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Why You Should Apply for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

4 minute read

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Students interested and gifted in science have their

science fairs. Students who love math can compete in math competitions. History buffs can publish research in the Concord Review. These competitions (and journals) offer them a chance to earn scholarships and cash, meet a network of professional mentors, attain prestige and recognition that can open doors to top colleges and career opportunities, and push them to pursue and refine higher skills. But how can you “compete” if you’re a creative student who loves visual art or creative writing? That’s where the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards come in.

Known as “the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens,” The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards has been around since 1923 and gives creative students like you a platform where you can express yourself, be recognized for your talent, receive educational opportunities, and get lifelong access to a community of creative professionals. Not convinced you should apply? 

Explore the Fine Arts through research

Polygence pairs you with an expert mentor in your area of passion: literature, drama, film making, theatre, writing, poetry. Together, you create a high quality research project that is uniquely your own. We also offer options to explore multiple topics, or to showcase your final product!

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Here’s a more in-depth look at why you should at least give art and writing awards a shot

1. Gain exposure to a wider audience

Share work with a larger audience that goes way beyond your immediate school or community. Winning or being recognized by the Scholastic Awards can lead to increased visibility and exposure, which can be beneficial for your future opportunities, such as college admissions or professional endeavors. You might even discover you have new fans of your work from around the globe. Sure, you can also put your work on Instagram or YouTube or self-publish a book, but The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards gives you a uniquely powerful way to broadcast your work to a receptive audience. The competition works the same way as a science fair would, starting with regional competitions, moving up to state competitions, and finally, a giant national ceremony. Selections from each year’s National winners are featured in exhibitions in New York City, D.C., and throughout the country. The National Poets Program publishes a chapbook of work by the National winners, and these student authors take part in community service projects.

2. Possibly win a scholarship and prestige

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards offer numerous scholarships for talented students across various categories and disciplines, running from $1,000 to $12,500. These scholarships can help support your artistic or literary pursuits in the future. Winning also looks great on college and work applications.

3. Get a chance to meet and work with your heroes

Finalists and winners of the Scholastic Awards may gain access to workshops, mentorships, and other educational resources. These opportunities can further enhance your artistic skills, expand your knowledge, and provide valuable guidance from creative professionals you admire. Past special guests at the national ceremony include Oprah Winfrey, Tim Gunn, Alec Baldwin, Sonia Manzano, Tituss Burgess, Amy Schumer, Billy Collins, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Many Scholastic Awards alumni become contest jurors, including Michael Bierut, Philip Pearlstein, Edward Sorel, Red Grooms, and Gary Panter. Other luminaries who have served as judges include Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Judy Blume, Billy Collins, Paul Giamatti, Francine Prose, Edwidge Danticat, David Sedaris, Lesley Stahl, Nikki Giovanni, Roz Chast, Wangechi Mutu, Andres Serrano, Kiki Smith, Jill Kraus, Shinique Smith, Rashid Johnson, and Waris Ahluwalia.  

4. Find the motivation and learn the skills to do your best work 

There’s nothing quite like portfolio requirements and a deadline to push you to produce your best work. Applying to the Scholastic Awards encourages you to actively pursue and refine your artistic or writing abilities. The process of preparing and submitting work forces you to have the self-discipline to complete projects and reflect on your work. You don’t need to even win a top prize to benefit from the process. Simply the recognition or feedback you get from the competition can act as a motivator, validating your talent and inspiring you to continue your creative journey. The art portfolio or written pieces you submit to the contest can also be submitted for future art or writing programs.

5. Meet your future support team

Nobody knows what it takes to write or make art like your fellow writers and artists. Engaging with the Scholastic Awards introduces you to a vibrant community of creative students who share your passion. At regional, state, and nationwide award events and exhibitions, you’ll exchange ideas and forge lifelong friendships with fellow artists and writers.

How to apply

The other nice thing about this competition is that applying couldn’t be simpler. You just create your account in September, submit your best work in one of the many categories, and send in your submission forms with an entry fee (or entry fee waiver). Any student in the U.S. or Canada who is 13 or older and enrolled in 7th through 12th grade is eligible to apply. Good luck!

Want to get started on an art or writing project but could use some feedback or support? Check out our Polygence arts and creative writing mentors and jump into your favorite creative endeavor.

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