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2016 Writing Contest for College and High School Students
February | March Writing Contest for Teens

Writing Contests for High School Students and College StudentsStageofLife.com hosts an international writing contest each month for high school and college students.  Below you'll find the prizes, participating authors, rules, and steps in how to submit your essay for this month's life topic prompt. 

Also, View winners of past writing contests too.  We wish you the best!  Good luck!


STEP 1 - Take Survey
We ask our teen and college writers to first take a quick survey about the topic.  Click on the Survey Monkey logo...


Take StageofLife.com teen survey

STEP 2 - Submit Essay
Writing Contest for High School StudentsMaya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’ I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”

Has life ever given you a second chance that helped you to a better tomorrow? Have you ever given someone a second chance?

For our February 2016 and March 2016  student writing contest, we want to hear your thoughts about the topic of second chances in life.

Background 

Let’s face it.  We all mess up from time to time. 

Whether it’s posting something that offends your friends and family members on Facebook, failing a major test, losing a game for your team, or hurting someone you love, we all have needed a second chance to prove ourselves.  

For February and March 2016, we want to hear your stories of redemption, or how you gave someone else a second chance.  Maybe you want to take a more philosophical approach to the topic and discuss the nature and importance of second chances, or possibly tell a story about someone who doesn’t deserve a second chance.  

Gather up your ideas and craft your personal essay (500 words or less) that shows your thoughts about second chances.

Writing Contest instructionsTitle of Essay 
When you submit your essay, title it as:  "Second Chances: ______"

Include the phrase "Second Chances" as the beginning of your essay title, but then make the rest of your story title unique.   Examples:

  • Second Chances: Beaten But Not Broken
  • Second Chances: Conquering My Fear
  • Second Chances: Make it New!

Good luck!  Click blue button to submit your essay...

Submit essay to StageofLife.com writing contest

Rules 
Three quick rules:  1) 500 words or less.  2) Original work.  3) Non-fiction.

NOTE:  StageofLife.com registration is required to submit your essay.  StageofLife.com is visited by over 900,000 students, parents, teachers, and bloggers per year.  Our writing contests have been nationally recognized by leading authors (see our author sponsor page), Mashable, TIME.com, Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, and other media outlets as the leader for getting writing outside the classroom. 

See the full rules below. 

Deadline 
Midnight March 31, 2016 Pacific Time US

Education Prize Sponsors

Education essay sponsor - Papa John's   Education writing sponsor - IHOP

Writing Contest Prize Package

  • The student (high school or college) who writes the 1st place essay will receive gift cards compliments of our education sponsors, Papa John's and IHOP.
  • Bragging rights
Please thank our sponsors, Papa John's and IHOP, for supporting the writing and literacy efforts on StageofLife.com

Writing Contest Resources 

VIDEO:  Richard Branson’s Ted Talk from Ironwood State Prison about Second Chances and his non-profit Virgin Unite...



ARTICLE:  Second Chances in Life
*This article from Oprah.com explores how to grab second chances in life.

ARTICLE:  Second Chances, Social Forgiveness, and the Internet
*An article from The American Scholar

ORGANIZATION: People of the Second Chance
*An organization that was founded in 2010 to share stories of second chances and help people get a second chance in life.

Language Arts Teacher ResourcesWriting Contest Resource Links


Changing the World, One Story at a Time




EXTRA INFORMATION AND RULES FOR THE WRITING CONTEST...

Writing Contest Rules on StageofLife.comBe Real.  Be Yourself
The strongest submissions for this essay contest will use a personal tone and point-of-view writing style that shares your thoughts on the topic.  If you want to make your essay even stronger, we recommend doing a little research and adding quotes or a statistic (or two). 

Quick Rules:
  • Essays should be 500 words or less.
  • Essays must be your original work.
  • Essays must be non-fiction.
  • You are welcome to blog on StageofLife.com as much as you want, but only ONE essay submission per user for the writing contest is allowed.
  • Please be creative with your title, then type or cut and paste your full essay from a program like NotePad or TextEdit (don't use any formatting - just text, please) into the Story Details field (which will appear after you click the Submit Essay button above. 
  • Adjust the spacing of your essay within the essay submit form.
  • Title your essay using the instructions above so our Editors can find it in the story feeds in your life stage homepage on the website.  Example:  Here's where the high school student submissions get posted - High School
  • StageofLife.com is a non-partisan literacy initiative.  We judge the writing contest submissions not on the political or religious stance of our writers, but rather on how creative, original, passionate, and well written the essays are.  See below for more details on our judging policy.
  • Read these tips for good essay writing to be considered a writing contest finalist
  • You will need to login to StageofLife.com to submit your writing contest entry.  If you don't have a StageofLife.com login, please register for StageofLife.com (it's free).

StageofLife.com Prize Packages for Winning EssayPrize Package:  The winning writer will receive...

  • A highlight as the Winning Essay on StageofLife.com
  • Prize from the writing contest sponsor mentioned above.
  • A mention and link to your essay in Stage of Life's national monthly press release - here's a link to one of our press releases for reference.
  • NOTE:  Winners will be contacted via a post on their story once judging is complete (approx. 30 days after contest ending).   An email will be sent to the winner to get the address for the prize package approx. 2-3 months afterwards.

International Writing Contests on StageofLife.comFree Essay Contest:

This is a free writing contest.  StageofLife.com does not require a submission fee. ONE  ESSAY ENTRY PER PERSON FOR THE WRITING CONTEST.  However, you are welcome to blog about your life or other topics outside of this writing contest at any time on StageofLife.com

Contest Deadline:  

Last day of the month at midnight Pacific Standard Time (US).   StageofLife.com time stamps all essays in Greenwich Mean Time (England) as we are an international writing initiative.  International submissions are welcome.

