Winning Tips for the Interlochen Scholarship Contest

You already eat, sleep, and dream about writing. What if you could spend your days studying it, too? Interlochen Arts Academy is a boarding high school for artists and writers in Michigan, and you could win $30,000 toward tuition in their scholarship competition.

Intrigued? Read on for some tips on entering Interlochen’s Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition—or any other writing contest, for that matter. 

Interlochen Arts Academy Writing House

My name is Mika Perrine and I teach creative writing at Interlochen Arts Academy. Because I often help young writers prepare their work for contests, I know what a nerve-wracking process this can be. But submitting your work to contests is an important step to take if you are serious about writing. Winning or placing in a contest can help you get your writing published in national magazines and journals, and can help you win thousands of dollars in scholarship prizes. Plus, if you’re a high school student, you can include these awards and publications on your college applications, which is always impressive.

Here are six tips to help you through the process of entering your work in a contest:

1. Read the submission guidelines very carefully. It seems simple, but it’s so crucial. If the rules are confusing, don’t be shy about contacting the contest organizers.

2. Double-check the deadline. Some deadlines are postmark deadlines and some are received-by deadlines, meaning your work needs to arrive in the mail by that date. Others are online submission deadlines, which means you have to upload your work by that date.

3. Make sure you are picking your very strongest work. If you can’t decide what to submit, ask a friend, teacher or parent to help you decide.

4. Check out what’s won before. Many contests post work from previous winning entries. Reading those samples can help you decide what to submit.

5. Proofread your work very carefully. Try reading it aloud to yourself to catch errors, or trade work with a friend or ask a teacher or parent to take a look. A second pair of eyes can always be very helpful!

6. Get some input. Not every contest will be a good fit for you or your writing. Ask your English or Creative Writing teacher for advice about choosing a good contest.

I hope you will considering submitting your work to Interlochen’s Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition. First prize is a $30,000 scholarship to attend Interlochen Arts Academy as a creative writing major, a truly remarkable opportunity for any young writer. I’ll be judging this contest along with other writing teachers from Interlochen and we’re looking for fresh, distinctive voices from young writers across the country and around the world. The online submission deadline for this contest is December 15 and complete details are on our website.

If you’ve never entered a contest before, it can be difficult to share your work for the first time. We understand that writing is often a work in progress, so we’re not looking for perfection. We are looking for young writers with potential and are eager to help you take your writing to the next level. We can’t wait to read your writing!!!

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 Sponsored by Interlochen Arts Academy.

5 thoughts on “Winning Tips for the Interlochen Scholarship Contest

  1. Good tips! I’m still unsure if I want to write something completely new for this or use a previous story. As obvious as it seems, it didn’t occur to me to ask my mom what she thought. Off to do that now.


  2. Oof! Praying to a god I don’t believe in, because I simply must win this contest. I’m giving it my all, but will it be enough to take the cake? Is there some sort of writers training camp I can apply to in the meantime?

  3. I personally would have loved to enter, although my mother decided it wasn’t right for me, I plan on submitting an application for next year. If anyone could possibly give me ideas for scholarships as well as financial aid it would be appreciated; I think this school is an opportunity of a life time.

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