University Applications: Sixth Form Essay Competitions and other Prizes

Essay Competitions are great for two reasons. Firstly, they provide a platform for expanding your knowledge and honing your learning. Secondly, they look fantastic on Personal Statements. For Oxbridge applicants, a few competitions is essential. But, any university application is improved by doing a competition. All these essays are open to students in Year 12 and Year 13. More competitions will be added as they are announced. Contact us to add your essay competition to the list below.

Classics

Title: Fitzwiliam College Cambridge Ancient World / Classics Essay Competition 2014-15

Details: This essay competition is for Lower Sixth Formers (Year 12s). It is aimed at all those in the Lower Sixth form taking Classics and/or Classical Civilization A-levels/Highers/IB, or those with an interest in the Ancient World who currently studying other subjects.

Deadline: 16th March 2015.

Prizes: The prize fund is £300 with a first prize of £200. Certificates of merit may be awarded to runners up who have sufficiently impressed the judges. Prizes and certificates will be awarded at Fitzwilliam College during the University Open Days in July 2015.

Further Details: https://www.fitz.cam.ac.uk/mi-client/media/admissions_docs

Title: St John’s College, Cambridge Classics & Ancient History Essay Competition

Details: The competition, focussing on the study of the ancient world. is open to all students currently studying in Year 12 anywhere in the UK, and is designed to give students of any subject the opportunity to write an essay on the classical world.

Deadline: 26th February 2015.

Prizes: Prizes of up to £125 in book tokens will be awarded for the best essays and all entrants will receive a certificate of entry.

Further Details: http://www.sjc.ox.ac.uk/3086/Classics–Ancient-History-Essay-Competition.html

Economics

Title: RES Young Economist of the Year 2015

Details: School students are invited to choose one of the topics below to write an essay of between 1,000 to 2,500 words, on one of the subjects below, set by the RES judging panel, calling on key elements of their A Level or International Baccalaureate courses, examples from the world around them and imaginative discussion. The RES judges are Sir Charles Bean (RES President, former deputy governor of the Bank of England), Stephanie Flanders ( award winning BBC journalist and Economics Editor, now J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s chief market strategist for the UK and Europe) and Professor Jonathan Haskel (Imperial College and elected member of RES Council).

Deadline: 30th June 2015

Prizes: The first prize will once again be £1,000 together with an engraved trophy together with cash prizes for the other leading essays.

Further Details: http://www.res.org.uk/view/essayEduTraining.html

Title: Marshall Society Essay Competition, University of Cambridge

Details: The Marshall Society, the University of Cambridge’s Economics society, invites students studying for A levels, the IB, or any equivalent qualification, to take part in its essay competition! We would like you to approach your answers with factual evidence, clear and convincing arguments, and of course most importantly, high quality economics.

Deadline: TBC

Prizes: In addition to the prestige of being announced winner of the Dismal Scientist competition, your essay will also be published in 2015 edition. We are also offering £100 to the winner and £50 to the two runner ups.

Further Details: TBC

Geography

Title: Royal Geographical Society Geographer of the Year

Details: The question for this year’s competition is “Why does Antarctica matter?”  This coincides with the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, which aimed to complete the first crossing of Antarctica.  However, Shackleton’s ship was crushed in the ice leading to his crew being relocated to Elephant Island; a journey of 800 miles across the Southern Ocean to South Georgia and the successful rescue of all his men.  Despite failing in his original plans Shackleton’s expedition is recognised as a remarkable feat of leadership and endeavour.

Deadline: TBC in April

Prizes:TBC

Further Details: http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Schools/competitions.htm

Title: David W.Smith Memorial Prize 2015 Essay Competition, supported by Routledge Publishers

Details: A2 level students in England and Wales and Advanced Higher students in Scotland are invited to write an essay of up to 1500 words on the following title:

Deadline: Essays must be received by Friday 27 February 2015.

