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Best Essay Writing Scholarships – 2024 [With Application Tips]

Written by Medha Pandey

Updated on: 17 Jan 2024

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Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting, essay competitions offer an exciting opportunity to express your thoughts, refine your writing skills, and potentially win recognition and prizes.

Besides, participating in an essay writing competition may be an exciting and intimidating experience. Knowing the ins and outs of essay writing is essential for success, regardless of experience level. 

In this guide, we’ll explore a curated selection of the best essay competitions to apply for in 2024. We’ll cover a wide range of categories, from personal narratives to persuasive arguments, so there’s something for everyone.

We will explore the essential elements of essay writing that can distinguish your work, from comprehending the theme to expressing your ideas clearly. Thus, this tutorial is your go-to resource for finding the best suitable essay writing contest for yourself and winning it!

 Here are the best essay writing scholarships to apply for in 2024:

1. Scholastic Art &Writing Awards

Home | Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Competition’s Overview

It is a non-profit organization presented by an alliance for young Artists and writers. They aim to recognize young talents and showcase their talent, thought processes, and views to the world. 

Eligibility Criteria

Students of middle school and high school from grades 7 to 12 can enter this competition. There are 28 different categories of art and writing to get yourself enrolled in.

Evaluation Criteria

The judges are either a leading figure in visual and literally arts or are Scholastic awards alumni. They judge an essay based on originality, skillful writing, and how well the writer can voice their vision to the readers. 

Prizes and Recognition

  • The winner’s scholarship award amount may be up to $12500. 
  • Students’ work gets published in the annual art catalog and writing anthology publications
  • National medallist work gets published in the yearbook

2. Wiingy Future STEM Leaders Scholarship

Home | Wiingy Future STEM Leaders Scholarship

Competition’s Overview

Wiingy is a 1-on-1 online tutoring platform that delivers personalized, quality, and affordable tutoring to school as well as university students. It started in 2021 to make STEM learning accessible to everyone with better learning facilities. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must be currently enrolled as a school or college student in a recognized institution.
  • Applicants must be majoring in or intending to major in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subject.

Evaluation Criteria

To apply for the scholarship, students must write and submit an original essay on the topic of the month. Scholarships will be awarded based on the following criteria:

  • Content:

The essay should be well-written and informative. It should clearly and concisely explain the essay topic of the month.

  • Creativity:

The essay should be original and thought-provoking. It should demonstrate the applicant’s ability to think critically and creatively about STEM education.

  • Grammar and style:

The essay should be free of grammatical errors. It should be written in a clear, concise, and engaging style.

Prizes and Recognition

  • Scholarship Amount of up to $1200. 
  • Publication of the winner’s essay and bio on their official site.
  • Even if your essay didn’t make the winning list, Wiingy features its choicest essays on its official page!

3. Bennington Young Writers Awards

Young Writers Awards | Bennington College

Competition’s Overview

Bennington College launched the Young Writers Award to celebrate the literary legacy. It has 12 Pulitzer Prize winners. Three U.S laureates and many New York time bestsellers. High school students can participate and get recognized for their skillful writing.

Eligibility Criteria

Each year students from 9 to 12 grade participate in any one category of poems, non-fiction, or fiction. There is no entry fee.

Evaluation Criteria

The work submitted by the students should be approved and sponsored by the teacher who is from high school. In case of any queries, the sponsored teacher is questioned. For homeschooled children, their tutors (online or offline) or mentors must approve of the submission.

Prizes and Recognition

  • Scholarship Amount of up to $1200
  • Second place wins $500. 
  • The third-place winner gets $250.
  • Also, students are eligible for scholarships at Bennington College.

4. Youth Scholarships- Patriot’s Pen

Youth Scholarships – VFW

Competition’s Overview

The VFW offers scholarships for high school and middle school students interested in promoting patriotism and investing in the future generation.

Eligibility Criteria

Middle and high school students can participate in this essay writing scholarship. A student can write an essay of 300-400 words on the given by VFW. The 2023 to 2024 theme is “How Are You Inspired By America?” and “What Are the Greatest Attributes of Our Democracy?”

Evaluation Criteria

The Essay is marked on the knowledge they have about the topic. They get 30 points for that.

