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What Are the Benefits of Essay Contests for High School Students?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
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  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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Essay contests for high school students can have several benefits, particularly because they can enable students to win money to help pay for further education. They also promote the development of writing skills and may encourage a healthy sense of competition and a commitment to excellence among the young people who participate in them. Good writing and critical thinking skills are important to success in school, in employment, and in life. By participating in an essay contest, teenagers can hone these skills for their future benefit.

Several different types of organizations sponsor essay contests for high school students. These organizations may range from commercial businesses to not-for-profit organizations such as churches, community service organizations, and schools. Students who participate in these contests may have the chance to win scholarships, cash, and other prizes as well as recognition for their writing skills. The scholarships are useful for assisting a student in pursuing his higher education goals, and the recognition may also enhance the student's applications for admission into various colleges and universities.

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The benefits of essay contests for high school students extend beyond the recognition and compensation for winning the contest. When a student enters an essay contest, he is typically required to write an essay to a very high standard. While getting good grades in school can certainly be a strong motivator to write well, the possibility of earning recognition beyond a classroom grade can often inspire a student to work a level above and beyond what he may normally be accustomed to. If a student pushes himself in essay contest for high school students, he may discover that his writing skills improve. This will be of considerable benefit to the student over the years, whether or not he decides to pursue writing as a career.

In some cases, essay contests for high school students encourage young writers to address controversial and pertinent social topics. By participating in such contests, the students can raise awareness about these issues and in some cases can actually contribute to the ways others think about and actually address these concerns. As such, essay contests for high school students encourage student participation in society. The process of researching and writing the essay also builds skills that will be necessary for academic achievement once the student graduates from high school and moves on to higher education. Ideally, these skills will continue to develop, preparing the student for greater success once he graduates from school and begins to live and work independently.

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KoiwiGal
Post 3

@Mor - Well, I would say in more than one way too. Entering that kind of competition helps to teach kids that even their best work isn't always going to be good enough. Which is a lesson that they don't always get in school these days, where teachers coddle students and make sure everyone gets a trophy for participation.

Kids should have confidence, of course and they should be taught that they have value, but they shouldn't think that they can't do anything wrong, or that they will always win. Real competition will definitely teach them that crucial lesson.

Mor
Post 2

@bythewell - Actually the fact that the students have to follow a set of instructions in order to enter is one of the benefits of entering the competition in my mind.

In real life, or even in university, kids are going to have to follow those kinds of instructions all the time. Submitting forms for grants at work, submitting case forms or medical paperwork or whatever. It's the kind of careful busywork that almost every job requires at some point.

They also have incentive to clean up their spelling and presentation and so forth, things that a teacher might overlook but a competition judge certainly won't and a boss wouldn't either.

Entering competitions prepares kids for the real world, which is definitely a good idea.

bythewell
Post 1

There are a lot of essay competitions available for high school students, both on a local and a national level. The prizes can be varied. I remember there was one while I was at school which was for a trip to Japan and another that offered a student a chance to participate at a model United Nations. They also, of course, offer scholarships for high school students.

If you are interested in entering them, or helping someone else to enter, you should keep up with your local library as they usually have a list of local competitions (or even a noticeboard where they might be put up). There are also mailing lists that you can join online which will send you this kind of information.

Just remember to follow all the instructions carefully so that you don't get disqualified on a technicality.

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