Commonwealth Essay Competition for Young Students from Commonwealth Countries

Commonwealth Essay Competition:
Partnering with Cambridge University Press

Essay Subject(s): Opportunity through Enterprise
Essay Level: Secondary school, Undergraduate
Provider: Royal Commonwealth Society
Country to Write in: Commonwealth countries

Updated (April 2014): see more recent Commonwealth Essay Competition

Essay Description
The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) has run the Commonwealth Essay Competition since 1883. The Competition is the world’s oldest and largest schools’ international writing competition.

Every year, the Commonwealth Essay Competition inspires thousands of young writers from all over the world. The Competition aims to celebrate and nurture the creative talents of young people across the Commonwealth, providing a platform for students to compete with their peers in each of the 54 nations which make up this unique association.

For 2013, the RCS is delighted to announce that the Competition will be run in partnership with Cambridge University Press, whose support will enable them to engage even more young writers across the Commonwealth.

Are you a writer? Are you interested in the world around you? Do you want your voice to be heard by others? If so, the Commonwealth Essay Competition is definitely for you. The RCS encourages you to be creative in your response to their topics. You can submit a poem, letter, article, story, essay or even a short play. The choice is yours. Just get writing!

The Competition celebrates and nurtures the creative talents of young people across the Commonwealth, providing a platform for students to compete with their peers in each of the 54 nations which make up this unique association.

Entrants are judged in two age groups, Junior (under 14 years) and Senior (14-18 years).

Eligible groups
Young People and Young Students from each of the 54 Commonwealth Countries

Participating Institutions
All schools in all the 54 commonwealth countries are eligible.

Essay Topic (Fields of Study)
The theme of the competition is ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’ – next year’s Commonwealth theme
  • Junior Category (Born after 1st May 1999):
    1. When has hard work paid off for you?
    2. Creative thinking saved the day.
    3. Tell us about a moment of opportunity which changed the life of your family, community, country, continent or the entire planet.
    4. Is change a good thing?
    5. Opportunities galore!

  • Senior Category (Born between 2nd May 1994 and 1st May 1999):
    1. A funding agency has asked you to make a pitch for an idea involving schools that would benefit your community.
    2. “I knew this was my moment.”
    3. Discuss one or more examples of social and/or environmental development where enterprise plays, or could play, a  key role in changing the way people live.
    4. “How enterprising!” a voice said as I closed the door behind me.
    5. Are we too risk-conscious these days?
Number of awards
In 2012 over 8,000 young writers took part and 1,000 participants from 245 schools, in 38 countries across the Commonwealth received an award for their entry.

Method of Application
Participants are invited to enter via post or submit entries online from January 2013. For more details download the 2013 Essay Competition leaflet (pdf). To download the 2013 Essay Competition poster click here (pdf).

Entrants will be able to submit their essays online from the start of 2013.

The closing date is 1st May 2013

Results will be announced in the autumn of next year, when a Junior and Senior Prize Winner and Runner Up will be announced and RCS judges will make a number of Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards. RCS very much hopes your school will feature!

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) is an international education charity, whose aim is to inspire and engage, by promoting understanding of international affairs and the modern Commonwealth. Their projects encourage young people to develop their skills, to realise their ambitions and, with an increased awareness of their role as global citizens, to engage with key challenges facing the international community.

Submission Deadline: 1 May 2013
Open to International students: Yes

More Essay Information and Application

Related: Essay Writing Competitions for International Students

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