How well they have written the essay revolving around the thesis gives them 35 points.

Finally, the creativity and clarity in concepts and ideas have more than 35 points.

Prizes and Recognition

  • $500 is the prize for a winner who comes first at the state level. 
  • $5000 for the winner at the national level.
  • Get published as the winner of the session you participate in.

5. The Adroit Journal

The Adroit Prizes – The Adroit Journal

Competition’s Overview

It is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 by Peter Laberge. Notable works of authors such as Rita Dove, Ocean VOung, Sarah Kay, and many such authors’ work have been shown on the pages of the journal.

Eligibility Criteria

The students in secondary and undergraduate can participate in the competition. International students who have passed a year earlier can also participate.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Creativity and originality: Present the article that has new ideas and unique concepts. 
  • Voice and style: Your writing style should be clear, concise, and engaging for the readers. It should voice out strong opinions.
  • Content and development: The structure of the content should be well maintained. Support your essay with facts, statistics, and quotes from reliable resources.
  • Mechanics and grammar: Check your work before submission. It should be correct grammatically.

Prizes and Recognition

  • The winners get an award of $200. 
  • The work of the winner and the runner-up from the secondary and undergraduate categories is published in the Androit Journal.

⭐Graduating soon? Discover opportunities with the Best Scholarships for High School Seniors.

6. John Locke Institution

Essay Competition | John Locke Institute

Competition’s Overview

This institution is named after the seventh-century Oxford philosopher and writer John Locke. It is a private educational Institution. It aims at inspiring students towards educational excellence.

Entry Requirements and Guidelines

Students from around the world can participate in this competition. You can apply for this competition between April and May. Entry is free. The essay must be related to any one subject category as per the rules. It should not exceed more than 2000 words.

Evaluation Criteria

The essays are judged by the seniors and members from the Oxford and Princeton Universities. The essays are selected from each subject category junior and subject category. Out of which the overall best essay is selected.

Prizes and Recognition

  • The prize for the Junior category and subject category is a scholarship of $2000 for attending any John Locke Institution program.
  • For receiving the prize the winners are called for an academic conference and an award dinner. But these are paid.
  • An e-certificate is given to the winners who are unable to attend. Others who attend the ceremony get a signed copy of the certificate. 
  • The overall best essay winner gets a fellowship with US $10,000 for attending summer school for a year or more or getting courses for the year.

7. We the Student’s Essay Contest

Student Hub – Bill of Rights Institute

Competition’s Overview

The Bills of Rights Institution is a non-profit educational organization, founded in 1999.

It aims at teaching the students civics. The meaning and importance of freedom, justice, and equality in our society.

Eligibility Criteria

U.S.-based citizens and students who study in middle or high school from 13-19 years of age can participate in this competition. The essay submission must be done from MyImpact Challenging’s online portal only. The past winners cannot participate in this again.

Evaluation Criteria

The essays are judged on how strongly you voice out your views and opinions to the audience. Keep your essay grammatically right. The essay is also judged on how clearly have you stated the civic virtue from the Bills of Rights institution principle and virtue.

Prizes and Recognition 

The winners receive monetary payments as rewards. It is not limited to any usage. The essays that are submitted according to the guidelines receive a Civis Achievement Award digital badge.

✏️Wish to get ample room to exhibit art skills? Find out the Best Art Scholarships.

8. Jane Austen Society Essay Contest

Essay Contest » JASNA

Competition’s Overview

The Jane Austen Society of North America was formed to remember the great work and geniuses of Jane Austen. It is a non-profit organization. They aim to instill the young students with great work and Jane Austen.

Eligibility Criteria

The essay must be on the current topic as given for the contest. Submit the essays through the official essay contest website and the official entry form only. To mention the mentor’s name is optional. While submitting the essay stating that it is the original work of the student is important.

Evaluation Criteria

Judgment is made based on the originality of the work. The general audience must be addressed in the essay. Jane Austen’s work should be taken for inspiration and communicating your message to the audience.

