If you are a teenager willing to express yourself in art and writing on a regional, perhaps even a national level, then you might be interested in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
These awards reward teens who demonstrate originality, skill, and a unique voice in their work. But how hard is it to earn an award and have your talents recognized? If you found this article, we know just how to inform you.
What is the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?
Scholastic is an ancient and long-running company dedicated to getting students to read and write as much as possible. Scholastic is responsible for turning generations of kids and students into ardent readers and writers with its catalogs of unique children’s books. Another way that Scholastic encourages creativity and effort in children is through the Scholastic Art & Writing Award.
Teenagers from ages 13 and up can apply to the Scholastic Writing Award program to have a chance to have their art and writing recognized by Scholastic. Generally, this program is meant to encourage creativity among students. However, students who win an award get many excellent benefits to help the child in their future creative careers, including scholarships to colleges and recognition in their region or even across the country. Scholastic pays no mind to gender, race, age, or origin. It is a contest that measures a student’s artistic creativity and effort.
The Scholastic Awards are not proof of how good you are at art, so don’t take it so seriously whether you win or lose. Even those who do not walk away with an award can feel satisfied that they made a piece of art that others may see and appreciate, much like any other artist. Ultimately, this is a fun exercise to get children’s creative juices flowing.
If you are a kid who wants to test their artistic mettle, then you would want to apply for the Scholastic Writing Award. But be aware that there is a lot of competition involved. Not everyone who enters will win, and a vanishingly small amount of people win the highest rewards. But just how many people get the Gold Keys Scholastic Awards?
How Many People Get Gold Keys Scholastic Awards?
How many entries, exactly, get the Gold Keys Scholastic Award? What are your chances of winning?
According to the University High School of Indiana, Gold Keys are awarded to 5-7% of regional submissions. If there are 100 entries in a region, only seven at most will be a Gold Key submission. Gold Keys are not the only awards a submission can get: those who do not get the Gold Keys are still liable for the Silver Key. While Silver Key submissions do not move on to the national competition, they still receive the same regional honors as the Gold Key submissions. Only 7-10% of submissions earn the Silver Key recognition. 10-15% of submissions are cognized for the Honorable Mention Award if not recognized for Gold or Silver.
To summarize, getting a Gold Key is a rare and challenging chance. To know how they get those awards, you must learn how the submissions are judged.
How are Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Judged?
As we have stated, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards pull judges and jurors from different people associated with Scholastic. They then judge entries on the core values mentioned above: originality, skill, and emergence of voice.
The jurors and judges of the Scholastic Writing Awards decide among whom the winning entry is. Judges have been made up of various important alums of Scholastic Awards, such as Paul Giamatti, David Sedaris, Judy Blume, Shinique Smith, Wangechi Mutu, and Langston Hughes. These judges judge an entree’s work based on three fundamental values:
- Originality: entries are judged on how original they are. This means that the work is distinct and different from other works. However, inspiration is not discouraged; the entries are asked to bring something new to their art. Copying someone else’s art will have yours removed entirely. The winning entries are the ones that show that they created something that brings something substantially different from any other material.
- Skill: entries are judged by the skill of the student. However, “skill” doesn’t necessarily mean one thing: craftsmanship, critical thinking, and problem-solving are also considered skills that the judges will look into when they judge the work. The winning entries are top of the line regarding skill (though it should be noted that the judges do not expect children to have art on par with professionals with experience).
- Emerging Voice and Vision: entries are judged for the unique perspective the student brings to their work. They want more than a student following trends or a classroom assignment. The winning entries are those who genuinely make their art their own.
The judges will judge every entry, compare it to the values they judge around, compare it to other entries, and make their final decision.
Now that you know how the judging process works, we can begin discussing joining in. How do you get into the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?
How Do You Get into the Scholastic Writing Awards?
The process to enter the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is pretty simple since this is a contest for children. To fulfill these steps, it is best to have an adult, such as a parent or guardian, with you.
First, an entry must create an account on the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards website. They will ask for personal information, including an email address and what school one goes to. Fill out those details and give yourself a unique username and password (though you should keep it to yourself!).
Next, an entry must choose which categories they want to enter and upload their work. There are over a dozen categories split into Art Categories and Writing Categories. These categories include Comic Art, jewelry, Painting, Dramatic Script, Humor, and Printmaking.
Finally, you must send in an entry form with an entry fee. The entry fee is $10 per individual entry and $30 per portfolio. However, students with needs-based income can waive their fees, allowing them to submit for free. The Scholastic Awards are open starting from September, with the deadline in December or January.
Even if you submit an entry and get a Gold Key Award, what do you actually get? What are the results of your labor?
What Do Scholastic Gold Key Winners Get?
Getting a Gold Key is an incredibly great honor, and it’s not exclusive to exactly one student at a time. The Gold Key entries of the Scholastic Writing Award are the highest rank that an entree can achieve. With this incredibly prestigious award, nominees receive a cash prize and attend events and exhibits in New York City. Teens who get a Gold Key for entry move on to the national competition to compete with other children worldwide. Gold Key submissions are considered for national awards, including the Gold Medal, Silver Medal with Distinction, Silver Medal, and scholarships. Finally, regional programs nominate five Gold Key entries for the American Voices / Visions Award.
3 Tips to Help You Win Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
You are going to face stiff competition in your region and especially nationally. Even if you put your heart and soul into your entry or entries, there is no guarantee or easy way to win—at least, not a way that prevents other people from winning. However, we have a few tips that you can use to increase your chances and help you win that coveted Gold Key Award.
Think of Something New
A core value that the judges look for is originality, so a big way to help you win is to develop an entirely new and original idea. Ironically, a solution to this would be to expose yourself to as much art as possible. As we’ve said, inspiration is not an issue; when you know many different ideas, it may be easier to combine them and come up with something entirely new. Through knowing the works of others, you can also know what has been done before. However, we recommend not going crazy here: artists can subconsciously copy what they’ve been inspired by, so know when to limit your inspiration.
Practice Your Craft
Whichever kind of art you submit to the Awards should be developed with practice. And when we mean practice, you should be willing to scrap everything you’ve done and start over, approaching it from a different angle. A core value judges look for is skill, so whatever you work with should be where your skill shines through. And if it isn’t shining, keep polishing that skill until it does.
Explore the Categories
You may already have a specific idea of what you want to start working on. However, keep a lid on that idea for now and try and experiment with as many different categories as possible. When you have done experimenting, pick the category you feel that is best suited for your imagination, skill, and voice. Through this tip, you can find something you never expected, such as an art or writing form you have a natural talent for or something you can easily express yourself in. It is also possible to submit an entry for every category, though that is ultimately very time-consuming and costly.
Wrapping Things Up: How Hard is it to Win a Scholastic Arts and Writing Award?
How hard is it to win a Scholastic Art and Writing Award? Generally, teens who enter the Awards will have to know they will contend with millions of other children at once, and only a tiny sliver of that has a chance of winning an award. The judges will carefully judge and critique your entry, so you must submit a piece that will surpass all of their expectations. With this article, however, your chances of making the award-winning entry will undoubtedly go up! But always remember: just have fun!