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December 2014 - Writing Contest for Students
Writing Contests for High School Students and College StudentsMONTHLY WRITING CONTESTS: hosts monthly writing contests for high school students and college students (open to international students, too).  Answer the real-world writing prompt below to share your thoughts and experiences as we change the world, one story at a time.  View winners of past writing contests.

Writing Contest:  Random Acts of Kindness


STEP 1 - Answer Teen Survey:
  Click the Survey Monkey logo to the right to answer our short poll.

STEP 2 - Submit Essay: 

For our December 2014 writing contest, we are making a call to action for everyone to commit a Random Act of Kindness and write about it.

What we want for the contest: In 500 words or less, using the blue "Submit Essay" button, write a personal reflection about your experiences of either performing a random act(s) of kindness, or describe your experience being on the receiving end of a random act of kindness from someone else.

Background:  December marks the start of a frenzied need to give gifts.  For this holiday season, we want you to dig deeper and find some kindness to give to others.  It doesn't have to be anything big...just a random act of kindness.  Then, we want you to write about the experience of either performing the random act of kindness or, if you'd prefer, share a story of when you were on the receiving end of a random act of kindness from someone else.

For instance...maybe you will choose to pay for someone’s food at a restaurant.  Maybe you will give others hugs (not in a creepy way) or offer compliments to someone that you don’t know that well. Possibly you will help out a neighbor in need by shoveling snow, or baking them cookies. Maybe you will help someone across the street or give a random person a flower.

How will you commit a random act of kindness this December?

Consider these thoughts when you write your essay (don’t answer all these questions, but use them as a launching point to mine your memories for ideas):
  • Have you ever performed a random act of kindness?  What did you do?  How did it make you feel?
  • Have you ever been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness?  What happened?  How did it make you feel?
  • Do you and your family (or friends) have traditions revolving around random acts of kindness?
  • Do you belong to an organization that regularly commits random acts of kindness?
Click the blue "Submit Essay" button to the right to upload your story and enter the writing contest.

Title of Essay: 
When you submit your essay, title it as:  "Random Acts of Kindness: ______"

Include the phrase "Random Acts of Kindness" as the beginning of your essay title, but then make the rest of your story title unique.  

  • Random Acts of Kindness: Tipping my Waitress $100
  • Random Acts of Kindness: Singing for Seniors
  • Random Acts of Kindness: The Angel and the Crumpets
  • Random Acts of Kindness:  The Car Miracle on Christmas Eve
Three simple rules for the Stage of Life student writing contest. 

1) This is a Non-Fiction essay contest. 
2)  Essays are 500 words or less.
3)  Essay must be your original work.

Midnight December 31, 2014 Pacific Time US

Finalists, Runners Up, and the Winner will be posted on our writing contest winners page and Teen Trend Report after January 26, 2014.

Random Acts of Kindness Lesson Plan: 

Stage of Life created a Lesson Plan to go along with this month’s contest.  To review more ideas on how to use Random Acts of Kindness in the classroom, explore our free lesson plan...

Writing Contest
Resource Links

Random Acts of Kindness - Writing Contest

STEP 1:  Take Survey

Take teen survey

(click logo to take survey)

STEP 2:  Enter Essay

Submit essay to writing contest

(click to submit your essay)

Essay winner receives gift card prizes from our sponsors and copy of the book, "Random Acts of Kindness" by Lisa Verge Higgins.  Details below...

Writing Contest Resources

Videos about Random Acts of Kindness:

  Random Acts of Kindness List

Practical ways to perform random acts of kindness and pass on a list to those you impact so that they, too, might pass on the kindness.

“A 1st Grader's Act of Kindness Just Restored Our Faith in Humanity”

If kids can show so much kindness to each other, why can’t the rest of us?

"High School Wrestler Shows his Competitor an Incredible Kindness"

This video shows how helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves can make a big impact.

“My 38 Random Acts of Kindness”

A Ted Talk by Botlhale Tshetlo describing her 38 Random Acts of Kindness.

Author Sponsor

For this month's writing contest, our Stage of Life partner writer is the Lisa Verge Higgins who is donating a signed copy of her book, "Random Acts of Kindness" to the winning student essay writer this month!   We'll mail the book along with the gift card prizes.

Check out the our participating author’s website:

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
  • National press release exposure for your essay from
  • Copy of “Prune” - a cookbook by the New York Times Bestselling author of “Blood, Bones & Butter” - Gabrielle Hamilton
  • Bragging rights

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. 1-2 months afterwards.

Please thank our sponsors, Papa John's and IHOP, for supporting the writing and literacy efforts on
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    Contact for National Writing ContestContact Us about this Teen Writing Contest 
    Language Arts Teacher Resources

    Quotes for inspiration:

    “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
    - The 14th Dalai Lama (1935)

    "That best portion of a man's life are his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love."
    -William Wordsworth


    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.
    • You are welcome to blog on 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
    • 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 to submit your writing contest entry.  If you don't have a login, please register for (it's free). Prize Packages for Winning EssayPrize Package:  The winning writer will receive...

    • A highlight as the Winning Essay on
    • 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. 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

    Contest Deadline:  

    Last day of the month at midnight Pacific Standard Time (US). 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 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 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 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.


    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.


    Read more about and our mission

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


    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 using the GREEN "Enter Contest" button


    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, 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

    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

    Past Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports Student Writing Contests

    Below you will find all of our past writing contests and teen trend reports from the last four years. Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month. is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with teachers, teens, and college students as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

    2014 Writing Contests

     Stage of Life Mission Statement

     2013 Writing Contests

    2012 Writing Contests

    2011 Writing Contests

     2010 Writing Contests


    Let us know what you think!


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    As an educational writing initiative, is fortunate to have the support of hundreds of brands who support this writing community and our literacy mission.  Because of that, you can save 5% to 50% off with Stage of Life's free My Life Rewards® program. 

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    Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog 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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