Winning writing contest essays on StageofLIfe.comWinning Essays: 

Of the submitted essays to StageofLife.com for a given writing contest prompt, one student winner and one adult winner will be selected.  The winner and semi-finalists will be announced after the 20th of the following month.  Winner and semi-finalists will be contacted by a StageofLife.com staffer via the email used to register for the website.

As we state in our Writing Contest Rules and Judging Criteria, student writers selected as our national essay finalists and winner(s) will demonstrate strong writing skills, a unique point-of-view, personal tone, originality, and realness in their essay. 

"Realness?"  Yes...realness. 

Blogging contests on StageofLife.comThe reason that journalists and organizations ranging from TIME.com to Mint Education have featured our essays (especially our teen posts) in the national media is because our bloggers all write from the heart.  Real people sharing real stories about their lives.  Combine this with our position as one of the only international, non-partisan, literacy platforms in the world and you'll find Stage of Life an open environment to share your ideas. 

Post Comments: 

We'd like to encourage all participants and readers to make comments on these writing contest essays.  Please just remember to keep all comments/posts/discussions civil and in good taste in each of the essay-blog threads, especially since some of our writing prompts are sensitive in nature.  Nasty comments, personal attacks, or other such comments are not allowed and will be removed should they come to our attention.

Judging:

If you have questions about the rules or judging criteria for our writing contests, you can visit our Rules & Judging Criteria page.

College student writing contest on Stage of LifeLast Words - Share Your Story: 

Our hope is that your writing contest submission will positively impact others and help with our mission of making the world a better place, one story at a time.  Your essay may inspire others or even better, give you an opportunity to share a story that's simply important to you.

After you've submitted your essay, feel free to share the link to your essay on Facebook or Twitter.  Our essays are judged by real Editors, not popularity, but we do like to spread the word about our national, grassroots writing contest.   Also, please share this writing contest with Language Arts, English and History teachers, or on your blog or website. 

If you know a teacher who would like a Stage of Life writing contest poster for his or her classroom, have them contact us.

About:

Read more about StageofLife.com and our mission by clicking throughout the website.  You can find the "About Us" link below in the footer.  If you need to contact us about this writing contest, you can do so here.

Contact StageofLife.com for National Writing Contest

Good luck!  Scroll back up and click on the "Submit Essay" button to upload your essay.

Next

Writing Contest for College Students - ENTER BELOW

Weekly Essay Contest for College Students

How to Enter?

1)  Read the rules below

2)  Read the question prompt details

3)  Answer the poll below (if provided)

4)  Submit your essay to StageofLife.com using the GREEN "Enter Contest" button


Topics:

As you can see, our writing contests deal with "real-world" teen issues.  So much, in fact, that our monthly summaries on teen trends have been featured in the press on TIME.com, Mint Education's Blog, ABC TV's "Mary Talks Money" program, etc.  


Writing Contest Prizes: 


Yes, we have prizes if you win the writing contest...but not that you're writing something important just to win, right?  Each month, one winner selected from the combined high school and college entries will get a prize package containing...

 

Rules for the Monthly College Writing Contest are as follows:

  • Essay must relate to the theme (see below).

  • Essay must be your original work.

  • Essay can be no longer than 500 words.

  • Essay must be non-fiction and follow the form of a diary, journal, blog, memoir, or essay.  That is to say...we want real stories about real life...from you.

  • Once entered, essay will become a part of Stage of Life's public facing content so no foul language or inappropriate material.  Those entries will be removed.

  • Registration to Stage of Life is required to enter the writing contest.  It's free and will allow a) Stage of Life to post your essay and b) you to join the writing community here on Stage of Life to enter future writing contests or simply share a story about your life.

  • Writing submission must come from a current college student.

  • Essays will be judged on a combination of factors including style, content, length, originality, use of argument, grammar, spelling, etc.

Contest Judges:

Eric Thiegs:  CEO and Founder of Stage of Life

Rebecca Thiegs:  Senior Editor, Stage of Life.  Rebecca has her master's in education from the University of Minnesota along with 12+ years teaching advanced English for high school students.  She's currently freelancing as a curriculum consultant for McDaniel College's Summer Academic Enrichment Program - an initiative through the DC Success Foundation.

Sarah Hamaker:  A freelance writer and editor with more than a dozen years of experience, Sarah Hamaker is the author of Hired@Home, a guide to unlocking women’s work-from-home potential. She has a master’s degree in Literature and Language from Marymount University. Sarah has judged teen short story contests as well as magazine awards. Visit her online at www.sarahhamaker.com.

Stage of Life Editorial Team:  Stage of Life's very own life stage editors (all 20+) weigh in each month with their vote for selecting the winner from a pool of 5-10 semi-finalists.

Enter the Student Writing Contest:

Please read below for details on the free monthly writing contest and click the green "Enter Contest" button to submit your essay.  Good luck!

Writing Contest Archive - Students

Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports

StageofLife.com Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by StageofLife.com.  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on TIME.com, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month.  StageofLife.com is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

2016 Writing Contests


Writing Contest for High School Students

2015 Writing Contests

2014 Writing Contests

 2013 Writing Contests

2012 Writing Contests

2011 Writing Contests

 2010 Writing Contests

Stage of Life Mission Statement

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StageofLife.com is an education-based, grassroots, non-partisan, free blogging community with a mission support digital literacy by making the world a better place, one story, essay, and blog at a time.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes literacy resources, free lesson plans, writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students (and older generations), student blogging initiatives, blog directories, and financial literacy tools - including Life Rewards® - our free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

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