Bennington Young Writers Awards: 11 Reasons Why You Should Apply

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Writer typing with retro writing machine. View from above.

Bennington Young Writers Awards: 11 Reasons Why You Should Apply

The Bennington Young Writers Awards is an exciting chance for you to share your talent with the world! Every year, this contest gives high schoolers a chance to show off their writing skills and be part of the bigger writing community.

Students may participate in the poetry, fiction, or nonfiction categories of the competition. Each category will have first, second, and third-place winners. Winning an award in this competition is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates dedication to and skill in writing. It can be a highlight of your college application.

If you want to get your writing recognized or just want to learn more about writing, the Bennington Young Writers Awards is a great place to start. Here are 11 reasons why you should apply:

1. Recognition for Your Writing Talent

This prestigious award allows your writing to be recognized and valued by a wider audience, including professionals in the literary world. Winning or being shortlisted can be a significant badge of honor, showing that your creative efforts stand out among your peers.

This recognition is not just about the accolade itself but about what it represents. It says that your voice is important, your stories are worth telling, and your skills are worthy of attention. For many young writers, this kind of acknowledgment is transformative. It can boost your confidence, motivate you to pursue more ambitious projects, and affirm that writing is more than just a hobby for you. Being recognized by the Bennington Young Writers Awards can be a pivotal moment in your writing journey, encouraging you to continue honing your craft with even more passion and dedication.

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2. Constructive Feedback from Established Writers

One of the most valuable aspects of applying to the Bennington Young Writers Awards is the opportunity to receive constructive feedback from established writers. This isn’t just any feedback; it’s insight from individuals who have made significant marks in the literary world. They understand the craft, know what it takes to succeed, and can provide you with personalized critiques that are both enlightening and empowering.

This feedback can serve as a roadmap for your future writing endeavors. It helps you identify your strengths and pinpoint areas for improvement in a way that’s specific and actionable. Whether it’s refining your narrative voice, developing more dynamic characters, or mastering the art of pacing, the guidance you receive can be instrumental in your growth as a writer.

3. Exposure to a Community of Young Writers

Participating in the Bennington Young Writers Awards also means becoming part of a vibrant community of young writers. This community is made up of individuals just like you, passionate about writing and eager to share their experiences, challenges, and successes. Engaging with this community can be incredibly rewarding, providing you with a sense of belonging and an environment where your love for writing is shared and encouraged.

Being part of this community allows you to exchange ideas, gain new perspectives, and find inspiration in the work of your peers. It’s a space where you can discuss your writing process, share tips and strategies, and support one another in your creative endeavors. This sense of camaraderie is invaluable, especially in moments of doubt or when you’re seeking motivation to push through writer’s block.

Plus, the connections you make here can last a lifetime, offering you a network of fellow writers who understand your journey and can offer support, advice, and friendship as you navigate your path in the literary world.

4. Boost Your College Applications

Applying to the Bennington Young Writers Awards can significantly enhance your college applications. Colleges and universities are always on the lookout for students who not only excel academically but also show exceptional talent, creativity, and dedication to their interests. Being recognized by such a prestigious award demonstrates your commitment to your craft and sets you apart from other applicants.

Including the Bennington Young Writers Awards in your college applications signals to admissions officers that you are serious about your writing. It shows that you have taken the initiative to challenge yourself beyond the classroom and have been recognized for your efforts. This can be especially compelling in applications to programs that value creative expression, where your achievement can show your potential to contribute significantly to their academic community.

5. Opportunity for Publication

Another compelling reason to apply to the Bennington Young Writers Awards is the opportunity for publication. Being published as a young writer is an incredible achievement. It not only validates your skills and hard work but also puts your name out there in the literary community. For many young authors, seeing their work in print or online is a dream come true, and the Bennington Young Writers Awards can make that dream a reality.

Having your work published through the awards can open doors to further opportunities, such as invitations to participate in writing workshops, readings, or other literary events. It also adds a significant accomplishment to your writing portfolio, which can be beneficial for future college applications, scholarship opportunities, and even job applications in fields related to writing and publishing.

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6. Develop Your Writing Portfolio

Participating in the Bennington Young Writers Awards gives you a fantastic opportunity to develop your writing portfolio. A strong portfolio is crucial for any writer, as it showcases your best work and demonstrates your growth and versatility as a writer. Whether you’re applying to college, seeking internships, or planning to pursue a career in writing, a diverse and well-crafted portfolio can be your ticket to success.

The process of preparing your submission for the awards encourages you to polish your work and perhaps even experiment with new styles or genres. Each piece you submit adds depth to your portfolio, highlighting your ability to engage with different themes, narratives, and characters. This not only reflects your creativity and skill but also your willingness to push yourself and explore the boundaries of your craft.

