Monday, June 18, 2012

Writing Competitions for High School Students

As I dredge deeper into the world of writing competitions, one interesting avenue I've found is the huge proliferation of writing contests aimed at high school students.  I think this is both awesome and under-utilized.

Benefits of Writing Competitions for Teens
  1. Encouraging creative thinking outside the classroom.  Especially important now that school is out.
  2. Providing them a chance for actual cash.  What teen couldn't use a few more dollars in the old checking account?
  3. Enhancing their communication skills. Nothing beats practice.  This will reinforce what they learn in schools and they may even improve performance. 
  4. Taking writing beyond texts and tweets.  Social media is awesome, but it isn't the only mode of communication.
  5. Proof that there are fun things to do (please have fun with this!) that aren't dangerous or destructive.

If you are a teenager, are the parent of a teenager, know a teenager, or better yet TEACH teenagers, please do the following. Now.

How to Find/Encourage Writing Competitions for Teens
1.  Google ( or search with your search engine of choice) "writing contest for _____" and in that blank insert teens, high school students, etc.  Also modify that search for certain specifics.  Namely, your local region (state, city, zip code), and any special interest that applies (science fiction, math and science, sports, etc.). Also search for scholarships as well.
2.  Go to your local library or ask your high school counselor what opportunities they might know about.
3.  Encourage the teachers at the local school to utilize writing competitions as part of the curriculum.  What better way to encourage teens to write beyond texts and tweets than actual cash incentives?  I've judged contestants for the InvestWrite competition.  It's a great tool to get kids exposed to real world concepts.

Please post if you know of any other great resources for teens.

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