Everything to Know About the Bennington Young Writers Awards

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A woman holds a pen while looking sideways

Everything to Know About the Bennington Young Writers Awards

For high school students who are talented young writers, one of the best uses of time when it comes to activities out of class is writing competitions. Without a doubt, there are countless different competitions that students can consider submitting their original work to. One of the very best writing competitions offered each year is the Bennington Young Writers Awards.

Here at AdmissionSight, we make it our number one goal to help the most committed and exceptional high schoolers get into the schools of their dreams. For that reason, we have taken the time to give high school students who love writing all the information they need about the Bennington Young Writer’s Awards, what kind of work the competition accepts, when students have to submit by and much more.

unidentifiable female writing unto her notes

So, if you are curious about this writing competition then you have absolutely come to the right place! Let’s get started.

About the Bennington Young Writers Awards

Bennington College, which is located in Bennington, Vermont and was first founded in 1932, has an impressive history of being a breeding ground for incredible writers. In fact, 12 Pulitzer Prize winners, three U.S. poet laureates, four MacArthur Geniuses, countless New York Times bestsellers, and two of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people once called the campus at Bennington home.

As a way to honor those highly impressive alumni, Bennington launched their Young Writers Award with the goal of promoting high school writers to excel and pursue their dreams.

For that reason, the competition is open to all high schoolers, grades nine through 12.

There are three different categories that students can submit to each year as part of the competition.

  • Poetry: Students are allowed to submit a group of three poems as one submission
  • Fiction: Students are allowed to submit either a 1,500-word short story or a one-act play with a run time of no more than 30 minutes
  • Nonfiction: Students are allowed to submit a personal or academic essay no longer than 1,5000 words

Each year, a first, second, and third place winner is selected in each category.

Rules of the Bennington Young Writers Award

As is the case with all writing competitions, high school students who want to have a real chance at winning and gaining recognition for their work are going to want to be extra careful that they follow the specific rules of the specific competition they are submitting to.

In fact, if you are a writer who is especially interested in submitting to many different competitions each year, it is wise for you to keep some kind of folder (either on your computer or a real folder in your room or locker) that has all of the specific competitions you want to submit to with all the rules related to that competition.

A man writing a letter on a desk.

With that out of the way, let’s briefly go over the specific rules related to the Bennington Young Writers Award.

First off, it is important to know that the competition runs annually from September 3 to November 1. Anytime within that window, students are able to submit their work.

There is no entry fee for students in this competition.

All entries submitted to the competition must be fully original works that are reviewed, approved and sponsored by a high school teacher.

Students should know that the sponsoring teacher will be used as the direct point of contact should the competition have any questions.

Awards given to the winning students in each category

Each year, the first-place winners in each of the three categories receive a prize of $500. All second-place winners receive $250. All third-place winners receive $125.

While the cash awards are surely exciting, there are actually even more awards that finalists and winners become eligible for.

All finalists and winners in the Bennington Young Writers Competition also become eligible to enter Scholarships at Bennington. YWA finalists who apply, are admitted and choose to enroll in Bennington receive a scholarship worth $10,000 every year for four years. So this scholarship, in total, equals $40,000.

Moreover, Young Writers Awards winners who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $15,000 scholarship every year for four years for a total of $60,000.

About Bennington College

Because students who win recognition through the Bennington Young Writers Competition, we think it is important that students get a decent idea of what going to Bennington might be like.

Of course, it is not really important to go into a full breakdown of what it is like to go to Bennington but getting some basic information about the school is surely helpful. It may also be helpful in explaining why this school decided to start this incredible writing competition.

At Bennington, the passionate and impressive staff is committed to teaching their students how to not only excel within the classroom but also within the real world once they leave college and go on to achieve new and exciting things.

A person wearing a red shirt is writing on a notebook.

Bennington has sought to create a truly hands-on learning environment where the artificial barriers and hierarchies found in typical classrooms have been torn down with the belief that this helps students imagine, shape, and ultimately achieve their best work.

One aspect of this fundamental aspect of Bennington’s style of teaching is that they have gotten rid of the traditional major format of undergraduate learning. Students are encouraged to seek and enjoy ambiguity within their learning experience and find their own path – as that path will not simply be handed to them by the school itself.

Another interesting part of studying at Bennington is that this school prides itself as being the only college in the country that has required students to take part in an annual internship since its founding.

For two months every winter, students get the chance to work with institutions or organizations of their choosing, anywhere in the world, so that they may have the chance to apply what they have learned on campus in the real world, as well as use this opportunity to better focus and what they want out of their studies on campus.

Finally, one other thing that students well maybe considering Bennington should know is that the school has fostered highly engaged community alumni. The Bennington community extends far beyond the charming campus in Vermont and surely offers recent graduates many opportunities to connect with fellow alumni, colleagues, and companies across the globe.

Reasons to enter academic competitions

No matter what a student’s specific talent is, there is absolutely no doubt that there are academic competitions – such as the Bennington Young Writers Competition – that are looking for students to participate each and every year.

However, just because a high school student has the option to take part in an academic competition does not necessarily mean that they should. After all, there are many ways for a student in high school to explore and express their talents and passions outside of simply taking part in academic competitions.

However, if you are a high schooler who is interested in possibly signing up and submitting your work, there is absolutely no harm in going over some of the top reasons why academic competitions are considered to be so useful for students.

