Creative Writing Competitions for High School Students

Instructor: Kimberly Elliott

Kimberly teaches college humanities and has a master's degree in humanities.

Are you an aspiring young writer with dreams of becoming published? There are many options available to exhibit your creative writing skills. Read on for more information on some of the opportunities available to you.

Bennington Young Writers Awards

Bennington College, known for its contributions to the literary world, sponsors the Young Writers Awards each year. Submissions from the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades are accepted each fall from September to November 1 in the following categories: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Winners are announced after April 15. In each category mentioned above, the first place prize is $500, and the second place prize is $250.

Johns Hopkins Creative Minds Fiction Contest

Imagine magazine is published by Johns Hopkins University and is a showcase of student-created work. Every spring, they hold a fiction contest for individuals 18 or younger. There is no specific theme for entries, but works must be fiction and no more than 1,000 words in length. The submission deadline is mid-March and winners are announced in the May/June issue of the magazine.

Skipping Stones Youth Honor Awards

Skipping Stones magazine promotes multicultural understanding and environmental conservation. Each year, its Youth Honor Awards identifies youth who exemplify its key virtues in a creative manner. Entries of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are accepted from youth ages 7 to 17. Prose entries must be no more than 1,000 words in length; poetry is capped at 30 lines. Entrants must pay a $5 entry fee, but if your family has a low income, you can enter the contest at no cost. Submissions are due in late June, and winners are announced in the autumn issue. Ten winners will receive a certificate, a subscription to the magazine, and five nature or multicultural books, and their work will be published in the autumn issue.

Teen Ink Fiction Contest

Teen Ink is the premier publisher of teen-written works. They offer a continuous fiction-writing contest for all aspiring teen writers. Submissions must be fiction, but may fall under any genre including sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and must be between 500 and 2,500 words. Submissions are accepted year round and winning entries are announced in June and published in the Teen Ink magazine. Winners will also receive specialty merchandise from Teen Ink.

Improve Your Chances

To improve your writing, we encourage you to check out any number of's series of video lessons on writing, including:

  • Grammar which explores topics like nouns, pronouns, parallelism, and subject-verb agreement.
  • Literary Terms where words such as metaphor, simile, and foreshadowing are defined and explored.
  • Punctuation with lessons focusing on topics like comma splices, hyphens, and independent and dependent clauses.
  • Poetry which reviews, describes, and offers examples of different forms of verse.
  • Conventions in Writing which discusses concepts like active and passive voice, sentence structure, and clarity.

Earning College Credit

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