7. Awards and Scholarships

One of the most direct benefits of applying to the Bennington Young Writers Awards is the possibility of winning awards and scholarships. These financial incentives are not just a bonus; they’re a recognition of your hard work, talent, and potential as a writer. Winning can provide financial support for your education, help you fund your next writing project, or simply offer you the resources to continue pursuing your passion for writing without financial stress.

Moreover, these awards and scholarships can be a significant addition to your academic and professional resume. They serve as a tangible acknowledgment of your abilities and can make you a more competitive candidate for future educational opportunities, internships, and careers. The prestige associated with the Bennington Young Writers Awards can open doors and create pathways that may not have been accessible otherwise.

8. Challenge Yourself

The process of applying to the Bennington Young Writers Awards is, in itself, a challenge that can lead to immense personal and creative growth. It pushes you to look critically at your own work, strive for excellence, and perhaps even venture out of your comfort zone. This challenge is not about the pressure to win but about the journey of refining your skills, discovering your voice, and reaching new heights in your writing.

Facing this challenge head-on can be incredibly rewarding. It teaches resilience, the value of hard work, and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. These are valuable life skills that extend far beyond writing and can help you navigate future challenges in college, your career, and your personal life with confidence and determination.

9. Gain Confidence in Your Writing

Applying to the Bennington Young Writers Awards and putting your work out there is a significant step that can greatly enhance your confidence in your writing. It’s a bold move that says you believe in your talent and are ready to share it with the world. This act alone can be incredibly empowering, especially when you receive positive feedback, recognition, or even win an award.

Even if you don’t win, the experience of competing in a prestigious competition can be a valuable learning experience. It can teach you about the subjective nature of writing and the importance of resilience. Every piece of feedback is a stepping stone to becoming a better writer, and each submission is a testament to your dedication to your craft. Over time, these experiences build up, solidifying your confidence and helping you trust in your unique voice and storytelling abilities.

10. Exclusive Workshops and Seminars

By applying to the Bennington Young Writers Awards, you may gain access to exclusive workshops and seminars unavailable to the general public. These events are typically led by seasoned writers, editors, and educators who can provide insights into the writing process, the publishing industry, and techniques to enhance your craft. Participating in these workshops and seminars is an invaluable opportunity to learn from the best, ask questions, and receive advice tailored to young writers.

These sessions can also expose you to new styles of writing and perspectives that you may not encounter in your everyday life or classroom setting. They offer a chance to deepen your understanding of literature and the art of storytelling, helping you to grow not just as a writer but also as a reader and thinker. The knowledge and skills you gain from these experiences can propel your writing to new levels and open up new avenues for creative exploration.

Writing in a table beside a laptop.

11. A Stepping Stone for Your Writing Career

The Bennington Young Writers Awards can be a significant stepping stone for your writing career. Whether you dream of publishing a novel, becoming a journalist, or exploring other writing-related fields, the recognition, experiences, and connections you gain through the awards can be instrumental in helping you achieve your goals. Winning or being shortlisted can attract attention from colleges, literary agents, and publishers who are always looking for fresh talent.

Moreover, the confidence, skills, and network you develop as part of this process are invaluable assets that can support your career in the long term. The writing world is highly competitive, and having a prestigious award like the Bennington Young Writers Awards on your resume can give you a distinct advantage. It signals to potential mentors, collaborators, and employers that you are a dedicated and talented writer with a proven track record of excellence.

How to Participate in the Bennington Young Writers Awards

To join the Bennington Young Writers Awards, you need to submit original work in one of three categories: Poetry, Fiction, or Nonfiction. Each category has specific submission guidelines regarding the format and word count.

The competition is open to high school students from 9th to 12th grade, including international students, but does not accept entries from gap year students. Submissions must be in English and adhere to a strict word count. A sponsoring teacher, who has worked with you on your submission, is required.


In the Bennington Young Writers Awards, first-place winners in each category receive $1,000; second-place winners are awarded $500, and third-place winners get $250. The competition doesn’t require an entry fee. Additionally, finalists and winners are eligible for undergraduate scholarships at Bennington College if they apply, are admitted, and enroll, with amounts varying based on their achievement in the contest.

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Final Thoughts

The journey of applying and participating in the awards is valuable in itself. It’s an experience that can teach you about resilience, dedication, and the art of writing. Even if you don’t win, the process of refining your work and receiving feedback is a critical step in your development as a writer.

Looking forward, I encourage you to see the Bennington Young Writers Awards not just as a destination but as a part of your broader writing journey. Let it inspire you to continue writing, exploring, and sharing your stories. The world needs your voice, your ideas, and your creativity. So, take this step, apply to the awards, and see where this path may lead you. Your writing adventure is just beginning, and the opportunities are limitless.

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