Prizes: £100 in book vouchers

Further Details: http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Schools/competitions.htm

English

Title: The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2015

Details: Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and under, the Essay Competition offers young people the opportunity to make their voice heard on a global platform and engage with issues important to them. Every year, judges are impressed with the extremely high standard of entry as participants compete with their peers from every corner of the Commonwealth. For many bright and ambitious students, this is the ultimate competition!

Deadline: The deadline for entries is 1st May 2015.

Prizes: There will be a Winner and Runner- up in each category. Winners will be flown to London for a week of cultural and educational visits, culminating in a special award event in November 2015. Runners-up will be recognised in national award events. All four top entries will be published by the RCS.

Further Details: https://thercs.org/youth/competition

Title: Peterhouse Cambridge Thomas Campion English Prize

Details: Write an essay of between 1,500 and 2,500 words on one of the many titles provided.

Deadline: 20th March 2015

Prizes: Top prize of £500 and a second prize of £250; several further essays will be highly commended.

Further Details: http://www.pet.cam.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Campion_15.pdf

Title: The Betty Haigh Shakespeare Prize

Details: Students are asked to submit an essay of not more than 3000 words on the Shakespeare topic of their choice. Essays may be either original or previously prepared. They should preferably be typed, with the student’s name and school address clearly indicated.

Deadline: November 2015

Prizes: The winner will receive a copy of Catherine M.S. Alexander’s The Treasures of William Shakespeare: The Life, the Works, the Performances, generously donated by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Carlton Books, and the winning essay will appear in the Association’s Newsletter.

Further Details: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/english-association/prizes/the-betty-haigh-shakespeare-prize

Title: Gould Prize for Essays in English Literature, Trinity College Cambridge

Details: Trinity College launched the Gould Prize for Essays in English Literature in 2013. This is an annual competition for Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The Prize has been established from a bequest made by Dr Dennis Gould in 2004 for the furtherance of education in English Literature.

Deadline: 1st August 2015

Prizes: The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college, and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college. The school or college’s portion of each prize will be issued in the form of book tokens with which to buy English books. In addition, up to three further essays of a high quality will be commended.

Further Details: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/gould-prize-essays-english-literature

HISTORY

Title: Peterhouse Cambridge Vellacott History Prize

Details: Write an essay of between 2,000 and 4,000 words on one of the many titles provided.

Deadline: 20th March 2015

Prizes: Top prize of £500 and a second prize of £250; several further essays will be highly commended.

Further Details: http://www.pet.cam.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Vellacott_15.pdf

Title: The Historical Association ‘A’ Level essay competition, 2015.

Details: We are looking for an essay of around 2000 words, making a coherent case for your chosen person to be immortalised.

Deadline: May 1st 2015

Prizes:  The best entries will appear in Student Zone on the HA website, while the winning entry will be published in our members’ magazine ‘The Historian.’ The winner may also be presented with an engraved Bath Aqua Blue glass paperweight at the HA Awards Evening in July.

Further Details: http://www.history.org.uk/resources/secondary_resource_7808_273.html

Title: Robson History Prize, Trinity College Cambridge

Details: The Robson History Prize is an annual competition for Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The Prize was established in 2007 in memory of the historian Robert Robson, who was for many years a Fellow and Tutor at Trinity. The aims of the Robson Prize are twofold: firstly, to encourage ambitious and talented Year 12 or Lower Sixth students considering applying to university to read History or a related discipline; and secondly, to recognize the achievements both of high-calibre students and of those who teach them.

Deadline: 1 August 2015

Prizes: The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college (the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens with which to buy history books), and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college. In addition, three further essays of a high quality will be commended. All successful competitors will be invited to visit the College.

Further Details: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/robson-history-prize

HUMANITIES:

Title: Girton College, Cambridge Humanities Writing Competition

Details: This competition is an opportunity for research and writing beyond the curriculum using one or more of the six objects as your focus. Essays or creative responses (such as dramatic monologues or short stories) are equally welcome. We are looking for the ability to connect different areas of knowledge, to think about details and to communicate clearly.

