Summer Contests for Students

5 Awesome Summer Contests for Students

Wondering how to make the most of your summer?

Summer provides an excellent opportunity to unwind after a busy school year, but there’s no reason you can’t enter some resume-boosting contests while school’s out.

There are tons of contests of an academic nature that allow you to add more weight your resume, whether you’re in kindergarten or college. And with no homework assignments or exams in sight, summer’s a great time to put your energy toward contests—some of which even have cash prizes.

The New York Times Summer Reading Contest

Open to: 13-19 year olds

Prize: The chance to have your work published in The New York Times

How to enter: Every Friday throughout the summer, the Times will ask students to answer two questions: What interested them the most in the paper (or on the paper’s website) that week, and why did they find it interesting. Students can then submit their answers online using the above link. Every Tuesday, the Times will announce a previous week’s winners and publish their work.

Why should you enter: The Times is one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, and whether you’re an incoming 7th grader or high school sophomore, the chance to have your work published by the New York Times is not one to miss.

Poetic Power Poetry Contest

Open to: Grades K-9

Prize: The chance to become a published writer in an anthology. The top 10 entries in each grade also receive $25 and a free book.

How to enter: Submit a 21-line or shorter poem on the Poetic Power site by Aug. 18, 2017.

Why should you enter: For young students, there aren’t that many opportunities to have work published. This contest provides an excellent chance for students to show off their writing chops and to be published.

Charles LaFitte Foundation Essay Contest

Open to: Grades 3-12

Prize: A Kindle e-reader and a $1,000 check for your school’s library

How to enter: Read one of the selected books in your grade level and write an essay answering the question on the website. Email in your essay by Aug. 31, 2017 for a chance to win.

Why should you enter: If you love to read and write, this contest provides an excuse to do both. Plus, winning $1,000 for your school’s library would buy so many books, bringing enjoyment not just to you but to your whole community.

Cinespace Short Film Competition

Open to: All students and educators

Prize: Cash prizes to the top three films, as well as to the top films that express the themes of “Benefits of Space to Humanity” and “Future Space Exploration,” respectively

How to enter: Create a film featuring NASA’s imagery and honoring the 50-year anniversary of NASA. Submit your entry by July 31, 2017.

Why should you enter: There aren’t all that many opportunities for budding filmmakers to show off their chops in a competition setting, and this provides one. What’s more? This contest also allows students interested in science to learn more about NASA.

QuitDay.Org Scholarship Contest

Open to: Undergraduate and graduate students

Prize: Cash prizes to the top three winners, with up to $2,000 for first place

How to enter: Write an essay about the topic of smoking and how a smoke-free world would differ from what you know today and submit by email, along with a scanned copy of the application form found online, by Aug. 9, 2017.

Why should you enter: College is expensive, and cash from contests like this can majorly reduce the hefty price tag of your education. Another benefit: Who wouldn’t want to hire a national writing contest winner?


Don’t forget to cite your sources (in APA format, Harvard Referencing, MLA format and more), whether it be for a contest essay, a school paper, or an upcoming presentation.