Cambridge Essay Competitions

Essay competitions are brilliant for a number of reasons!

You can use them to:

  • Explore a topic you’re fascinated about beyond the school curriculum
  • Develop invaluable research and essay writing experience
  • Show evidence of your genuine interest in your subject when writing your personal statement!

The essay competitions usually become open for submissions after the winter holidays. Be sure to check any eligibility criteria, requirements and deadlines. This page will be updated when new competitions are announced, and when deadlines are passed, so check back regularly! All essay competitions and events at Cambridge (both online and in-person) can be found here πŸ”— 🌟.

Magdalene College Arts and Humanities Essay Competition 2024 πŸ”— 🌟 Any student in their penultimate year at a state school can enter this competition, which will open in early 2024. Last year, there were 12 questions covering a variety of topics within the arms and humanities - you can read the winning entries here πŸ”—. To register your interest in this competition for 2024, fill in this form πŸ”—.

Fitzwilliam College Essay Competitions: various subjects πŸ”— 🌟 Fitzwilliam College runs a variety of competitions in Ancient World and Classics, Archaeology, History, Land Economy, Medieval World, Architecture, and Economics (this last one is for state-school UK students only). All competitions are open to Year 12 students and are designed to encourage students to pursue their interests in subjects they might not be able to study in depth at school. Last year, the deadline for all competition entries was the 1st of March, so make sure to check back in early 2024 for updates.

Newnham College Woolf Essay Prize πŸ”— 🌟 The Woolf Essay Competition is focussed on women in literature, history, society and culture. There are also competitions for other subjects - more information these will be coming soon. Webinars to help support your entry can be found here πŸ”— . The deadline for the Woolf Prize last year was the 14th of July.

Girton College Humanities Writing Competition πŸ”— An opportunity for students interested in pursuing any humanities subject to write creatively! Year 12 students may enter with an essay or piece of creative writing using an object from Girton College’s small antiquities museum, the Lawrence Room, as their prompt.

Robinson College Essay Prize: various subjects πŸ”— Year 12 students may submit an essay of up to 2,000 words in response to one of the set questions, which cover a wide variety of academic subjects. The prize did not run in 2023, but may in 2024.

Trinity College Essay Prizes πŸ”— These competitions give entrants the opportunity to write an essay of up to 2,000 words in response to the set question/(s). Last year there were competitions for English Literature, Launguages, Linguistics, Philosophy, Politics, Law, and History.

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