Deadline: Friday 13th March 2015

Prizes: The total value of the prize will be £300

Further Details: http://www.girton.cam.ac.uk/undergraduates/for-schools/humanities-writing-competition

Title: Benedictus Academic Forum Scholars’ Competition

Details: This year we are running a competition in conjunction with the Forum to give young people the chance to present their ideas before an audience of international and acclaimed academics. Send us either a written document (the equivalent of a 15 minute presentation) or a 15 minute recording.

Deadline: 1st April 2015

Prizes: N/A

Further Details: http://www.benedictus.org.uk/page.php?nav=forum

Land Economy

Title: Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Essay Competition 

Details: This essay competition is intended for Lower Sixth Formers (year 12s), with no restrictions as to subjects being studied. The word limit is 2500 words.

Deadline: The closing date for entries is 1st April 2015.

Prizes: Prizes and certificates will be awarded at Fitzwilliam College during the University Open Day on 2nd July 2015. The prize fund is £300, including a first prize of £200. Certificates of merit may be awarded to runners-up who have impressed the judges.

Further Details: https://www.fitz.cam.ac.uk/mi-client/media/admissions_docs/LandEconomyEssayCompetitionQuestions2015.pdf

Law

Title: The Robert Walker Prize for Aspiring Law Students, Trinity College – University of Cambridge

Details: The Robert Walker Prize for Essays in Law in 2013 is named after an Honorary Fellow of the College, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, a recently retired Justice of the Supreme Court and former law student at Trinity.

Deadline: 20th April 2015.

Prizes: First prize will be an award of £300, second prize an award of £200; the prizes can be shared. The authors of the top ten essays will be invited to Trinity to see the College and meet the Law Fellows.

Further Details: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/essay-prize-aspiring-law-students

Linguistics

Title: Linguistics Essay Prize, Trinity College Cambridge

Details: The competition is open to all students with an interest in how language works regardless of the specific subjects they are currently studying at A-Level (or similar qualification). For example, it may be of interest to students taking A-Levels in Modern Languages, English Language or Classics, but also to students taking Psychology or Mathematics.

Deadline: 1 August 2015

Prizes: The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college, and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college. The school or college’s portion of each prize will be issued in the form of book tokens with which to buy linguistics books. In addition, up to three further essays of a high quality will be commended. The winners of the First and Second Prize will be invited to an informal lunch at Trinity College where they will meet lecturers and students in linguistics.

Further Details: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/linguistics-essay-prize

MODERN LANGUAGES

Title: University of Oxford French Film Essay Competition 

Details: The Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages at Oxford University is looking for budding film enthusiasts in Years 7-11 and 12-13 to embrace the world of French cinema. To enter the competition, students in each age group are asked to re-write the ending of a film in no more than 1500 words.

Deadline: 27th March 2015.

Prizes: A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning student in each age group, with runner-up prizes of £25. A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning student(s) in the filmed entry category (which spans both age groups), with a runner-up prize of £25.

Further Details: http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/film_comp

Philosophy

Title: Peterhouse Cambridge Kelvin Science Prize

Details: The Theology and Religious Studies Essay Prize is open to Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The aim of the Prize is to encourage able sixth formers to pursue their interest in Theology and Religious Studies, with the hope that they will be encouraged to read this or related subjects at University.

Deadline: 31st May 2015

Prizes: The competition carries a First Prize of £600 and a Second Prize of £400, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college; the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens.

Further Details: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/node/668

Title: Philosophy Essay Prize, Trinity College Cambridge

Details: The Philosophy Essay Prize is open to Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The aim of the Prize is to encourage able sixth formers to pursue their interest in Philosophy, with the hope that they will be encouraged to read this or related subjects at University.

Deadline: 31th May 2015

Prizes: The competition carries a First Prize of £600 and a Second Prize of £400, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college; the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens.

Further Details: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/philosophy-essay-prize

Title: The Edgar Jones Philosophy Essay Competition, St Peter’s College Oxford

Details: The aims of the prizes are to provide for students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th an opportunity to write about a philosophical issue and thereby, it is hoped, enable them to develop their abilities for independent research and thought and encourage them to apply for an undergraduate course with Philosophy as an element.

