasonable writing plans and turn in your work well before the due date.
  • Editing and proofreading are required. Grammar mistakes and typos may taint even the best-written work. Give yourself enough time to make sure your submission is flawless and error-free.
  • Accept Experimentation. Investigate other subjects and styles and venture outside your comfort zone. This investigation might result in producing a masterpiece that wins a prize.

Persistence is frequently the key to success in essay writing competitions. Don’t give up if you don’t win every contest you enter. Think of every competition as a teaching tool, improve your work with every entry in cooperation with the best essay writer services, and never give up on your dream of being a writer.


Essay writing competitions provide an excellent environment for beginning and seasoned authors to develop their skills, get noticed, and connect with a larger literary community. Utilizing the tools and knowledge offered in this manual, you may set off on a fruitful path that will propel your writing to unprecedented levels. So grab a pencil and let your imagination go wild.

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