They give you the chance to prove your talent

This may very well be the most straightforward and obvious reason why high schoolers should take part in academic competitions. After all, many students find it difficult to fully show off their talents in school.

The strict nature of many high school curriculums that are based on tests and group assignments do not always allow students to show off their unique skills. In contrast to the head, many student competitions will give students the chance to work on their own. This is obviously true for the vast majority of writing competitions.

By participating in an academic competition that is being offered by University, a company, or some other organization, high school students get a new opportunity to show off their individual talents and unique skills. Moreover, the rewards for excelling in those competitions are typically quite tangible, while rewards in school typically just come up to scoring good grades.

Connect with impactful professionals

Academic competitions are also a very useful way for high school students to connect with top professionals and even top companies in a given industry. This is due to the fact that many academic competitions are actually funded by Fortune 500 companies. Putting your skills and interests in the spotlight can help make the difference when it comes to trying to get a highly competitive position or breaking into a highly competitive industry.

That’s important because there is no doubt that getting a really great job has never been more difficult. On top of that, applying for your dream job or dream internship while you are in college can be exhausting and discouraging. It is quite common that even the most talented students will fall through the cracks of these traditional applications because many of them are based solely on the level of academic excellence.

For writers especially, this can sometimes become a major hurdle to try to overcome. Luckily, if you are a young writer who is able to showcase a large list of awards won, there will be little doubt that you are an incredibly talented young scribe, despite the fact that you may have a few not-so-great marks on your GPA.

Build your high school resume

For high school students, one of the most important things they can focus on during their four years is to build out a resume that allows them to set themselves apart from other highly accomplished high schoolers.

If you are a high school student who is interested in applying to some of the most prestigious and competitive colleges and universities in the United states, you better be sure that you are going to be able to jump off the page when it comes to your college applications.

A person writing on a notebook

Things aren’t the way that they used to be and all you had to do was score a great GPA and get great standardized testing schools to get into even the most competitive Ivy League universities. Now, you have to accomplish just as much outside of the classroom.

This means investing a lot of your time and energy in a number of extracurricular activities that allow you to prove that you will be a positive and impactful member of any college community.

All academic competitions should not be your only form of extracurricular activity, it is a really great way to prove that you not only have passions outside of the classroom, but also that you are incredibly talented.

Students get the chance to prove and challenge themselves

In high school, students are encouraged to enroll in courses such as honor roll and AP courses because they challenge students who are advanced in certain subjects. The same exact principle can be applied to academic competitions.

Obviously, not everyone who enters an academic competition is going to win just like not everyone who enrolls in an AP course is going to score a 5 on the exam. But that does not mean that the decision to take part would not be worth it.

A woman is sitting on the grass while writing on her notebook.

Students who get involved in academic competitions can gain a lot more and simply recognition and prize money if they win. Students will learn new things and develop new skills, and even if they don’t win they would be wise to talk about the experience of the academic competitions that they took pardon when applying to schools.

The most important factor that can come from taking part in an academic competition such as the Bennington Young Writers Awards is the journey of the work that a student does while pursuing that ultimate goal.

The maturity of knowing that the pursuit of a goal is just as important as accomplishing that goal when it comes to building character and maturing will speak volumes about a high school student when they’re interviewing at the schools that they hope to attend for undergrad.

The prizes are certainly valuable

We just went over why winning isn’t everything when it comes to academic competitions. Because of that, it is also valuable to mention that winning academic competitions – especially the ones that are highly competitive and well known – can yield incredible opportunities as a result.

Some academic competitions come with opportunities to take part in internships, fully funded trips, and more opportunities to learn and get involved in a topic a better student is interested in.

Other academic competitions, such as the Bennington Young Writers Competition, offer incredible amounts of money to help high school students afford higher education.

If a high school student is interested in winding down their options when it comes to submitting to academic competitions, a great way to do so is to look at the prices that are offered and see how much they excite them.

Students get to test their ideas in the real world

Finally, student competitions allow high school students to test their own ideas and see how viable they are both in the real world and in a relatively risk-free environment. Competitions allow students to gain valuable feedback from both professionals and peers and see where they are compared to other like-minded students all around the world.

This is another reason why entering academic competitions can be so great even if you don’t win. They offer an opportunity to learn and grow and game an enriching and stimulating experience that allows a student to learn more about a subject that they are interested in as well as learn more about themselves.


Hopefully, this breakdown of the Bennington Young Writers Competition, as well as a dive into why students should consider academic competitions as a worthwhile opportunity outside of the classroom, has taught you quite a lot.

Whether you are interested in submitting to this writing competition or want to learn more about other writing competitions that are offered in the United States and abroad, there is no doubt that you are on the right track to finding out about the competition or your work may be best received.

As a young writer, it can surely be difficult to truly believe in yourself in your work. Hopefully, by submitting to writing competitions you will find but there are readers out in the world or interested in your stories and excited about your future.

At AdmissionSight, we want to make sure that we are able to help passionate high school students achieve in any way possible. Well there is no doubt that getting into a top college or University is just as hard as it’s ever been, there is also no doubt that high school students can do a lot to improve their chances at success. It’s all about having the right tools and the right approach to the entire process.

Our goal is to make those tools known so that every student can enroll at the school of their dreams.




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.