Deadline: 11th September 2015

Prizes: St Peter’s College has established two essay prizes in Philosophy, the top prize being to the value of £250, the second prize being to the value of £150. In addition to monetary prizes, all submitted essays which in the opinion of the judges are of a high enough standard will be commended.

Further Details: http://www.spc.ox.ac.uk/content/essay-prize-year-12lower-6th

Politics

Title: The R.A. Butler Prize, Trinity College Cambridge

Details: The R.A. Butler Prize for essays in Politics and International Studies is a competition that can be entered by students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th. Essays should be between 2,000 and 4,000 words (not including the bibliography).

Deadline: 12th June 2015.

Prizes: The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college (the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens), and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college.

Further Details:

Science

Title: Peterhouse Cambridge Kelvin Science Prize

Details: Write an essay of between 2,000 and 4,000 words on one of the many titles provided.

Deadline: 20th March 2015

Prizes: Top prize of £500 and a second prize of £250; several further essays will be highly commended.

Further Details: http://www.pet.cam.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Kelvin_15.pdf

Title: Bill Bryson Prize 2015

Details: The Bill Bryson Prize is a creative science communication competition. It is open to students around the world from ages 5–18. There are three categories: ages 5–11, 12–14 and 15–18. Your entry can take absolutely any form you want, and you can choose to enter individually or in a team (the age of the oldest team member will decide which category your team falls into). The theme for 2015 is Chance.  From the Big Bang to evolution, from probability to penicillin, all kinds of scientific concepts relate to ‘Chance’.

Deadline: 31 March 2015

Prizes: The top 100 entries will win a Bill Bryson book.12-18 year olds will get a copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything. 5-11 year olds will get a copy of A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. The top 25 shortlisted entries will win a Bill Bryson book and a £100 Amazon voucher. The runner up in each category will get a Bill Bryson book and a cash prize of £250.The first prize winner in each category will be given a Bill Bryson book and a cash prize of £400. The overall winner of the Bill Bryson Prize for Science Communication 2015 will receive a signed copy of a Bill Bryson book and a cash prize of £500!

Further Details: http://www.rsc.org/competitions/bill-bryson-prize/

Theology

Title: Keble College Essay Competition in Theology and Religion

Details: At Keble, one of the colleges of the University of Oxford, they are running an essay competition to encourage more interest in Theology & Religion in schools, and to offer an opportunity for students to consider in more depth questions of contemporary and historical significance. We are looking for essays which are carefully researched, well-structured and well-presented, but which also reflect critical awareness and an ability to reason through an argument.

Deadline: 30st April 2015.

Prizes: The essay judged best by a panel of Keble College theologians will receive a cash prize of £300.  Smaller prizes will be awarded to runners-up.

Further Details: http://www.keble.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/subjects/theology-inc-philosophy-and-theology

Title: Theology and Religious Studies Essay Prize, Trinity College Cambridge

Details: The Theology and Religious Studies Essay Prize is open to Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The aim of the Prize is to encourage able sixth formers to pursue their interest in Theology and Religious Studies, with the hope that they will be encouraged to read this or related subjects at University.

Deadline: 31st May 2015

Prizes: The competition carries a First Prize of £600 and a Second Prize of £400, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college; the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens.

Further Details: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/theology-and-religious-studies-essay-prize

General

Title: Essex University 50th Anniversary Essay Competition

Details: Simply write 3,000-5,000 words about one of our six research themes listed below. Topics include: Delving into Water’s Hidden Depths; Devil’s Pact or Dream Match; Whose life is it anyway?; Asking difficult questions about control; Ageism; Social Change; Rights

Deadline: May 2015

Prizes: The overall winner will receive £1,000. Plus six additional winners, one from each theme, will each win £500. Each winner will also receive £250 of books for their school or college.

Further Details: http://www.essex.ac.uk/fifty/essay/default.aspx

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University Applications: Sixth Form Essay Competitions and other Prizes