Prizes and Recognition

  • The award for the first-place winners is a $1000 scholarship. 
  • The first-place winners also get free registration along with two nights lodging for the Annual General Meeting.
  • The second-place winner gets a $500 scholarship.
  • The winner who stands 3rd gets $250 as a scholarship.
  • Along with these prizes, the winners get a membership in JASNA. Their essays are published on the institution’s website too.

9. SPJ/JEA High School Essay contest

SPJ/JEA High School Essay Contest – Journalism Education Association

Competition’s Overview

Sigma Delta Chi Foundation was founded by the Journalist Education Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Here, they state the importance of media in our daily lives.

Eligibility Criteria

There is a $5 entry fee for each essay submission. Students from 9-12 grade studying in private or public schools in the US can participate. The essay should be approximately 300-500 words. The original work should be submitted before the deadline.

Evaluation Criteria

There is a panel of qualified judges who judge these essays. They give you points in the following:

  • Material and The originality of your work and quality of writing from research and reliable resources get 40 points.
  • Vocabulary and Style- The style you use to express your views and ideas. With good vocabulary holds-30points
  • Grammmer- The fewer grammatical errors are there in your writing the more points you get. If your essay is grammatically correct you get 20 points.
  • The neatness of your work holds points
  • Format- The correct format of essay writing will give you more than 5 points.

Prizes and Recognition 

  • The first-prize winner gets-$1000 a scholarship
  • The second-prize winner gets-$500 scholarship
  • The third prize winner gets a scholarship of $300.
  • Winners’ names are posted on the association’s website.

10. New York Times Editorial Writing Contest

Our Eighth Annual Student Editorial Contest – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Competition’s Overview

It is led by the New York Times. The essay writing focuses on the issues that inform the reader of the present times. 

Eligibility Criteria

Write an essay of about 450 words on a topic that will be appreciated by the audience at large. Submit the essays before the deadlines. Middle school and high school students can participate in this competition.

Evaluation Criteria

The work is read and judged by the New York Times journalist, Learning Network Staff members, and US educators.

Prizes and Recognition 

The prize for the winners is the publication in Learning Network. If the work is extraordinarily outstanding then it gets published in the New York Times too.

🎗️Pursuing higher education? Read Best Scholarship for College Students.

How to win essay writing scholarships?

Good writing skills, understanding the topic, and doing thorough research can help you to win an essay competition. Here we will discuss some tips in which you can excel in an essay competition.  While maintaining a good GPA serves well, there are more crucial tips to win an essay writing competition.

Crafting a compelling thesis statement

Your thesis statement is the topic name. Generally, platforms that host essay contests, provide option(s) of topics you’re supposed to write. Ensure your essay heading or topic name clearly states its main argument and provides a roadmap for the reader.

For that matter, you should: 

  1. First, understand the topic clearly. 
  2. Research as deeply as possible without deviating from the main topic. Gather comprehensive information on the topic using reputable sources like academic journals, books, and websites, taking notes and tracking sources for proper citation in your essay. The researched facts should support your argument.

Structuring and organizing the essay effectively

Mark the flow, the plot, the events, and the characters that come into play in your essay. Everything should be well-organized to create the desired impact on the reader. 

What is the word limit? What is the topic? What story do you have? What’s your storyline? How do you plan to begin and end your story? All these questions are important.

For better performance, you should:

  1. Have matter in your story. What is the essence of your write-up? What does the reader take along with them at the end? That’s the essence of your essay; make sure it’s worth the time and effort of the reader.
  2. Next, have an outline. This outline is a mindmap where you cover all the important topics, This helps in writing the essay. This outline helps you to structure your essay so that you don’t miss out on the important points. 

Writing a top-notch essay

If you’re good till here, kudos! Next, comes the writing part. Always remember to create an original piece of art. Do not weave too fake-to-believe stories. Keep your story unique yet relatable. You want the maximum audience to be able to relate to the story you’re narrating. They should also find your story interesting. 

Make sure to: 

  1. Keep your work is plagiarism-free. Avoid jargon. Don’t use terms that are not easy to understand. Use relatable words.
  2. Never beat around the bush. Be clear and concise in your writing style. You can uplift your writing by adding statistics, facts, and quotes from reliable sources. 

Polishing and editing for excellence

After you have written your essay, reviewing is the next step. All the grammatical errors, spelling, and sentence-forming errors need a fix. 

You should: 

  1. Rectify your grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes. Check your spelling. Reread to see whether your work is error-free and smooth. You can use grammar correcting tools, but make sure your grammatical fundamentals are strong. 
  2. Proofread again after correction. Yes, read until you’re satisfied with the message conveyed via your statement. 

Submit your essay on time!

All the hard work goes wasted if you delay the submission. To make sure you submit your essay on time make sure to:

  1. Set a reminder on your phone about the deadline or submission date. You can ask your friends and family to keep you reminded or make a sticky note (noticeable enough).
  2. Plan to complete your work one to two days before the actual deadline. The sooner you complete essay-writing the better. You will have maximum time to edit and proofread.

💡Read the December 2023 winning essay of Wiingy’s Future STEM Leaders Scholarship Program and find the top student essays for reference.

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Are essay competitions worth it?

Participation in essay writing contests is a great way that lead to self-recognition. You get inspired through different ideas and start developing and polishing your skills. Here are the benefits of participating in an essay writing scholarship:

💲You earn scholarship amounts

Most essay competitions have a prize money award. The scholarship amount can help you pay for your educational needs, savings, and more.

✨You get inspired to write better 

Writing contests are a great way to inspire you with different and new ideas. Throughout the contest, you hone both your abilities and skills. 

📺Your write-up gets published

Some competitions award the writers by publishing their essays in a newspaper or a magazine, or the official websites of the platforms. This is a fantastic method to get recognized and appreciated for your skills, plus you a get solid material to add to your resume and make it stand out.

🫡You get professional exposure

The competition is judged by official writers and authors who have extended experience and knowledge in their fields. You get a good exposure for your work.

🏆Achieving academic excellence? Navigate the Best Merit-based scholarships.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most prestigious essay competition?

The John Locke Institute, named after the seventh-century Oxford philosopher and writer, just hosted a 2023 essay competition. Students from around the world can apply for the competition, which is free and requires essays related to any subject category. The top essay will be selected from each category. The winner will receive a $2000 scholarship for attending any John Locke Institution program, an e-certificate, and a $10,000 fellowship for attending summer school or taking courses.

Jane Austen Essay Contest by JASNA is another prestigious essay competition. The contest requires essays on the current topic and submission through the official website and entry form. Judging is based on originality and general audience appeal, with Jane Austen’s work as inspiration. First-place winners receive a $1000 scholarship, free registration, and lodging for the Annual General Meeting. Second-place winners receive $500, and third-place winners receive $250.

Is there any essay writing competition?

Yes, we have Wiingy’s Future STEM Leaders Scholarship Program for high school and college STEM aspirants. 
Students pursuing a variety of STEM fields are eligible to apply, including but not limited to computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, environmental science, engineering, statistics, aerospace, and artificial intelligence.

By participating in our scholarship contest: 
Win up to $1200 scholarship amount.
We value your efforts in creating a masterpiece. Hence, we publish top-grade write-ups on our official website page, even if your name didn’t make the winning list!

Do writing contests help you get published?

Yes. Many contests award the writers through the publication of their work. This gives the winners great recognition as writers. It lays a platform for his/her future writings. The names of such great writers get in front of those who judge their work. Winning a writing contest can also be used as a publishing credit. 
Wiingy’s Future STEM Leaders Scholarship Program appreciates the work you put into making a masterpiece. Thus, Wiingy posts its choicest essays on its official website page, even if your name didn’t make the winning list!

Is it worth it to submit to writing contests?

Essay writing contests understand your skills better, and provide further skill development. They offer scholarships, work publications, and professional recognition. Prize money awards can help cover educational expenses and savings. Getting your essay published on an official website helps build your resume. The competition is judged by professional writers, providing more exposure to your work. If your requirements and expectations align with these benefits, yes essay competitions are worth it!

Do writing contests look good on college applications?

Yes, if you’ve participated in and won an essay writing contest, you must mention it in your college application. It especially looks impressive when the topic of the essay aligns with your college disciplines.

Written by by

Medha Pandey

Reviewed by by

Prerit Jain

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